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Various Artists

Melody Makers DVD

Review by Gary Hill

When it comes to the British music scene, it could be argued that "Melody Maker" magazine was an integral piece of the evolution of bands and sound. It had started in the 1930s strictly as a publication for musicians. The main focus was on stories of interest to musicians. It also had an extensive classified advertising section packed full of music ads.

When the rock scene grew legs in the 1960s a change of management (brought about by mass resignations when the magazine featured The Beatles on the cover) created a change in focus. While the magazine (a weekly that was more of a newspaper than what we think of as magazine) still focused on music, and featured those same classified ads, it began to focus more on the music scene from a fan's perspective. With that new focus came a new popularity.

As this documentary shows, the rock scene in England in the 60s and 70s was tied to Melody Maker as much as the zine was tied to it. The ads were often used to connect musicians to create acts that would be legends, while the coverage often influenced careers.

This video (just now released on home video, but actually from 2017) focuses largely on the works of photographer Barrie Wentzell. Through the use of his photos, interviews with him and other people including Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson and the Animals' Eric Burdon along with Melody Maker writer Chris Welch and more, this does a great job of telling so much of the story of the most important era of the publication.

If you have interest in that important music scene, I highly recommend this video. I wish they had included a photo gallery of all the pictures in the video, but beyond that this is pretty much perfect.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at:

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