Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970

( 10 )

Overview

January 1970: the Beatles assemble one more time to put the finishing touches on Let It Be; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are wrapping up Déjà Vu; Simon and Garfunkel are unveiling Bridge Over Troubled Water; James Taylor is an upstart singer-songwriter who’s just completed Sweet Baby James. Over the course of the next twelve months, their lives—and the world around them—will change irrevocably. Fire and Rain tells the story of four iconic albums of 1970 and the lives, times, and constantly intertwining ...

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Overview

January 1970: the Beatles assemble one more time to put the finishing touches on Let It Be; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are wrapping up Déjà Vu; Simon and Garfunkel are unveiling Bridge Over Troubled Water; James Taylor is an upstart singer-songwriter who’s just completed Sweet Baby James. Over the course of the next twelve months, their lives—and the world around them—will change irrevocably. Fire and Rain tells the story of four iconic albums of 1970 and the lives, times, and constantly intertwining personal ties of the remarkable artists who made them. Acclaimed journalist David Browne sets these stories against an increasingly chaotic backdrop of events that sent the world spinning throughout that tumultuous year: Kent State, the Apollo 13 debacle, ongoing bombings by radical left-wing groups, the diffusion of the antiwar movement, and much more.

Featuring candid interviews with more than 100 luminaries, including some of the artists themselves, Browne's vivid narrative tells the incredible story of how—over the course of twelve turbulent months—the '60s effectively ended and the '70s began.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Browne (Goodbye 20th Century) revisits the musical, political, and cultural shifts of 1970, a year that left an indelible mark on rock history. As the Beatles disintegrated, the career of a shy, unassuming singer/songwriter named James Taylor was just beginning. Meanwhile, Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released iconic albums (Bridge Over Trouble Water and Déjà Vu), each of which ultimately led to the demise of their collaboration. Using new interviews with the artists and their colleagues, as well as access to rare documents and recordings from the period, Browne employs a smart narrative style to make such well-worn stories as the Beatles' breakup fresh again. Through it all, he remains convinced that the first year of that new decade was just as pivotal as its well-documented predecessors—a perfect reflection of the chaotic end of the Sixties and the beginning of a new era in rock. This book will appeal to classic rock fans, as well as younger readers who may find this to be a fascinating look at an era when an artist's reputation was built not on social media sites, but on the music itself. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

Through the lens of four fabulously successful musical acts, aRolling Stonecontributing editor looks at the moment 1960s idealism "began surrendering to the buzz-kill comedown of the decade ahead."

By decade's end, the '60s counterculture ethos of peace, love and togetherness lay pretty much in ruins. Browne (Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth, 2008, etc.) alludes to many dismal headline events that dominated the news of 1970—the shootings at Kent and Jackson State, the Manson trial, the Weather Underground's terror bombings, Apollo 13 limping home from space—but focuses here on the music makers, the most visible representatives of the youth subculture whose collaborations became every bit as dysfunctional as the Establishment they mocked. Released in 1970, the Beatles'Let It Be, Simon & Garfunkel'sBridge Over Troubled Water and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young'sDéjà vuwere their final albums together and signaled the end of an era. The early fame and the seemingly effortless camaraderie gave way to jealousy, greed, infighting and disarray. Artists turned their backs on group albums in favor of solo efforts; intimate concerts were replaced by stadium shows; outdoor festivals, attempting to duplicate Woodstock, were brushed by fans demanding free admission. Hard drugs hovered over the entire scene, crippling musicians—Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin overdosed—and addling fans. That same year, James Taylor, famously a former mental patient, himself strung out, issuedSweet Baby James, for better or worse, the herald of a softer, more relaxed vibe that would dominate the years ahead. Browne skillfully interleaves the stories of these musicians during this tumultuous year, making room for substantial walk-ons by other significant industry figures like Bill Graham, Peter Yarrow, Phil Spector, Rita Coolidge, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Intimately familiar with the music, fully comprehending the cross-pollination among the artists, thoroughly awake to the dynamics of the decade's last gasp, the author expertly captures a volatile and hugely interesting moment in rock history.

A vivid freeze-frame of Hall of Fame musicians, some of whom would go on to make fine records, none ever again as central to the culture.

From the Publisher
"Browne's engrossing account of this fertile but volatile period sets the standard by which comprehensive musical histories should be judged." —-BookPage
Library Journal
Rolling Stone editor Browne focuses his fourth book on the year 1970 and how the music from four mega-bands responded to and influenced the times. His audio time line weaves descriptions of national events—Kent State and the Weathermen bombings—with the melodrama of the musicians' lives. The story is one of tragedy and transition. Three of the four groups discussed have disbanded by the narrative's conclusion, and the music and promise of the 1960s has come to an end. Browne's excellent reporting on the music makes up for the flimsy premise tying his stories together. Veteran voice actor Sean Runette performs excellently, but transitions between unrelated subjects can make the time line challenging to follow in stop-and-start audio format. Recommended for fans of the highlighted musicians. ["Browne engagingly illuminates many overlooked stories that may not be familiar to even dedicated rock enthusiasts," read the review of the Da Capo hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 6/10/11.—Ed.]—Mark John Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306818509
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 966,217
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Browne is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of three books: Dream Brother (2001), Amped (2004), and Goodbye 20th Century (2008). He also contributes to the New York Times, NPR, and other outlets. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Prologue: January 5

Part 1 Winter Into Spring: A Song That They Sing When They Take to the Highway 25

Part 2 Spring Into Summer: A Feeling I Can't Hide 113

Part 3 Summer Into Fall: Away, I'd Rather Sail Away 187

Part 4 Pall Into Winter: Gone Your Way, Ill Go Mine 253

Epilogue: December 315

Coda: October 2009 327

Acknowledgments 335

Notes and Sources 339

Index 347

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Snapshot In Time

    If you are a fan of any of the bands and/or singers listed in the title, then this is a book for you. Readers follow the descent of the Beatles, the quick rise and fall of CSNY, Simon and Garfunkel's fall and Simon's singular rise, and James Taylor's ascent into the singer/songwriter world of music. We're given glimpses into their personal lives and the way their lives and music tangled together, then came apart.

    David Browne does occasionally touch upon the politics and social aspects of life in 1970 but this book is mainly about the music of these particular artists. I found it a well-written, relatively unbiased account one of the major turning points in music's history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    BORING writing style - did not like the book at all!

    The author jumps around too much in his writing. It's not that I couldn't keep up with the information (I mean, really, what's to keep with - nothing new was revealed). It was so fragmented - no glue to hold the story together. I found myself jumping ahead to see if the book was gonna improve. Well, folks, it didn't. Sure wish I'd read the sample before buying. And that's another issue - why the high price for an ebook?!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    Great book on a very interesting year...must read for fans of CSNY, JT, S&G, and the Beatles.

    With great style and incredible detail, Fire and Rain really captivates what most music lovers probably don't realize was a pretty big year...I didn't. With great ease and seamless transitions, you'll be reading about the Beatles then jump to JT then CSNY to Simon & Grafunkel then back again. Music, sex, drugs, and great short sections on the world events that coincided with the making of some real classics. An entertaining and easy read...and count the number of times you say, "wow, I didn't know that!"

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Great Book but Too Much for an Ebook

    Thanks for the sample B&N...Well written and extremely interesting. But, it's too much for an ebook. You have gone beyond the tipping point. Sell the book for less than $10 and more folks would buy it...jb

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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