Monday, 29 August 2016

Fast Forward Music and Politics in 1974

Fast Forward Music and Politics in 1974 is the fourth book by Steve Millward.

He observes, sagely, that "It was a period of tumultuous change, the repercussions of which are still being felt today."

Steve's books have covered the time period between 1964 and, with this fourth book, 1974.

It was an amazing ten year period, and 1974 -when Steve started his first job- was an amazing year both musically and politically.

There was the oil crisis, an international recession, the Watergate scandal that felled a president, Richard Nixon, the strange case of Patty Hearst and the Symbionese  Liberation Army, the terrible situation in Northern Ireland, football violence, the increasing fervour of the National Front and more troubles besides.

However. All was not doom and gloom, because as well as being a time of political turmoil, 1974 was an absolutely stunning year for new music.

Billy Swan with "I Can Help",  Carole King was scoring remarkably well -her 1971 album Tapestry was joined three years later by her album Wrap Around Joy, from which were released two hits, "Jazzman" and "Nightingale."

Elvis Presley was enjoying his popularity and Paul McCartney's band Wings release of Band on the Run toward the rear end of 1973 was receiving both critical and popular acclaim. (REVIEWER'S WHINGE: I do wonder what happened to my copy of that!)

Another former Beatle, Ringo Starr, was also doing very well for himself. His version of "You're Sixteen" released the year before was a fairly major hit for him and the album he released in 1974, Goodnight Vienna did well on both sides of the Atlantic.

The book also touches on the rise of Bruce Springsteen, the advent of Punk music (the American and the British varieties) and other such luminaries as the Wolf Tones -with their Irish Nationalist songs, and a host of artistes of various stripes such as Flora Purim, Santana and who can forget the Average White Band's ultra funky song "Pick Up the Pieces"? You'd never guess that, far from being an American band they actually haled from Dundee in Eastern Scotland.

This book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the history of popular music.

It's published by Matador at £8.99. You can buy it through That's Books.

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