Omnibus Press

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Omnibus Press
Omnibus Press logo.gif
Parent company Music Sales Group (as of 2006)
Founded 1976
Headquarters location United Kingdom
Distribution Worldwide
Publication types Books
Official website

Omnibus Press is the world’s largest specialist publisher of music-related books.[1] It publishes around 30[2] new titles a year to add to a backlist of over 250 titles currently in print.


Omnibus Press was launched in 1976 as a general non-fiction publisher to complement the sheet music published and distributed by its parent company Music Sales Ltd.[3] The previous year Music Sales had launched a separate company called Book Sales Ltd and the earliest Book Sales catalogue, issued in 1975, included compilations of underground comic strips, art and photography titles and one of the earliest ever books on the then newly discovered art of video.

After former Melody Maker music journalist Chris Charlesworth joined as Omnibus editor in 1983,[4] it was decided to concentrate exclusively on music books, and among its earliest acquisitions was Rock Family Trees by acclaimed music archivist Pete Frame which remain in print to this day and have been the basis of two BBC TV series. Over the succeeding decades Omnibus has published many best-selling definitive biographies on most of rock’s greatest superstars. These include Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance by Johnny Rogan, Dear Boy: The Life Of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher, Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story by Victor Bockris and Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White.

Among noted rock and pop writers whose work has been published by Omnibus over the years are Richard Williams, Chris Welch, Peter Dogget, Patrick Humphries, David Sinclair and Everett True (UK) and Dave Marsh, Paul Williams, Nelson George, Jerry Hopkins, David Ritz and Danny Sugerman (US).

Music Sales has published The Beatles’ printed sheet music since the company’s inception, and this close relationship with the world’s most famous pop group is reflected in the large number of high quality Beatles-related books that Omnibus has published over the years. These include The Beatles: A Diary by Barry Miles, a Beatles insider from the early days, With The Beatles: The Historic Photos of Dezo Hoffman, the most iconic photo book on the band ever published, and The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles by Dominic Pedlar, the most detailed analytical study of their music. In 2007 Omnibus published Colin Larkin’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise Edition). At 1,600 pages, this is the abridged version of Larkin’s renowned 10-volume encyclopedia, the most authoritative biographical listing of rock, pop and jazz artists ever published.[5]

In 2006 Music Sales acquired Sanctuary Books which added a significant number of additional music books to the Omnibus catalogue, as well as a number of sports, travel and novelty & gift books.

Photo books[edit]

Omnibus Press also publishes photo books under its Vision On imprint, with books on The Clash, Queen, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Iggy Pop, The Smiths and the Bob Dylan pictures of Barry Feinstin. It has published the work of rock photographers Jim Marshall, Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Ross Halfin and Steve Gullick and of Storm Thorgerson, the album sleeve designer most famous for his work with Pink Floyd. It published the iconic Skinhead book by fashion photographer Nick Knight.

Graphic novels[edit]

Omnibus Press have published a series of graphic novels by the British comics creator Jim McCarthy. Titles include, Metallica: Nothing Else Matters - The Graphic Novel,[6] Gabba Gabba Hey! The Graphic Story Of The Ramones,[7] Sex Pistols: The Graphic Novel, Michael Jackson: Neverland - The Life And Death Of Michael Jackson, Reckless Life: Guns And Roses and GodSpeed: The Kurt Cobain Graphic Novel. [8]

Notable books[edit]

  • The Beatles: A Diary.
  • Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance.
  • The Life Of Keith Moon.
  • Syd Barrett: Crazy Diamond.
  • Paul Weller: My Ever Changing Moods.
  • Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Life of Ian Dury.
  • Abba: Bright Lights & Dark Shadows.
  • Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir.
  • Johnny Cash: American Icon.
  • The Dark Story Of Eminem.
  • Hey Ho let’s Go: The Ramones.
  • Metallica: Justice For All.
  • The Libertines: Highs & Lows.
  • Mod: A Very British Phenomenon.
  • Mods A New Religion.
  • Without Frontiers The Life And Music Of Peter Gabriel.
  • George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door.
  • Under The Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush.
  • The Lionel Bart Story: Fings Ain't Wot They Used T' Be.
  • Steely Dan: Reelin’ In The Years.
  • Kurt Cobain: Godspeed.
  • Look Wot I Dun: Don Powell.
  • Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words.
  • Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams & Rumors.


External links[edit]