NME legend dies

The man who changed the face of the paper passes away

Veteran NME writer Tony Tyler died on Saturday (October 28).

Tyler was the features editor and deputy editor of the magazine between 1972 and 1977.

He was born on October 31 1943, in Bristol but grew up in Liverpool.

After getting a position on a trainee reporter on a Merseyside paper, he stowed away on a Hamburg-bound ship to see The Beatles in 1961.

As well as hanging out with the beat bands of the era, according to legend, he played an all-night card game with John Lennon.

After catching pneumonia, he was sent home from Germany by the British consulate. He found work in a music shop in London.

Concurrently, he became the Hammond organ player in The Patrick Samson Set, a band who scored a number one in Italy with the Italian language version of ’A Whiter Shade Of Pale’.

Tyler joined music trade paper Beat Instrumental in 1969 as editor and left to become publicist for EG Management, whose clients included T-Rex.

He joined NME in 1972, and during his almost five-year period at the magazine, he helped transform the editorial tone.

As editorial member Charles Shaar Murray remembered: “A lot of the absurdist humour and the piss taking was what Tony brought to the paper. He was very energetic, he was very funny. He pioneered the smoking of a lot of dope at editorial meetings.”

Tyler published two books – 1975’s ’The Beatles: An Illustrated Record’ (co-written with NME’s Roy Carr) and 1979’s ’The Tolkien Companion’.

As Shaar Murray says: “The NME would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for Tyler. He was the heart and soul of the magazine in the 70s. He was a lovely man and will be much missed.”