During the 1970s, music journalism was a male-dominated arena, but Chicago-born Barbara Charone broke through the barriers, writing for Rolling Stone, Creem, NME and Sounds when barely out of her teens. She then moved into music PR, working for Warner Brothers for two decades before setting up her own company MBC. Its client roster includes Madonna, Depeche Mode, Rufus Wainwright, Foo Fighters and Elvis Costello, who has written the foreword for Charone’s memoir Access All Areas.
Within these pages, there are many wonderful anecdotes with a large and varied cast. When Charone interviewed Toots & The Maytals for Creem, she ignored advice to forego the “Jamaican pot” on offer, and after the interview sat in her rental car “shellshocked” and unable to drive. Circa 1983, Madonna is picked up from her B&B by Charone in a minicab, before playing a showcase at the Camden Palace; to this day, Charone is still Madonna’s UK PR.
Spanning five decades of cultural change, Access All Areas is an incredible insight into the ever-changing world of music PR and journalism. Having sat on both sides of that fence, its author is as honest about success as she is the inevitable difficulties.
Access All Areas, Barbara Charone (White Rabbit)
Price: £20. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT
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