1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music

Andrew Grant Jackson. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-2500-5962-8
Five decades ago, the Beatles kicked off the year 1965 in popular music with “I Feel Fine,” which, music writer Jackson notes, was the first intentional use of feedback on a record. According to this uneven narrative, in 1965, the escalation of the Vietnam War, fighting in the streets of L.A. and Detroit, and political strife fueled a revolution in popular music, igniting the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, the Supremes, Otis Redding, and Buck Owens, among many others. Jackson narrates the well-trod evolution of music season by season and month by month, resulting in sometimes repetitive history. He emphasizes the ways that music develops as one artist hears another’s riff or lyric and builds a new sound on it. For example, when Brian Wilson heard the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” it inspired him to write “God Only Knows,” the centerpiece of Pet Sounds. Roger McGuinn went out and bought a Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar after he heard George Harrison playing one, and the jangly sound soon became McGuinn’s trademark with the Byrds. Despite the book’s flaws, Jackson’s rapid-fire jaunt through the musical highlights of 1965—the rise of Motown and Stax Records, the early music of David Bowie, the arrival of the Bakersfield sound—is a helpful survey for readers unfamiliar with the history of popular music. Agent: Charlie Viney, Viney Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/03/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4668-6497-9
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