A few weeks ago, I read “1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year” by David Hepworth.
In the book, Hepworth argues that 1971 was the most important year in rock history. According to the author, the rock landscape changed in those twelve months, with massive shifts at an industrial, social and cultural level.
As a result, a huge number of monumental albums were released; The Stones’ “Sticky Fingers”, “Who’s Next” and “Led Zep IV” to name but a few. And, it was the year that a plethora of rock legends established their place in the pantheon of popular music.
Hepworth makes a compelling argument, and the book is a bloody good read (it took me less than a day to plough through its 384 pages; “unputdownable” as they say in the press!). But, while reading, it struck me that there are several other key years in rock history that could lay claim to the title of “rock’s most important.”
These were years in which the music went through profound shifts, years in which landmark records came out and bands that redefined not just music, but popular culture emerged.
So, just for fun, I’ve compiled my cliff notes on several of rock’s key years below. For each of my picks, I’ve included key events, important albums and emerging acts.
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Joan Baez, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin
Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield
Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones
Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Paul McCartney
So, if I were to whittle it down, those would be my four contenders (five
alongside the aforementioned 1971).
But I want to know what you guys think! What do you think is rock’s greatest year, and why?
And, which key events in rock n’ roll history do you remember witnessing, and what impact did they have on you?
As always share your thoughts, stories and opinions in the comments section.
So, what do Keith Richards, Charlie Starr, Robert Johnson, Joni Mitchell, Rich Robinson and Lowell George all have in common? They all play differently, work in different genres, and are even generations apart... The common element is that they’ve tuned their guitars to Open G. This is one of the more common open tunings there are and provides a great starting point for those who want to experiment with something beyond standard tuning. It’s also fun for those who want to try and play slide guitar.
The Motown Sound. Everybody knows what it is. Even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve certainly heard it. You’ve heard it with Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Little Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and The Jackson 5, among many, many others.