Cowboys and Indies - The Epic History of the Record Industry

Author(s): Gareth Murphy

writing & criticism

COWBOYS AND INDIES is the story of the 'record men' - the mavericks and moguls who have shaped the music industry from the first sound machines of the 1850s through to today's digital streams. Men like John Hammond, who discovered Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen; Sam Phillips and Berry Gordy, founders of the Sun and Motown labels; Chris Blackwell, who brought Bob Marley and reggae music into the mainstream; Geoff Travis who built Rough Trade and launched The Smiths; or genre-busting producer Rick Rubin, who recorded Run DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash. Gareth Murphy has drawn on more than 100 interviews with music business legends, as well as extensive archive research, to bring us the behind-the-scenes stories of how music gets made and sold. He explains, too, how the industry undergoes regular seismic changes. We may think the digital revolution is a big deal, but in the 1920s the arrival of radio and the Wall Street Crash wiped out 95 per cent of record sales. But, as we all know, you can't stop the music ...


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The definitive history of the music industry

A fascinating account of the way recorded music has evolved, touched people and helped shape popular culture as we know it today. -- Sir George Martin, legendary record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician If this book was a group, I would definitely sign them. It is that good. -- Geoff Travis, founder of Rough Trade A fascinating trawl through music industry history ... thoroughly researched -- Will Hodgkinson Times An all encompassing history of not only what might be termed the hardware of popular music from Thomas Edison's cylinders to the MP3 downloads of today, but the machinations, artistic high jinks and public scams that accompanied it -- John Clarke Independent Compendious and tantalising ... The research is solid ... His original interviews - with Elektra's Jac Holzman, Def Jam/American impresario and super-producer Rick Rubin, Sire boss Seymour Stein, and Virgin's Simon Draper among many - are candid and insightful. -- Kitty Empire Observer Entertaining ... comprehensive ... an illuminating history that throws new light on familiar landmarks ... excellent. -- Graeme Thomson Mail on Sunday Enjoyable ... colourful ... Murphy paints lively portraits -- Helen Brown Telegraph This lovingly written book ... is a celebration of the indie heroes who shaped the industry while giving groundbreaking artists a platform ... Like the Last Shop Standing of record labels, Cowboys And Indies tells their story Record Collector Magazine A fascinating read. Murphy has written an almost immaculate account of the rollercoaster that is the industry, and how the recording industry developed from its beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century. It will surely be an eye-opener for anybody who has ever purchased one of its artefacts, whether on a seven-inch single, a CD or a download, and wondered how and where the whole process started. Bookbag Extremely readable ... A fascinating fare about an intriguing industry and Murphy's Cowboys and Indies pans out as the most rewarding book of its kind to date. One suspects there are plenty more tales for another volume. -- Fred Dellar Mojo An entertaining glimpse behind the scenes, and an informative overview of how the industry has evolved -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times Greed, ambition, genius and idealism coalesce to create a vibrant and compelling narrative - a must for music fans and culture vultures alike -- Roisin Dwyer Hot Press

Gareth Murphy was raised in Dublin surrounded by music and the musicians his father worked with as a concert promoter. He has worked at various record companies and produced thirty electronic compilations. He now runs his own company, Atlantis Recordings. As well as composing and producing original music, he is a freelance writer and researcher for journals and think-tanks. Murphy lives in Paris with his wife and three-year-old son.

General Fields

  • : 9781781254356
  • : Profile Books Ltd
  • : Serpent's Tail
  • : December 2015
  • : January 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Gareth Murphy
  • : Paperback
  • : 400