Great Pop Things

Chuck Death is the pen name of Jon Langford, a Welsh musician, author and cartoonist. He is best-known as co-founder and guitarist of the British-American punk band The Mekons (formed in 1977), and the post-punk group The Three Johns (1981-1987). He has lived in Chicago, Illinois since the early 1990s, where he formed alternative country ensembles like The Waco Brothers (1994) and Pine Valley Cosmonauts (1995). Both in his solo music and in his group work, Langford is notable for incorporating folk and country music into punk rock.

He was born in 1957 in as Jonathan Denis Langford in Newport, Wales, and attended art school at University of Leeds as a painter. As a visual artist, he has made many portraits of country music icons including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley. His paintings appear on bottles and other items of the Dogfish Head Brewery from in Milton, Delaware. He is however best-known for his work as the cartoonist and co-writer of the feature 'Great Pop Things', which he made with Colin B. Morton (who also publishes under the name Carlton B. Morgan). The comic presented a highly inconsistent and made-up history of rock and pop music, and spoofed many famous groups, mostly from the 1970s. During its run, 'Great Pop Things' presented false histories of such acts as Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones and especially David Bowie, who appeared in the strip the most.

The comic first appeared in Record Mirror in 1987 and transferred to the New Musical Express in 1991, where it remained throughout the decade. In America, it ran in alternative weekly newspapers like LA Weekly, Chicago's New City and The Onion. Book collections were published by Penguin Books ('Great Pop Things', 1992) and Verse Chorus Press ('Great Pop Things: The Real History Of Rock And Roll From Elvis To Oasis', 1998). Ironically, the book had a foreword by rock critic Greil Marcus, who has spent a large part of his career documenting and correcting inaccuracies in rock history.

The British TV series 'Star Stories' (2008) bears a striking resemblance to 'Great Pop Things'. 'Nashville Radio', a collection of Langford's other artwork and writings, was published in 2006.

Great Pop Things

Series and books by Chuck Death in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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