Tuesday, June 15

James charts his own ‘top of the pops’ in new music book

OBSERVER journalist James Iles has popped up with a debut book release he hopes will strike a chord with pop music lovers.

James, who is the production editor of this paper, has written ‘Talking About Pop Music: An A to Z of Hit Artists’ – an alphabetical journey through some of his favourite bands and solo artists.

The 44-year-old’s first book is based on many of the features shared in the Observer, charting some of the most successful recording stars in the history of pop and rock.

With the pause button on gigs and recording sessions due to the pandemic, James, a journalist for more than 20 years, used the hiatus to reflect on his favourite hit artists and put them in an alphabetical hall of fame.

The book includes chapters on Abba, Queen, David Bowie, John Lennon, Pet Shop Boys, The Killers, Paul McCartney, U2 and Genesis – each with their own carefully selected playlist.

“Like so many people, gigs I had tickets for were cancelled,” he said.

“Many artists also put recording sessions on hold, which brought home how much we missed music and the positive influence it has on our lives.”

Pop music is a real passion for James, who runs a global Facebook fan page for his favourite group Pet Shop Boys, and writing the book has helped his mental health during the pandemic.

“I am always reciting facts about bands, as well as listening to them, so I am thrilled to get the chance to share my enthusiasm for this topic in my debut book,” he said.

“Writing has kept my mind busy in what has been a very worrying time in the world, and a thoroughly enjoyable chance to reflect on some great pop music.”

* ‘Talking About Pop Music: An A to Z of Hit Artists’ is published by Sweek (priced £12.99) and is available via the link http://publishuk.sweek.com/books/233687

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