Nick Logan

1958 Laindon High Road Schoolboy turned publishing wizard

By Richard Haines

As I already reported earlier on this website, Nick Logan lived in Laindon for one year in a modern house in Basildon Drive. He came to Laindon High Road School in 1958 in the Autumn term into Mr Rosens class. He quickly became known as a brilliant schoolboy who had above average intelligence, I always wondered why he was put into Upper IB instead of the A stream, maybe it was because he was new to the district having moved in from Lincoln.

At first Mr Rosen placed Nick in a group away from where I was sitting and located him near children who had come in from Langdon Hills School and Markhams Chase. I was located with fellow Laindon Park school friends for the first term. In the term after Christmas the whole class moved to a different room and Mr Rosen put myself and Nick together near the back of the class, quite a trusting thing to do considering my previous reputation for being a chattery little rebel!!

I learnt a lot by sitting near Nick and Mr Rosen seemed to look favourably on us. This was useful because in the second year I was moved up to Upper 2A with Mr Rees. Nick moved away from Laindon in 1959. I never heard anything from him until one day in 1969 I was reading New Musical Express and saw that a young reporter doing an interview with the Walker Brothers (Scott Walker etc) it was Nick Logan. I wrote to the paper and Nick replied saying he was married and living in Leyton. I was then able to track his soaring success from a distance. Nick eventually  became editor of NME and wrote and published a best-selling paperback called The NME Book of Rock which I quickly went out to buy in the mid 1970s.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Nick Logan' page

In 1980, as Tony Quinn describes at Magforum.com, Nick had launched The Face, using £12,000 he raised by mortgaging his house (Emap publishers had turned the idea down). It called itself 'a visual-orientated youth culture magazine' and was the sort of magazine he wanted to read. He also invented Smash Hits for Emap. This background showed in the music focus of the early issues. It was in the right place - and had the right designer in Neville Brody - to become the 'house magazine' of the New Romantics, Boy George and the clubbing scene. By the late 1980s, The Face had  become a style bible for the under-25s and was selling 88,000 copies a month.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Nick Logan' page

However, male readers who grew too old for The Face still had nowhere to go, so Nick thought up Arena as a quarterly, niche title, with a mix of fashion, fads and fiction, and again designed by Neville Brody. It hit the streets in 1986.

Peter Howarth, a later Arena editor, has said there was no conscious decision to make a grown up version of existing youth magazines. 'Nick Logan, launched The Face in 1980 because it was a magazine he wanted to read. But six years on he wanted to read a different magazine because he had moved on - as had all The Face readers - so he decided to do a men's magazine. It was never really a gap in the market; he just wanted to make the sort of magazine he wanted to read.' 

Despite industry scepticism, Arena was an instant success and a later editor, Dylan Jones wrote, "When Arena launched in 1986, it caused a huge media stir because it was the first general-interest magazine to be launched in the UK since the demise of Michael Heseltine's Town in the sixties. Nick Logan, the publishing wizard who had conquered the youth market with the NME, Smash Hits and The Face, proved everybody wrong. After six months, his brainchild was selling more than 50,000 copies. Launched on a wing and a prayer, it gained a circulation of more than 65,000 in its first year, proving that the Bermuda triangle of British publishing was nothing more than a myth."

In November 1988, the strain of having a second title led Nick to sell 40 per cent of his company, Wagadon, to Vogue publisher Condé Nast. He said at the time: 'The magazines are still under our control. But the deal will allow us to grow at a natural pace, knowing there's a cushion of support under us.  Arena was selling 66,500 copies an issue and was a spur for Condé Nast to launch the British edition of GQ a year later. However, Nick Logan denied being formally involved.

So here we are in 2012, Nick and I will be 65 this year, a privilege shared by Elton John and David Bowie. Nick has already long retired and is reputed to still be living in the London area. I consider myself lucky to have met Nick because I feel his influence helped me up to the top level in LHR at the earliest possible stage. He also introduced me to many of the pop records around at the time in those early days including King Creole which was a number one by Elvis that 1958 Christmas and Charlie Brown by the Coasters another of our favourites in Summer 1959. I’m still combing the 1958 photograph looking for him but no success yet. Let’s hope he gets to read this website. 

Editor: As you will see from the comments below it appears that a considerable amount of this article was obtained from another site without either obtaining permission or attributing the article, this is a breach of copyright and could leave us open to legal action. As we are a voluntary group this could be disastrous, in this instance Tony Quinn has asked that I add a link in the article which I have done. Please take note and be more careful in future.

This page was added by Richard Haines on 04/02/2012.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

I was reminded again recently about my former Laindon High Road School friend Nick Logan. I was reading Pete Townshend's book Who I Am and he describes how his publishing company Eel Pie Books had offices on the top floor of a studio in Soho. In the same building Pete describes how Nick (former editor of New Musical Express) became his tenant, setting up his huge art camera and publishing The Face, the trendsetting life style magazine. Pete seems proud to have known Nick, saying that they were part of the creative and fashionable heartbeat of the city. Fascinating times, far from Mr Rosen's class in 1958 !

By Richard Haines
On 28/06/2013

Hi Richard glad you were amused by my comment about Nick Logan's sister unfortunately I never had the pleasure of knowing Nick, but had the pleasure of knowing his sister.

By Brian Cordell
On 05/05/2012

Good to see more interest in my article on Nick Logan this time from Tony Quinn (his reference above). Tony has pointed out that when presenting this article I had to do some considerable internet research into the period when Nick set up his own magazines The Face and Arena, clearly the pinnacle of his career (Tony this is your 'mention'). However, the main point of my text is that Nick deserves our recognition for his achievements following his brief time in Laindon when we were school friends, the most pertinent section of my article as far as the Laindon Archive is concerned. I have been in touch with Nick lately and he pointed out his position on the 1958 LHR photograph after trying to mislead me into looking for a boy with a Harrington jacket and Bill Haley hairstyle. He has read all of our comments on the article and was amused that Brian Cordell couldn't remember him but clearly remembered his good looking sister. Nick Logan remains a talented guy, still retaining all his sharp style.

By Richard Haines
On 03/05/2012

Hello Richard. Great article - but very familiar in that most of it is taken from one of my pages http://www.magforum.com/mens.htm Magforum is quoted all over the web but most sites credit the source. I'd be grateful if you would do so too! Thanks

By Tony Quinn
On 02/05/2012

As I said recently, Nick Logan can be followed on Twitter if you have time. Below is a tweet from him today, at least he was honest !!; @logan_nick Nick Logan Might have joined Melody Maker instead of NME from my local paper but I couldn't read music. Yes, that's what I said. Also, no beret.

By Richard Haines
On 05/03/2012

I discovered this weekend that Nick is a regular on Twitter and some of his sharply edged tweets had me smiling. Looks like he is a follower of West Ham United (as would befit a former LHR student). Nice to know he has lost none of his edge even as a retired style guru.

By Richard Haines
On 28/02/2012

Nina, your daughters Brixton experience in the 1990s was typical even then in the 1960s.

Our brief visits to the Ram Jam in Autumn 1967 were confined to when I was working for Acrow engineers. We always dreaded leaving the company Bedford van (remember those with the sliding doors) outside the club (you could park on the roads then) but despite the gangster atmosphere the only detour we had was to take two young black girls home on our way back to Kensington where we were staying.

The popular records then were Soul Man by Sam and Dave and Pucker up Buttercup by Junior Walker. Dudes!! Quite handy those sliding doors.

By Richard Haines
On 19/02/2012

Richard. I’m not surprised that you wouldn’t recommend Brixton. My daughter went to a concert at the Brixton Academy in the nineties with her then boyfriend. They left the car in the car park there. When they came out, they had no number plates – they’d been yanked off. Worried they’d be pulled up on the way home, they called into the local police station and explained. The Police wrote out a statement saying what had happened, then signed and stamped it. They said ‘You can drive home without the number plates and if you get pulled up, just show the statement, but get the number plates replaced ASAP”. Amazingly, they weren’t pulled up on the way home but they did get replacement plates very quickly.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 15/02/2012

Eric. I haven’t got copies of the LPs you mention but I think my younger brother may well have. He has a great collection of seventies albums. 

As for Joe Brown. I have a number of his 45” records which are autographed and in their original covers. They were given to me by an old neighbour of ours who used to work with Joe on the railway. He had kept in touch with Joe who autographed the records for him. Old neighbour was quite ill, but used to come in to us sometimes for a curry – he died in the late nineties. I will always treasure the records he gave me. I believe I first saw Joe playing his guitar on the shows Six Five Special and Oh Boy. He looked so young and shy in his blond crew cut. However, he's really quite a chirpy chappy and still plays great music.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 14/02/2012

Nina, you have mentioned The Marquee club here, quite a place, I used to go to Tiles in Oxford Street and also went a couple of times to Brixton Ram Jam (not recommended really -me and my buddy Andy Mitchell (RIP) at the the time were the only two white faces in there). as you say all this was 1967 a brilliant year. I would bet our old LHR connection Nick Logan was well into this scene as well.

By Richard Haines
On 14/02/2012

Nina, Do you have the album "Songwriter" by Justin Hayward and also "Blue Jays" by Justin Hayward & John Lodge. Also John Lodge's Natural Avenue album is another good one. When you mentioned Lost Chord album made me dig it out again too, along with Days of Future Passed, Question of Balance and one later I particularly like is Octave. Enjoy the sing a long Regards

Just a useless bit of info on Joe Brown. His first job was as a fireman on the old steam trains on Fenchurch - Shoeburynes line. My Dad was a train guard then and worked with him. Always said he would be off the trains quick smart and hasn't he done well and still going obviously. Remember "Picture of You' and also instrumental 'Talking Guitar'.

By Eric Pasco
On 14/02/2012

Hi Eric. Oh Yes, the Moody Blues. I adore their LP ‘In Search of the Lost Chord’ the stereo effects on that are wonderful. 

I was always a little bit in love with Justin Hayward – hence my son’s name, Mark Justin. I was lucky enough to see Justin at Marty Wilde’s 50 Years of Rock and Roll concert at the Palladium in May 2007 He sang a duet with Marty - ‘Nights in White Satin’ – fantastic. I have the DVD of that concert and I can be seen in the audience looking rather happy. I must dig out ‘Lost Chord’ and listen to it again. 

We also had lots of records from the fifties and even further back, but my brother has those at his house. I loved all that great music and the NME. Best wishes

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 10/02/2012

Hi Richard, like your story about Nick Logan I don't remember him but I remember he had realy good looking sister who went to fryens her name was Diane Logan.

By Brian Cordell
On 10/02/2012

Pretty good collection there Nina, but think we can beat that. My wife's Dad had the record stall in Basildon market so we have a huge collection of vinyl singles going back to Petula Clark's "Sailor", EP'S and LP'S FROM mid 50's to 70's. 

Saw Pet Clark in Perth recently and she was great especially as she is 80. 

I was also into the Moody Blues and they too were very very good live, just last November. I took 2 of my sons along and converted them. Great music back then, even some of the present stuff is okay in moderation.

By Eric Pasco
On 10/02/2012

Hi Richard. You and I must be sitting on a small fortune. I have a great collection of vinyl LPs and singles right through from Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Animals, Beach Boys and Tamla Motown. 1967 was the year.

I met Colin at ‘The Mecca’ in Basildon and he introduced me to soul music. He and his friends used to go to the Marquee Club. Then I started collecting Stax and Atlantic labels. My favourite is Otis Reading and Carla Thomas ‘King and Queen’. I had been planning to go with friends to see Jimi Hendix live, but I chose to pull out to be with Colin. That was quite a price to pay but worth it. 

I now have some of those albums on CD but they are not quite the same as vinyl. Occasionally my daughter asks ‘Mum have you got ….? I reply ‘Yes’. She says ‘Do you know that’s worth hundreds on e-bay? I reply ‘Wow’, but I couldn’t bear to part with anything’.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 07/02/2012

Hi Gloria. Yes, those shows were fabulous. I watched them on TV in the early sixties and longed to be there. I saw the ticket application form in NME in the spring of 1967, so I filled it in and sent it off. I went with friends in 1967 and with fiancé (Colin) and friends in 1968 and 1969. It was so exciting waiting for the train on Laindon station early Sunday morning and we weren’t the only youngsters from Laindon heading for Wembley. However, they stopped televising those shows in 1966, so the three I went to, weren’t shown on TV. Doh! 

Still I was there and I got to see my idle Dusty Springfield plus dozens of sixties groups including the Animals, Manfred Mann, The Who, The Move, oh loads of them and some American artists too. Those shows were always held in May on a Sunday afternoon and started about 2 pm and went on until early evening. Jimmy Saville and other DJs did the comparing. I was in seventh heaven. 

The noise from the crowd was terrific with their klaxon horns, bells, hooters etc. Each group supposed to do about 20 minutes each but in 1967, the Small Faces were on last and they wouldn’t come off. They carried on playing for about an hour – Steve Marriott was great. During the 1968 show, we had the list of who was appearing, but Jimmy Saville kept saying he had a surprise for us later. Oh boy was it a surprise. Towards the end, the Rolling Stones came on to play their new number ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ (Brian Jones was still alive then). Because they hadn’t been on the bill, the crowd nearly raised the roof. Marianne Faithful was in the seats higher than the stage and threw tulips down on to the stage. I was very disappointed when those shows were discontinued. I doubt if there will ever be anything quite like them again. 

I used to pin pictures from NME on my bedroom wall. I can hardly believe that the chap who wrote in that magazine and then became editor was at the same school at the same time as me. I have some books stashed away somewhere. The NME book of Rock and Roll may even be amongst them. 

The loudest concert I ever went to was The Monkees at Wembley Arena in 1967. I was 19 and as the audience was mostly girls, the screaming was deafening. We really thought our hearing was damaged because my friend and I couldn’t hear each other when we came out. Our ears were ringing for hours after and it was quite worrying really, but thankfully we gradually recovered. 

In the early seventies, my mum and dad used to baby-sit occasionally so we could go to concerts. Black Sabbath at The Kursaal and The Strawbs at Cliffs Pavillion to name just two. Now I baby-sit while my daughter goes to see her favourite groups, Depache Mode, Erasure and AHA (before they retired). We still go to concerts occasionally and have booked to see Joe Brown at Cliffs Pavilion in March – I love him. Best wishes.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 07/02/2012

Nina, wow three NME concerts in a row huh? I was never lucky enough to go to those. The three years you mentioned I was studying at Braintree College, selling my Vespa and buying my first two cars, this took most of my money!! 

The music I was into then consisted of Tamla Motown and Stax records, I've still got some of those as vinyl!!

By Richard Haines
On 07/02/2012

Richard a great article. I Have heard of Nick Logan and NME but didn't know he had ties with Laindon.

How lucky you are Nina, to go to those concerts I had my young son then, so had to watch them from my armchair.

By Gloria Sewell
On 06/02/2012

Richard. I really enjoyed this article. I was always an avid reader of the NME, so must have read Nick Logan’s words without realising he had been to Laindon High Road School. I went to the NME Poll Winners' concerts at Wembley Arena in 1967, 1968 and 1969. Those shows were fantastic, so many great names and fantastic music.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 04/02/2012
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