30 years ago the Sex Pistols were less than complimentary about them, accusing them of bandwagon jumping for cash without artistry. It was a good tune and very zeitgeisty. But the Pistols went and signed with Virgin instead and formed their own nice little earner. When art and industry line up behind the tape, irony is the odds-on favourite.
EMI's style was peculiarly British. In parts staid and establishment but also with an undercurrent of revolution and bumbling invention. EMI was, probably in equal parts, both "The Man" and his nemesis.
Nemesis won. Last week, EMI effectively died with barely a whimper. Such a whimper that I wasn't even aware of it until ten minutes ago. Here is an excellent eulogy. The bit about one man being able to personally save the company is particularly timely, given that it's 40 years since one of his, and his erstwhile ex-employer's, defining moments.
I do get sentimental about this kind of thing. Like most Brits, I'm a bit EMI myself; one part is very establishment, the other sticks two fingers up to it. EMI wouldn't have been the company it was without its shareholders tolerating its rather idiosyncratic behaviour in order to produce some of the greatest popular music of the last 100 years, so comments like those of Chris Martin, biting off the hand that's been feeding him rather nicely for the past few years, stick in the craw somewhat.
Abbey Road studios will now be leveled to make way for The Sgt. Pepper sk8 park.