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Dele Fadele

Dele Fadele
Ayodele Fadele

(1962-08-08)8 August 1962
Highbury, London
DiedMarch 2018

Dele Fadele (8 August 1962 – March 2018[1]) was a Nigerian/English music journalist and musician active from the mid-1980s.[2] He is best known for his writings for NME in the late 1980s and early 1990s and as one of the first music critics to introduce then emerging US rap artists such as Public Enemy,[3] De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest[4] to mainstream British music fans.[1]

Fadele had broad musical tastes, ranging from hip-hop and acid house to shoegazing, industrial and grunge.[5] He wrote extensive pieces on artists including Nick Cave, New Order, 808 State,[6] Einstürzende Neubauten, Marianne Faithfull and Osibisa.[7] He was gregarious in life; according to Andrew Collins, in the 1990s Fadele would arrive at the NME office each morning from a squat, but was always "absolutely impassioned".[8]

He died in March 2018 after suffering from cancer. His death was not known to his former music industry colleagues until August 2020. Many of them wrote shocked but highly appreciative obituaries in the following days. Chuck D of Public Enemy said that Fadele was the "first black journalist from the UK that ever interviewed me", and that he "thought that was amazing. And it was for our first important spread in the UK music press too."[2]


In the 1990s, he was a member of the electronic band Welfare Heroin.[7][9] Fadele was always outspoken; Courtney Love described his damning review of Hole's 1991 gig at the Camden Underworld as "the worst" review she had ever received. In the article, Fadele described hearing the band as akin to "suddenly [feeling] a dark cloud descends and you’re enveloped by gloom". He continued to write that "Hole Their ability to depress in the name of entertainment is unrivalled."[9]

In 1992, he was the first critic to highlight Morrissey's adaption of right-wing imagery and anti-immigration attitudes, when he accused the singer of "fanning the flames of race-hate".[10] In the article, Fadele asked: "So, could the same writer harbour such seemingly ignorant thoughts as England for the English (his inverted commas) considering his beloved England's past colonial adventures?".[10][11]

Neither he nor NME were apparently ever forgiven by Morrissey – according to The Guardian, "When...the paper's sole black writer Dele Fadele persuaded NME's editors to publish a critical cover story about it, Morrissey refused to speak to the magazine for 12 years."[12][13]


He died after a short illness with stomach cancer in March 2018.[1] He had been out of contact with fellow music journalists for a number of years, and his passing was only noticed by the UK press in August 2020 when it was reported that he had died two years earlier. Former Melody Maker writer Simon Price was one of the first to hear, and on August 21, 2020 tweeted that "Word has been slowly breaking that Dele Fadele, the legendary NME writer, passed away two years ago".[14] The news was met with widespread tributes and professional accolades.

Writing for The Quietus in an article published that day, John Doran said that Fadele was "one of those gloriously larger than life figures who instantaneously makes you realise that it is sometimes the music writers and photographers who live much wilder lives than the media-managed stars they document."[7] Musician and writer John Robb wrote how Fadele's "deep love of music was hypnotic.. we would spend hours talking about noise rock, hip hop and afrobeat – he was incredibly clued up on a myriad of musical styles and was a completely switched on and inspiring presence."[2]

Fellow NME journalist David Quantick said that he "Learned last night that Dele Fadele had died, some time ago. He was a brilliant friend, a lovely man and a fantastic writer. And he sneaked into a lot of record collections with Welfare Heroine's cover of Where Do You Go To My Lovely."[15]


  1. ^ a b c Jonze, Tim. "'He was a groundbreaker and a visionary': music writer Dele Fadele remembered". The Guardian, 14 September 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  2. ^ a b c Robb, John. "Dele Fadele – music journalist legend RIP". Louder Than War, 20 August 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  3. ^ Fadele, Dele. "Public Enemy: The Enemy Without" (sub required). NME, 16 May 1987
  4. ^ Fadele, Dele. "A Tribe Called Quest: Why Are You Being So Treasonable Now?" (sub required). NME, 15 December 1990
  5. ^ "Dele Fadele'". Rock's Backpages. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  6. ^ Fadele, Dele. "808 State: Town and Country Club, London" (sub required). NME, 6 March 1993
  7. ^ a b c Doran, John. "Music Journalist Dele Fadele Has Died". The Quietus, 21 August 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  8. ^ Long, Pat. The History of the NME: High times and low lives at the world's most famous music magazine. Portico, 2012. ASIN: B00PPH2Q4G
  9. ^ a b Reilly, Nick. "Tributes paid following the death of legendary NME writer Dele Fadele". NME, 21 August 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  10. ^ a b Fadele, Dele. "Morrissey: Caucasian Rut" (sub required). NME, 22 August 1992
  11. ^ Stubbs, David. "Why It's Time To Ditch Your Morrissey-Loving Friend". The Quietus, 4 July 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020
  12. ^ Jonze, Tim. "Bigmouth strikes again and again: why Morrissey fans feel so betrayed". The Guardian, 30 May 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020
  13. ^ Thomas-Mason, Lee. "Remembering when Cornershop set fire to Morrissey posters, 1992". Far Out, 17 May 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020
  14. ^ Price, Simon. "Twitter", August 21, 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021
  15. ^ Quantick, David. "Twitter", August 21, 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2021

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