‘The Britpop Bible’ by Vernon Joynson

Uncategorized April 28, 2022

‘The Britpop Bible’ by Vernon Joynson

In his newest work, British author and musicologist Vernon Joynson surveys the musical, cultural and social phenomenon of the 1992-1998 era which has come to be known as Britpop.

The music, a reaction to the US grunge scene, comprised mostly catchy, melodic songs and captured the UK’s mood and attention of the era. Beginning with the the 1992 singles ‘Popscene’ by Blur and ‘The Drowners’ by Suede, the genre reached its peak in 1995 when Oasis’ long player ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ topped the UK charts for 10 weeks, selling 22 million copies globally, making it one of the most successful albums of all time. The ‘Britpop Bible’ is part of a trilogy the author has penned regarding UK popular music, joining the ‘Two Volume Tapestry Of Delights’ (2014) and ‘A Sharp Shock To The System’ (2019).

The 728 page tome’s format follows that of Joynson’s previous titles, containing heavily illustrated, alphabetically arranged entries which range in length from twenty pages or more for prolific Britpop artists such as Oasis, Radiohead and Blur, to a page or less for obscure acts such as Dweeb and Elcka. The entries contain line-up data, meticulously compiled album, single and EP discographies (with line-up involved, label and catalog number, year of release, highest UK chart position achieved and rarity scales), details of reissues, retrospective compilations and collections, and extensive narratives with biographies of the artists which include descriptions and critiques of their music. The careers of artists who continued to record are documented until they disbanded or November 2021 when the book went to press. While focused on British-born artists and bands there is a section about bands who performed Britpop abroad, in addition to postscripts covering post-Britpop and Britpop Revival artists.

The book’s introduction places the era in context with a section telling the story of Britpop, as well as segments discussing important venues, radio shows, TV shows, record labels, publications and record shops associated with the genre. The volume closes with a complete artist index, details of various artists’ compilations key to Britpop, and a list of 110 recommended Britpop albums (the Top 40 appearing in bold print). The opus is rounded out by a gorgeous 16 page full color section of album artwork.

‘The Britpop Bible’ fills a void as the most comprehensive guide to a genre previously lacking an extensive reference work, providing invaluable information unavailable elsewhere. The massive opus, published by Borderline Productions, is a numbered, limited edition of 1,000 copies worldwide. While retailing for 55 pounds sterling, the title can be acquired at discounted prices from internet booksellers. As with Joynson’s earlier publications ‘The Britpop Bible’ is an essential addition to rock music lovers and collectors’ libraries.

Kevin Rathert

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