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Norman Jopling: Shake It Up Baby!

Album Review

A pioneering music journalist recalls the R&B boom of the 60s.

In 1961, 16-year-old Norman Jopling joined New Record Mirror, soon to become the hippest UK pop weekly. Fascinated by what was then called R&B, he wrote or commissioned pieces on Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Mary Wells, The Marvelettes and other “great unknowns” – articles that R&B fans would diligently paste into scrapbooks.

For anyone who rode the wave of excitement and discovery that swept across the landscape of British pop music in those years and fundamentally recontoured it, Jopling’s memoir of a decade will be a non-stop pleasure trip into the past. He met everyone – The Beatles and Stones, Carl Perkins and Phil Spector, and formidable professional fans like Guy Stevens, Motown propagandist Dave Godin and rock’n’roll collector ‘Breathless’ Dan Coffey. Honest, unjaded, manically detailed, and absolutely fantastic.

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