“The one thing that saved Mick at this point was Dylan,” Mick Ronson’s wife, Suzi, recalls in a terrific feature on her late husband by Garry Mulholland in the new issue of Uncut. She was talking about the shambles Mick’s career had become after he was dumped by David Bowie and his first two solo albums, Slaughter On 10th Avenue and Play Don’t Worry, had both flopped. Things hadn’t really worked out with the Hunter-Ronson Band, either, and you wondered where Mick might go from here when he unexpectedly hove into view as a member of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue.


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There’s a lot to be said for the charisma of premature death. And the manner of his particular dying – turning blue on a motel floor at the age of 26, his heart fatally faltering, ice cubes being stuffed up his ass in a pathetic attempt to bring him back from the brink after one binge too many – booked Gram parsons an automatic place of honour in a rock’n’roll Valhalla already overcrowded with dead young heroes, Jimi, Janis, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and more already among its spectral population when Gram died in September, 1973.


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Here we are at the end of another year, finishing off our first issue of 2013 and looking forward to the Christmas break, which starts for us on Friday. We’re off then until January 2, when we will no doubt return refreshed to face the New Year. This is therefore the last newsletter for a couple of weeks, so I’ll take the opportunity now to thank you for all your support and enthusiasm over the last 12 months, which has been much appreciated by everyone at Uncut. We hope all our readers enjoy their own Christmas holidays and wish you all the best for the coming year.


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The Allah-Las make their UK debut in the back room of a north London pub on a freezing December night, the inhospitable weather not something familiar to in their native Los Angeles, where it probably only gets this cold in disaster movies, palm trees turning brittle with frost, the ocean becoming ice, CGI snow drifts on Sunset Strip and Denis Quaid in a parka and Bermuda shorts standing square-jawed and wrinkled-kneed against the elements.


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On my way home last week from The Rolling Stones at the O2, still a-buzz with excitement, I ended up chatting to a group of similarly exhilarated fans, who between them didn’t have enough fingers to count the number of Stones shows they’d been to, Brian Jones still a Stone the first time a couple of them had seen them.


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After all the hoo-ha, huff, hysteria and hot air, here, finally, are The Rolling Stones doing what they do even better than raising the collective temperature with impertinent ticket prices, something they seem to have been doing at least since their 1969 American tour, nothing new in the Stones being accused of commercial banditry and the cynical exploitation of their fans, on whose behalf so many complaints have been indignantly voiced since the 50 And Counting dates in London and New York were announced. Why don’t they celebrate their half-centenary with, say, a free concert, the cry went up in some quarters, and let more people have a chance to see them, and for nothing too? Well, when they tried that in 1969, look where it got them: Altamont.


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I’m off to see the second of the Stones’ 50th anniversary shows at the O2 on Thursday, and pretty excited about it. This morning, rummaging through some back issues of Uncut, I came across something I’d written about going to see them at Wembley Stadium in 1982, when they were touring in celebration of their 20th anniversary, amid much speculation that surely this would be their last go-around, retirement their next stop, which is very much what people have thought every time since then that they’ve toured. And yet here they are, 30 years further down the line, and no hint yet that we have seen the last of them.
Anyway, here’s the piece I came across earlier today. Have a good week.


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The new issue of Uncut will be on sale from Friday. Subscribers, of course, those sensibly organised people who plan ahead and have their lives in probably perfect order, may already have started receiving their copies. Lucky them! We’re actually still waiting for ours, but not yet fretting that they’ve been re-routed, sent via some staging post on a distant tundra where passing yaks may end up feasting upon them, the chomp-chomp-chomp of their distracted munching the only sound in that vast space, the hairy ruminants quite indifferent, of course, to what’s actually in the issue. Which is a lot, and includes in the grand annual tradition of these things, our review of the year, a 30-page special, featuring our Top 75 Albums Of 2012, plus the best reissues and box sets, films, DVDs and books, as voted for by over 40 Uncut contributors.


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Hunter Davies, who in 1968 wrote the first authorised biography of The Beatles and now more than 50 years on has compiled and edited The John Lennon Letters, admits in his introduction that he has for the purposes of the book ‘rather expanded the definition of the word letter’, which immediately sounds bit slippery, especially when he also describes some of the material he has unearthed as ‘notes and lists and scraps’. This sounds rather unpromising, as if Davies is preparing the reader for disappointments to come.


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You catch us on a pretty busy day, deadlines fast approaching for our last issue of 2012. That’s the one, of course, that traditionally carries our end-of-year lists of best albums, reissues, films, DVDs and books. This means we’ve all been recently asked to nominate our personal Top 20s, from which John has been compiling the definitive countdown, the full list to be published when he’s finished his painstaking calculations in the Uncut that comes out at the end of November.


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Editor's Letter

The 32nd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Such has been the drooling media focus on Kate Bush this week, it might be tough to imagine British music journalists listening to anything else these past few days. I'm not, in fairness, exempt from the hysteria: here's...