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A rollicking look at 1971 - the busiest, most innovative and resonant year of the 70s, defined by the musical arrival of such stars as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Joni MitchellOn New Year's Eve, 1970, Paul McCartney told his lawyers to issue the writ at the High Court in London, effectively ending The Beatles. You might say this was the last day of the pop eA rollicking look at 1971 - the busiest, most innovative and resonant year of the 70s, defined by the musical arrival of such stars as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Joni MitchellOn New Year's Eve, 1970, Paul McCartney told his lawyers to issue the writ at the High Court in London, effectively ending The Beatles. You might say this was the last day of the pop era.The following day, which was a Friday, was 1971. You might say this was the first day of the rock era. And within the remaining 364 days of this monumental year, the world would hear Don McLean's "American Pie," The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," The Who's "Baba O'Riley," Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," Rod Stewart's "Maggie May," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," and more.David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well regarded critic, was twenty-one in '71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre's staying power.Never a Dull Moment is more than a love song to the music of 1971. It's also an homage to the things that inspired art and artists alike. From Soul Train to The Godfather, hot pants to table tennis, Hepworth explores both the music and its landscapes, culminating in an epic story of rock and roll's best year....

Title : 1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year
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ISBN : 9781627793995
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
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1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year Reviews

  • Joseph
    2019-05-23 21:16

    1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth is a look at the revolutionary musical year and how it changed the future of rock music. Hepworth is a music journalist, writer, and publishing industry analyst who has launched several successful British magazines, including Smash Hits, Q, Mojo and The Word, among many others.I was eight in 1971 and although a bit young to remember most of the year I do remember bits and pieces. It was the year All in the Family aired. I thought Archie Bunker was funny but didn't understand the humor. It was the year astronauts rode the moon buggy on the surface of the moon. In music, how could anyone miss "Joy to the World", "Maggie Mae", and "Me and Bobby McGee". I remember the music because for the large part it is still around. Granted (and maybe, fortunately) the Osmonds’ "One Bad Apple" has gone away. It was the start of the era where music stayed and although it was still around, bubblegum pop was being pushed aside. The big names came out and moved to their prime. Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath all found traction in 1971. The music industry started to change too. No longer was it waiting to play number one songs. It actively searched for them. Stations realised that it was better business to discover new music than merely follow along. I was fortunate to grow up with a very progressive radio station, WMMS, that promoted new bands. It was also the era of album rock and longer songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and the 45 you had to flip over to listen to the whole song "American Pie."Hepworth examines the stories behind the music how the industry thought they were getting a mediocre album from Carole King. Even the photographer for the album cover arrived to find a frizzy-haired woman in jeans and a pullover sweater. She looked like she was about to go work in the garden not make an album cover. The photographer put her cat in the frame and suddenly "Tapestry" became an iconic album. Tomboy Karen Carpenter came to fame as the drummer who sang. Once she was moved from behind the drums to center stage she became self-conscious of her looks and body which eventually lead to tragedy. December 1970 was the end of the Beatles and 1971 was the year Mick Jagger worked to save the Stones from breaking up. Black Sabbath released “Sweet Leaf” showing that Keith Richards wasn’t the only one who could experiment with guitar tuning. And on the subject of experimental, Pink Floyd released “Meddle”. 1971 was a unique year. Music spread. The “Theme from Shaft” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” brought music to other media. Just a quick glance at the top albums shows how 1971 shaped music -- Led Zeppelin IV, Who’s Next, Hunky Dory, Sticky Fingers, LA Woman, Aqualung, The Yes Album, Pearl… 1971 is a playlist in a year. Even for me, the music from bands and singers I normally wouldn’t listen, Joni Mitchell or Funkadelic, to all made music that I like. Hepworth knits the year together and explains the importance of that year in music combines it with pop culture. One would be hard pressed to find another year that offers the range and quality of music.

  • Elizabeth☮
    2019-05-14 22:06

    When I saw the year this covered, I knew I had to read it. I was born in 1971 and so I have grown up listening to many of the bands discussed in the book. Hepworth takes the year month by month so that we can understand how the creativity unfolded. This is a pivotal moment in the careers of many bands and artists that still are known today and revered (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rod Stewart, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Carole King, Carly Simon). We come to understand the terrain in which many albums were created. Some artists spent merely hours to create masterpieces. It seems the creative terrain was simply verdant. It is amazing to me that so many people were creating music at the same time. Hepworth gives a small list of songs released for the month at the end of each chapter. At the back of the book, we get a list of albums released in 1971 - a testament to the greatness of this moment in music.

  • Carol Storm
    2019-04-30 15:05

    Hepworth has a good line on when everything happened, but he has no idea why it happened. No insight into the artists, the politics, or the era, but each chapter ends with a list of really great tunes to download. Oh, and the cheap shots about rock stars making too much money and having too much sex become tiresome after a while. It's all veddy veddy British!

  • Loring Wirbel
    2019-05-03 18:03

    It's maddening to attempt to review a nonfiction musical history when both anecdotes and writing style are top-notch, yet the premise on which the book is crafted is totally misdirected. One can average it out by awarding three stars as I did, though it would be tempting to scrawl a big red I for Incomplete across the title page.I've made it known several times in the past that titling a book with a particular year is preposterous, because few trends can be summarized in a single year, and the attempt to do so leads the author to artificially stuff things into misshapen categories. It's certainly wrong with 1170 BC or 1493, and it is wrong in rock music for the year 1971. I also am annoyed when an author uses the phrase "golden era" to describe any genre of music or art. It's all flow, and it's all good. Hepworth seemed bound and determined to break all my personal taboos in one fell swoop.I know it's not just me. David Byrne and Elvis Costello, in two excellent recent music memoirs/analyses, have taken a more defensible path. In How Music Works, Byrne describes an unbroken continuum in music evolution since recorded music began early in the 20th century. He adds the important caveat that we should attach particular negative handicaps to music that was released during our adolescent years, because the interplay between our adolescent hormones, developing neural networks, and the music we hear, leads us to the incorrect conclusion that the music we heard in teen years was the best ever made. It ain't necessarily so. Costello, in his recent memoir, describes how much he appreciates music of all genres, and says quite bluntly that there never was a golden age of anything.It's fine that Hepworth wants to choose a year or period that is often neglected, as these are the areas that are richest to mine. Pop critics, for example, agree that 1966 was a far stronger year for rock than the Summer of Love that followed, and Hepworth can make a decent case for the importance of 1971. But the most important year of the arena-rock era? Why not say 1970 or 1972? Hepworth would rank the importance (popularity or critical) of certain albums and the seminal years for certain artists, but his statistics are fudged.He's on solid ground when talking about the breakthroughs of Slade, Carole King, Neil Young, or Marvin Gaye. I might even grant him the point that David Bowie's real breakthrough was not 1972's Ziggy Stardust, but 1971's Hunky Dory. After that, the math gets fuzzy. Pink Floyd'sMeddle was in no way the band's turning point - insiders discovered the band at Ummagumma or before, while the great unwashed didn't jump aboard until Dark Side of the Moon. Roxy Music gets deserved mention in the book, but the first album by the band did not arrive until 1972. And Led Zeppelin did not have a critical year in 1971 at all - it was a transitional year between III and IV, and did not signify much in particular for the band.The insider anecdotes are delightful in this book, and Hepworth adds some great social commentary on the difference between British and US rock audiences, the rise of the album format for listeners over 18, and how society had reached certain points of no return after the 1960s. Hepworth manages to skewer sacred cows, as one would expect from a music critic with his extensive background. He tells us that Nick Drake did not even have much of a literati audience while he was alive, partially because of his own lack of desire to be a star. Hepworth avoids genuflecting at the feet of John Peel, while at the same time acknowledging when Peel made a call that was basically correct despite being unpopular - such as saying that Marc Bolan made a big mistake when moving from a hippie-dippie to a protopunk T. Rex, and that Bolan did not have the requisite talent to live up to the star reputation he briefly had.At the same time, however, readers will find several areas where they will vehemently disagree with Hepworth's conclusions, which are presented as matters of fact. My own exasperated moment stems from my belief as a teenager that Lee Abrams, trend spotter and analyst, was one of the most evil commercializing influences in the history of rock music. Hepworth is one of the few writers to understand the role of Abrams at all, but he credits Abrams with making pop music better with the semi-standardization of Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) formats. Now, I'd be the first to say there were too many spaced-out hippie DJs in college radio who exploited free-form music selection methods, but Abrams' efforts to standardize music simply cannot be seen as a positive influence by anyone who cares about music as art form.We get plenty of hints at what is to come in the remaining years of the 70s when Hepworth adds stories of the 1971 recording sessions for The Modern Lovers' "black heart" eponymous album, or talks of the pre-history of The New York Dolls under the name Actress. But again, this shows the artificiality of using 1971 as a signpost. Creative beginnings may have happened in that year, but glam rock was still in its infancy, and punk rock had yet to be born.Hepworth could have retained the interesting format of this book and dispensed with the static presentation by expanding its period from, say, 1969 to 1975, calling the book Tweenies: Rock Between the Psychedelic and Punk Eras. That would have ruined his theory that 1971 held some special place in the pantheon of the arena-rock era, but frankly, that theory is baseless in the first place. To borrow an image from Heraclitus, Hepworth needs to abandon the static mile-markers and just go with the flow.

  • Kathy McC
    2019-05-17 16:04

    I will admit to having some preconceived biases when it comes to the music of 1971, but David Hepworth does a fabulous job of supporting those biases. Hepworth makes the case that this was the year that changed the direction of rock music forever. His claims are supported with significant research, facts, and analysis. He also adds information about cultural and political events which enhances his scrutiny. I enjoyed the pieces of trivia as well. An added bonus was the list of singles and/or albums at the end of each month written about. At the end of the book, Hepworth provides a list entitled "1971 in 100 Albums". Since Hepworth is British, he included several English fringe bands in his analysis. These sections did not really appeal to me. However, I could overlook these inclusions because he devoted almost an entire chapter to Carole King's "Tapestry" album. Overall, this book provides much food for thought, and ample topics for discussions between those of us who were fortunate enough to have experienced all of the joy this music brought. I highlighted too much of this book to include all of the passages that I enjoyed, but here is a sampling: "All the extra cash that came my way was instantly converted into albums. There was simple nothing else that I wanted to spend money on." "Up to that point most of the people who bought albums had been men. Tapestry changed all that and pointed to a future where in order to sell huge numbers of long-playing records, you had to sell them to women." "A great deal of the music recorded in 1971 has had an afterlife that none of the people who played it could have predicted." "Many of the musicians who made those 1971 records are still playing today, in bigger venues than ever. These records are not just remarkably good and uniquely fresh; they have also enjoyed the benefit of being listened to more times than any recorded music in human history."

  • Gary Anderson
    2019-05-01 15:00

    David Hepworth's Never A Dull Moment: 1971 claims that 1971 was the most important year in rock history. While many fans are sentimental about specific years or time spans, Hepworth makes the case that no other year has produced so much influential, memorable music or generated so many currents that rippled through what came after.Let's begin with a list of some of the albums released in 1971:Carole King: TapestryThe Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore EastMarvin Gaye: What’s Going OnThe Rolling Stones: Sticky FingersLed Zeppelin: IVJethro Tull: AqualungCarly Simon: Carly Simon and AnticipationThe Who: Who’s NextJohn Prine: John PrineThe Beach Boys: Surf's UpNitty Gritty Dirt Band: Will the Circle Be UnbrokenBlack Sabbath: Masters of RealityNilsson: Nilsson SchmilsonThe Doors: L. A. WomanIsaac Hayes: ShaftVan Morrison: Tupelo HoneyOn that list are some of the best-selling albums of all time, including work that influenced what would become blues-rock, heavy metal, country-rock, and folk-rock. Some of these albums are from established bands; others are by newcomers. And it's just the beginning.Here are some songs released in 1971 that have stood the test of time, although they were not on albums as distinguished as those above. (Get ready to hum.)Neil Diamond: “I Am … I Said”Elton John: “Tiny Dancer”Jackson Browne: "Doctor My Eyes"America: "Ventura Highway"John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: "Power to the People"John Lennon: "Imagine"Don McLean: "American Pie"Yes: "Roundabout"Badfinger: "Baby Blue" and "Day After Day"Rod Stewart: "Maggie May"Al Green: "Tired of Being Alone"Janis Joplin: "Me and Bobby McGee"Ringo Starr: "It Don't Come Easy"Paul and Linda McCartney: "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"James Taylor: "You've Got a Friend"Bill Withers: "Ain't No Sunshine"The Jackson 5: "Never Can Say Goodbye"Sly and The Family Stone: "Family Affair"Stevie Wonder: "If You Really Love Me"Whew. Those albums and those songs seem like they should be a decade's worth of music, but they all arrived in 1971.Never A Dull Moment: 1971 isn't a book of lists. It's a book of stories. The stories and personalities blend to create a vivid picture of that year in music. Hepworth takes us through 1971 month by month, telling about the most important recordings and happenings from each flip of the calendar. By examining in more detail some of what was going on, we see the recordings in a context as rich as the individual records. For example, Motown was changed forever by the 1971 work of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Then the first big rock concert staged for a cause was George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, and Leon Russell. Rock journalism also took a big step forward as something separate from entertainment journalism with Rolling Stone's "The Beach Boys: A California Saga" cover story about the darker side of the band. Mick Jagger got married in a frenzy, and Stevie Wonder was introduced to new musical technology. All of these events wrap around the music to provide insights into the culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Any discussion of rock music in 1971 requires a balanced view of the British and American scenes, and Hepworth handles that masterfully without any obvious bias toward one side of the Atlantic or the other.Some of the smaller moments are the most memorable, including juicy bits such as Cat Stevens introducing his then-girlfriend Carly Simon to her future husband James Taylor, and John Prine's first record deal growing out of a serendipitous late-night prowl with … Paul Anka.1971 was also the beginning of what Hepworth calls "heritage rock" as the first generation of rock stars attempted to figure out how to look forward and backward at the same time. 1971 was the first post-Beatles year. George and Ringo did the Bangladesh concert while John and Yoko did their thing, and Paul and Linda did theirs. The Rolling Stones were re-tooling but created Sticky Fingers, their first record conceived as an album rather than as a song collection. The Beach Boys had their distinctive sound but wanted to move beyond songs about girls, cars, and surfing with Brian Wilson largely sidelined by mental problems. Bob Dylan reunited with The Band. And Elvis Presley went on tour for the first time in almost fourteen years.In addition to the rock veterans, some newcomers were making impressive stirrings: Kraftwerk, The Eagles, Roxy Music. 1971 also saw the emergence of Alice Cooper, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, and Rod Stewart. Think about it. That's an amazingly diverse group of artists to be surfacing at the same time.Never A Dull Moment: 1971 is an absorbing, fascinating, thoroughly satisfying romp through twelve months of glorious music, dynamic personalities, and raucous goings-on.I can recommend the audiobook version of Never A Dull Moment: 1971 narrated by Hepworth himself. His British accent with a touch of the Liverpudlian is charming and energetic. Hepworth never seems to be reading as he enthusiastically tells the tales of this remarkable year.Cross-posted in slightly different form on What's Not Wrong?

  • Dave
    2019-05-25 15:59

    I love all things classic rock, and when the Hepcat scribbler here boldly makes claim that 1971 was most significant year for music ever, well, he had my attention. Unfortunately Hepworth fails to address the argument with data or exercise a compelling analysis to prove his point. Such leg work could be done; comparing an artists popularity over a time, influence over later generations, effect on culture, year by year – act by act, hit by hit, etc. Or you could just assume it’s whatever you listened to when you were 21. He provides appreciatively brief sketches of lesser known artists like Cat Stevens, T Rex, Carole King, and Nick Drake –nicely detailing all anyone really needs to know. Suspect accounting is littered thruout, as all the action seems to hinge on 1971, even for bands that might have only started and were in fact only popular years later. Likewise bands brewing up material in the late 60’s and finding overnight success in 1971, get logged in as part of club 71. It kinda scary to think Hepworth worked in the music magazine writing industry, as I get the impression he stopped discovering new music in the mid 70’s.Perhaps a more engaging question to ask is: When did Rock die?

  • Jill Hutchinson
    2019-05-14 20:17

    Was 1971 the greatest year of rock music? certainly was one of the best but I would argue that the great era stretched a little before and after that date. I'm not sure one can say that a particular year was the "best" but 1971 comes close. The author is a British music critic and not everyone agrees with critics! But he does a pretty good job of outlining some of the history of that year, month by month, and touches on the careers of many artists/groups who still hold our attention and can still draw a crowd.....the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Elton John, etc. He also is not afraid to trash some of the artists who were not particularly good or exciting, such as Marc Bolan and his band T Rex who rather lucked into stardom. And of course, the world lost many musicians Janis Joplin, Jimmi Hendrix, Gram parsons and the aforementioned Marc Bolan, to drugs during this time. Others crashed and burned due to their excessive habits.The concentration is mostly on albums as the popularity of singles was fading and many radio stations were starting to play songs that were longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the usual playing time of a single, Songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Layla" were getting air time and albums were flying off the shelves. We get an insiders look at the lifestyles of rockers and it wasn't a pretty, drugs, and rock and roll. He calls attention to something that he correctly calls "evergreen" albums..."Tapestry" by Carole King, "Concert for Bangladesh" featuring multiple groups, and "Surfs Up" by the Beach Boys.....albums that will continue to sell as long as fans love rock and roll. This is a good book for the fan of music nostalgia and for those who will forever linger over the memories that the music brings.

  • Ross Cumming
    2019-05-07 16:03

    I have been a fan of David Hepworth's writing for some time, as he has been a music journalist for many years and I have always enjoyed his writing, most recently in the now defunct publication 'The Word'. I have been aware that this book was due for publication for some months now and couldn't wait to read it. In the book he makes the case for 1971 being the year that rock music 'came of age' and he cites all the factors that were present for the this to happen. Each chapter is devoted to a month of the year in chronological order and in each chapter he tells the stories of the different artists and bands and what they did that was significant that month and how it went onto shape the year and also their subsequent careers. He also mixes the music stories with significant world events that happened that year and also adds a bit of the social history of Britain and America to give a backdrop to how this influenced the music that was being created at the time. A lot of the artists and albums that he writes about are familiar to me, having 'discovered' them at the time too and they have went on to become household names, such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Led Zeppelin and the solo Beatles. He also writes about other artists such as Nick Drake and Big Star who produced music in 1971 but basically sunk without trace at the time but have become a great influence on future generations of artists and fans. At the end of each chapter Hepworth also adds a playlist of the significant tracks from that month.I really enjoyed the book as I am a big music fan and I am familiar with the majority of the artists and albums that he is writing about but a lot of anecdotes and stories were new to me. The book is informative, interesting, funny and enjoyable. I also liked Hepworth's writing style and also how he sounds quite dismissive of artists he doesn't seem to like which seemed to include Marc Bolan and The Rolling Stones ( who I never managed to get into myself !!). I've always thought that the big year in rock was 1972 but a lot of the 'good stuff' released that year was, I discovered, written or recorded in 1971. Probably a writer from a different generation could write a similar book citing another year as being more significant but as this one is truly rooted in my youth I'm quite happy to side with Mr Hepworth and his viewpoint.

  • Tom
    2019-05-08 17:57

    Hepworth's thesis is that 1971 was a watershed year in the history of modern music: the time was exactly right and the planets were aligned for an unprecedented outpouring of nonpareil rock, pop, and soul music. In his epilogue he says it succinctly: "The fact that the Beatles had broken up meant there was a prize to play for. The record business was expanding at such a rate that the companies signed up anyone they thought might have an outside shot. Music was king: TV was nowhere, movies were in retreat, radio was growing, record stores were sprouting up like coffee shops, and the only material goods that anyone who counted was remotely interested in were black, vinyl, and twelve inches across."The entire book reads in this lively, confident style. Filled with anecdotes and inside information, it instructs and informs while certainly entertaining the reader. Hepworth includes a great deal of social, political, and pop culture details as he moves chapter to chapter from January through December of 1971. Those of us who were there are reminded of events we recall and learn some of the behind-the-scene action, while younger readers will learn a great deal about early 70s America. I was a bit skeptical when I started the book, but I very quickly became a believer. Consider the LPs that Hepworth covers in his book: Hunky Dory, Every Picture Tells A Story, Who's Next, Led Zeppelin IV, Imagine, Ram, Meddle, Madman Across the Water, Sticky Fingers, Aqualung, Tapestry, There's a Riot Goin' On, What's Going On, Nilsson Schmilsson, Blue, Pearl, American Pie, L.A. Woman, and Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. Those are just the albums he goes in-depth on.This is an excellent book, one I had trouble pulling myself away from for any amount of time.

  • Marti
    2019-05-11 22:03

    Anyone looking for a nostalgia trip will enjoy this book. Most of this was not new to me although I did learn a few things. For instance, I had never heard the gory details of the "Celebration of Life" rock festival which would have been more aptly titled "Celebration of Death." It made Altamont look like Monterey because it was held in a mosquito bog in Louisiana in June.Also, I am not sure I agree that 1971 was the greatest year in music. That distinction belongs to 1966/1967 if you ask me. However, it was certainly a good year (a lot better than now). The author's premise was a bit of a stretch because he includes a lot of things that may have gotten started then that had yet to hit the big time (like David Bowie). Conversely, there were bands that were huge, but actually started in the 1960s (Led Zeppelin). The author's criteria may be valid, but it more properly describes 1969 - 1974. He includes a lot of people like Nick Drake, who was a complete unknown until a Volkswagen ad in the '90s put him on the map.The reader should also be aware that it is little bit skewed toward Britain and therefore does not include much in the way of American Top 40 (if that is what you are looking for).

  • Bob Schnell
    2019-05-17 14:07

    David Hepworth was 21 years old in 1971 and living in London. This may have tainted his view about the importance of that year in rock-n-roll history, but he makes a pretty sturdy case. From Carole King to Led Zeppelin, David Bowie to the Eagles, there was certainly a lot going on in many different genres of rock and pop music. The industry was moving from 45's to LPs, synthesizers were being introduced, it was the dawn of FM radio and festivals were still few and far between. I was nine years old but even at that young age I knew that something was going on.The book is broken down by month, with a handy list at the end of each chapter to highlight the 10 most important releases. There are few mentions of the world outside of the USA and UK, but there was plenty to keep English-speaking music lovers occupied without crossing borders for new kicks. Overall, the author does a good job in balancing nostalgia with more objective reporting. This is a fun, quick read with a few surprises even for a rock nerd like me.

  • Allan Heron
    2019-04-25 17:10

    I turned 14 in 1971 so much of what is written here resounds very strongly as you might expect. But Hepworth makes an excellent case for 1971 being the pivotal year in rock history.The book takes a month by month overview of the year but uses the music/events of that month to place things in a wider context whether as a comment on how things got to that point, or to the impact on the future of rock.A handful of factual errors aside (not really detracting from the narrative but I WAS THERE) this is a very readable book worth reading for anyone interested in this era or in music history generally. I won't get upset that despite some footy references, no mention was made of Partick Thistle's historic Scottish League Cup win in that year.The book concludes with a list of 100 albums to musically explain 1971. I own 75 of then. 'Nuff said.

  • Reed
    2019-04-27 15:04

    One of my fave books from 2017! From the cover, I had anticipated this to be another fanboy compendium of the author's favorite records from 1971. Instead, it is a month-by-month accounting of the seismic social and political changes of the era....juxtaposed with the incredible music produced. There is at once in depth discussions of how a lost hippie table tennis player ultimately opened up our relations with China to how Led Zep IV broke every single rule in the music industry sales handbook, while ticking off every musician outside of Led Zep. Also, who knew that Carol King's Tapestry was the first time the music business decided women could be an audience; the Rolling Stones were the first band to truly understand that owning their brand was the key to perpetual success; David Bowie's rocket rise may been heavily influenced by mistaken shared adoration/adulation between Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed; many people in bands (e.g. Big Star) or otherwise are much more predisposed to enjoy failure than success; and in the 1970s the music business became an industry when it realized a massive business opportunity to cater to nostalgia for the past. Incredible writing, completely accessible, without the intentionally obscure pompous style of Greil Marcus and his progeny. For me, the only comparable book in the entire rock music journalism canon is Michael Azerrad's "Our Band Could Be Your Life".

  • Robin
    2019-05-03 17:08

    If you want to start an argument down the pub, just repeat David Hepworth's thesis here that 1971 was the seminal year in rock. Everyone will have their own fave rock year. But the author makes a strong case. He cites the plethora of terrific albums that came out that year which are still popular, influential and played and even performed by their artists (if still alive!). Tapestry, Sticky Fingers, Bryter Layter, Hunky Dory, Every Picture Tells a Story, Who's Next, Blue, American Pie, Led Zepp IV, Imagine – it's quite a roll call and undoubtedly something of a golden year. What makes the book enjoyable is not that the reader will agree with all of Hepworth's arguments, but they will probably enjoy his writing. It is witty, knowledgeable and thought-provoking. He also offers interesting perspectives on 1971, which came 17 years after the birth of rock n roll with Rock Around the Clock, a time when advancing recording technology gave artists rich new areas to frolic in. The vinyl recordings themselves sounded clean and fresh, a quality lost in today's digital age. He celebrates the great performers, but also points out the egos and failings – Marc Bolan's ineffectual live performances, that George Harrison's All Things Must Pass actually signifying the passing of the ex-Beatles' time as a musical force.So give this book a go and let the good times roll. It's entertaining and fun to disagree with at times. For my money, I can't believe anyone these days listens to The Yes Album…

  • Harry Buckle
    2019-05-09 20:01

    Elsewhere on Good reads I have reviewed Shawn Levy's 'Ready Steady Go,' which essentially charts it's way around London's Swinging Sixties. I have just been re-reading David Hepworth's excellent '1971' which focuses on- no surprise here-1971 and encapsulates the seventies...actually as it happens no less swinging, but by then way too 'cool' to allow the use of the term. Whilst Levy's 'RSG' is an enjoyable generally descriptive read- it suffers badly as time after time it is sadly fatally factually flawed. Hepworth's on the other hand is both a great read and fact perfect. (I was there working in the music business throughout the '60's and '70's, indeed working with many of the artists and events referred to by both Hepworth and Levy...and I do remember both decades so I am a reasonably competent fact checker.) Despite Hepworth -innocently I hope- having been in a university band with the personification of self promoting evil that became ex UK Prime Minister and warmongering killer Tony Blair, his book shines through with his enthusiasm-for a fairly broad spectrum of music - still at full throttle. Of course I have some concerns about some of his personal choices of artist, song and recording but he skilfully and eloquently (if writing can be eloquent) makes the case for each and every choice. Highly recommended.

  • Jo
    2019-05-18 22:15

    I was disappointed, as there were many dull moments in this book. The best bit about it were the monthly playlists from that year and the bibliography. I'd heard most of the rock star anecdotes before and didn't need Hepworth to tell me that Bowie's Hunky Dory was the best album of 1971. I was expecting more about life in Britain in 1971 with a bit more social history thrown in. I was also disappointed that a lot of the focus was on US music.

  • Malcolm Frawley
    2019-05-02 15:04

    An entertaining evaluation of 1971 as the best year ever in rock. Part of the evidence presented is that Bowie recorded both Hunky Dory & Ziggy Stardust in that year so Hepworth definitely has an case to make. Other events touched upon range from the Attica prison riots, the Oz Magazine obscenity trial & the shooting of The Godfather on the streets of New York. I enjoyed this.

  • Debra
    2019-05-24 22:26

    I was 15 years old in 1971. Some of the music covered in this book is familiar or well known to me. Some of it I never heard of. That's how I feel about this book - some enjoyable, some boring and obscure.

  • Dave J
    2019-04-26 21:26

    This book will mainly appeal to music fans in a certain age bracket. I am in that age bracket and yes, it did appeal. I was more or less persuaded that 1971 WAS rock's golden year. The author does a good job of telling the stories of the prominent bands and solo artists in that year, their live shows and records, in the context of world events and the social and technological trends of the time. Very readable.

  • Art
    2019-05-18 21:22

    Well done and a fun romp through the 1971 music culture from a good storyteller. David Hepworth, twenty-one years old then, effectively summarizes the events and music, while putting all that into the context of the culture. Among the many highlights: — Carole King worked well as an early ten-page story in the book that hooked me. King — a triple threat because she could write, sing and arrange — recorded “Tapestry” in January, which became the first evergreen album of the rock era, writes Hepworth. At the same time, Joni Mitchell recorded “Blue” in the studio next door, which housed a better piano. Carole's crew wanted that distinctive sound. So they dashed into that studio one morning and recorded three songs in three hours: “You’ve Got a Friend,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."— The pivotal bands of the period influenced many lesser ones, writes Hepworth. The Beatles, for example, showed bands how to write and perform their own songs, and the Stones taught other bands how to rebel. Led Zeppelin, meanwhile, showed bands how to play loud. The band built its success on a new generation of fans born too late for the roots rock ’n’ roll of the mid-sixties, which is when I grew up. So, I’m a rocker, not a fan of loud bombast. — May 1971. NPR launched All Things Considered. Woody Allen filled in for Johnny Carson. “THX 1138,” by George Lucas, released. “Brown Sugar” topped the singles chart, while “Sticky Fingers” topped the album charts. “Sticky Fingers” features a broader musical range than any other Stones album. Ry Cooder, Bobby Keys, Billy Preston and others played on the tracks. “Brown Sugar,” the biggest single from the album, played well as a jukebox hit because it moved a room whenever it came on. “Exile on Main Street” also came together during this period. The Stones became a brand in 1971, the year of the tongue and lip design, voted the best all-time band logo. — Leon Russell, in 1970, played his rolling piano and brought a chorus line of wailing hot mamas to Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen for a social and comfortable sound, writes Hepworth. Bob Dylan, in 1971, liked that sound and called Leon Russell to produce and play piano on “Watch the River Flow.” — Life magazine, in late 1971, published a photo essay of rock stars at home with their parents, revealing a fascinating clash of domestic life and young superstars that included Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Grace Slick and Frank Zappa. — Neil Young composed and recorded Harvest, his best album, in the fall of 1971, around harvest time. Story after anecdote propels this book. Radio airplay and decisions by disc jockeys affected the success and failure of songs. Hepworth, for example, tells about a Milwaukee radio station in 1971 that started playing the B-side of a 45 rpm record rather than the A-side, which helped make “Maggie May” a hit by Rod Stewart, not the other side favored by the musicians and record company, “Reason to Believe.” I played many of these cuts, especially the longer and edgier tracks, on FM radio as an underground DJ in St Louis during the early seventies. Rolling Stone at the time was a black-and-white double-folded underground newspaper. Just a few years later, in the mid-seventies, many radio stations formatted as AOR, album-oriented rock. But I preferred my time while it was more free-form and could play what we wanted. All Things Considered, music interview , which put the book on my radar. Also on my to-read shelf, 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded, published in November.

  • Ian Brydon
    2019-05-19 20:11

    The basic premise of David Hepworth’s book is that 1971 was rock music’s finest year, yielding a harvest of albums that, in addition to their immediate appeal, had the most far-reaching impact on the genre. I was just eight years old in 1971 so while I am familiar now with most of the acts, albums and individual songs that Hepworth cites, I can’t recall their impact at the time.He certainly puts forward a compelling argument, backed up by his extensive knowledge of the field from his twin careers as rock journalist and publisher, and I was certainly amazed to see just how many classic albums did come out in that year. I might have been inclined to put forward my own claim in this vein for 1975 (the year of ‘Physical Graffiti’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’) but that is neither here nor there.He works his way through the year, one month per chapter, and pays close attention to the political, social and cultural context. The pre-dominant theme looming over the rock world as the year began was the legal action set in motion on 31 December 1970 by Paul McCartney formally and finally to dissolve The Beatles. The termination of The Beatles momentarily left a void, but there were plenty of acts eager to try to fill it. Slade, as yet unestablished, criss-crossed the country playing more than one hundred and fifty gigs at what now seems an unedifying selection of unfashionable and small venues, before recording their first album and starting their string of hits that would elevate them to the front rank of chart success. David Bowie released two albums in 1971 (‘The Man Who Sold the World’ and ‘Hunky Dory’) and managed his first successful trip to America. Mick Jagger’s wedding to Bianca may have plumbed new depths of tawdry celebrity spectacle, but the Rolling Stones, ensconced in the French chateau leased by Keith Richard as his tax exile bolthole, went on to record Sticky Fingers which was to relaunch their career and establish them as a major album-oriented act. Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin showed that heavy rock was still in vogue, both releasing masterful albums (‘Masters of Reality’ and ‘IV’ respectively), though it was also the heyday of the singer songwriter, with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Carole King all recording albums (‘Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Tapestry’ respectively) in the same studio complex at the same time. Having been one of the most successful singles bands in the 1960s, The Who release ‘Who’s Next’ which Hepworth suggests might be the album of a bumper year.Hepworth doesn’t, however, merely list who released which album or score success with which new single. He develops cohesive themes that resound throughout the book, and draws valid and illuminating comparisons with current music trends. It is notable how many artists and bands enjoying considerable success in 1971 are still at the top of their game in 2016. All in all, very enjoyable and informative.

  • Jarvo
    2019-05-16 22:09

    I probably came of listening age at a perfect and pivotal punk. In my pre teen years my musical taste was probably unduly influenced by my elder brother, and the first albums I bought, probably aged 11, were Hunky Dory and Who's Next, both of which are discussed at some length in this book. But by the time I had turned 12 things had changed. Punk and new wave had arrived. My musical taste divorced itself from my brother's and for the rest of our time at home we kept to our separate musical spaces, mine occupied by the likes of The Clash, The Jam, The Only Ones, The Specials, Joy Division and onwards and upwards. My brother stuck with Pink Floyd and friends. But notwithstanding a seed had been sown, and whilst it may have lain dormant for a long time, I'd been given a taste for what we now call 'dad rock' and it is more or less still there. Hence reading this book. Which is a decent enough effort. Whether 1971 really was as pivotal as the author suggests is moot, but it covers a crucial period when the idealism of the sixties was spent and popular music was turning into something like an industry. My main observation would be that the obvious point of comparison for the book would be Jon Savage's '1966', and the comparison is pretty unforgiving. Read Savage's book and you get an insight into an era of political and social upheaval, and you come away knowing that it would be impossible to understand the 1960's without coming to terms with its music. Read this book...and, well, it is a decent book about music.

  • Darcia Helle
    2019-05-14 15:12

    I'm not sure I agree that 1971 is "the year that rock exploded", but the author makes a good argument. The book is well written, with an engaging style that's easy and fun to read. Each chapter covers one month in 1971, ending with a list of songs and/or albums the author feels were pivotal to the future of rock music.One area where this book excels is in giving us an inside view of the music industry, with the interplay between the major artists and the major labels of the time. We see how musicians had to fight the status quo in order to make the kind of music they wanted. The downside is that Hepworth presents this information as if it's unique to the year, but this same trend continues today, with labels demanding more of the same regardless of what musicians or bands wants to create. Often the albums that explode on the charts are not at all what labels expect, as Hepworth shows with Carole King's Tapestry. While this is a continuing trend, Hepworth definitely makes a case for 1971 being the year the rebellion began.Hepworth does little to explore the politics and social changes surrounding and influencing the music of 1971. The social climate had as much to do with rock's rise as it had to do with mainstream society's resistance. I would have liked a better sense of setting to help substantiate Hepworth's claim of 1971 as the pivotal year in rock. I think it's worth mentioning that, while the content covers both the US and the UK, this book has a very British feel. The author is British, and I'm not sure he fully grasps the social climate of the US back in the early '70s. This might explain the glaring absence of discussion on the issue.Along with stories of musicians and the albums they were making, we're given insight into how record labels and radio had to adapt to the explosion of rock music into mainstream society. As a focused exploration on rock's evolution, this is an interesting read well worth the time.*I was provided with an advance copy by the publisher, via LibraryThing.*

  • Michael Legge
    2019-05-14 19:58

    Shame he dies in the end.

  • Ben
    2019-05-21 16:16

    The early 70s do seem as the author suggests a sharp turning point from 60s innocence and idealism into a more cynical and jaded era with a culture clash going on between the long haired, loose clothed, free love, drug taking post war generation and their more uptight moralistic forebears who had experienced the sacrifice of war and then lived through a decade of austerity. 1971 was the year that rock and roll both came of age at 17 and then became nostalgic for a past that had only just passed into history. It was an age where recording technology had advanced to suit the ambitions of the LP rather than singles but not so far as to render the sound soulless and sterile. Looking at the index of albums released in that pivotal year of nearly fifty years ago it is clear that there are a startling number of outstanding records across a multitude of genres that will still be considered as classics in another fifty years time.

  • Dave
    2019-05-17 18:12

    To overgeneralize: American rock journalism tends to focus on personal stories--those of the musicians and those of the writer; British rock journalism tends to focus on sociology and snark. This is that, but it also has some good moments of real celebration by Hepworth about the albums he loves--Who's Next, Hunky Dory, Tapestry and Led Zeppelin IV, among others. The snark can get wearying, especially as he rails about the sex, drugs, and hedonism of the rich and famous. But the insight and erudition win out and make this very readable--I learned a lot about some albums I didn't know, and a bit more about ones I did. Very much in agreement with him about how musical taste works, too:The argument that the same one that kept the British music press going for the rest of the century--the struggle between the instincts and the intellect, between pop and rock,...the fight between what we think we ought to like and what we actually do like and the refusal to recognize the fact that this is music and in music the right sound will ace the correct thought every time.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-02 18:21

    I can't say I am in agreement that 1971 was the "exact" year that rock exploded, but Hepworth makes a good case for it by exploring the changes that occurred in the music industry in 1971. The technological innovations alone would change the way we listen to music from then on. New marketing strategies and industry standards were happening at the same time that the great rock bands were coming into their own and the synergy created by this combination provided us with some very memorable rock music classics. I especially like the way Hepworth pursues his theories 'month by month' throughout the year and at the end of each chapter includes a list of the top selling albums for that month. He also gives a good deal of background on the rock music scene in the U.K, post Beatles break-up, something with which I was not terribly familiar . Well thought out, well put together and an enjoyable read.

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2019-04-30 20:08

    I grew up with the echoes of 1971 in the music I listened to which were staples of rock radio from the seventies and still get played on stations today. I was four years old in 1971 but I would be listening to much of the music of that year for most of my adult life for better or worse. The author makes a case for 1971 being a banner year for now what is termed "classic rock". I may have tired of some of tunes but some I can still listen too. David Bowie and John Lennon have aged well with me to name some of the top of my head and Carol King's tapestries is still worth listening too even now. Of course I have been overexposed to much of this music that has been on repeat loop in a Clear Channel stations automated soundtrack but this stuff was innovative and influential. We still hear it in what passes for rock, alternative and pop to this very day.

  • Michael Ritchie
    2019-04-24 18:03

    This isn't quite a 4-star book, partly because the writing style is fairly pedestrian, and the author doesn't come close to proving his thesis that 1971 was an "annus mirabilis" for rock music. He has to stretch backwards and forwards in time to make '71 as important as he wants it to be. But still, this is lots of fun to read, like a really long, good magazine article back in the glory days of Rolling Stone (and that is meant as a compliment). His most interesting point is that 1971 introduced the "infinity" seller, the album that won't quit selling, with Carole King's Tapestry and Led Zeppelin IV. For my money, he spends too much time on Rod Stewart and not enough on Elton John--who, to be fair, didn't really break big until '72-'73. But these are mostly quibbles--I plowed through this quickly and enjoyed it.