Musician, turned award-winning author, Daniel Rachel was a fabulous podcast guest on Episode 43 of The Paul Weller Fan Podcast – funny, engaging, super-smart, an in-depth knowledge and love of his subject matter – what more could you ask for as a host? He’s one of those amazing guests who you can ask a question and ten minutes later he’s still replying, selecting the right words to bring you in to his stories, rising out of his seat as he shares his passion with you. Brilliant!
After recording this podcast in the Summer of 2021, I got to meet Daniel at the launch of his fabulous Oasis: Knebworth book with Jill Furmanovsky (a future podcast guest) and spent a bit of time in his company at the pub afterwards (with Simon Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene which was another highlight!) and he’s the real deal – genuine, warm, intelligent and every bit as passionate about his work in real life.
Daniel wrote his first book, Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters after spending his twenties as the lead-singer in Rachels Basement. The book featured interviews with the likes of Paul Weller, Jimmy Page, Robin Gibb, Ray Davies, Annie Lennox, Noel Gallager and many more.
His 2017 book Walls Come Tumbling Down: the music and politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge – which won the Penderyn Music Book prize – charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’.
The follow up in 2019 Don’t Look Back in Anger: The rise and Fall of Cool Britannia was an Evening Standard and Metro Book of the Year.
Daniel and I dig in to these incredible historical documents to talk about some key periods in the career of Paul Weller with stories of Red Wedge from the 1980s and Cool Britannia and his return to the top of the charts in the 1990s.
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EP43 – Daniel Rachel – Musican-turned-award-winning author – "Governments crack and systems fall, 'cause unity is powerful…" – Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast
One for the Road – Simon Fowler & Daniel Rachel
Daniel collaborated with his lifelong friend – front-man, lead singer and songwriter of the band Ocean Colour Scene – Simon Fowler. You can hear more about the new limited edition, fully illustrated hardback coffee table book in my podcast chat with Simon on Episode 124.
One For The Road is presented as an extended conversation featuring 69 songs, including never seen before original handwritten lyrics, 13 unreleased songs, and over 350 hand chosen photographs and rarely seen items of memorabilia. This new stunning book offers a unique and illuminating visual record of one of the great songwriters.
Regular and Deluxe packages, including a 7 inch record of 2 unreleased songs are available to order at ourfavourite.shop
2021 – Like Some Forgotten Dream: What if the Beatles hadn’t split up?
I asked Daniel about this book in our podcast chat ahead of release in the Summer of 2021. It’s a brilliant idea and a fabulous read. Essentially it is the story of the great lost Beatles album.
Daniel puts a pretty solid case together that the end of the Beatles wasn’t inevitable. It came through miscommunication, misunderstandings and missed opportunities to reconcile.
But what if it didn’t end? What if just one of those chances was taken, and the Beatles carried on? What if they made one last, great album?
In Like Some Forgotten Dream , Daniel looks at what could have been. Drawing on impeccable research, he examines the Fab Four’s untimely demise – and from the ashes compiles a track list for an imagined final album, pulling together unfinished demos, forgotten B-sides, hit solo songs, and arguing that together they form the basis of a lost Beatles masterpiece .
Buy the book here.
2021 – Oasis – Knebworth – Two Nights that will Live Forever
Another one mentioned as ‘coming soon’ at the time of the recording our podcast, this stunning access-all-areas book came out months later to mark the 25th anniversary of the era-defining Oasis concerts at Knebworth.
Featuring over 250 breathtaking images from acclaimed music photographer Jill Furmanovsky, partnered by Daniel Rachel’s evocative text drawing on exclusive interviews with the people behind the concerts, including Noel Gallagher,
Alan McGee, backing musicians, Creation management and many more besides…
Buy the book here.
2019 – Don’t Look Back in Anger
This is another stunning read from an incredible era of Britain’s modern history. Don’t Look Back In Anger chronicles the Cool Britannia age when the country united through a resurgence of patriotism and a celebration of all things British. Through sixty-eight voices that epitomise the decade – including Tony Blair, John Major, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Tracey Emin, Keith Allen, Meera Syal, David Baddiel, Irvine Welsh and Steve Coogan – we re-live the epic highs and crashing lows of one of the most eventful periods in British history. Buy the book here.
2017 – Walls Come Tumbling Down
I honestly think that this book should be taught in every school up and down the country. Walls Come Tumbling Down charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’. Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel follows the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge, revealing how they all shaped, and were shaped by, the music of a generation. Not only does the title of the book come from The Style Council song, but so many of the stories cross over with Paul Weller during his Red Wedge time.
Composed of interviews with over a hundred and fifty of the key players at the time, Walls Come Tumbling Down is a fascinating, polyphonic and authoritative account of those crucial sixteen years in Britain’s history.
You can buy the book here
2019 – I Just Can’t Stop It: My Life in The Beat
On 26 March 2019 Ranking Roger died at the age of 56. He had just completed writing his life story with Daniel. I Just Can’t Stop It is the honest and compelling autobiography from the British Music Legend. As the enigmatic frontman of the multicultural band The Beat, Ranking Roger represented the youthful and joyous sound of the post-punk 2 Tone movement. As well as his illustrious career with The Beat and its subsequent iterations, this absorbing book explores Roger’s upbringing as a child of the Windrush generation, touring America and his outstanding collaborations with artists such as The Clash, The Police and The Specials.
Buy the book here.
2013 – Isle of Noises – Conversations with Great British Songwriters
Isle of Noises : Conversations with Great British Songwriters features exclusive, in-depth conversations with twenty-seven of the UK’s greatest living musicians including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Chris Difford, Madness, Noel Gallagher, Jimmy Page and Damon Albarn. Each artist discusses their individual approach to writing, the inspiration behind their most successful songs, and the techniques and methods they have independently developed.
The combination of individual personal insights and the breadth and depth of knowledge in their collected experience makes Isle of Noises the essential word on classic British songwriting – as told by the songwriters themselves.
You can buy the book here
MUSIC – Rachels Basement
Daniel was also the leader singer and songwriter of Birmingham band Rachels Basement.
Find more info here…