David Hepworth’s 1971 Never A Dull Moment is a book I would urge anyone who was born between 1950 and 1965 and loves their music to read immediately. Also anyone who is currently loving the 70s vibe in fashion and might wonder what this decade was really like. Not only is it a nostalgic rush through a year where we’re probably all word perfect on most of the good albums that came out, including Carole King’s Tapestry, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Led Zeppelin IV, David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, The Who’s Who’s Next and John Lennon’s Imagine, but Hepworth neatly slots in social and cultural asides that made me yearn for the days when there were just three TV channels and auto-reverse cassettes were considered quite high tech.
1971 -which Hepworth argues was the most important year in rock music EVS- is sliced into monthly narratives that document the groups, the songs, the key people – often not the famous ones -involved in creating the music that appeared during the year, and the frequently outrageous behaviour of everyone concerned. It makes Justin Bieber’s strops look positively tame.
The tone is super-informed, he is a music journalist after all, but it’s saved from nerdy, music-bloke-know-it-all-ness by Hepworth’s smart way with words and gentle humour.I learned a few new words too, which is always a thrill, including Plangent -resoundingly loud, Terpsichorean -pertaining to dance, and Parsed -to analyse a sentence for grammar. He also uses the term ‘Patchouli plutocrats’, which made me smile.
It’s a total joy to read and I wolfed it down in two days on the beach. It also made me miss The Word.