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2.0 out of 5 starsbitter, dismissive and a bit trashy
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2017
The author seemed bitter and dismissive of the musicians and focused too much on tabloid material and arcane industry matters to be skimmed over. A huge missed opportunity for hepworth, and now he has to live with that. Maybe he needs to figure out why he wrote the book in the first place.
3.0 out of 5 starsThis was a gift for my husband. He didn't ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2017
This was a gift for my husband. He didn't care much for it, as he'd hoped there would have been more back stories of the featured artists. This in no way reflects the author's purpose in writing this book.
4.0 out of 5 starsbut for the most part I enjoyed the book
Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2016
I have read many books about this era of music. I found the book very interesting for the most part. I thought I knew everything about music from that era and this book showed me that I really didn't! Anyone who was into music in this period of history should read it. I discovered bands and musicians that I wasn't aware of. I did skim through a few chapters, but for the most part I enjoyed the book.
2.0 out of 5 starsA very selective version of 1971
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 22, 2018
I bought this book as a holiday read, a keen listener of early 70's rock music I was interested on David Hepworth's take on 1971; I remembered him from OGWT so had a few reservations about him writing about this time as he never seemed that keen on that type of music when he presented the show but maybe I was wrong. Well this book is a bit curious he gives more lines to Bruce Springsteen (no he wasn't doing much then) than say Moody Blues, Yes, Focus , Emerson Lake and Palmer. So basically whilst a hell of a lot of people were listening to progressive rock David Hepworth gives it scant mention. Its not just Progressive rock that gets bypassed but rock bands as well, Free were quite big in 1971 but in a book about rock music David Hepworth prefers to talk about Mick Jagger's wedding? David Bowie gets a lot of write ups but 1971 was hardly a massive year for him its all a bit confusing . Perhaps a better title would be random thoughts about people I like and didn't from the early 70's omitting some popular types of rock music . Don't get me wrong it does contain some interesting facts but as an accurate reflection of 1971 its well off the mark
5.0 out of 5 starsA convincing argument for 1971 as rock's annus mirabilis for those who were there but missed it or have forgotten ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2017
Ok, so here's the thing, David Hepworth makes the case for 1971 being rock's year zero but I'm not sure that you couldn't pick any number of years and make a similar case, but based on his arguments David Hepworth might be right, he certainly puts forward a very strong case for 1971 as rock's annus mirabilis. And when you look at the list of top albums released in 1971, Led Zeppelin 4, Who's Next, Carole King's Tapestry as well as strong contenders from Elton John, David Bowie and T Rex to name but a few; or his argument for 1971 being the start of nostalgia or heritage tours; or the year popular music buying expanded from teens to older purchasers, then his case becomes very convincing.
This is a fascinating book from one who was there. It’s a social commentary on a time when things were very different as a much as a rock history, and its stuffed full of facts and lists, so much so that when I got to the end I wanted to go back and immediately start again to pick up on the detail I had missed the first time round. Yes the description of Mick Jagger's wedding is over long and a few of Hepworth's arguments may be a bit specious, but that aside I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but then I was there in '71 but too young to take it in so probably hit the books demographic spot on; if you weren't around in '71 then this probably isn't for you unless you have an interest in "ancient" rock history or are trying to understand why, like me, your Dad is stuck in a time-warp.
5.0 out of 5 starsReally enjoyed it - take it on holiday with you
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2018
I have have been droning on for a long time to anyone who could bear to listen that the three years 1970-72 were the ultimate in popular music, and possibly a period we'll never see anything like ever again. This book, dealing with the middle of those three years completely confirms what I already knew: of a time when long-lived now classic albums came out seemingly every week, and when even the ones that didn't make the cut - coming out the following year - were already being recorded. When you look at the facts and lists, presented here in the book, it truly was an astonishing year.
Granted, as David says in the introduction, we all choose the music of our youth as the best, most important and influential there's ever been, and you could therefore say there's an element of confirmation bias in my thinking (I was 14-15 in 1971). But as he so eloquently explains in his month-by-month account of the year, we can see just how special 1971 actually was. It was the breakout moment when music emerged from the short-term, frivolous, trivial domain of the teenagers into the mainstream, corporate, structured business it is today, whether that be in the huge recording and marketing budgets of the big albums being made at the time, or the invention of the Vegas-style nostalgia business of which Elvis already appeared to be crowned King.
Incidentally, I can't agree with some of the reviewers moaning about the amount of coverage in the book of Mick Jagger's wedding. They are missing the point David's trying to make: Mick deliberately show-cased his own ludicrous, show-biz wedding as free publicity to specifically both consolidate the Stones' position at the apex of the existing rock'n'roll circus, and also as the launch of the new, global "brand" of the band that we all recognise today. It was also very funny.
The style David writes in can be a little deprecating at times, as perhaps it needs to be for a generation who possibly took it all a bit too seriously (eg "...when impressionable young men sat on their bony backsides on the cold floors of venues and passed the time waiting for the headliners by calculating the amplification equipment arrayed against them, like cavalry counting the mouths of the cannon they were about to face." So true! :-) ), but never condescending. His rich analogies and similies, and commentary-style prose make this an easy, amusing, enjoyable and ultimately informative book, in addition to being an important one. I can almost hear his TV voice reading it to me!
Ultimately, it's the lesson from history thing: to understand how we got to here, we need to know where we came from, and David recognises that and gives it to you straight. Good work. So buy it (I'm not his agent :-) ). Read it. Love it!
4.0 out of 5 starsGood book about a great year for music
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2021
If you're interested in the rock and pop of the early 1970s, then this book is a great read.
Personally I'd have preferred him to make a stronger justification for 1971 being the best year.
A great year certainly but I think you could make similar arguments for many of the years from 1965 to 1980.
76 was very special to me. It was the first full year when I was obsessed with music after developing an interest in the second half of 75.
Casting aside the bias that comes from the period when I was 15 to 16, I think I'd argue the author missed by one year.
While '71 has my favourite album by The Who, I can't say it about many other artists. '72 gives me favourite albums by Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Wishbone Ash, Yes, Deep Purple, Grin, Uriah Heep , Elton John and Jethro Tull. It also saw fine debuts for Steely Dan, Roxy Music, Eagles etc.
I think the artist is on to something. I think there's an opportunity to write books for each of the main years for some enterprising author ready to ride a wave of nostalgia.
4.0 out of 5 starsOne of Hepworth's best two books on popular music
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 28, 2019
I've read four of Hepworth's books this summer, and believe that this, along with 'Uncommon People', are the best.
Although I knew much of what Hepworth covered in this book -- in that era, didn't we all digest huge numbers of facts through perusing the NME, MM and Sounds, because there was so little else to care about? -- but at half of it was new to me.
1971 was, I suppose, my last year of innocence before I went off to secondary school, so it was useful to read about the year that formed so much of the background of my favourite rock period, i.e. 1972-1976. Like other reviewers, I feel there isn't enough material here on the progressive music. Rightly or wrongly, Hepworth gives substantial attention to particular tracks, in many cases, rather than the whole album. A casual reader might, for example, be led to believe that 'Who's Next' consists merely of 'Baba O'Riley' on one side and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' on the other. Wishbone Ash don't get a mention. Nor do Dutch bands such as Golden Earring or Focus, or French bands such as Magma. Although the Bibliography is only 'Selected', I get the impression that Hepworth got much of his material by re-reading back issues of Melody Maker and Rolling Stone, together with some sort of 'The Year in Numbers' to supply the economic and social trends of the year. There is no harm in that, but it's as if '1971' was only about the USA and England.
I enjoyed this book immensely for the nostalgia, and the many reminders of an era we will, of course, never witness again.