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William Shaw

William Shaw

My first proper job in journalism was as Assistant Editor on ZigZag in the early 80s. When I interviewed nascent Pet Shop Boys for a long dead magazine called Blitz, Neil Tennant asked me to freelance for Smash Hits, then under Mark Ellen where I worked with Chris Heath, Sylvia Patterson and the late, great Tom Hibbert who became my best man when I married in 1994. In the early 90s David A. Keeps, former editor of the short-lived US version of Smash Hits, Star Hits, invited me to write for Details magazine under James Truman and I started writing a lot about hip hop for them. I moved out to Los Angeles for a while, which is where I wrote my third non-fiction book Westsiders, Stories of the Boys in the Hood (Bloomsbury 1999) which still seems to be in print 15 years later. Fascinated by close-up non-fiction I wrote the Small Ads column in The Observer for several years. Those columns were compiled as Superhero For Hire (Guardian Books) for which Jarvis Cocker kindly provided a preface. In 2013 I published the first of a fiction trilogy set in 1968, A Song From Dead Lips (Quercus). The second book, A House of Knives is published in 2014.

List of articles in the library by artist

A-ha: WOOOOAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

Report by William Shaw, Smash Hits, December 1986

A-ha play their first ever concert in Britain! The whole country goes 'wooooaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!" ...

Asher Senator, The Cool Notes, Five Star, Pato Banton, Smiley Culture: The Cool Notes, Smiley Culture, Asher Senator, Pato Banton, Five Star: Hammersmith Palais, London

Live Review by William Shaw, Smash Hits, May 1985

"All Dayers" have been going for years. They're marathon sessions of dancing to reggae and soul records with live appearances from the singers who made ...

Nick Berry: Why Do All Actors Want To Be Pop Stars?

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1986

They're all at it these days: TV personalities (and almost everybody on EastEnders) making pop records. Isn't it all getting a bit out of hand? ...

Betty Boo Conquers America!!

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, November 1990

Well, that's what she's trying to do anyway. She's just spent three exhausting weeks in TV studios, radio stations and hotel rooms all over the ...

Big Audio Dynamite, The Clash: Big Audio Dynamite: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll...

Interview by William Shaw, Blitz, July 1988

...but Mick Jones likes it. Jones has an old-fashioned attitude towards music which began long before his days as guitar hero with The Clash. His current band, Big Audio Dynamite, release ...

James Blunt: "'You're Beautiful' Got Me Laid"

Interview by William Shaw, Q, July 2006

The Americans think he's "Prince William with a guitar". There is one important difference. James Blunt knows 53 ways to kill a man. ...

Billy Bragg, Junior Giscombe, Spandau Ballet, The Style Council: Red Wedge

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, February 1986

"It's no good just complaining in your beer about things — you've got to come out and say it..." So says Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp. ...

Cameo: "I Am A Warrior"

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, November 1986

Oh. That's funny, we could have sworn you were the bloke with the"codpiece" from Cameo, Larry Blackmon (for it is he) announces his plans for world domination. ...

Mariah Carey: The Secret Life Of Mariah Carey

Interview by William Shaw, Blender, March 2005

She's the super-private diva who doesn't speak for days at a time. But, for Blender, Mariah Carey opens up about her "horrific" childhood, her friend ...

Curiosity Killed The Cat Conquer The World!

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, June 1987

Or a teensy-weensy bit of Germany anyway. Though, as William Shaw discovers, this wild life of disintegrating jackets, late late nights, heavy metal clubs and disgusting aeroplane ...

Eminem: The Super Anti Hero

Interview by William Shaw, Blender, August 2002

Eminem may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But there doesn't seem to be much else that's beyond the hip-hop ...

Falco: The Sound of Music

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1986

"THE SOUND OF Musik". Fair brings it all back, doesn't it? Julie Andrews swanning over the Alps singing her little heart out. 'Climb Every Mountain'. ...

Five Star: Five Go To Disneyland

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1985

Pooh Bear wanders by with a pot of honey on his head! Shoals of artificial fish splash merrily in a nearby lake! Donald Duck sings ...

Glenn & Chris

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, May 1987

Why are these two famous footballers zwinging their way up the flingaway charts? Why do their team-mates "compare" them to Wham!?(?) And why do they think the ...

Michael Jackson: The Day I Went To Michael Jackson's Houseā€¦

Report by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1990

Imagine… you go to Michael Jackson's house, he introduces you to all his animals, you have a cosy chat, a spot of luncheon, go for ...

Michael Jackson: Dangerous (Epic) *****

Review by William Shaw, Select, January 1992

HE LIVES on an estate called Neverland Valley, guarded by armed security. The driveway is lined with statues of naked cherubs. His most constant companion ...

The Jesus & Mary Chain: The Jesus And Mary Chain: The Glummest Group In The World

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, April 1987

The Jesus And Mary Chain hate travelling, hate Ferry Aid, hate Curiosity Killed The Cat, hate being pop stars, hate just about everything actually... "Grumpy ...

Howard Jones Has Had A Baby

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1986

A little boy, to be exact. He's called Osheen (!) and, at 12 weeks old, has already flown in a plane 11 times and been backstage to ...

Kool and the Gang: Kool & The Gang

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, November 1986

They're one of the most successful disco bands ever! They make pots and pots of money! They used to beat up paint cans! They're useless ...

Little Richard: This Man Invented Rock'n'roll

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1986

Little Richard was wearing make-up and singing pervy songs and shocking audiences before Prince or Sid Vicious or Martin Degville were even born. "I'm a living legend!" ...

Metallica: Some Kind Of Monsters

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Q, September 2008

In the old days, Metallica were hard-drinking, groupie-shagging rock pigs. Today, they're all about pre-gig yoga sessions, surfing and being good dads. On the merch ...

Midnight Oil, The Style Council, The Untouchables, Working Week: Working Week/The Untouchables/Midnight Oil/The Style Council: Glastonbury CND Festival, Somerset

Live Review by William Shaw, Smash Hits, July 1985

MUD: IT'S what you get if 40,000 people tramp around a small farm for 48 hours in almost constant rain. A lot of mud. By ...

Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang Clan: Ol' Dirty Bastard: Portrait Of The Artist In Jail

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Guardian, The, March 2002

He was the clown prince of hip-hop, famously appearing onstage with the Wu-Tang Clan while on the run from the police. Now Ol' Dirty Bastard ...

Pepsi & Shirlie: Pepsi and Shirlie: 'Us Groovy Chicks Want To Get On Down'

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, January 1987

Quite. That's what Wham!'s former backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie told George and Andrew anyway. Now they're out there on their own but there seems ...

Propaganda: A Song From Europe

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, May 1985

The German pop group Propaganda released their last single, 'Dr Mabuse', over a year ago. Then they had to wait while their record company devoted time to Frankie Goes To Hollywood. And ...

Queen

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, March 1986

Were they wrong to play in Sun City? Did the cash in on Live Aid with their single 'One Vision'? At last their gracious majesties ...

The Redskins: * William Shaw Sympathises With... The Redskins

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, July 1985

* They think Live Aid is sickening* They reckon the Queen must feel a complete wally"* They want to bring down "post-war consumer capitalism"* They're ...

Sade: International Centre, Harrogate

Live Review by William Shaw, Smash Hits, December 1985

SADE ADU may have a most entrancing set of vocal chords and a face to match, but somehow this evening never really got off the ...

Gil Scott-Heron: Strange Days

Interview by William Shaw, Blitz, July 1985

GIL SCOTT-HERON'S six-year-old daughter has this phrase she likes to use. She stares and points and says; "Look Daddy! How strange."  ...

Talk Talk: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by William Shaw, Smash Hits, June 1986

WHAT A SCRUFF Mark Hollis is! Talk Talk's singer and songwriter is wearing a tatty old pair of jeans, his shirt isn't tucked in and ...

Terence Trent D'Arby: Spook Shopping The Terence Trent D'Arby Way

Report by William Shaw, Smash Hits, October 1987

What do pop stars do when they're suddenly quite rich? If they're called Terence Trent D'Arby they buy lots of compact discs, loads of books ...

Voice Of The Beehive: There's No Place Like Home

Report and Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, September 1988

There certainly isn't, listeners, especially when you're Tracey and Melissa from Voice Of The Beehive and "home" is none other than "L.A." (man). William Shaw ...

Kim Wilde: "I'm Game For A Laugh!"

Interview by William Shaw, Smash Hits, April 1985

And this, Kim Wilde explains, "can be a bit lethal". When it comes to choosing a new image, she'll try anything. Some look great; with others "I think ...

List of genre pieces

Tribal Gathering: Whose Land Is It Anyway?

Report by William Shaw, Select, July 1996

The residents of Otmoor hated it. The good citizens of Beckley insisted it should be halted. Members of The Woodland Trust claimed it would cause ...

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