has been writing about music since the '70s, when he started an early punk fanzine,
. He hasn't issued many music books, but one of these, England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, is one of the best rock genre histories. This qualifies
as one of the leading punk experts, but in fact he's pretty knowledgeable about many sectors of rock history, and his writing about music is constantly appearing in publications, although full-length volumes have been infrequent.
Raised in West London, Savage
graduated from Cambridge University in 1975, starting London's Outrage
the following year. Later in the '70s, he wrote for Sounds
and Melody Maker
. Starting in 1980, he's worked in television and contributed to periodicals and papers such as The Face
, the Observer
, and New Statesman & New Society
. In 1984, he issued his first rock book, The Kinks: The Official Biography. While this was not as comprehensive as the Johnny Rogan
biography that also appeared in 1984, the bios were complementary works in that each contained some interesting information not in the other. Savage
's bulkiest contribution to pop history thus far has been England's Dreaming. Though subtitled Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, this was less a history of the Sex Pistols
(although there was plenty on that band) than a history of British punk as a whole. As a fan who was able to follow the music in person when it was happening in the '70s -- indeed, he was on hand when the Sex Pistols
did their famous set on a boat in the Thames on the night of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee -- he was able to bring a firsthand perspective to the account. More importantly, he was also able to weave in commentary about the British society and fashions that helped shape punk, without letting these secondary concerns overwhelm the main thrust of the text. Savage
is interested in pop culture and fashion as well as music, and has written or contributed to several books which focus on those topics rather than music. A collection of his pieces, Time Travel, contains a lot of articles that are music related, although some of the selections cover other subjects.