Never a Dull Moment: 1971-The Year that Rock Exploded

David Hepworth. Holt, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62779-399-5
Music writer and broadcaster Hepworth prefaces his fascinating cultural history with a brash declaration: in 1971, "a huge proportion of the most memorable albums ever made were released." This extravagant claim underscores the scope of Hepworth's ambition; and he's so entertaining and erudite that one almost believes him. Hepworth opens with Paul McCartney initiating Beatles "divorce" proceedings on New Year's Eve and ends the following December with the first rock star, Elvis Presley, considered old at 36 and facing an actual divorce, blazing a nostalgia trail that other rock gods would follow. Between these two monuments, a parade of iconic figures—David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Sly Stone, Big Star, Marvin Gaye—display the creative ferment of the moment. Hepworth's subtitle is a misnomer, as he addresses many genres of popular music. Vivid, irreverent prose and analytic insight distinguish the book from the legion of Boomer nostalgia titles. Alongside the requisite gossip, Hepworth's magisterial overview notes the exploitation of nostalgia, the rise of the singer/songwriter, the elevation of rock stars into louche aristocrats, and the transformation of FM radio to an album-oriented rock format. Hepworth also details the openness of record labels to new talent and experimental recording techniques that laid the groundwork for punk, indie, and electronica. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 06/07/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-62779-400-8
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