As featured on RTÉ’s Radio 1 culture show ‘Arena’ on 9 August 2017

“A thoroughly researched work on the origins of that most elusive of English bands. I read it in one sitting.”

Rich Cundill, author of The Song of the Soul: The Authorised Martin Stephenson Biography

“A book that takes you back to a time when managers mortgaged their houses because music really mattered. I couldn’t put this book down.”

Ken Sweeney, journalist and creator of the documentary
In Search of the Blue Nile

"A great book... a long time in the making, The first volume of a tryptych, demonstrating the informed author's devotion to the subject."

Minco Eggersman, Film soundtrack composer and member of At the Close of Every Day

"An engrossing and insightful read, lovingly put together from extensive research. Essential stuff for Sprout fans"

Simon Barber, Sodajerker
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“Thoroughly enjoyed it… very engaging and well written. Years of work realised to a high standard.”

Mark Goodall, author of Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation

“Immediately engaging. Entertaining and thoughtfully written. Thoroughly informative and equally as interesting.”

Scott McPherson, Sproutless producer and member of Tiny Volcano

“Really enjoyed it… much work and dedication… thanks for writing a great book.”

Mick Lynch, author of The Beatles and Ireland

Prefab Sprout: The Early Years


Prefab Sprout: The Early Years is a book written from the inside world of Prefab Sprout, drawing from the frank, open, surprising, humorous and enlightening memoirs of those working with, supporting and befriending Paddy McAloon since he first picked up a guitar as a lad, starting out his love affair with words, melodies and art.

Although this book cannot be claimed to be an official biography of Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout, Paddy and his manager Keith Armstrong graciously opened all the doors for the author’s research that he ever could have hoped for.

The book draws upon a vast array of research materials compiled over a three year period: 64 interviews, 46 hours of audio memoirs, over 150,000 words of written memoirs and testimonials, exclusive studio photography, back stage and on the road photographs, access to hours of rare unpublished demos and songs, and over 12 hours of exclusive, unpublished interviews with Paddy McAloon himself, courtesy of some of Europe’s finest journalists, including the legendary Mat Snow.

Lengthy, honest and insightful interviews with the key players in McAloon’s career… including Kitchenware Records Directors Keith Armstrong and Paul Ludford, the legendary CBS/Sony A&R guru Muff Winwood, Thomas Dolby (the fifth Sprout), Calum Malcolm, friend and Prefab Sprout archivist David Brewis, and Neil Conti… have all made for the most in-depth research on Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout to date.

Prefab Sprout: The Early Years breaks down the story of Paddy McAloon’s Prefab Sprout from early on in the band’s conception in autumn 1977, through to their first official album release, Swoon.

John Birch

Book Details

Title: Prefab Sprout: The Early Years

Author: John Birch

ISBN: 978-1-9997967-0-9

Publisher: Paper Portal Publishing

Date: 26 August 2017

Language: English

Format: Hardback

No. Pages: 230

Size: 155mm x 210mm x 20mm

Weight: 475g

Images: 40 colour; 24 mono

Fully referenced bibliography and index included

Selling price: £17.50 plus P&P

Prefab Sprout: The Early Years also includes an expansive look at Kitchenware Records and the North East Music Scene between 1977 and 1985.

The book offers a look under the bonnet of Prefab Sprout as Paddy McAloon’s band travels from garage forecourt to pub gigs and onward to BBC Radio One with a little label called Kitchenware.

This book is the first of three, each tracing distinct chapters in Paddy McAloon’s songwriting career.