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Scouse Pop

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Scouse Pop is a journey into the personalities and music of the successful pioneering Liverpool pop bands of the late seventies and eighties. It examines their motivations, their uniqueness and the routes to success which made them into enduring musical innovators. It looks at the reasons why art-pop bands such as OMD, China Crisis, Echo and the Bunnymen, Black and Frankie Goes to Hollywood managed to combine art and commerce with such spectacular success. The bands experienced their own ‘revolutions in the head,’ internal revolutions than eventually made many of them household names.

The development of these suburban romantics from Liverpool represented a period of intensive creativity and musical romanticism that still resonates today. The spirit of (internal) revolution at the heart of these bands retains a strong fascination for those interested in artistic creation and popular culture. Given the bleak and uninspiring context within which the bands surfaced, how did these musicians achieve great success? Scouse Pop explores this question in detail, and examines the factors that facilitated the transformation of Liverpool teenage dreams into commercial and cultural impact. The music industry, radio and DJs, producers and engineers, the record-buying public and the bands themselves comprise the heart of this account.

Published: Oct 29, 2018


Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Paul Du Noyer
Preface Paul Skillen
Acknowledgements Paul Skillen
Chapter 1
A Sense of Place Paul Skillen
Chapter 2
To be Somebody: Ambition and the Desire to be Different Paul Skillen
Chapter 3
Rainy Day Music: Art Pop and the Scouse Romantic Paul Skillen
Chapter 4
Some Aspects of the Music Industry in Liverpool Paul Skillen
Chapter 5
The Audience Respond Paul Skillen
End Matter
Appendix 1: List of interviews Paul Skillen
Appendix 2: Scouse Pop TV Paul Skillen
Notes Paul Skillen
Bibliography Paul Skillen
Index Paul Skillen


The more that Liverpool was written off, whether for being too stuck in Fab Four nostalgia or too bolshie to accommodate the new economic order, the more its young musicians responded with songs of emotional generosity and visionary breadth. I am pleased that Skillen has documented what they did, in such eloquent detail.
From the Preface by Paul Du Noyer, author of Conversations with McCartney and Liverpool: Wondrous Place

Years of painstaking research have produced an informative labour of love from Dr Skillen (I’m sure I still had hair when he interviewed me for the book!)...excellent stuff. As well as the usual suspects, nice that some of the less trumpeted artists/characters are included; Testi, Davies, Mellina, Lotus Eaters, Black, even a band called Yachts get a look in, making it a fully rounded picture of what was happening in the city, musically.
Henry Priestman, The Christians

A very interesting and worthwhile book.
The Penniless Press

Fascinating study of the Liverpool music scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Author Paul Skillen knows the scene inside out—he published the short-lived Merseyside zine, which lasted for a whole 26 issues during the height of Scouse Pop, and he’s got great material to work with, having interviewed nearly everyone who was everyone in Liverpool music.
Spectrum Culture