Wednesday, March 7, 2018


If you are British or an American with an interest in the history of popular music, chances are you familiar with NME (short for New Music Express). For those of you who are not familiar with NME, it was a music newspaper that was published weekly for the past 66 years. It became not only one of the most important music publications in the United Kingdom, but by the Seventies it was the best selling British music newspaper. Sadly, NME has announced that it will discontinue its print edition. NME's website will continue to exist, and from time to time they will publish special issues, but the weekly, print edition of NME is no more.

The origins of The New Music Express can be traced back to The Musical Express, incorporating Accordion Times. The Thirties saw an accordion craze erupt in the United Kingdom, so that in 1935 The Accordion Times was established. The accordion craze would prove to be short lived, so that in 1946 it had become The Musical Express, incorporating Accordion Times. Over time coverage of the accordion was gradually phased out. Eventually London music promoter Maurice Kinn bought The Musical Express, incorporating Accordion Times. It was relaunched on March 7 1952 as The New Music Express. That first issue featured the Goons, Big Bill Bronzy, and Ted Heath on the cover. It was with its November 14 1952 that The New Music Express introduced Britain's first UK singles chart. Readers of The New Music Express ranged from a young John Lennon to Malcolm McLaren.

It was with the boom in beat music in the United Kingdom in the early Sixties that NME truly came to prominence. In 1964, at the height of Beatlemania, its sales were nearly 307,000. Over the years NME would be the place to read about the various movements in British music. In the Seventies NME was on the forefront of both punk and New Wave. In the Nineties it was on the forefront of Britpop. Over the years many notable people worked for NME. In the Fifties and Sixties future film director Michael Winner was a music critic for the publication. Both Bob Geldof and Chrissie Hynde wrote for NME.

Unfortunately NME started to feel the impact on the World Wide Web in the Naughts as readers began switching to digital media. It was on September 18 2015 that NME became a free publication. While NME's website would develop a larger readership than it ever had, increasing production costs would make keeping NME in print difficult. NME the joins a number of print publications that now exist only on the Web.

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