Former NME editor and veteran music writer Roy Carr has passed away.
Joining the New Musical Express in the late 60s, Roy Carr quickly became one of the publication’s most trusted bylines. He was an integral part of NME for decades, and also wrote for Melody Maker, Uncut, and Vox.
Carr also authored a number of LP-sized books as part of the An Illustrated Record series, writing about the likes of David Bowie and The Beatles, long before any other detailed music guides existed.
RIP music journalist Roy Carr. A name synonymous with music fans of the 70s & 80s. 8 year old me was bought what was possibly my first Bowie book, co-written by Carr. pic.twitter.com/umicpacwb7
— Gareth Bird (@garethbirddj) July 1, 2018
He is perhaps best-known for curating majority of the NME’s cassette compilations throughout the 80s and 90s. As well as compiling releases spanning across Northern Soul, reggae, jazz, garage, and country, two cassettes in particular – ‘C81’ and ‘C86’ – became shorthand expressions for entire genres.
Long before online streaming changed the face of music discovery, Carr was a hugely influential figure, introducing music fans to Orange Juice and Scritti Politti, and supporting Elton John long before he found eventual success. Admirers of Carr’s work have quite rightly paid tribute to his passion for new music today, comparing his influence to that of John Peel.
— David Quantick (@quantick) July 1, 2018
Today former colleagues of Roy Carr have been paying tribute to the late music journalist, with many remembering the Bruce Springsteen poster on the wall in his office at NME, and highlighting his kindness towards younger writers and illustrators starting out in their careers.
RIP #RoyCarr, actual legend. All who worked with him at @NME will remember the framed Springsteen photo on his office wall. He let me, a humble art-room assistant just through the door in ’88, to illustrate the #IndieCity sleeve. I remain grateful. pic.twitter.com/0SoJNeQi6A
— Andrew Collins (@AndrewCollins) July 2, 2018
“Without Roy Carr there would have been no NME cassettes,” tweeted Andy Martin, who formerly worked as Art Editor “And for me, no tailored jazz guidance, no Miles Davis tickets, no lift home afterwards and most of all, no warmth, generosity and sharp no-nonsense humour. A beautiful workmate with great ears.
RIP legendary @NME scribe Roy Carr. His office at IPC was a place of wonder: pictures with Springsteen, countless covermounts that he’d curated and licensed for the company and faxes galore. During one visit, he even gave me this John Coltrane album. What a life! pic.twitter.com/8Br0w6xCTy
— Ralph Moore (@RalphusMoorus) July 2, 2018
Others who knew Roy Carr well shared anecdotes. NME music journalist Danny Baker highlighted one particular sentence from Carr’s guide to The Rolling Stones, which came out in 1976. While praising the Stones, Carr also made joking reference to his own band The Executives.
I knew Roy very well. That Stones book contains a small in-joke. At one point he writes, "It was only in Blackpool where the Stones faltered, blown off stage by local band The Executives." Space doesn't allow him to list the members of that now forgotten band!
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) July 1, 2018
Dry, incisive, and honest, Roy Carr championed the likes of Rolling Stones’ ‘Exile on Main Street’, while many other music writers dismissed it.
Roy wasn’t afraid to fly in the face of received wisdom either. This on Exile, from a time when it was generally regarded as little more than a bloated vanity project. pic.twitter.com/gVu3xUGZYb
— Mark Paytress (@Paytress) July 1, 2018
He’ll be remembered for his passionate writing, his sharp wit, his kindness towards others, and his huge influence on the music world as a whole.