Books > I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan

I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan; front cover detail
I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan; front cover detail

Format: Paperback 208 pages
Published: 1 June 2006
Publisher: Independent Music Press
ISBN: 0954970497

Credits

© David Nolan 2006

From the back cover

On June 4, 1976, four young men took the stage of a tiny upstairs hall in Manchester for a gig that, quite literally, changed the world. In front of a handful of people they played one of the most important live sets of all time. Alongside Woodstock and Live Aid, the Sex Pistols performance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall has been named by critics as one of the most pivotal performances in music history... not necessarily because of the quality of the music but because of the effect the music had on the audience.

The crowd were mesmerized by the power and possibilities of punk and it inspired them to create their own music that would shape the sound of rock music for decades to come. Members of Joy Division and New Order, the Smiths, the Fall and Buzzcocks were there that night as well as Tony Wilson, a key player in the story of Factory records, the Haçienda, Madchester and beyond. This was truly a gig that changed the world.

The truth behind that gig plus the Pistols repeat performance six weeks later and their first ever TV appearance has been shrouded in mystery for thirty years. Until now, everyone's been happy to print the legend. For the first time, here's the truth. Featuring previously unpublished photos, interviews with key players and audience members, I Swear I Was There brings pop culture to life thirty years after the Summer of Punk.

Synopsis

On June 4, 1976, four young men took the stage of the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester and, in front of a handful of people, played one of the most important live sets of all time. Alongside Woodstock and Live Aid, the Sex Pistols' performance has been named by critics as one of the most pivotal performances in music history... not necessarily because of the quality of the music - but because of the effect the music had on the audience. The crowd were mesmerized by the power and possibilities of punk - and it inspired them to create their own music that would shape the sound of rock music for decades to come. Members of Joy Division and New Order, the Smiths, the Fall and Buzzcocks were there that night as well as Tony Wilson, a key player in the story of Factory records, the Haçienda, Madchester and beyond. This was truly a gig that changed the world. The truth behind that gig - plus the Pistols' repeat performance six weeks later and their first ever TV appearance - has been shrouded in mystery for thirty years. Until now, everyone's been happy to print the legend. For the first time, here's the truth. Featuring previously unpublished photos, interviews with key players and audience members, "I Swear I Was There" brings pop culture to life thirty years after the Summer of Punk.

Review

Tony Wilson was there (at least at the first one) but not at the second (he was on holiday). Was Mick Hucknall there? Who cares!?

David Nolan has revamped / reissued his book 'I Swear I Was There' (which was first published in 2001) and handily it coincides with the 30th anniversary of "The Gig That Changed The World" at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Drawing on interviews with pretty much everyone who was there (though no-one actually seems to know exactly how many people turned up to the first Sex Pistols gig in Manchester on 4 June 1976) he provides a witty and insightful look at a piece of pop culture history.

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David Nolan and C.P. Lee launched the book at a special event at Urbis in Manchester on Thursday 8 June. This was a talk / book launch / existential happening. It started as a thing for academics for Manchester University but was open to the general public. An exhibition about the book started on 5 June 2006 in the ground floor gallery at Urbis and is free.

I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan; Urbis book launch - David Nolan (l) and C.P. Lee
I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World by David Nolan; Urbis book launch - David Nolan (l) and C.P. Lee