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Barbara Charone: Meet the Chelsea director who helped break Madonna

Jobs for women in the music business in those days were few and far between the PR guru and new Chelsea FC director tells BBC News and so the bouncer believed she must only have been there for one reason.

I turned up and said I am on the guest list and the guy just went Yeah sure you are recalls Charone who used to write for magazines such as Sounds and Rolling Stone. So condescending and completely because I was female.The Chicagoan moved to The Who has hometown of London several years later in 1974 and found it was a similar story. When I first came to England and I started to freelance for the NME the only other women on the paper were a photographer from New York who was freelance and the editors secretary and there was another British female photographer Pennie Smith she explains. So there were hardly any women.

And it was the same with record companies and women were always really relegated to certain kinds of jobs like artists liaison where they would book the restaurants hotels and travel. Charone ultimately moved from being a music journalist to working in PR and media relations.There were not really many female managing directors or people in positions of importance so things have changed completely she says.Charone known affectionally and in some quarters trepidatiously in the industry as simply BC is speaking following the release of her memoir Access All Areas which reflects on her 50 year career in music as a writer publicist and co director of her own PR firm MBC as well following her beloved Blues.

Written in lockdown with a little encouragement from former client and fellow recent rock autobiographer Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream the book has been described by Victoria Segal in The Times as an irrepressible account of nearly five decades in the music industry thats less lurid exposé more side stage view of the machinery that allows the show to go on. I would have liked more about that aspect of being a woman albeit a forceful one in a mans world added Barbara Ellen in the Observer. All in all though what a voice and what a read.Charones career has seen her honoured several times by Music Week including at its Women In Music Awards. The publication described her as one of the most successful and enduring players in the music industry.

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