NME’s First Ever Issue From 1952 – The Best Bits

The first ever NME magazine came out March 7, 1952.

“The New Musical Express” was released every Friday in the 50s and it was 6d. It’s a fascinating slice of history and hilariously different from the music we cover today.


If you look carefully at the front cover, you’ll see it says “No. 169 (New Series)”. As you might already know, NME was called the “Accordion Times and Musical Express” before the 1952 relaunch (accordions were the synths of the 50s, apparently). Soon after in November the first UK Singles Chart was published. What does it cover? Here are some classic moments.

This Weird Joke In ‘The Sunny Side’ By Glissando section

“A trumpet is a piano. Did you know that? You didn’t? Well, I can prove it. Listen! A trumpet is brass. Brass is money. Money is what I haven’t got. And what I haven’t got is a piano. So a trumpet is a piano.” WTF?

“Sexy Singer” Tony Bennett

Regular columnist ‘The Alley Cat’ gets all hot under the collar about New York show-tune crooner. “This boy has everything… he even thrills your hard-boiled columnist.” Blimey.

Dixie Group vs Big Band Was The 50s Blur Vs Oasis

Famous bandleaders Harry Gold and Ted Heath debate the “topic of the moment”: 4-beat vs 2-beat and the danceability of Dixieland. Fast forward 60 years and you’re more likely to see an argument over whether the Arctic Monkeys should go back to the desert to make ‘Humbug 2’. How times have changed.


Editor’s Vision? To Raise The Prestige Of The Musical Profession

The leading article on page eight sets out the magazine’s motive. Its policy was to change public apathy to dance bands and invest the professions with “some of the dignity and the glamour that we know it posesses”. It continues:

We believe that dance bands are important to the communal well-being of the country and we welcome and encourage the semi-pros who by their enthusiasm and aptitude are helping to raise the standards all round

I’ll bring the glow-sticks.

NME Exclusive – Commercial Radio Hits Britain

The mag reveals that the government would announce special wavelength for sponsored programmes.


Classic Review Lingo

Check this out: “I don’t like drumnastics of any kind. I do feel that, with all the mass of jazz which is still not available over here on commercial labels, it is a great pity to waste wax on this”.

The Ads At The Back

The issue is worth buying just for this page with chestnuts such as “Bobby Mickleburgh will pay top prices for Trumpets and Trombones” and “Phil B. Parker for all brass queries”. Oh, those innocent times..