David Hepworth

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David Hepworth (born 27 July 1950) is a British music journalist, writer and publishing industry analyst who was instrumental in the foundation of a number of popular magazines in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Along with the journalist, editor and broadcaster Mark Ellen, he turned the pop magazine Smash Hits into one of the most popular UK music magazines of the 1980s. He co-presented the BBC broadcast of Live Aid on 13 July 1985, when he was the presenter told by Bob Geldof to "fuck the address" when pleading with viewers to send in their money.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

David Hepworth was born in Dewsbury, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and attended the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, and Trent Park College of Education. He worked for HMV and Beserkley Records, before becoming a freelance journalist.


His career in journalism began with contributions to NME and Sounds. He joined the newly launched magazine Smash Hits in 1979, and two years later, after turning it around financially, became its editor. In 1983 he launched Just Seventeen, a perennially popular magazine for teenage girls, and in 1984 Looks. Since then he has launched several other magazines, including Q (1986), More (1987), Empire (1988), Mojo (1993), Heat (1999) and The Word (2003). He is currently director of the publishing company Development Hell.[4]

In the early 1980s he presented the BBC television show The Old Grey Whistle Test[5] and was one of the presenters covering Live Aid.[6] On both of these he worked with long-term friend Mark Ellen. Hepworth famously provoked Bob Geldof to repeatedly use the word "fuck" live on air.[7] Hepworth is featured in a podcast promoting the "Top of the Pops" boxset alongside Mark Goodier, Miles Leonard and Malcolm McLaren. He has written for The Guardian and for the UK trade magazine InPublishing.

In the 1990s he was a regular presenter on BBC GLR 94.9 - the BBCs Rock station for London.

In 2006, Hepworth sold his independent publishing company Development Hell to the EMAP group (today known as Ascential).[8][9]

He now concentrates on publishing books on music nostalgia, his read "David Hepworth's blog", and collaborations with Mark Ellen on Word In Your Ear, a series of podcasts and music-themed live events.[10]

In 2021, Hepworth's book 1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year was adapted into the Apple TV+ documentary mini-series 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything.


  • Abbey Road Studios at 90. London: Bantam, 2022. ISBN 978-1787636101
  • Overpaid, Oversexed and Over There: How a Few Skinny Brits with Bad Teeth Rocked America. London: Bantam, 2020. ISBN 978-1787632769
  • Rock & Roll A Level: The only quiz book you need. London: Bantam, 2020. ISBN 978-1-7876-3439-8
  • A Fabulous Creation: How the LP Saved Our Lives. London: Bantam, 2019. ISBN 978-1-7841-6208-5
  • Nothing is Real: The Beatles Were Underrated And Other Sweeping Statements About Pop. London: Bantam, 2018. ISBN 978-1-7841-6407-2
  • Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars. London: Bantam, 2017. ISBN 978-0-5930-7762-7
  • 1971 – Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year. London: Bantam, 2016. ISBN 0-5930-7487-4
  • The Secret History of Entertainment. London: Fourth Estate, 2010. ISBN 0-0071-9011-5


  1. ^ Dylan, Jones. "The Eighties: One Day, One Decade". Random House, 6 Jun 2013
  2. ^ "Live Aid and false memory syndrome". whatsheonaboutnow.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  3. ^ ScallywagsTV2 (2015-04-17), 80's Scandals - Bob Geldof swears at Live aid., archived from the original on 2021-12-22, retrieved 2017-10-12
  4. ^ David Hepworth. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2014
  5. ^ "Old Grey Whistle Test to return to BBC". telegraph.co.uk, 06 Jul 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2014
  6. ^ "The challenge for Live 8 and Geldof". CNN. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Live Aid Concert". Ovi Magazine. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Dispatches: Last mag standing". The Guardian, 14 April 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  9. ^ Morris, Sophie. "https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/my-mentor-dominic-smith-on-david-hepworth-774785.html". The Independent, 28 January 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  10. ^ "The Word Podcast – A Word In Your Ear". Retrieved 2020-10-16.

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