blog tours, book review, Guest Reviewer, non-fiction

#BlogTour #BookReview The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan. @MotorCityMick @TrapezeBooks @Simon_Burnton @NOWMusic #Now100 #music #Christmas

Trapeze Xmas 2

Now this really is rather exciting. Trapeze who publishes a wide range of books it showcases just how wide that range is by having a 12 days of Christmas blog tour with each day featuring a different book that they have published this year.

I don’t know about you but I love the idea and think that it is a little bit different and really rather exciting. I quickly looked at the books that would feature on the tour and picked a few that I wanted to read and review. Firstly there was Noel the Supervet, as an avid watcher of his show I wanted to read his book, then there was The Craftman by the Brilliant Sharon Bolton, or perhaps Hangman by Daniel Cole, whose first book, Ragdoll, was blooming brilliant.

So many good books to choose from and so I rushed to get my choice in, keen to get a book that I really wanted. So when the email came back saying that I had a spot on the tour I wasn’t quite expecting it to be the book that it was. Somewhat confused I checked the email that I had sent and sure enough, in my haste, I had put a wrong number down. What was the book I hear you ask? It was Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists.

I do like music, just not that much. But here I was and I’d made a commitment so I was not quite sure what to do, a book like this deserved someone with a passion for music to review it, someone who used to wait eagerly for the release of that years’ Now That’s What I Call Music CD (or cassette!). Luckily, I knew just the person. Step in my brother, a music lover since he was a young boy and the perfect person to read and review the book.

nowmusic

Review:

Anyone who has had any kind of interest in pop music at any stage of their lives is likely to have owned and cherished a Now That’s What You Call Music album. They have chronicled the charts for 35 years, since their first brazen attempt to fleece the Christmas gift market in late 1983, and are still doing it in 2018, with Now 101 currently top of the compilation album charts (the top 20 also includes Now 100, Now That’s What I Call Christmas, Now That’s What I Call Love Songs, Now That’s What I Call Rock ‘n Roll, Now That’s What I Call Easy, Now That’s What I Call Disney, Now That’s What I Call Now (100 Hits from 100 Nows!), and the unrelated but engagingly titled 100 Percent Clubland EDM Bangers), plus board games, card games, interactive DVD games and the occasional book, of which The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists is the latest.

There’s an OK book in here somewhere. Some effort and talent was put into the research and writing of it, whereupon the copy was placed into the hands of the kid on work experience in the layout department, and it went downhill from there.

It’s a shame to be superficial, but it just doesn’t look very good. Each of the 100 artists has a two-page spread, one containing a photo and a brief biography focusing predominately on their compilation appearances and the other containing trivia related to some of the Now albums they featured on. Sometimes the biography is on the left page of the spread and the albums on the right, which makes a great deal of sense, and sometimes it’s the other way round, which is confusing. It is like the designer of a novel putting the words CHAPTER TWO in large letters on the top of the second page of chapter two, and leaving the reader to work out where the first page fits in. This is the most significant quibble, but nothing about the design impresses – not the fonts, not the panels, not the page numbers, literally none of it (though the front cover is quite good).

The trek through the 100 artists is occasionally broken up by random other stuff. There are, for example, two pages which list the titles of songs from Now compilations that have place names in them. It looks like it was written in 10 minutes and laid out in two, which makes it considerably more impressive than the pages dedicated to songs from Now compilations with the word kiss in the title. There is no way that any sentient human could find any of this interesting, and it looks worse than it reads. The book would be big enough without this random padding, and better to boot.

The publicity blurb boasts that it is “jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments”, which is not entirely hyperbolic. There are lots of interesting details that will raise the eyebrow of pop-nerds, mainly about unnoticed producers, uncredited celebrity backing vocalists and unexpected links with other Now-featured artists. If you think it is interesting that Johan Renck, a member of one-hit wonders Stakka Bo (Here We Go was on Now 26), directed the video for Pet Shop Boys’ She’s Madonna (Now 66), or that the same harmonica player appeared on Will Young’s Switch It On (Now 62) and All Around the World by Oasis (Now 63), and you don’t mind a bit of amateurish layout, then this book is for you.
Now albums have always featured top-notch design and their website is phenomenal, but it’s a shame that the people responsible for that sterling work were on their tea break in the five minutes that this book was put together.

Blurb:

Everyone remembers their first NOW album. Since NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 was released in 1983 on double vinyl and double cassette, NOW has become synonymous with pop music and has featured some of the most iconic artists of the last three decades.

To celebrate the release of the 100th NOW album, The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists looks back at some of the most memorable – and occasionally regrettable – hits of the last 35 years!

Jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments about the 4,000+ artists to have graced the NOW track listings – from Phil Collins to Pharrell, Bananarama to Lady Gaga and Peter Andre to Pet Shop Boys – The Story of NOWis a celebration of pop music through the decades. So plug in your earphones and pump up the volume, because this party is just getting started!

About The Author:

michaelmulligan
Michael Mulligan taken from Twitter.

Michael Mulligan was born on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea, in Essex, which is where he purchased his first single, ‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper. As a teenager he’d buy as many as five music newspapers each week (when there were such things) and would gauge the growth of his music knowledge by his ability to finish the crossword puzzle.

Shortly before NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 17 was released he got a job in his local record shop. For the next twenty-five years he worked in all manner of music retailers, and more recently he has been a consultant for record labels, mining their archives for overlooked gems.

Michael once made Kylie Minogue laugh, and has the photographic evidence to prove it. Though it is entirely possible she was just being polite. He lives in north London with two cats, a patient and indulgent wife and a ‘no way too large’ record collection.

The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan is out now and is available from Amazon UK.

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