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I Was There

Dispatches from a Life in Rock and Roll

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About The Book

'Alan is such a wonderful storyteller' Debbie Harry

'If you love music, you should definitely read this book' Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Radio 5 Live

'Alan Edwards is a class act: observant, attentive, always in the right place at the right time. I Was There tells you how' Jon Savage

'A beautiful, warm, jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime, lifting-the-stone guide to a secret world . . . I loved it' Tony Parsons

'Revelatory' Will Hodgkinson, The Times

'Gossipy, insightful and a whole lot of fun' Neil McCormick, Daily Telegraph


'An absorbing read . . . Raw, warm and packed with incident' Barbara Ellen, Observer

Alan Edwards, the godfather of British music PR, has worked with some of the most legendary artists of our time, from David Bowie to the Spice Girls via the Rolling Stones, the Stranglers, Prince and Amy Winehouse.

In I Was There, he describes getting his break in the mid-'70s as a scruffy, stoned 20-year-old just back from the hippie trail; his encounter with London's thriving punk scene, which inspired him to set up his own PR company; broadening his horizons as his work with the likes of Blondie takes him to the US and beyond; and his move into the world of pop with the Spice Girls during the tabloid-crazed '90s.

At the centre of this story sits the defining relationship of Edwards' career: his close, thirty-year collaboration with David Bowie. He guides us through a series of vivid, funny, always insightful behind-the-scenes reports, whether he's playing a spontaneous game of football with Bob Marley, listening to Prince discuss the future of civilisation in a nightclub VIP area, or being used as a pawn in the power struggle between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Above all, we're treated to Edwards' fascinating observations about the brilliant artists he has worked with and what makes them tick, as he looks back on his role in the last five decades of music and culture.

About The Author

Alan Edwards is the founder of public relations agency the Outside Organisation, which has represented some of the biggest music stars on the planet, corporations and brands, government, royalty, celebrities, charities, events and sports legends. In 2017, he became the third-ever inductee into PR Week’s Hall of Fame and he has been named the magazine’s number one entertainment PR for an unprecedented ten years running.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (June 6, 2024)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398525252

Raves and Reviews

'Entertaining and philosophical . . . [Told with] diplomacy, wit and a well-honed instinct for storytelling . . . Offers a consistently informative guide to how the publicity business has changed over the decades'

– Neil McCormick, Daily Telegraph

'Hugely entertaining . . . Edwards brings out the wild, bizarre side of his working life and the book is littered with oddballs, from the egomaniac Robert Maxwell to the eccentric Prince . . . The strength of the book . . . are the quirky stories and reminiscences, few funnier than the one about Keith Moon and an office desk'

– Martin Chilton, Independent

'Incredible'

– Sarah Tetteh, Daily Mirror

'Deliciously candid . . . Extraordinary'

– Daily Express

'A master of page-turning readability . . . an insider's view of operating inside the world of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney and a gaggle of A+ listers'

– John Aizlewood, Mojo

‘A giddy, gleeful ride through five decades of working with some of the biggest names on the planet’

– Sunday Post

‘An entertaining, gossipy memoir . . . As publicist for several of the biggest artists of the age, Edwards had a ringside seat for all manner of cultural highlights . . . His book offers a fascinating glimpse into the tricks of the trade and why smart PR can deliver success'

– Irish Independent

'A fascinating alternative angle on the music scene, chronicling the birth of modern PR with plenty of behind the scenes access to acts he’s worked with over the years . . . With a cast of characters that runs the gamut from Hugh Cornwell to Hugo Chávez, I Was There is loaded with showbiz anecdotes with characters from his impressive rolodex of household names . . . Strongly recommended'

– Louder than War

‘Alan wasn’t just there, he was everywhere, as immersed in the world of rock as any of the bold-face names he represented. From glam to punk, from Bowie to Jagger, from small clubs and sweaty pubs to stadiums and enormodomes, Alan saw it all… and wrote it all down. A brilliant book by a brilliant man’

– Dylan Jones

‘A beautiful, warm, jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime, lifting-the-stone guide to a secret world … Edwards is an endlessly charming and gently amused companion as he reveals the truth about that lost time when the music was an embarrassment of riches. I loved it. And if the music ever mattered a damn to you, then you will love it too’

– Tony Parsons

‘The UK music industry from the 1970s to today. Alan was there and he has receipts. Frank, fascinating and funny’

– John Niven

‘Great publicists are born to the job, it's a calling that's ingrained from birth. Alan Edwards has worked for the world's biggest music stars – from Amy Winehouse and Bowie to the Spice Girls, the Sex Pistols and the Who. How he's remained balanced and sane amazes me. He's the best in the business … For anyone interested in the workings of the media and celebrity, from the '70s to today, this book is a must-read’

– Roger Daltrey

‘Alan is a master of intrigue and suspense . . . An absorbing read’

– Hugh Cornwell

‘Alan Edwards has been around so many different experiences and situations! His credentials in the press world are legendary’

– Debbie Harry

‘Alan Edwards is one of the few people who ever saw Tony Blair starstruck – when he introduced him to David Bowie at the Brits in 1996 . . . It is no surprise Alan has written something far more than just another music book. It gives a real insight into media and PR, what really happens as opposed to what we may think happened!’

– Alastair Campbell

‘An exhilarating account from the man who shaped modern music PR as we know it. Entertaining and educational in equal measure’

– Yomi Adegoke

‘I remember seeing Alan at various gigs and functions from afar, and I always thought he was a guy on the ball. This book brings back a lot of memories’

– Steve Jones, Sex Pistols

‘If Edwards played at Glastonbury, he’d be in the Sunday afternoon “legends slot”'

– PR Week

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