…God created County Durham. And in that great county were born Paddy and Martin McAloon.
There’s fair amount of God in John Birch’s long-awaited Sprout memoir. The McAloon brothers grew up in a Catholic household, Paddy was educated at a seminary where he was inspired to pick up the guitar by one of his teachers there and that’s just that start of it.
You’re never very far from God in the early times of Sprout.
The book covers the years from Paddy and Martin’s childhood through to the release of Prefab Sprout’s debut album Swoon in 1984.
This is definitely a book for Sprout nerds. Even if you’ve read every interview published you will find something new within its pages. However, fans looking for any personal detail will be disappointed this book is more about the creation of the art than the people behind it.
Birch’s interest in North East England culture and history is evident here- County Durham and Newcastle Upon Tyne provide the backdrop for an all too familiar story of boys from the North of England escaping though listening to and making great music.
This is certainly a book for Sprout fans as well anyone with an interest in song-craft.
Release date 26th August and can be ordered from here
John Birch writes-
Prefab Sprout: The Early Years is a book written from the inside world of Prefab Sprout, drawing from the frank, open, surprising, humorous and enlightening memoirs of those working with, supporting and befriending Paddy McAloon since he first picked up a guitar as a lad, starting out his love affair with words, melodies and art.
Although this book cannot be claimed to be an official biography of Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout, Paddy and his manager Keith Armstrong graciously opened all the doors for the author’s research that he ever could have hoped for.
The book draws upon a vast array of research materials compiled over a three year period: 64 interviews, 46 hours of audio memoirs, over 150,000 words of written memoirs and testimonials, exclusive studio photography, back stage and on the road photographs, access to hours of rare unpublished demos and songs, and over 12 hours of exclusive, unpublished interviews with Paddy McAloon himself, courtesy of some of Europe’s finest journalists, including the legendary Mat Snow.
Lengthy, honest and insightful interviews with the key players in McAloon’s career… including Kitchenware Records Directors Keith Armstrong and Paul Ludford, the legendary CBS/Sony A&R guru Muff Winwood, Thomas Dolby (the fifth Sprout), Calum Malcolm, friend and Prefab Sprout archivist David Brewis, and Neil Conti… have all made for the most in-depth research on Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout to date.
Prefab Sprout: The Early Years breaks down the story of Paddy McAloon’s Prefab Sprout from early on in the band’s conception in autumn 1977, through to their first official album release, Swoon.