[Year]: The Year [Something Happened]

savage 1966

I’ve been reading a few rock history books lately, and it seems the current trend is to focus on a single year and focus on its events chronologically.  It’s meant to put the music in some sort of context; it’s very similar to what I’d originally wanted to do with the Walk in Silence project.  The focus of these books is to not only explain how these groundbreaking songs and albums were recorded but why.

Jon Savage’s 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded is a great example of this.  It not only focuses on the back end of the British Invasion, changes in fashion, and the ups and downs of politics, it also comments on the public and governmental reactions to each, both in the US and the UK.  Nearly all the events of that year informed or influenced events that happened soon after.

Andrew Grant Jackson’s 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music (yay, fellow Emersonian!) does a similar job, showing how pop music of the time — not just rock from both sides of the Atlantic, but the soul of Motown and Stax, and the country of Nashville and Bakersville — but the ever-rising tension of politics, war, race, and gender.

A third interesting example is David Browne’s Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970.  The title format is flipped, but the story is the same, this time focusing on the public hangover of the late 60s and four bands that influenced the start of what would be the bipolar decade of music, one side embracing lite-rock and the other embracing Bacchanalian excess.

Another is David Hepworth’s 1971: Never a Dull Moment – The Year that Rock Exploded.  I haven’t read that yet, but it promises to be interesting…the Beatles may have broken up, but in their place we were given, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, post-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, and more.  Not to mention John, Paul, George and Ringo being able to express themselves in ways they couldn’t have as a group.  In short, rock had ceased to be a ‘pop’ element and came into its own as an art form and a self-supporting music genre.  Given that 1971 is my birth year (yep, I’m an old fart at 45, folks, but I’m still rockin’), I’m looking forward to giving this one a read.

 

While I am a bit amused at how often this book trend has been popping up lately, they’ve all been fun reads.  Too often I’ll hear a song on the radio and completely forget its place within the bigger history of music and what was going on in the world at the time.  These books definitely offer a lot of that insight that you don’t always hear on the radio.

What are the current music history books you’ve read that you’ve enjoyed?

2015: In Which You’ll Be Seeing More of Me Here

Hey all!  Didn’t expect to see three entries in two days from me, did you?  Well, I can’t promise that’ll be the norm from here on in, but this year I’m planning on being more consistent with my blogging.  Starting today, you should be seeing an entry from me by each Thursday of the month, talking about my favorite subject: music.

I’ll be hitting on things such as new and current releases and reissues, as well as hitting on older albums and bands I’d like to talk about.  I’d also like to expand on the genres too, as a change of pace.  I don’t have too many concrete plans for this other than reviews, so I’m as curious as you are to see where this leads.

Also, in other news…

I’m proud to announce that I have not one but two self-published projects I’m planning on releasing into the world sometime this year as well!  I’m thinking epub at this point, although print could be involved, depending on which self-publishing company I end up working with to produce and release it.  These are two projects I’ve been working on over the last few years; one is complete and the other is about three-quarters of the way done.

The first will be a book version of Blogging the Beatles, the series I started here a while back, in which I listened and talked about the Beatles’ discography in chronological release order.  I had so much fun writing it, and learned so much musically as I studied the songs, that I felt it would be perfect for an ebook.  I’ll be revising it and adding new items as I do so, and hope to have this one out at least by midyear.

The second will be Walk in Silence itself.  This one’s the biggie.  I’m about three quarters of the way done on the more personal side of the story, with revision number two to add in more about the music.  This one may roll into 2016 if other issues pop up, but the aim is to get it out into the wild by autumn 2015.

Of course, releasing books about popular music could be tricky considering the rights involved, but since I’m not directly quoting the music but only commenting on it, I think I should be okay.  These are both books focusing on my love of music, in particular about a band and a genre that inspired me and shaped who I am.

See y’all on the flip side, kids!