Photo: Damian Fanelli
Backbeat Books has announced a new tome by amp expert Dave Hunter. The British Amp Invasion: How Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox and More Changed the Sound of Music chronicles how what seemed at first like a minor also-ran offshore industry turned quickly into a true world leader.
The book features backstage histories, compelling behind-the-scenes stories and liberal use of period imagery. British guitarists were primed to make some of the most influential music the world would ever know, but they needed a voice to do it—and British-made amplifiers gave them that voice.
Many early notable American amps were designed for jazz, country and dance-hall music, but the seminal British amps of the late Fifties onward were designed to hit the ground running for rock and roll. And as that music gradually dropped its "roll" through the course of the Sixties, these were the first amps that truly rocked.
Not only did British-made amps by Vox, Marshall, Hiwatt, Orange, Watkins, Selmer, Sound City and others power the groundbreaking music of the major British guitar heroes—including all three Beatles guitarists, the Kinks, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Peter Green and Yankee expatriate Jimi Hendrix, among countless others—they quickly became the premier choice for American arena stars, too.
In one short decade, as musical styles swung from British beat to British Invasion to British blues to heavy metal, British amps were ruling the day. Players who wanted that sound simply did not play anything else. This book charts the confluence of British industrial ingenuity and pop culture as it evolved at breakneck speed and examines the symbiotic relationship that was born of this partnership.
Art inspired industry as industry influenced art, and together they produced the most powerful music ever known to mankind—a sound that still resonates today.
Dave Hunter is a writer and musician who has worked extensively in the U.K. and the U.S. He is the author of The Guitar Amp Handbook, Guitar Effects Pedals, Amped, The Fender Telecaster, The Gibson Les Paul, The Guitar Pickup Handbook and several other titles. Hunter is also a regular contributor to Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar and is a contributing essayist to the United States Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board’s Permanent Archive.
Available at Backwingstore.com; MSRP $19.99
The British Amp Invasion: How Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox and More Changed the Sound of Music
Author: Dave Hunter
Publisher: Backbeat Books
Page Count: 400
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches