Meet David Hepworth and Mark Ellen talking about the sumptuous Island book of Records

Posted up the “Word in Your Ear” channel today on You Tube. Music aficionados Dave Hepworth and Mark Ellen, have to eat extra Weetabix just so they can even lift the book, let alone turn the pages. Some gasps and guffaws by all, quite funny in places, but then they started talking about Volume 2 already! Jeez.

“Neil Storey is an old pal from our magazine days who worked in the press office at Island. He looked after U2, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, the B-52’s and many others. About 15 years ago he began the mammoth task of compiling a series of books telling the story of virtually every record the label released in its pioneering history, tracking down and talking to all those involved – musicians, producers, designers, photographers, label staff – and collecting old music press ads and ephemera from the time.

The book’s almost a foot square so LP sleeves can be reproduced ‘actual size’.

The first volume is just out, The Island Book Of Records 1959-1968, a thing of very great beauty. As David says, “it’s like entering the record shop of your dreams.”

We talked to Neil at his home in France about this and much else besides

  • Chris Blackwell’s involvement in the making of Dr No and the single Jamaican beach shot that told them they had a hit movie
  • the album they released that no-one involved could remember.
  • Shotgun Wedding by Roy ‘C’, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Lance Hayward, Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’
  • the letter Blackwell sent to the workshy Spooky Tooth with threats of wage deductions.
  • the lucrative ascent of Jethro Tull
  • the little-known compilations of Rugby songs, ‘Bawdy British Ballads’ and risqué adult comedy that “saved the label’s bacon” in the mid-‘60s.
  • the time Neil stumbled across Traffic’s fabled Aston Tirrold cottage on a school camping trip.
  • the highly collectable “Birth of Ska’ album that was never released.
  • one immortal week at the Marquee Club.
  • and why Island were banned for Olympic Studios.

Order the Island Book of Records Vol 1 here ……

david hepworth holding IBOR
david hepworth holding IBOR