DEDICATED FOLLOWER: A HISTORY
Dedicated Follower fanzine was born in 1985 as an Eleanor Rigby zine initially, then becoming a fully-fledged Modzine by issue three but it still had a heavy Eleanor slant to it. So with a special Best of Eleanor Rigby CD out this month and a 30th anniversary imminent for D.F we thought it a good idea to do an article on the magazine. The last paper issue came out at the end of 1988. An Internet version was launched online around 1994 and stopped around the year 2004.
In it's time Dedicated Follower had quite a few landmark moments. It was the first fanzine to have a glossy photo stuck on the front cover.
It also became one of, if not the best selling Modzine of the 80's. This was for a variety of reasons. Firstly Eleanor Rigby had over 5,000 fans in her fan club during that period and all got a free copy as part of their subscription.
It also sold 1,000 copies to non fan club members. When it became a proper Modzine not just an Eleanor zine it sold a few thousand more. However the real high point came when Caroline Exports (part of Virgin), who also sold Eleanor's records abroad started selling fanzines around the world as well. Sales were regularly 10-15,000 with one issue reaching the magic 20,000.
Like all zines it started off ropey but got better as it went along. Although today they can look antiquated because of the sophistication of computers, printers and other things these days, back then it was put together by a rickety old typewriter, tipex, gum stuck graphics and photocopied by a copier that broke down on a regular basis (I don't miss those good old days) Add a touch of dyslexic to the equation and you get the picture. But it was about zine culture, which was the do it yourself culture that gave birth to fanzines in the first place.
The next big landmark came when the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum wanted to buy a complete set of Dedicated Followers to feature in a Mod exhibition in late 1987. The following year they completed the full set when the last issue came out and they are now housed in the V&A on a permanent basis as a testament to the Mod culture of the time.
Above exclusive photo from The Victoria & Albert Museum Mod exhibition in 1987 ; Bottom left D.F editor Russell C. Brennan, Top right contributor Eleanor Rigby and you might just recognise ace face and mod author Paulo Hewitt centre bottom.
The final for Dedicated Follower landmark came when a set sold for over £100 on Ebay in the last decade. Lately individual copies have been seen to go for £15 -£20, So they also became very collectible. Only 13 issues were ever done.
Was D.F the best zine on the scene? Probably not, many were glossier and more professional. It did however contain many very interested articles and some interviews with big names like Ray Davies, Martha Reeves, Malcolm McClaren, and Bill Drummond to name but a few. Plus of course it had an exclusive insight into Eleanor Rigby during her time as a pop singer and a Mod face of the time.
A limited edition version of only 100 copies is out now and looking to recreate the look and feel of the original. More info can be found at the link below.