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.
You’ve got the young and hungry Stones out to prove their rock n’ roll mettle to the U.S. crowd, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Supremes giving it their all just as Motown was setting the charts ablaze for the first time. And then there’s James Brown. Those dance moves, that explosive, incendiary energy, the Famous Flames absolutely on it, never missing a beat…
So, theory numero uno suggests that the “TV” in TV Yellow actually stood for “Telecaster Version.” According to this one, Gibson execs went for a color that was similar to the Butterscotch finish used on Fender’s Telecaster models. Apparently, the hope was that the color - in combination with the Les Paul TV model’s black pickguard - would confuse unschooled guitarists who would buy it over a Tele.