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1971



Never A Dull Moment







David Hepworth







The group Yes craved unplanned complexity, so their recordings were made in bursts as short as 30 seconds. The bits would then be assembled (in those days it meant razoring and joining sections of tape), and the band members would then learn to play from the finished record.

Tapestry the first big-seller of the modern era - the first LP to go on selling past it's first commercial window.

Original audiences were in small venues where teen girls who came to scream and serious young men came to applaud respectfully. But as the crowds got bigger and they moved to stadiums, audiences began to behave like the sports crowds that normally went to those places. They came for the experience as much as the music, and live recordings began to incorporate their responses.

Almost without exception, rock stars of the 60's married women who would never have looked at him twice if not for their wealth and fame. The guys competed for the best looking birds, and held them up as trophies. Stars mate for glory and to increase their glamour.

The music isn't locked into the past. 2013 concert Taylor Swift did duet of 'You're So Vain' with Carly Simon, to an audience of teenage girls. All these girls, whose mothers were not born when the original came out, knew the words.

During the 50's and 60's the couples who got married just after the war, reacted with hurt surprise when their offspring turned out to be an entirely different kind of people. Older generation brought up to duty, not fun.

Baby boomers not wildly interested in material things, bc their weren't an awful lot of them. Clothes and records about only things.

Rod Stewart's growing profile meant that the Small Faces would turn up for a show and find that the promoter had billed them as Rod Stewart and the Faces, a red rag to any bull. All bands have a burning ego issue, usually involving credit and attention. And they never resolved it by discussion - they carried on the debate behind their hands via barbed lyrics or through managers or girlfriends.

Every Picture Tells A Story changed the lives of most of the people involved, but only Rod Stewart's for the better. Maggie May was a B side just added to the album to make up space.

Alice Cooper first to come up with a theatrical experience. Promoters didn't have to like his music, they just preferred his act to a bunch of blokes standing still.

By 1971 most of the rock gods of the 60's had enough funds to settle down and raise kids in the grand (nouveau riche) style. Problem was that they didn't have much talent for domesticity. Years on the road left them temperamentally unsuited to monotony of same bed. Made worse bc pursued everywhere by fans.

Ike and Tina Turner had coffee table shaped like a guitar. One observer said "I never knew it was possible to spend so much money at Woolworths".

Beach Boy's Surf's Up convinced them that people were far more interested in the past (both their's and the group's) than the present. BBs first group to disprove idea that you were only as good as your last hit. If your hits were good enough, it didn't matter how long ago they were. So, with the aid of hired hands who learned the tunes by rote and played them better than they ever did, they play the anthems of our youth.

Bands finally realized that audiences didn't want to hear their new stuff. Like the Tshirt said "Play Some Old".

Bowie in 1971 made his first visit to US, met Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, fathered his first child .... and made Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust. Just Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Hang On To Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City and Starman. If he'd died in 1972 he would still have been an icon.

Who's Next a landamrk, largely bc of Baba O'Riley, "which may be the best recording of the best year in the history of recording."

1971 was the year of the Marshall Stack, enabling stadium music. As Pete Townshend said, "We need bigger weapons".

Frank Zappa: "I like to get laid. How does my wife feel about that? She grumbles every once in a while but she gets used to it. I come home with the clap and she goes out and gets us some penicillin."

American Pie one of very few songs with 100% recognition, even among people who don't care for pop music. This hit was so successful that Don McLean never needed to work again. The phrase "the day the music died" put it's brand on a date.

If you could time machine one of today's kids back to 1971 Britain, they would be utterly lost. The wouldn't be able to calculate in pounds shillings and pence, they would be frightened of cars with no seat belts, surprised that there were only 3 TV channels, and that there were no openly gay public figures. But they would be totally at home with the music of 1971.

But if you did the reverse, and took a 1971 kid forward, he would be dumbfounded by laptops, phones, foreign languages on the street, and idea that music available on tap. Or that you couldn't just go out on Saturday night and buy a ticket at the door for any rock band.



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