DEDICATED FOLLOWER: A HISTORY

Dedicated Follower fanzine was born in the spring of 1985 as an Eleanor Rigby fanzine. Eleanor hit big on the Mod scene in the 80s with some great gigs and notorious debut single I Want to Sleep With You (which came complete with free condom to promote safe sex because of Aids) It hit the UK national charts but was thrown out because of the free gift. Some classy pop singles followed and before the year was out she was enlisted to font a Mod Aid single with Steve Marriott of the Small Faces. By 1987 she had released the classic mod album 'Censorship' (which went on to influence many Britpoppers.
Eleanor had many fanatical fans so a fan club was called for which quickly grew to 5,000 strong after just a month. As part of the F.C membership, fans got a fanzine all about her (As she was a new face to some and others wanted to know more about her) It was co-written and put together by Eleanor and her songwriter/record producer husband Russell C. Brennan.
Like all fanzines, it started a bit ropey and was A4 size to start with. Issue two was unique because it had a glossy photo of Eleanor stuck on the front.
As both were Mods by issue 3 they decided to incorporate more about the Mod scene and other acts and articles about sixties bands they liked and other fun things. It also changed size to A5 and was available to buy outside of the fan club (who still got it free) via Mod outlets. It was a quarterly zine and went from strength to strength and was one of the best selling zines on the scene.

1987 saw it go stratospheric in sales terms with sales of up to 20,000 (almost unheard of for a fanzine: It caused a bit of jealous with other zines on the scene)
The reason for the big jump in sales was Eleanor & Russell owned their own record label 'Waterloo Sunset' which was distributed by Pinnacle but Eleanor records also sold tons to the rest on the world on export via Caroline Exports (owned by Virgin) and they sold the fanzine as well as her records adding substantially to the already decent UK sales.
Another big landmark that year was the Victoria and Albert Museum put on a big exhibition about Mod culture. They had heard about the sales of D.F, heard Eleanor's music and saw her in ID magazine and then read a positive interview with Eleanor about the Mod scene in the Daily Mirror so approached Russ and Eleanor about featuring them in the exhibition.
Dedicated Follower was the focus of the Fanzine section along with a few other important zines on the scene at the time. Both Eleanor & Russ featured in several photos at the exhibition along with her records sleeves. They also helped recommend other Mod acts, releases & zines. The V & A then bought up the original 12 D.F issues to keep in their archives (where you can still view them)

By 1988 things were in turmoil with Eleanor disappearing and a doppelgänger taking her place (full fascinating story in 'The Definitive Eleanor Rigby Story' paperback) email for more details as it's exclusive and not available online.
in 1989 a final issue (Ironically No.13) came out to tie up as many loose ends as possible and the fanzine then folded with Eleanor no longer being around and Russell losing all enthusiasm for anything at the time.
Russell eventually got a new record label in the 90's called Future Legend Records and formed two bands, Ministry of Ska and Box Office Poison but concentrating mostly on record producing, starting the Cult Themes trend.
However, there were many calls to relaunch DF over the years and since the internet was the new player in town, before everybody and his brother did a blog Russell tried out this idea doing an online version of D.F in the late '90s & early 2000s.
But Russell like others then saw the reality of doing a blog, in that it's time-consuming to keep it current all the time and like others have found initially enthusiasm soon wears off and it becomes sporadic. Russell, also felt the spirit of a zine was in its DIY ethos wrapped paper and new blogs online missed that point making them ultra-professional so he called a halt to DF online.
During the internet years and the growing popularity of eBay, a set of original D.F's were changing hands for many hundreds of pounds and even the occasional one-off issue £50.
Russell also started to see a trend of people going back to owning things like records, books and he thought, unlike others who saw blogs or Facebook/Twitter as the only way to do things to try out a limited edition paper copy. With it being the 30th anniversary of D.F he put out a limited edition copy of the zine. It exceeded expectations and proved extremely popular, Russell also found he enjoyed doing it again so release the 2nd edition the following year but then his day job as a multi-platform artist (releasing books, records & photo art) took up nearly every waking hour. So he thought that was it for D.F.
However, with it being the 40th anniversary of both the Mod revival & Quadrophenia in 2019 and with him being a Mod he thought he should do something to mark the occasion and released a commemorative D.F. This proved the most popular issue in years and the voices grew louder to bring it back full time. He wasn't sure he would have the time but with others offering to contribute and help to make it less of a one-man show (although he still does the Lion's share) he relented. The other thing that convinced him was people only wanted paper issues and were disillusioned with online stuff. As far as we know there are no other paper zines around at the moment so as that's an integral part of a Mods lifestyle (to own something) he has committed to doing 4-5 issues in 2020 to see how it goes. The first issue of 2020 got a fantastic response making the effort worthwhile. The 2nd release has just come out and a 3rd is in the works.
Feel free to email your feedback to the email address below since the printing & p&p costs just about cover the price of zine it's the feedback that is the pay-off for D.F.

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