Tuesday, August 26, 2003

BIOGOBIT: Ian MacDonald, music journalist, has died. Although his work has appeared in Uncut, Mojo and the NME, where he was briefly a staffer before punk happened, MacDonald will probably be best remembered for Revolution In The Head, a meticulous work placing the Beatles' songs into their cultural context.

MacDonald also made music as well as writing about it. Some of his work was used by Quiet Sun, a band featuring his brother Bill MacCormick and a pre-Roxy Music Phil Manzanera; more recently he returned to the studio to make the album Sub Rosa.

His last book, The People's Music collected some of his best articles and traced his central argument that the success of the Beatles shifted the power of the music industry from the business to the fans, while punk destroyed the 'skills base' of the music world. It would have been fascinating to see what he made of the post-Napster world but, sadly, we'll never know. The increasing turmoil in the wider world drove MacDonald into depression and then suicide.

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