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GEORGE TREMLETT


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The Osmond Story
1974
(price: 40p; 166 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
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The David Bowie Story
1974
(price: 40p; 166 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
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The Gary Glitter Story
1974
(price: 45p; 144 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
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The David Essex Story
1974
(price: 40p; 144 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
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Alvin Stardust
1976
(price: 60p; 144 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
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Slik
1976
(price: 60p; 144 pages + 16 pages b/w photos)
all published by Futura Publications, London


Every one of these paperback biographies by George Tremlett has pretty much the same biog in the front, so I may as well quote it in full, in an attempt to get a proper picture of the man:

George Tremlett has been a rock writer almost since the music began in the mid-Fifties. He left King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1957 and then spent four years on the Coventry Evening Telegraph writing their daily TV column and reviewing all the visiting pop package shows.
In 1961 he moved to London and became a freelance writer, working part-time for the New Musical Express. He has since been London correspondent for TV and pop music magazines in Japan, Holland, Sweden, the United States, Belgium, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Finland. In this he is partnered by his wife, Jane. They also contribute to most major British teenage magazines.
Outside pop music journalism, George Tremlett pursues a political career as a member of the Greater London Council. For eleven years he was also a councillor in Richmond-upon-Thames.

Okay, so we still haven't got a proper picture of the man, don't even know what party he represented on the GLC (Conservative, since you ask), but maybe we've decided that we're not very interested. He was a hack on a regional 'paper in the 1950s and he never quite shook off the attitudes that go with such a position. By the early-1970s, when the NME was in full-on cynical mode, it would seem that his brand of uncritical, unquestioning regurgitation of press releases would have had its day. But Tremlett was not a man to give up, and if the rock weeklies weren't interested in his stuff, he'd find a new way to make a few quid on the side.

So he became the King of the Cut 'n' Paste Biography. Give him a file of newspaper stories and interviews, and he'd get 120 pages of cliché-ridden prose back to you by return of post. At a time when recycling had yet to become commonplace, he was ahead of the game. How many of these he wrote, I'm not certain; my guess is somewhere between fourteen and twenty, covering the whole range of glam-era pop. There were inevitable gaps, where someone got in before him (David Cassidy, Suzi Quatro, Rod Stewart), but mostly he had the field to himself.

The subjects ranged from John Lennon and David Bowie (the only one to get a reprint as far as I know), through to The Osmonds. Most absurd of all was Slik. Tremlett had made a pompous announcement that the Bay City Rollers were somehow beneath him, unworthy of his attention, so when they became the biggest group in the country, he found himself left behind: scrabbling around for a substitute, he ended up with Slik, a Scottish band being marketed as a kind of ersatz-Rollers by Martin & Coulter (the team who'd given us the Rollers in the first place). Unfortunately, they achieved just the one major hit before the entire facade of post-glam pop collapsed in ruins.

Of course, as you'll all be aware, Slik went on to release 'The Kid's A Punk', one of the great lost singles of the '70s, before they split to give the world Midge Ure, PVC2 and The Zones. Furthermore, there's probably a good story to be written about the experience of being moulded as a teenpop band in the '70s. But none of this was available to Tremlett when he rushed his book into print, and he probably wouldn't have been interested anyway. As it stands this is a triumph of the cut 'n' paste art: a 144-page book on a band who had to date released just two singles and played just one gig in England (they were always bigger in Glasgow than London) - it's an extraordinary piece of work, the material stretched so thin that it's transparent.

The rest of the books are of variable interest. Alvin Stardust had enough history behind him to make it worth writing about him, and the fact that he's been so little-documented makes this one a valuable record. The Bowie book, on the other hand, will add absolutely nothing to your understanding of the man or his music.


lots of little Osmonds everywhere...
Our Father
Paul H Dunn, The Osmonds
more 70s pop on our sister site:
a 70s popumentary

see some material on Mr Tremlett's political activities

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