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Jim Irvin

Jim Arundel is a pseudonym for Jim Irvin
Jim Irvin

Giving up singing for a living, Irvin became reviews editor and feature writer at Melody Maker, then founding features editor of MOJO. He also edited the magazine’s acclaimed compendium of classic albums, The MOJO Collection (Canongate Books). He's been a playwright, DJ in a biscuit factory, indie label boss and RollingStone.com’s UK correspondent. He lives in London, continuing to write regularly for MOJO, Word and The Times, and works as a lyricist and composer.

Jim Irvin's site

List of articles in the library by artist

ABBA: The Interview

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, May 1999

Here a full transcript of the interview conducted with Bjorn Ulvaeus for a MOJO feature published in 1999 to mark the opening of Mamma Mia!. ...

ABBA: The Story

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 1999

THEY HAD a dream. It was November 1970, and the greatest pop group of the decade was about to get off to a very inauspicious ...

Air: 10,000 Hz Legend (Source/Virgin)

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, April 2001

Self-proclaimed "grown-up" album from French duo who created 1998’s million-selling retro-pop classic, Moon Safari, and inspired many imitators. ...

Louis Armstrong: Satchmo

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, August 2011

POP OWES much to Louis Armstrong, the first great star of racy music with a groove, making him the effective forefather of Elvis, James Brown, ...

The Association: Just the Right Sound

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 2002

IN DECEMBER 1999, the American performing rights company, BMI, published a survey of the most air-played songs of the 20th century. Top of the list ...

Pete Atkin: Reissues

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, Rob Chapman, MOJO, April 1998

IF YOU spent the early '70s worshipping false idols with feet of clay when you could have been listening to these finely crafted records then ...

The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson: Brian Wilson at the Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, April 2004

THE UBERFANS WITH medicated stares, the reverent fans who applaud Van Dyke Parks to his seat, the Smile scholars who have flown in from another ...

The Beatles: Get It Better: The Story of Let It Be… Naked

Report and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 2003

Is it getting back to 'Get Back'? Is it Let It Be exorcised of Spector? Is it the record it always should have been? ...

The Beatles: Love (Apple)*****

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2006

WE'RE NOT unsympathetic to readers who complain of Beatles fatigue, but we reserve the right to counsel: "Deal with it", because for a large section ...

The Beatles: After Pepper

Essay by Jim Irvin, MOJO, Summer 2005

IT WAS APRIL 1967, the morning after The Beatles had completed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and The Zombies walked into Abbey Road Studios ...

The Beatles: The Death of Brian Epstein

Retrospective by Jim Irvin, MOJO, November 2002

THERE'S A story, probably apocryphal, concerning John Lennon during his infamous 'lost weekend', the period in the mid-'70s when he split from Yoko and devoted ...

The Beatles, George Martin: George Martin

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, January 2007

THE PENTHOUSE mixing room at the top of Abbey Road Studios. We await Sir George Martin, who is 30 minutes late. "This is most unlike ...

The Beatles, George Martin: The Sound Of Sgt. Pepper

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, January 2007

THE RECORD ALWAYS regarded as a harbinger of pop's future is full of old-fashioned sounds. These are, in order of appearance: a theatre orchestra tuning ...

The Beatles, Paul McCartney: Paul McCartney: Run Devil Run

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, October 1999

THE LURE had been the chance of a lengthy one-on-one with Paul McCartney discussing all his solo albums. "You could turn it into a book," ...

Beck: Mutations

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, March 1998

Supposedly one of his "parenthetical" releases in the vein of Stereoscopic Soul Manure and One Foot In The Grave. The "official" follow-up to Odelay is ...

The Blue Nile: Above It All: The Blue Nile

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1996

When life dishes it out, Paul Buchanan and his group The Blue Nile pack a bag, settle somewhere new and, every half-decade or so, make ...

Colin Blunstone: Some Years (Legacy/Epic)

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, October 1995

SOME YEARS BURSTS open with an old Zombies song, 'She Loves The Way They Love Her', delivered in a distinctive, creamy tone, suggesting a delicious ...

Jack Bruce: Sound Your Funky Horn: Jack Bruce

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 1995

Jack Bruce selects the high points of his illustrious career. ...

Jeff Buckley: "It's Never Over"

Obituary by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 1997

JUST BEFORE 9PM ON THE EVENING of Thursday, May 29, Jeff Buckley and his friend Keith Foti realised they were lost. ...

Jeff Buckley: Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk) (Columbia)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, June 1998

FANS OF Grace might find this album tough going. For one thing, it's hard to divorce the circumstances of its existence from the music – ...

T-Bone Burnett

Report and Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, April 2009

T-Bone Burnett has been producing records for over 40 years and is busier now than he's ever been, pursuing a lifelong fascination with "the boom ...

Kate Bush: Aerial (EMI)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2005

TO SUM UP: Kate Bush is the greatest living British artist in song and this is her masterpiece. ...

Cocteau Twins: The Cocteau Twins

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, April 2006

IN THE SUMMER of 1981, a member of staff at the Earl's Court branch of Beggars Banquet Records noticed an odd-looking couple loitering outside the ...

Coldplay: X&Y

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, June 2005

AS A STAUNCH advocate of pop music that's actually popular, that revels in its ability to make human connections, I can't begrudge Coldplay their unquestionable ...

Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True/Blood & Chocolate/Brutal Youth

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, January 2002

One more time: Elvis's rockest creations in 2CD editions, each with a bonus disc featuring material available on earlier reissues, plus previously unreleased demos. ...

Kevin Coyne: I Want My Crown - The Anthology 1973–1980

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, January 2010

Four–disc appreciation of British singer–songwriterhood's best kept secret. ...

Evan Dando: Baby I’m Bored (Setanta)

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, March 2003

AS FRONTMAN OF the Lemonheads, Evan Dando displayed several striking talents: Writing deceptively plain songs that slipped beneath your skin and often concealed a profound ...

Deep Purple, Ian Gillan: Ian Gillan

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 1994

THE THIRD VERSION OF DEEP PURPLE TO FEATURE Ian Gillan on lead vocal has just toured the world. Shortly before the Japanese leg, guitarist Ritchie ...

Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny: Sandy Denny: Sandy Denny

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, September 2010

A monumental box for a great voice. ...

Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay: Angel Of Avalon: Sandy Denny

Retrospective by Jim Irvin, MOJO, June 1998

Revered by everyone from Frank Zappa to The Spice Girls. Led Zeppelin's one and only guest star. One of Britain's greatest singers. Yet her true ...

Dexys Midnight Runners: The Projected Passion Revue (Mercury) ***

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2006

NOBODY CRIED in 1981. Public displays of emotion weren't fashionable. The times demanded detachment, cynicism, or utter peacockery. ...

Dexys Midnight Runners: Regrets? I’ve Had A Few: Dexys Midnight Runners

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 1999

This is the full version of an interview with Kevins Rowland and Archer published in MOJO in 1999. ...

Elbow: Build A Rocket Boys! (Fiction)

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, February 2011

IT'S THREE AND A HALF MINUTES into Build A Rocket Boys, and Elbow are sounding like a band. And that band is Genesis, circa 1973, ...

Electric Light Orchestra: Light Years

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, February 1998

Mid-priced, 2-CD, 38-track collection of all their singles. ...

Electric Light Orchestra: ELO: Shine On

Sleevenotes by Jim Irvin, unpublished, 2005

IN THE LATE 60s, Jeff Lynne, leader of distinctive psychedelic pop group, The Idle Race, constructed a surprisingly sophisticated demo studio in the front room ...

Electric Light Orchestra: The Bullring Variations: ELO

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 2001

APRIL 20, 2001. The fat drops of rain falling on New York cannot dampen the anticipation that’s crackling along this usually quiet side-street. Here stand ...

Fairport Convention: Now Be Thankful...

Overview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, February 1997

…for 30 years of Fairport Convention. Jim Irvin gets a guided tour through their scrapbook of joy, tears, beers, jigs, reels and panties. ...

Marianne Faithfull: "La Saboteuse"

Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, September 2004

IT IS THE EVENING of the day – a very balmy day in San Francisco – and, perhaps, Marianne Faithfull shouldn't be here. ...

Bill Fay: Man In The Shed: Bill Fay: Life Is People (Dead Oceans) *****

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 2012

BILL FAY has been making music for at least 45 years. For many of them, his work as a professional musician — a single and ...

Bryan Ferry: Frantic

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 2002

BEFORE WE go on, I'd like to apologise for the recent albums by Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney; just as a public service, because, Lord ...

Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips: We Mean You No Harm

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 2002

Inhabitants of planet Oklahoma, for 15 years The Flaming Lips happily explored the outer limits of symphonic psych. Then, with 1999's The Soft Bulletin, they ...

Free: Paul Rodgers

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, 1997

THIS INTERVIEW coincided with Paul Rodgers' 1997 album, Now, his first set of original material since Cut Loose in 1983. It was conducted in a ...

Judy Garland, Martha Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, February 2008

Not many would have dared step into Judy's ruby slippers and revisit her most celebrated concert, but this man did. Jim Irvin prepares to weep ...

Marvin Gaye: The Master 1961-1984 (Motown)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1995

BIOGRAPHER DAVID RITZ HAS WRITTEN thousands and thousands of words on the ineffable talent of Marvin Gaye. This is possible. So all-encompassing are the pleasures ...

Marvin Gaye: What's Going On

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 2001

SOME YEARS ago I interviewed Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile for MOJO. A musician known for his restless lifestyle, I asked him if there ...

Pink Floyd, Ron Geesin: Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother Redux

Report by Jim Irvin, Word, The, August 2008

IN JUNE 1984, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, unequivocal as always, told Richard Skinner on Radio 1: "If somebody said to me now: 'Right...here's a million ...

Beth Gibbons and Rustin’ Man: Out Of Season (Go Beat)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, September 2003

First ‘solo’ album from Portishead’s singer, in collaboration with Paul Webb, formerly of Talk Talk, with additional input from Portishead colleague, Adrian Utley ...

David Gilmour

Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, September 2007

AS THE 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's debut album, Piper At the Gates Of Dawn rolls around, it's interesting to ruminate on what became of ...

Giorgio Moroder: Ex Machina

Retrospective by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 2011

The Italian from Munich changed how records were made ...

Goldfrapp: Black Cherry (Mute) ****

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, March 2003

Second album from sultry singer/musician Alison Goldfrapp and musical partner Will Gregory. ...

Macy Gray’s Flying Circus

Profile and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 2001

HARBOUR NO ILLUSIONS, stardom screws you up. Don’t get used to the luxury and attention, it could leave as quickly as it came. No matter ...

Guns N' Roses: Guns N'Roses: Chinese Democracy

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, 2009

"ALL I'VE got is time" sings Axl Rose in the opening, title song of Chinese Democracy. ...

George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (Apple)

Review by Jim Irvin, unpublished, 2000

New double-disc remastering of George’s solo debut. Now with out-takes, remixes and a re-recorded version of ‘My Sweet Lord’. ...

George Harrison: Brainwashed

Review and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2002

SO, IT CAME to pass, George Harrison bookended his solo years with his two best albums. Brainwashed is a mature and often profound record, comprising ...

Mark Hollis, Talk Talk: Mark Hollis Interview

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, 1998

MARK HOLLIS' self titled debut album was, at one point, going to be a Talk Talk album entitled Mountains Of The Moon, but somewhere between ...

The Isley Brothers Reissues

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 1997

Isley; Get Into Something; Givin' It Back; Brother, Brother, BrotherFour long-lost albums, each one worth £20 or more on vinyl. Originally on the Isleys' own ...

John Lennon: The Lennon Anthology (Parlophone)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, November 1998

Four CDs of unused takes and unreleased post-Beatle home recordings, divided into four periods: Ascot, New York, The Lost Weekend and Dakota. Comes with intriguingly ...

Maria McKee: Dingwalls, London

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, November 1998

SITTING COMFORTABLY? Sexy, tear-duct prickling songs in voice that defies science. ...

Midlake

Interview by Jim Irvin, Times, The, July 2006

YOU HEAR A rolling figure on electric piano, a melody recalling Fleetwood Mac's 'Rhiannon' and the 'Theme From MASH', a chugging groove reminiscent of 'Don't ...

Steve Miller

Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, May 2008

EVERYBODY KNOWS a Steve Miller song, yet he's hardly a household name. For every hit of his you can whistle – 'The Joker', 'Fly Like ...

Joni Mitchell

Retrospective by Jim Irvin, Word, The, March 2005

Nine was a memorable age for Roberta Joan Anderson. Three things occurred that year, more than 50 years ago, which affect her to this day: ...

Mickey Newbury: An American Triology

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, March 2010

He was the hottest songwriter in town. But when he made his own records, the world wasn't ready for songs of utter despair accompanied by ...

Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me (Drag City)

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, 2010

IT'S NOT going out on any limbs to declare that Joanna Newsom's voice divides opinion. ...

Oasis: Everything Rock Delights In

Report and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 1994

THE MARQUEE, about a month ago. the place is solid with grinning loons, many of whom hold should-know-better jobs in the music business. I'm here ...

Ocean Colour Scene: Camden Electric Ballroom, London

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1996

OCEAN COLOUR SCENE have got booking the supports sussed. Liverpudlian veterans The Real People turn in a tuneful set. Good call. The DJ gets the ...

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Tom Petty: The Last DJ *****

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2002

BUSINESS AS usual for Petty is a decent business: good melodies, fat, ringing acoustics, his occasionally Dylanish delivery with those little lifts or drops at ...

Pink Floyd: Echoes – The Best Of

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 2001

GLOOMY BUGGERS, the Floyd. War, death, bitter childhood, alienation, indoctrination, madness, greed, vicious animal husbandry, imprisonment, old age and, inevitably, death. Hi ho, it's off ...

Andy Summers, The Police: Andy Summers

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 1995

TOWARDS THE END OF The Police, I thought we were turning into a backing group for Sting. I thought, I've got more going than this ...

Portishead: Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1995

"That," says a chap in the gents after the show "was THE oddest gig I've ever seen." ...

Pulp: Ten Questions For Jarvis Cocker

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, November 2001

Jim Irvin grills the willowy Pulp frontman about Scott Walker, Ginster's pasties and encounters with the younger self ...

Radiohead

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1997

Thom Yorke tells Jim Irvin how OK Computer was done.   ...

Radiohead: We Have Lift-Off

Profile and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, September 1997

FEBRUARY 1992. The Melody Maker's young Oxford correspondent pops up Cowley Road to the old Co-Op dining hall, a glamour-free venue – small stage at ...

Radiohead: Zeleste Club, Barcelona

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1997

FOR THE EUROPEAN launch of their brilliant but peculiar third LP, OK Computer, Radiohead have opted to take it reasonably easy, hang out in one ...

Radiohead: The Tourist: An Interview With Thom Yorke

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, June 1997

Thursday 22 May, 1997IT'S A SEARING summer's day in Barcelona, one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Three things are creating a buzz in the Catalonian ...

R.E.M.

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, November 1994

YOU CAN JUST HEAR THE PHONE CALL. "The album's ready. Hire the Irish castle!" When the world's biggest bands have something to promote, money's no ...

The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street (Polydor)

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, May 2010

HAVING DRAWN THE Stones' latest, double album from its unsettling, monochrome sleeve, how long did it take contemporary listeners to realise this wouldn't be business ...

Scritti Politti: The Green Piece

Profile and Interview by Jim Irvin, Word, The, July 2006

A PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION to begin. Why are we all here? Well, it's because pop music's fucking great, isn't it? ...

Nina Simone: To Love Somebody/Here Comes The Sun/Emergency Ward/Black Gold/It Is Finished

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, June 2002

EUNICE WAYMON never intended to be a pop singer. Her ambition was to be the first great black female classical pianist. She took up playing ...

Sly & The Family Stone: Sly and the Family Stone: Bournemouth Opera House

Live Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, August 2007

YOU'RE A LIFE-LONG fan of a band that fell apart long before you were old enough to see them play. Suddenly, you hear that the ...

The Small Faces: Small Faces: The Immediate Years (Charly)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, December 1995

MOD, SCHMOD: THE SMALL FACES WERE SO MUCH more. For a start they were a great band for kids. I should know, I was one. ...

Sneaker Pimps

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, October 1996

THE SONG WAS CALLED 'Becoming X'. We gave it a turn on the office stereo, not expecting much. But, about a minute into the dark, ...

Spiritualized: Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, June 1997

THE CULMINATION OF A SEVEN YEAR mission to empty his crowded mind onto tape, Ladies And Gentlemen...is Jason Pierce's clamorous meisterwerk. A record that's splendidly ...

The Strokes: Room On Fire (Rough Trade)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 2003

SOON AFTER HEARING it for the first time, I decided that The Modern Age EP was perfect, a marvel of compressed energy, three thrilling songs, ...

The Strokes: The Monarch, Camden Town, London

Live Review by Jim Irvin, launch.com, February 2001

THERE IS a buzz about The Strokes that would shame a swarm of hornets. ...

Supergrass: Life On Other Planets (Parlophone)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, September 2002

After a three year pause, here’s their fourth album, produced by Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck) and largely recorded at Chris Difford’s Sussex studios. Released on ...

Talking Heads - Same as it ever was?

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, February 2006

I MAY BE mistaken but, as I recall it, the term 'New Wave' was coined to accommodate Talking Heads. Publicists needed a tag other than ...

Talk Talk

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, April 2006

IT WENT ALMOST unnoticed at the time, but in the midst of the big-haired pomp, regimented razzle and bloated clatter which characterised so much music ...

Lewis Taylor

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, Summer 1996

This previously unpublished interview was conducted in the summer of 1996 — around the release of Lewis Taylor's self-titled debut album — for a short, ...

Lewis Taylor: The Lost Album

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 2004

SHORTLY AFTER HIS brilliant debut, Taylor declared his next album would be an even more ambitious blend of soul and West Coast pop, proper ...

Teenage Fanclub: Mojo Rising: Teenage Fanclub

Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 1995

MAYBE IT'S OPTIMISM born of the knowledge that they have a marvellous new album in the can, but Teenage Fanclub reckon that Spring has arrived. ...

Teenage Fanclub: Sporty, Scary, Posh & Ginger

Report and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, July 1997

Thursday, May 30, 1996 ...

Them: The Story Of Them Featuring Van Morrison (Deram)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, January 1998

SOMEHOW THE legend has grown up that Them comprised one stone genius and a bunch of hapless fools, dispensable at whim. It's understandable, as said ...

Caetano Veloso: Tropicalia CDs: Samba takes a trip

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, 1998

ON THE DAY that man first trod upon the moon, Brazilian stars Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were bidding a reluctant farewell to their homeland. ...

Martha Wainwright: I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too (Drowned In Sound)

Review by Jim Irvin, Word, The, April 2008

DRAPED UPSIDE-DOWN over the couch, high heels pointing at the sky, little black dress hiked high on her thighs, Martha Wainwright is waiting for someone. ...

Scott Walker, The Walker Brothers: Scott Walker: “That Francis Bacon, In-The-Face Whoops Factor...”

Retrospective and Interview by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 1995

TWENTY-TWO YEAR OLD Noel Scott Engel was on the run from Uncle Sam. He was fleeing from a country that would never connect with his ...

Jimmy Webb: An Interview

Interview by Jim Irvin, unpublished, 1997

What first made you want to write a song? ...

Stevie Wonder: Conversation Peace (Motown)

Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, April 1995

SO UNIQUE, SO ADVENTUROUS WAS Stevie Wonder in his ‘70s heyday that it’s especially upsetting to hear the occasionally hackneyed modern model. Not that we’ve ...

List of genre pieces

So Sue Him!: Walter Yetnikoff with David Ritz: Howling At The Moon (Abacus) ***

Book Review by Jim Irvin, MOJO, May 2004

Subtitled "Confessions of a music mogul in an age of excess", the fearsome former figurehead of CBS's enjoyable schmuck-into-mensch saga. ...

The Story of Pye Records

Sleevenotes by Jim Irvin, Sequel Records, 1998

"AY-YI-YI, THE BEAT IS CRAZY!" ‘Sucu Sucu’, an insanely catchy samba novelty, was a chart sensation in the autumn of 1961. The forgotten theme to ...

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