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Nine Eight acquires the first book from singer, songwriter and composer Mike Batt

Nine Eight Books, the dedicated music imprint of Bonnier Books UK’s Black & White Publishing Group, has acquired The Closest Thing to Crazy by singer, songwriter and composer, Mike Batt.

Pete Selby, publishing director of Nine Eight, acquired World All Language rights directly from the author.

In The Closest Thing to Crazy, Batt gives an honest self-examination of his life featuring stories of studio encounters and relationships with some of the biggest stars in the business from Paul McCartney to Prince. Batt takes us not only on the rocky (and classical) journey of his life but also on a tour around the inside of his head. 

Idiosyncratic but mainstream, complicated but compassionate, steadfastly maverick in spirit but avowedly commercial in outlook, Batt is a man of great contradictions, but even greater talent. With a zest for adventure and achievement after starting out in the music business as a teenager, Batt shot to fame in the early 1970s for his part in the creation of the Wombles. This success proved to be just the beginning as Batt then went on to work with various artists as a songwriter and producer, including Art Garfunkel, George Harrison, Cliff Richard, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Katie Melua. 

Mike Batt is an incredibly accomplished musician, songwriter, producer and composer, whose career has taken in all aspects of the industry.  Described as a ‘polymath’, a ‘renaissance man’ and ‘one of the most colourful characters in the music business’, Mike Batt has led an extraordinarily vibrant and challenging life that has been full of both glorious victories and bitter failures. For better or for worse, he is a man who has always lived life on his own terms. 

Mike Batt said: ‘I started writing this book more than twenty years ago, and have returned to update and add to it every few years or so. Sometimes I’ve wondered whether I’ve revealed too much of my inner feelings but, when in doubt, I’ve chosen to err on the side of frankness. I have never been worried about being perceived as slightly eccentric, and equally I’ve never sought that label. I am a serious musician trapped in the body of someone with a slightly overdeveloped sense of humour.’

Pete Selby said: ‘For many people of a certain generation, Mike Batt’s incredible songwriting was the gateway drug to a wider world of musical escapism. Everything that is magical and alluring about pop music can be found within the grooves of his Wombles records – a gift for melody to rival McCartney or Cole Porter, served up to ‘70s kids in the most unlikely furry trojan horse. But Mike’s musical life story is also a remarkable personal journey. A visionary, singular talent who has worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment, a man who has soared high but also experienced bitter lows, who has influenced both the underground and the overground and has lived to tell it all.’

Mike Batt is a singer, songwriter, producer and composer who has been making hit records for more than fifty years. As the lead singer and creator of The Wombles pop group in the early 1970s, the multi-Ivor Novello Award winner has written and produced music for many artists, including Art Garfunkel, Cliff Richard, David Essex, and Katie Melua, conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, and worked across many art forms, directing, designing, conducting, and engaging in entrepreneurial activities in the entertainment industry.

The Closest Thing to Crazy will publish on 26th September 2024 in hardback, eBook and audiobook.