Thursday, March 8, 2018

Music Press: New Musical Express (NME)

Published weekly since March, 1952 it was the first British paper to include a singles chart which first appeared in the 14 November 1952 edition. The paper came in the aftermath of the Musical Express and Accordion Weekly when London music promoter Maurice Kinn, bought it over and relaunched as the New Musical Express. Published in a non-glossy tabloid format on standard newsprint the NME started to publish a UK Singles chart (top 12) after the fashion of the U.S. magazine Billboard. The paper reveled in the emerging British groups of the 60s with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones never far from the front cover. NME sold as many as 200,000 issues per week which made it one of the UK's biggest sellers. NME’s sales peaked at almost 307,000 in 1964.

Realising the commercial potential the paper ran a reader’s poll to find the most popular artists of the year, and then they staged a winner’s concert called the NME Poll Winners Concert. These were help in Wembley Stadium in London and attracted large crowds. They were filmed, edited and then transmitted on British television a few weeks after they had taken place. The NME Poll Winners Concerts took place between 1963 and 1966.

By the early 1970s popular music trends has changed and the NME had lost ground to its rival the Melody Maker. The paper was almost on the verge of closure in 1972 when it was taken over and Alan Smith appointed as the editor. The tenor of the NME changed from a show business paper to a hip music paper more in keeping with the underground press with many outside journalists incorporated into the staff. The papers’ circulation increased to nearly 300,000 copies per week and was outselling its rivals, Melody Maker, Disc, Record Mirror and Sounds.

By 1976 the NME became champions of Punk scene and created a new tone for the paper. As subsequent editors took over, the paper metamorphosed to meet readership new tastes. In the 90s, NME was at the forefront of Britpop.

However, when music listings went online and readers moved to digital media, falling sales and ad revenue meant the magazine had to adjust accordingly. In 2015, the magazine stopped being a paid title after a decade of sales declines saw its circulation drop to just 15,000. It relaunched as an ad-funded, free title with a circulation of 300,000. Sadly, after 66 years, the NME ceased publication in print in 2018. The website will continue.

Worth a listen
The Animals,
We gotta get out of this place (1965)

The Beatles
She loves you (1963)

Cilla Black,
Anyone who had a heart (1964)

Joe Brown and the Bruvvers.
A picture of you (1962)

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
Hold Tight (1966)

Mellow Yellow (1966)

Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames,
Yeh yeh (1964)

Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders,
The game of love (1964)

The Fortunes
You’ve got your troubles (1965)

Freddie and the Dreamers,
I’m telling you now (1963)

Gerry and the Pacemakers (1963)
How do you do it?

Jet Harris
Theme from the man with the golden arm (1962)

Herman's Hermits
A Must to Avoid (1965)

The Hollies,
Stay (1963)

Big Dee Irwin,
Swinging on a star (1963)

The Ivy League
Tossing and turning (1965)

Kathy Kirby
Secret Love (1963)

Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas
Listen do you want to know a secret? (1963)

Manfred Mann
5 4 3 2 1 (1964)

The Merseybeats
I think of you (1964)

The Moody Blues,
Go Now (1964)

The Alan Price Set
I Put a Spell on You (1966)

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes,
Someone Someone (1964)

The Rolling Stones
Walking the dog (1964)

Crispian St. Peters
The Pied Piper (1966)

The Searchers
Needles and Pins (1964)

The Seekers
A world of our own (1965)

Sounds Incorporated
William Tell Overture (1967)

Dusty Springfield
You don’t have to say you love me (1965)

Baby please don’t go (1965)

The Yardbirds
Shapes of Things (1966)

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