Have you ever wondered what was going on the in the country and the world at the time that your favourite Britpop band formed and were releasing records? How did this impact on their success? And what was one of the biggest reasons Oasis’ third album Be Here Now didn’t succeed as everyone expected?
Written back in the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 and then released in Sept, Oct and Dec of that year, New Zealand based author Tom Boniface-Webb has released his trio of Britpop books, Modern Music Masters — the Britpop Trilogy: Oasis, Blur and Pulp. Described as the series of books he “would want to read if he was discovering music for the first time as a teenager, or looking for a short, accessible new angle into the bands and artists that [he] loved”, the trilogy acts as an extended bio for the beloved Britpop bands, putting their history into the social context of that time.
The books are intended to be accessible, easy to pick up and put down, so there simply isn’t the space to go into the where and when the bassist from Suede was born, where he went to school, and who his more famous brother is (answer: Richard Osman, the comedian and writer).
Their history is told through a comprehensive list of the artist’s officially released albums and singles. What were the track listings, who were the producers, where and when were they recorded, and what position did they reach in the charts? Each release is also put in the context of the top 10 on the day they charted, so, what songs were at numbers 3–10 the week that Oasis and Blur battled it out for the top spots in August 95? Placing each artist in their cultural context of what was popular at the time, it acts as a trip down memory lane to remind us what we were (and weren’t!) listening to back in the day.
“There are few [music books] that have such a focus on the charts as well,” states Boniface-Webb. “Each release is put alongside what else was in the top 10 that week. As well as a historical document of the time, these books are a total nostalgia fest for those there the first time around”
Born in Surrey before moving to London and finally New Zealand, Boniface-Webb was also co-author of the book I Was Britpopped: the A-Z of Britpop published by Valley Press in Nov 2017. Also, in the pipelines for 2021 are Modern Music Masters: Manic Street Preachers (due 1st March) and Modern Music Masters: The Verve (end of March) and Modern Music Masters: Suede (April).
There are also plans to cover The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, Kate Bush, Badly Drawn Boy, Paul Weller and many, many more.