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Episode 90 : John Harris on Britpop + McCartney audio + Charley Pride

21 December 2020

In this episode we welcome The Guardian's John Harris into RBP's virtual cupboard to reminisce about his career as a music journalist and author. Mark, Barney & Jasper look back with John at Britpop and at The Last Party, his definitive 2003 book about it; we also consider the crucial role played in the Britpop story by Select magazine, which John edited in the mid-'90s. Discussion of Britpop's more jingoistic aspects is accompanied by references to contemporary pieces on Blur, Oasis & co. by Jon Savage and Stuart Maconie — and followed by John's thoughts on morphing into one of the Grauniad's most respected political columnists. 

The week's theme leads neatly into clips from a 1980 audio interview with Britpop forefather Paul McCartney, heard talking to John Tobler about his McCartney II album. Seasoned Beatles freak Harris talks about Macca's solo oeuvre and McCartney II's just-released successor… McCartney III! The "team" and their guest then turn their attention to the passing of the remarkable Charley Pride, the Black southerner who — against considerable odds — became a country music superstar.

Mark talks us through some notable new additions to the RBP library, including pieces about the Manson family, the Bee Gees, Kirsty MacColl, the Beastie Boys and Metallica. Barney welcomes California writer Deanne Stillman to the RBP fold with her 2004 piece on the trial of Phil Spector, while Jasper rounds matters off with reflections on Shakira and RBP's Paul Kelly's favourite band Coldplay.

Many thanks to special guest John Harris; visit his website at

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.