1970 is known for the “Chicago Seven,” the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the birth of Earth Day, Apollo 13, the Kent State shootings, the Women’s Strike for Equality, the Isle of Wight Festival, the birth of the Ford Pinto and the deaths of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. It was a tumultuous time, to say the least.
In David Browne’s book, Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970, the Rolling Stone contributing editor offers insight into these four major folk-rock artists and how their various contributions played out over the backdrop of one era lurching into the next.
Yes, many music lovers may look back with a sneer, but the 1970s were not without merit. And particularly, 1970 offered a pivotal change in popular music and our culture overall.
A very well-researched story of the year and the music and the strife and the madness captured through interviews with hundreds of musicians (including some of those highlighted in the book), this is a must-read for any fan of folk music or music writing.
Browne sets the stage in his introduction: “…1970 felt like the moment at which the remaining slivers of the idealism of the ‘60s began surrendering to the buzz-kill comedown of the decade ahead; each subsequent year built on its foundations.”
Let’s rediscover that lost year through music.
Playlist for 1970. What songs would you choose?