Barry Miles

Barry Miles
Barry Miles.

Barry Miles (or "Miles", born 1943, Cirencester, England) is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subject of the 1960s London underground. He has written numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in left-wing papers such as The Guardian. In the 1960s, he was co-owner of the Indica Gallery and helped start the independent newspaper International Times.


Life and work

In the 1960s, Miles worked at Better Books, which was managed by Tony Godwin. Godwin was friends with Lawrence Ferlinghetti with whom he would exchange Penguin books for City Lights publications. In 1965 Allen Ginsberg gave a reading at Better Books which led to the International Poetry Incarnation, a seminal event that was co-organised by Miles.

In 1965 Miles and his wife, the former Susan Crane,[1] introduced McCartney to hash brownies by using a recipe for hash fudge which they had found in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.[2]

Following the International Poetry Incarnation, Miles established the Indica Gallery and Bookshop, allowing him to meet many of the stars of the Swinging London social scene.[3] Miles brought Paul McCartney into contact with people who wanted to start the International Times, which McCartney helped to fund.[4]

With John Hopkins, Miles organised The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, a concert on 29 April 1967 Alexandra Palace to raise funds for the International Times. It was a multi-artist event, featuring poets, artists and musicians. Pink Floyd headlined the event; other artists included: Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Arthur Brown, jazz-rock group Soft Machine, Tomorrow and The Pretty Things.

Miles became the de facto manager of the Apple's short-lived Zapple Records label in 1969. While temporarily living in California Miles produced an album of poetry readings by Richard Brautigan titled Listening to Richard Brautigan for Zapple. Miles' friendship with Brautigan ended when Miles became involved in an affair with Brautigan's girlfriend Valerie Estes. By the time the album was completed Miles and Brautigan communicated to each other only through their respective lawyers.[5] Zapple was closed before it could release the Brautigan album, but it was eventually released in 1970 by the U.S. division of Harvest Records.

In 1970 Miles moved with his wife to rural New York state, where he lived with Allen Ginsberg on his farm. However Miles' marriage soon ended and he returned to England.[1]

Miles' book Hippie is a reminiscence of the Hippie sub-culture of the sixties and early seventies with interviews, quotes, and images. He co-wrote I Want to Take You Higher (documenting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit by the same name) with Charles Perry and James Henke.

Miles wrote Paul McCartney's official biography, Many Years from Now (1998). Miles has also written biographies of Frank Zappa, John Lennon, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and Ginsberg, in addition to books on The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Clash.[6][7] as well as a definitive history of London's counter-culture since 1945. London's Calling.[8]

Miles is occasionally wrongly credited as "Miles Mabbett" because he co-authored a book with Andy Mabbett, credited as, "by Miles and Andy Mabbett".


In March 1978 Miles wrote an article critical of the Canadian band Rush and its drummer Neil Peart which falsely labeled the band as right-wing.[9] Peart describes himself as a Left-libertarian. In the article, published in UK's New Musical Express, Miles took exception to Peart's advocacy of the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand.[10] Miles also described Rand (a Russian born anti-communist) as an "ultra right-wing American." Miles focused on Peart's politics and criticized the band's perceived aloofness and libertarian rhetoric. In the same interview Peart described the Sex Pistols as products of a "socialist" state.[9][11]

In a 2005 biography of Frank Zappa Miles attacked Zappa over his business oriented approach to art and complaints about inefficient labor union regulations.[12] Zappa regularly described himself as "a devout capitalist" and attempted to broker joint commercial ventures with business interests in the former Soviet Union following the end of the Cold War in 1991. [13]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Jonathon Green Obituary: Sue Miles, The Guardian (website), 13 October 2010
  2. ^ Miles, p233
  3. ^ Thomson, L: London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945, By Barry Miles The Independent Friday 12th March 2010
  4. ^ Miles, p. 232
  5. ^
  6. ^ Amazon Review of Many Years from Now, 4 November 2005. Retrieved on 14 September 2007
  7. ^ Miles, Barry (1981). The Clash. London; New York: Omnibus Press. OCLC 7676911. 
  8. ^ London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945, By Barry Miles
  9. ^ a b "Is everybody feelin' ALRIGHT? (Geddit...?)". New Musical Express, March 4, 1978
  10. ^ The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (Volume 4, Number 1): 161-85
  11. ^ Rush: 'Our fans feel vindicated' The Guardian 24 March 2011
  12. ^ Zappa: A Biography - Grove Press, 2004
  13. ^


  • Bob Dylan (1978), Big O Publishing
  • Bob Dylan in His Own Words (1978), edited by Pearce Marchbank, Omnibus Press
  • Beatles in Their Own Words (1978, compiler), edited by Pearce Marchbank, Omnibus Press
  • Bowie in His Own Words (1980, compiler), Omnibus Press
  • John Lennon in His Own Words (1980, compiler), Omnibus Press
  • David Bowie Black Book (1980), Omnibus Press
  • Pink Floyd: A Visual Documentary. Omnibus Press. 1980. ISBN 9780825639487. 
  • Pink Floyd: A Visual Documentary (1981 revised edition, and 1988 as 21st anniversary edition), Omnibus Press
  • The Beatles: An Illustrated Discography (1981), Omnibus Press
  • The Jam (1981), Omnibus Press
  • The Pretenders (1981), Omnibus Press
  • The Ramones: An Illustrated Biography (1981), Omnibus Press
  • Talking Heads (1981), Omnibus Press
  • Miles, and Tobler, John. (1981). The Clash. Omnibus Press. 
  • Pink Floyd: The Illustrated Discography (1981), Omnibus Press
  • The Rolling Stones: An Illustrated Discography. Omnibus Press. 1982. ISBN 9780860017622. 
  • Mick Jagger in His Own Words (1982, compiler), Omnibus Press
  • Tobler, John, and Miles. (1983). The Clash: A Visual Documentary. Omnibus Press. 
  • Miles, and Charlesworth, Chris. (1984). David Bowie Black Book. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780860018087. 
  • Pink Floyd: Another Brick: The Illustrated Pink Floyd Story (1984), Omnibus Press
  • The Police: A Visual Documentary. Omnibus Press. 1984. ISBN 9780860018018. 
  • Miles, and Charlesworth, Chris. (1988). David Bowie Black Book: The Illustrated Biography. 
  • Ginsberg: A Biography. Viking. 1989. ISBN 9780670826834. 
  • Miles, Tobler, John, and Pachy, Mal. (1992). The Clash: The New Visual Documentary. Omnibus Press. 
  • William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible : A Portrait. Hyperion. 1993. ISBN 9781562828486. 
  • Frank Zappa in His Own Words (1993, compiler), Omnibus Press
  • Frank Zappa: A Visual Documentary (1993), Omnibus Press
  • The Rolling Stones: A Visual Documentary (1994), Omnibus Press
  • Miles, and Mabbett, Andy. (1994.). Pink Floyd : A Visual Documentary. ISBN 0-7119-4109-2. 
  • William S. Burroughs. Head Farm - Edition Kelln. 1994. ISBN 9783933444110. 
  • Many Years From Now. Vintage-Random House. 1997. ISBN 0-7493-8658-4. 
  • The Beatles: A diary. Omnibus Press. 1998. ISBN 978-0711963153. 
  • The Beatles: A Diary : An Intimate Day by Day History. Omnibus Press. 1998. ISBN 9780711963153. 
  • Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats : A Portrait. Grove Press. 2001. 
  • The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Corso in Paris, 1958-1963. Grove Press. 2001. ISBN 9780802138170. 
  • In the Sixties. Pimlico. 2003. ISBN 9780712689984. 
  • Hippie. Cassell. 2004. ISBN 1-84403-269-8. 
  • Zappa: A Biography. Grove Press. 2005. ISBN 9780802142153. 
  • Charles Bukowski. Virgin. 2005. ISBN 9781852272715. 
  • The Beat Collection. Virgin. 2005. ISBN 9781852272647. 
  • Miles, Barry (2008). Peace: 50 Years of Protest, 1958-2008. Anova Books. ISBN 9781843404576. 
  • The British Invasion: The Music, the Times, the Era. Sterling. 2009. ISBN 9781402769764. 
  • London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945. Atlantic Books. 2010. ISBN 9781843546139. 

External links

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