Colin Larkin

Last updated

Colin Larkin
Colin Larkin 3 JR.JPG
Born1949 (age 7273)
Dagenham, Essex, England
Occupation
  • Writer
  • entrepreneur
  • publisher
  • musician
Website colinlarkin.com

Colin Larkin (born 1949) is a British writer and entrepreneur. He founded, and was the editor-in-chief of, the Encyclopedia of Popular Music , [1] described by The Times as "the standard against which all others must be judged". [2]

Contents

Along with the ten-volume encyclopedia, Larkin also wrote the book All Time Top 1000 Albums , [3] and edited the Guinness Who's Who of Jazz , [4] the Guinness Who's Who of Blues , [5] and the Virgin Encyclopedia Of Heavy Rock . [6] He has over 650,000 copies in print to date. [7]

Background and education

Larkin was born in Dagenham, Essex. [8]

Larkin spent much of his early childhood attending the travelling fair where his father, who worked by day as a plumber for the council, moonlighted on the waltzers to make ends meet. It was in the fairground, against a background of Little Richard on the wind-up 78 rpm turntables, that Larkin acquired his passion for the world of popular music. [9]

He studied at the South East Essex County Technical High School and at the London College of Printing, where he took typography and graphic design. [8]

Art and publishing

His company Scorpion Publishing published John Gorman's trilogy of Labour history, Banner Bright, [10] To Build Jerusalem and Images of Labour. [11] Music books at this time included Johnny Rogan's Timeless Flight: The Definitive Story of The Byrds [12] and Bob Dylan, His Unreleased Recordings. [13] [8]

In 1989 Larkin formed Square One Books to create a multi-volume Encyclopedia of Popular Music , and to publish music-related books. He published additional music biographies including those on Graham Bond, R.E.M., Eric Clapton, The Byrds and Frank Zappa. [14]

In a pre-internet age, the work required to create an encyclopedia of popular music was considerable. Aided by a team of contributors, a fast-growing library of music magazines, books and the music itself, an eventual 3000 vinyl singles, 3500 vinyl albums, 4500 music biographies and 38,000 CDs, [15] Larkin began compiling the Encyclopedia.

In 1992 the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music went into print. [16] It was quickly recognised as monumental: Rolling Stone described the work as "musical history in the making", and in The Times they called it "a work of almost frightening completeness". Musician Jools Holland called it "without question the most useful reference work on popular music".

Later activities

Square One developed their own in-house software using 4th Dimension. [17]

Over 50 separate titles followed the creation of the Encyclopedia's database, and in 1997 Larkin sold Square One Books to American data company Muze. [17] Larkin became full-time editor-in-chief and ran the encyclopedia as a cottage industry, with a team of fewer than ten contributors, who in terms of wordcount were "producing an Agatha Christie novel a month". [15]

From September 2008, Larkin ceased all involvement with Muze Inc. or any of its related companies following the closure of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music as a stand-alone product and his subsequent redundancy.[ citation needed ] On 15 April 2009, it was announced that most of the assets of Muze Inc. were purchased by Macrovision. [18]

In 2008, Larkin launched a new website whose original inspiration had come from the All Time Top 1000 Albums , initially called 1000Greatest.com. This would later change its name to become the multi-media rating site and iPhone app, btoe.com (Best Things On Earth).[ citation needed ] Larkin closed down this website in August 2018 and re-directed the content to Musopedia.com. He is CEO and editor-in-chief of Musopedia Ltd.

He wrote the liner notes for the Rolling Stones' curated project Confessin' the Blues. [19]

In November 2020, Larkin released his latest tome, Cover Me – The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965. His first non-music book, it was a celebration of the classic Pan Books paperbacks, incorporating full-colour reproductions of over 300 of the original cover artworks. [20] The book was nominated for the H. R. F. Keating Award in 2021 and reached the shortlist final eight. [21] A paperback edition was published in May 2022. [22]

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

<i>This Was</i> 1968 studio album by Jethro Tull

This Was is the debut studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1968. Recorded at a cost of £1200, it is the only Jethro Tull album with guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a major influence for the sound and music style of the band's first songs. When the album was released the band was already performing at the Marquee Club in London, where other successful British groups, such as the Rolling Stones and The Who, had started their careers.

<i>Traffic</i> (Traffic album) 1968 studio album by Traffic

Traffic is the second studio album by the English rock band of the same name, released in 1968 on Island Records in the United Kingdom as ILPS 9081T (stereo), and United Artists in the United States, as UAS 6676 (stereo). The album peaked at number 9 in the UK albums chart and at number 17 on the Billboard 200. It was the last album recorded by the group before their initial breakup.

Eddie Vinson Musical artist

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson was an American jump blues, jazz, bebop and R&B alto saxophonist and blues shouter. He was nicknamed Cleanhead after an incident in which his hair was accidentally destroyed by lye contained in a hair straightening product, necessitating shaving it off; enamoured of the look, Vinson maintained a shaved head thereafter. Music critic Robert Christgau has called Vinson "one of the cleanest—and nastiest—blues voices you'll ever hear."

Big Maybelle Musical artist

Mabel Louise Smith, known professionally as Big Maybelle, was an American R&B singer. Her 1956 hit single "Candy" received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

<i>Fleetwood Mac</i> (1968 album) 1968 studio album by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac, also known as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, is the debut studio album by British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on 24 February 1968. The album is a mixture of blues covers and originals penned by guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, who also share the vocal duties. It is the only album by the band without any involvement of keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie.

<i>John Barleycorn Must Die</i> 1970 studio album by Traffic

John Barleycorn Must Die is the fourth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1970 as Island ILPS 9116 in the United Kingdom, United Artists UAS 5504 in the United States, and as Polydor 2334 013 in Canada. It marked the band's comeback after a brief disbandment, and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200, making it their highest-charting album in the US, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA. In addition, the single "Empty Pages" spent eight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 74. The album was marginally less successful in the UK, reaching number 11 on the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Live at the Regal</i> 1965 live album by B.B. King

Live at the Regal is a 1965 live album by American blues guitarist and singer B.B. King. It was recorded on November 21, 1964, at the Regal Theater in Chicago. The album is widely heralded as one of the greatest blues albums ever recorded and was ranked at number 141 in Rolling Stone's 2003 edition of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, before dropping to number 299 in a 2020 revision. In 2005, Live at the Regal was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.

<i>Tim Hardin 2</i> 1967 studio album by Tim Hardin

Tim Hardin 2 is the second album by folk artist Tim Hardin, released in 1967.

<i>Sailor</i> (album) 1968 studio album by The Steve Miller Band

Sailor is the second studio album by American rock band Steve Miller Band, released in October 1968 by Capitol Records. It was recorded in Los Angeles, California, and was produced by the band along with Glyn Johns, who also produced the band's first album, Children of the Future. It was the last Steve Miller Band album to feature contributions by original members Boz Scaggs and Jim Peterman. Scaggs went on to a successful solo career.

<i>Solid Air</i> 1973 studio album by John Martyn

Solid Air is the fourth studio album by British folk singer-songwriter John Martyn, released in February 1973 by Island Records.

<i>Gettin Together</i> (Paul Gonsalves album) 1961 studio album by Paul Gonsalves

Gettin' Together! is an album recorded in 1960 by Paul Gonsalves. AllMusic's Scott Yanow awarded the album 4 1/2 stars. He wrote "The music is straight-ahead and shows that Gonsalves was quite capable of playing with younger "modernists"." The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings describes it as “a remarkable album, beautifully played and recorded.”

The Rooftop Singers were an American progressive folk-singing trio in the early 1960s, best known for the hit "Walk Right In". The group was composed of Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe with former jazz singer Lynne Taylor (vocals).

<i>Genius + Soul = Jazz</i> 1961 studio album by Ray Charles

Genius + Soul = Jazz is a 1961 album by Ray Charles featuring big band arrangements by Quincy Jones and Ralph Burns. Charles is accompanied by two groups drawn from members of The Count Basie Band and from the ranks of top New York session players. It was recorded at Van Gelder Studio in two sessions on December 26 and 27, 1960 and originally released on the Impulse! label as Impulse! A–2.

Chas McDevitt

Charles James McDevitt is a Scottish musician, one of the leading lights of the skiffle genre which was highly influential and popular in the United Kingdom in the mid-to-late 1950s.

The Vipers Skiffle Group – later known simply as The Vipers – were one of the leading British groups during the skiffle period of the mid to late 1950s, and were important in the careers of radio and television presenter Wally Whyton, coffee bar manager Johnny Martyn, wire salesman Jean Van den Bosch, instrument repairer Tony Tolhurst, journalist John Pilgrim, record producer George Martin, and several members of The Shadows.

<i>Ahead Rings Out</i> 1969 studio album by Blodwyn Pig

Ahead Rings Out is the debut album by British blues-rock band Blodwyn Pig, released in 1969. The band had been formed in 1969 by Mick Abrahams, the former guitarist of Jethro Tull, and sales of Ahead Rings Out rivalled those of Jethro Tull’s next album, Stand Up, reaching No. 9 on the British album chart.

Ichiban Records was an American independent record label, founded in 1985 by John Abbey and Nina Easton in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

<i>Encyclopedia of Popular Music</i> Book by Colin Larkin

The Encyclopedia of Popular Music is an encyclopedia created in 1989 by Colin Larkin. It is the "modern man's" equivalent of the Grove Dictionary of Music, which Larkin describes in less than flattering terms. It was described by The Times as "the standard against which all others must be judged".

<i>Songs for a Tailor</i> 1969 studio album by Jack Bruce

Songs for a Tailor is the 1969 debut solo album by the Scottish musician, composer and singer Jack Bruce, who was already famous at the time of its release for his work with the supergroup Cream. Originally released on the Polydor label in Europe and on Atco Records in the U.S., Songs for a Tailor was the second solo album that Bruce recorded, though he did not release the first, Things We Like, for another year.

<i>All Time Top 1000 Albums</i> Book by Colin Larkin

All Time Top 1000 Albums is a book by Colin Larkin, creator and editor of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. The book was first published by Guinness Publishing in 1994. The list presented is the result of over 200,000 votes cast by the public in record shops, universities, schools and the French music trade show MIDEM – and ranked in order. Each album's entry is accompanied by an annotation with a 100-word review, details of its creation and notes about the band or artist who recorded it.

References

  1. Larkin, Colin (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th Edition 10 vols) Oxford University Press (UK/US) 2006
  2. This information was obtained from Hi-Arts.co.uk Archived 15 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Larkin, Colin, All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd Edition), Virgin Books (UK), 2000.
  4. Larkin, Colin (ed.), the Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (2nd Edition), Guinness Publishing (UK), 1995
  5. Larkin, Colin (ed.), the Guinness Who's Who of Blues (2nd Edition), Guinness Publishing (UK), 1995
  6. Larkin, Colin (ed.), Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock, The, Virgin Books (UK), 1999.
  7. "OUP Online". Archived from the original on 9 July 2007.
  8. 1 2 3 All about the guru of groove, Colin Larkin, editor of The Encyclopedia of Popular Music OUP.com
  9. "Who'd Put The Everly Brothers Above Elvis", Evening Standard 20 December 2006.
  10. Gorman, J. (5 November 1986). Banner Bright. Scorpion Cavendish Ltd. ISBN   978-0905906485.
  11. Images of Labour : selected memorabilia from the National Museum of Labour History Gorman, J. (1985) , London. London: Scorpion.
  12. Timeless Flight: The Definitive Story of The Byrds by renowned author Johnny Rogan, Rogan, J., Scorpion Publications / Dark Star, London, 1981 Abe Books
  13. Bob Dylan, His Unreleased Recordings: Amazon.co.uk: Cable, Paul: 9780028703602: Books. ASIN   002870360X.
  14. Slaven, Neil (1996). Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa. Omnibus Press.
  15. 1 2 The Collector No. 20: Colin Larkin, Record Collector , Issue 314, Sept 2005.
  16. With a head full of hits, The Knowledge, The Times, 22 December – 4 January 2008.
  17. 1 2 Rodger, Jennifer (28 August 2000). "Colin Larkin: How I stay on top of pop". The Independent on Sunday .
  18. "Macrovision Agrees to Acquire Assets of Muze, Inc". Reuters. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  19. "UK: The Rolling Stones curate Confessin' The Blues in collaboration with BMG and Universal, with donations going to Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation". Bmg.com. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  20. Larkin, Colin (November 2020). Cover Me – The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965. Telos Publishing. ISBN   978-1-84583-988-8.
  21. "Archive: 2021 Awards". Crimefest.com. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  22. Larkin, Colin (May 2022). Cover Me – The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965. Telos Publishing. ISBN   978-1-84583-203-2.