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The History Of Rock 1971

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Welcome to 1971...

The biggest stars of the previous decade are locked in verbal conflict. On his new album, our cover star John Lennon presents a song called “How Do You Sleep?”, apparently addressed to Paul McCartney (“or maybe it’s about some old chick…”). McCartney himself can’t stop himself unpicking the Beatles’ disputes – even when he’s meant to be promoting his new band.

“Please get him talking about Wings,” pleads a weary advisor, “That’s what we’re here for, after all…”

Elsewhere, though, the heaviness of the previous year has been tempered with a new sense of fun. Proud “yobbos” Slade deliver their first hit singles, and a rowdy live show. Elton John is doing handstands on his piano keyboard, while Marc Bolan’s T Rex are creating the kind of fan pandemonium unseen since the Beatles. Band of the year is The Faces, whose singer Rod Stewart presents an exciting proposition: composer, performer, lad-about-town. Melody Maker’s Richard Williams puts it nicely after observing Rod in the studio: “what a great man.”

As the maturing, increasingly history-conscious music press is well-placed to point out, Elton, Rod, even Marc didn’t come from nowhere – but were dues-paid musicians with a rich and occasionally chequered history in the business. Longer interviews probe deeper into the roots of their present art.

This is the world of The History Of Rock, a monthly magazine which reaps the benefits of their understanding for the reader decades later, one year at a time. In the pages of this seventh issue, dedicated to 1971, you will find verbatim articles from frontline staffers, compiled into long and illuminating reads. Missed one? You can find out how to rectify that on page 144.

What will still surprise the modern reader is the access to, and the sheer volume of material supplied by the artists who are now the giants of popular culture. Now, a combination of wealth, fear and lifestyle would conspire to keep reporters at a rather greater length from the lives of musicians.

At this stage though, representatives from)New Musical Express and Melody Maker are where it matters. In Cannes with the Stones. In John Lennon’s kitchen. At the BBC with John Peel, discussing sex at Top Of The Pops.

Join them there. And get it on.