Mojo has posted an interesting article defending the frequently derided A&R system which was responsible for signing and managing a significant number of major label and indie musicians. The article presents the argument that "the removal of the A&R man as a filter between artist and consumer means there is more utterly awful music available than ever before. "
Both The Jam and Blur were asked "where's the f__king single" about, respectively, All Mod Cons and Modern Life Is Rubbish. The results? Paul Weller was jolted out of his writer's block and realised that the album they'd handed over to A&R man Chris Parry, dominated by Bruce Foxton songs, wasn't much cop, went back home to mum and dad's, listened to some Kinks albums and wrote Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, Mr Clean and English Rose. When Food Records' Dave Balfe and Andy Ross asked Damon Albarn the same question 13 years later, he went home, listened to some Kinks albums and wrote For Tomorrow and Chemical World. With respect to Ray Davies, if it hadn't been for those A&R interventions it's arguable we would never have heard of Weller or Albarn again.
Check out the article here.