Just Backdated – Melody Maker: Seven Years in the Seventies is a memoir by Chris Charlesworth who, between 1970 and 1977, was a staff writer and editor for Melody Maker, the UK’s best-selling music weekly in an era when rock stars fell over themselves to appear in its pages. Initially the paper’s News Editor, Chris was for four years MM’s US Editor, based in New York, a unique position in music journalism, and in that time regularly rubbed shoulders with rock’s most iconic heroes.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Elton John and dozens more found themselves face to face with Chris. He went on tour in America with The Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and many others. He was at 27 concerts by the original Who, often backstage or onstage. Somewhere above Colorado he took the controls of Led Zeppelin’s private plane. He saw an unknown Elton John at a disastrous festival in 1970 and predicated he would become a world star. He ambushed Pink Floyd in Glasgow and chased Bob Dylan in New England.
Chris watched Bruce Springsteen in Norfolk, Virginia, and acclaimed his flair 18 months before Born To Run was released. He was the first music writer to write about the nascent CBGBs scene in New York, introducing MM readers to Debbie Harry long before she became a household name. He identified Slade as future stars a year before they had their first hit single. His only regret was never seeing Elvis.
Just Backdated – Melody Maker: Seven Years in the Seventies tells all these stories and many more. If you ever wanted to know what it was really like working full-time for a big selling music paper, taste the topsy-turvy lifestyle that went with it, and – yes – savour a juicy dollop of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, this is the book for you.
Chris Charlesworth said:
‘Looking back now, from the perspective of the 21st Century, what I did and who I met between 1970 and 1977 seems unreal, a fantasy. Unlike the tightly controlled situation we have today, it was access all areas for rock writers in those years. Perhaps John Lennon’s tragic murder was to blame for that tight control. John tops the list of those I hung out with, along with The Who, Led Zep, Bowie and many more, but my memoir does not name-drop for name-dropping’s sake, just tells it how it was when I was lucky enough to be slap band in the middle of it all.’
Illustrated with selected photographs by celebrated rock photographers Bob Gruen and Barrie Wentzell, Just Backdated – Melody Maker: Seven Years in the Seventies by Chris Charlesworth will be published in hardback by Spenwood Books on 27 September 2024, price £25.
Order before 14 March 2024 and your name will be printed in the book as one of its sponsors.
ISBN 978 1 915858 22 1
Extent: 288 pages
Page size: 234 x 156mm
Recommended Retail Price: £25.00 ($35.00)