My second book, Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop, is out now in hardback and e-book format by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (Order it from Amazon here.)
John Harris reviewed the book for The Guardian here. It was the Guardian‘s Book of the Day on 19 June 2019, and Book of the Week in the Guardian Review of 22 June 2019.
Éamon Sweeney reviewed Hit Factories for The Irish Times on 29 June 2019, calling it ‘an extremely important addition to modern music writing’.
RTÉ have published an exclusive extract from the book’s prologue online.
I wrote about my experience writing the book for the Irish Times.
Here’s a brief summary of what the book’s about:
After discovering a derelict record plant on the edge of a northern English city, and hearing that it was once visited by David Bowie, Karl Whitney embarks upon a journey to explore the industrial cities of British pop music.
Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham, Coventry, Bristol: at various points in the past these cities have all had distinctive and highly identifiable sounds. But how did this happen? What circumstances enabled those sounds to emerge? How did each particular city – its history, its physical form, its accent – influence its music? How were these cities and their music different from each other? And what did they have in common?
Hit Factories tells the story of British pop through the cities that shaped it, tracking down the places where music was performed, recorded and sold, the boardrooms where deals were done, and the people – the performers, entrepreneurs, songwriters, producers and fans – who made it all happen. From the venues and recording studios that occupied buildings formerly used for other purposes – disused cinemas, churches and abandoned factories – to the terraced houses and back rooms of pubs where bands first rehearsed, the terrain of British pop can be retraced with a map in hand and a head filled with music and its many myths.
I talked about my favourite things to NARC magazine.
My interview with the Newcastle Journal about the city’s music scene and rock journalsit Nik Cohn’s time in Newcastle.
Announcement of the book being signed in The Bookseller here.
I’ve compiled a Hit Factories playlist on Spotify.