• Never a Dull Moment

  • 1971 - the Year That Rock Exploded
  • By: David Hepworth
  • Narrated by: David Hepworth
  • Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (203 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A rollicking look at 1971 - the busiest, most innovative and resonant year of the '70s, defined by the musical arrival of such stars as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Joni Mitchell.

On New Year's Eve, 1970, Paul McCartney told his lawyers to issue the writ at the High Court in London, effectively ending The Beatles. You might say this was the last day of the pop era.

The following day, which was a Friday, was 1971. You might say this was the first day of the rock era. And within the remaining 364 days of this monumental year, the world would hear Don McLean's "American Pie", The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar", The Who's "Baba O'Riley", Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", Rod Stewart's "Maggie May", Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", and more.

David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and a well-regarded critic, was 21 in '71, the same age as many of the legendary artists who arrived on the scene. Taking us on a tour of the major moments, the events and songs of this remarkable year, he shows how musicians came together to form the perfect storm of rock and roll greatness, starting a musical era that would last longer than anyone predicted. Those who joined bands to escape things that lasted found themselves in a new age, its colossal start being part of the genre's staying power.

Never a Dull Moment is more than a love song to the music of 1971. It's also an homage to the things that inspired art and artists alike. From Soul Train to The Godfather, hot pants to table tennis, Hepworth explores both the music and its landscapes, culminating in an epic story of rock and roll's best year.

©2016 David Hepworth (P)2016 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Never a Dull Moment

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A blast from the past

Very enjoyable for someone like me who was there in 1971. I especially like all the political and cultural context filled in. The author is a bit cynical, but then I suppose some of it is justified. But very enjoyable and interesting, and well read by the author.

6 people found this helpful

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A Special Time in the History of Pop Music

This book is much more than a trip down Memory Lane. Hepworth does a really good job of evoking a very important year for Pop Music in general and Rock in particular. He traces the background and development of an incredible number of memorable songs and albums released in 1971.

He makes a good argument for 1971 as a Golden Age of Rock and the anecdotes and profiles he shares of the musicians and producers behind the music support his thesis. For Baby Boomers like me Rock was the soundtrack of our lives. All the tumultuous events of the late 60’s and early 70’s were accompanied by these sounds.

The author uses these stories to evoke an Era that impacted the world we live in today. He paints pictures of the players and traces the trends they created or rode. But this is more than a music list, though that list is there. It’s a documentary of an Age.

My only complaint is that each chapter devotes a few pages to accounts of happenings on the British Music scene. This is to be expected. It’s a British Book after all, but many of the referenced artists and their work are totally unknown to me. My problem, not the book’s, but I mention it as a caveat to future readers.

3 people found this helpful

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A great idea, and well executed.

What a wonderful reminder of the incredible music that was produced at this time in history! David Hepworth put together a great mixture of context, anecdotes, analysis and enthusiasm for this book. The framework is a month-by-month walk through of the album releases and other events taking place in- and outside the music world. But it is much more than just a timeline or cataloging of what happened. Hepworth also makes it clear that this was a very special time in music history. All of the stars were in their 20's. The music the produced is still played regularly today.

Hepworth does a great job at narration. I think non-fiction is usually best narrated by the author, and this is no exception. No one else can give it the feel that is sometimes necessary to keep your attention where there is no plot. Hepworth does so with enthusiasm.

My only small criticism is that he seems to have favorites. David Bowie nearly walks on water, whereas Neil Young sinks on feet of clay. Maybe he knows what he's talking about, but it comes off as a little uneven.

Definitely a worthwhile book, especially if you were around at the time and want a reminder of how wonderful it really, really was.

2 people found this helpful

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Fucking Spectacular!

David Hepworrh is my new rock guru: he knows his shit inside-out and backwards and his text (and deft delivery thereof) is rye and subtly hilarious in a way only an English elder statesman can be. I'm reading it again--this time, I'm getting drunk!

2 people found this helpful

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Recalling a Great Year in My Musical Life

David Hepworth turned 21 in 1971 and recalls this as the best year in the history of rock and roll in Never a Dull Moment, a month by month reminiscence that focuses on the Rolling Stones, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, The Who, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Led Zep, the former Beatles, and many many others. He places these in the context of current and pop culture events, as well as other aspects of the music business -- record company execs, the music press, technological advances, and the like.

I turned 15 in 1971, a watershed year for me, including my own pivot that Hepworth describes -- switching from 45s and AM radio to LPs and FM (from singles to albums). I got my first album (Blind Faith), got my first real guitar and used it at my first live performance (Nantucket Sleighride), formed my first band, The Summer Snowflake (lasted three days), and saw my first live concerts -- Procol Harum at the Capitol in Passaic, Grateful Dead at the Felt Forum. Lots of other indelible moments.

Hard to give Hepworth more praise than by conjuring up these memories in one place over a half century later -- to put them all together in the context of his evaluation of this year in rock music is mildly epiphianic for me.

One can criticize this book for being a bit scattershot. Each month is devoted to at least one major artist, plus a few secondary, often related artists. But to be so all encompassing means that some get barely a mention. But who am I to complain when my all-time guitar hero, my mentor-instructor, is mentioned in such a positive way (even though Hepworth mistakes his gospel blues for fiddle tunes). And in the penultimate mention before the epilogue -- Nantucket Sleighride!

Give Hepworth credit for not only focusing on big names and major releases. He includes quite a bit about what artists who hit in later years were doing in 1971, like Springsteen, Jonathan Richman, Talking Heads, and the New York Dolls, among others. And artists like Nick Drake who recorded in 1971 but didn't gain recognition for many years.

Great stuff for classic rock fans, possibly good stuff for younger fans who may have heard their parents or grandparents listening to this music, or their own music heroes covering or sampling these songs or naming them as influences. You may not agree with everything, but at the very least, food for thought.

Kudos to Hepworth for his narration. He is not perhaps the most polished of voices, being a writer, not a voice actor, but no one else could have captured his mildly sardonic tone and totally apropos English accent.

1 person found this helpful

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Listened Twice

Next time I will take notes to create a playlist based on the book. If you want to expand your horizons with some musical archaeology start here.

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a baby boomer walk down memory lane!

this terrific book, it brought back so many memories of my youth and the story and facts are well put together. I highly recommend this book if you are over 50 years old and loved music in that time period

1 person found this helpful

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Rock History

This book brought me back to my youth, with stories of the rock and roll that accompanied of our lives. Lots of history of the time and trends of 1970. I enjoyed the list of songs and their artists at the end of each chapter.

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Fun listening!

If you experienced that time or are a fan of that era's music you will enjoy this audiobook!

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As Good As Any

There were some good years for music before and a little after 1971, and Hepworth defends well his choices. No longer in adolescence, rock music offered more and more variety as it began to mature, and much of what it provided then remains valuable today. Arguments about what should have been included or left out of this history are inevitable, but it is satisfying.