On This Day (January 2)…Melody Maker Hits the Stands

[W]e hope to let each section [of popular entertainment] know exactly on what the other is concentrating, so that concerted efforts may enhance the success of all.

The Editor of Melody Maker Magazine in the first edition, describing in brief the point of the magazine.

The British music magazine Melody Maker went on sale for the first time on this day in 1926.

The magazine was originally published by the Lawrence Wright Music Company. Lawrence Wright, the publisher, also wrote pop songs, particularly dance songs. He wrote under the pseudonym Horatio Nicholls–the same Nicholls who graced the cover of the magazine’s first edition!

Melody Maker would later claim to be the oldest weekly music magazine in circulation. While it began as a paper for dance band enthusiasts, its later premier claim to fame became rock ‘n roll in the 60s and during its heyday in the 70s. It functioned as a long time as a jazz-focused periodical before its turn to rock. It was lauded for its serious approach to music, treating it as worthy of study rather than solely as entertainment.

Melody Maker Logo. Retrieved from here.

Melody Maker had its own charts for both singles and LPs starting in the late 1950s. Its ad section, meanwhile, helped shape the British music scene. It was Bill Bruford’s ad in this paper in 1968, put out early in his gap year, which led to his helping cofound the band Yes with Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. In 1970, Steve Hackett’s ad was noticed by the members of Genesis, which led to his joining the band. A bit later, David Coverdale’s response to Deep Purple’s ad led to his joining the band as the singer from 1973 to 1976. Other beneficiaries of the ad section include Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Genesis, Renaissance, and Electric Light Orchestra.

Sadly, Melody Maker became a victim of changing tastes in the 90s, as well as the fragmentation of the music market. Despite attempts to remain relevant, its sales plummeted late in the decade, and it was merged with New Music Express, a former competitor. It was reportedly closed for good on December 14, 2000.

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Post Sources

  • Edit on 2021-01-02: Optimized for new site.
  • Edit on 2021-01-04: Added photos of first edition. Added information on Lawrence Wright.

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