Guide to British Music of the 1960s

May 2003

Book Review

British Beat 1960-1969 by Terry Rawlings

A number of Terry Rawlings' books have been featured previously in Making Time. The latest work covers similar ground to Making Time, albeit done in a traditional book format. British Beat covers British music's greatest decade, at least from a Making Time reader's perspective. It takes an encyclopedia format to provide biographies of many of the artists in that decade from the global superstars to the more obscure. It is less comprehensive that Colin Cross's Encyclopedia of British Beat Groups of the 1960s (now out of print) but its coverage of individual artists tends to be deeper and the whole work is presented more graphically. 

This is a joy to read or even just skim through. There are many books about artists such as the Beatles, Stones and the Who so there is not really anything new here. Where British Beat scores heavily is in its coverage of the more obscure acts that usually receive no coverage at all and many are relatively unknown. This does not make them any less interesting though. Some artists went on to achieve fame elsewhere. Brian Ferry, for example, was in a Newcastle group called the Banshees (not Siouxsie's) but it is through British Beat that I learned that he only appeared in a later incarnation of this group and not on any of their singles.

The book is lavishly illustrated with pictures of the bands (1960s groups always look so cool), record sleeves and gig posters. This is something where the book scores heavily and sets it apart from other good books such as Tapestry of Delights. As such the book is a delight to read. It is informative, entertaining and you realise, if you didn't already know, just how cool many of the bands looked back then.

ISBN: 0-711990-94-8

First published 2002 by Omnibus Press

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