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George Melly

The news that larger-than-life singer George Melly has died will come as sad news to jazz fans. But it’s worth pointing out that in addition to his distinctly flamboyant persona as a performer, he was also a very well-respected writer on the arts and popular culture.

For years, I’ve been recommending his Revolt Into Style -originally published in 1970. Here, he argues that in pop music, whatever movement starts as cultural revolt usually ends up as a mere style statement. It’s a very persuasive point of view, with all sorts of implications for popular culture (and subculture) as a whole.

So, while we read the tributes and the articles celebrating his drinking, singing, dress-sense, fly fishing and even his sex life, let’s also raise a glass (if we may) to his serious work as a scholar. The two don’t have to be separate.

Dr Richard Howells

2 thoughts on “George Melly”

  1. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read Revolt Into Style, but I’ll be getting onto Amazon later today and contributing to what I hope will be a spike in sales for the late Mr Melly.

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  2. Good luck… I think Revolt into Style is out of print and second hand editions are getting very expensive. Time for a reprint?

    Like

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