Music magazine with a tumultuous history. In the 1920s, it was at the cutting edge of popular music. Unfortunately, back then this involved printing articles about "nigger music" (don't get cross at me - that's a direct quotation). It found its feet in the 60s, as pop became as wild, brilliant and chaotic as some of the writing that appeared in the magazine.

MM really hit its stride in 1983, when a junior editor, given responsibility for one issue, decided to ditch the non-entity that the reigning editor had decided go with and risk placing an unknown Manchester band on the cover. He almost lost his job for doing that, and would have if The Smiths had not become one of the biggest English bands of that time.

That single decision defined the appeal of Melody Maker for over a decade. While it’s sister publication NME endorsed more conservative rock and equally conservative journalism, MM seemed to deliberately go out of its way to promote pop music and gonzo journalism. The endorsement of unknown bands continued unabated – most famously with the front page devoted to then-unsigned Suede.

Sadly, a change of editor, the lack of objectivity(almost to the point of bigotry) and the fact that most people didn’t like MM’s build-em-up-and-knock-em-down policy, meant that it had to change direction. It is now, in a word, shite.


Addendum 20/12/00 :
It is also now, in a word, defunct. Today sees the printing of the last ever Maker, meaning that NME is the last surviving inky
Melody Maker's problems towards the end were several. They mostly stemmed from its ridiculously over-zealous campaign to destroy all pop music and replace it with eighty shades of grey indie wank (ie: promoting worthy guitar bollocks like Toploader and Embrace over genuinely thrilling pop music).
The problem was compounded by an inflammatory cover based on a parody of a Craig David album sleeve which featured a lookalike sitting on a toilet with a constipated facial expression, next to the words "UK garage? My arse!". The cover was rightfully attacked for its borderline racism and probably helped alienate a sizable proportion of its readership.
Thirdly, MM editor Mark Sutherland's sinister re-invention as a kind of indie fascist proved to be the final straw for many, with his policing of the letters page every week by putting down all dissenters, praising those who slated chart pop and generally saying suspect things about "our music" and "the struggle" continuing as if his readership was some kind of Hitler Youth he was trying to motivate. Towards the end it only appealed to people whose idea of "alternative" music was a Jamie Oliver compilation, anyway. It was good for so long, but just before the end, it really deserved to die.

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