Has the age of the rock star, like the age of the gunslinging cowboy, now passed and been consigned to the history books? That’s the question David Hepworth asks in his new book, following on from last year’s ‘1971- Never a Dull Moment’
Hepworth examines the defining moments in the lives and careers of forty rock stars, one for each year from 1955-1995, choosing one defining day to encapsulate their continuing influence not just on the music world, but on society as a whole. Far from the intrusion of 24 hour news, social media and camera phones, and insulated from the reality of everyday existence, rock stars seemed like gods to the mere mortals who attended their shows and bought their records, which were periodically handed down to an adoring public like messages from the gods on Mount Olympus.
Starting with Little Richard, he works his way through obvious choices such asThe Beatles, Dylan, Stones and less obvious ones like Ian Stewart, Ian Dury and Randy Rhoads. En route he touches on cultural changes such as the rise of MTV, Live Aid and the coming of the digital age. Even Spinal Tap get a chapter, a jokey example perhaps of not knowing when or how to stop – a few chapters earlier comes a piece on Led Zeppelin’s under subscribed comeback shows at Knebworth in 1979. Rather like he did in his previous book, Hepworth ends each chapter with a short list of music that he feels was particularly significant in that year. Obviously his choices and opinions differ to yours, and mine, but they’re an interesting appendage nevertheless.
If you enjoyed his previous book, or of course his writing in The Word, then you’ll find this a good entertaining read, which will have no trouble in keeping your attention – you might not always agree with his choices, or his opinions, but as ever he makes a very strong case for them
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
His previous book, The Word, other music books & magazines in general.
One thing you’ve learned
Although it’s perhaps difficult to see any of the current generation of music stars still being around in their seventies, releasing music and touring like McCartney, Jagger et al, at leasr the idea of the rock star still lives on in the imagination of those of us of a certain age, who were around in the era when rock music, and of course the rock star, was at its zenith.