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One of those books that you are slightly bereft when it finishes. Hepworth has a point of view which he expresses beautifully through stories and his own recollection. It’s detailed but fantastically entertaining. A high point was his account of the death of Kurt Cobain. The description of what Elvis’ life was like before he died was so engaging I became almost depressed. I loved every minute.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The history of the rock star told through a structure which takes each year from 1955 to 1994 and follows one rock star on a day which will be hugely significant in their career. Hepworth's encylopaedic knowledge of music and consistently amusing prose style allows him to write about some great choices in a way that's both fascinating and entertaining. As with his other audible book "1971" each chapter ends with a playlist of tracks to sum up the year in question. I loved the stories; sought out tracks from the playlist (I'm reasonably knowledgable about music but Hepworth is in another league altogether and his playlists have introduced me to some great performers) and laughed like a crazy person while listening to this on public transport. Particular highlights include Little Richard's first recording session in which his producer has to find alternative lyrics to substitute for the original; wholly unpublishable; words of "tutti-frutti" and the sympathetic chapter on the profoundly damaged Janis Joplin's decision to attend her high-school reunion.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Anyone who grew up with rock music (particularly those of born between about 1950 and 1965) will adore this funny, acerbic, yet affectionate telling of the era of the rock star, starting from Little Richard in the mid-50s to Kurt Cobain in the early ‘90s. The writer, veteran UK rock journalist David Hepworth, is perfectly placed to tell the story, having had a Zelig-like presence at so many of the key moments described within. Each chapter covers a year at a time from 1955-1995, each focusing on one star at a pivotal point in their careers - whether on the up or on the long slide down. In each vignette, Hepworth takes one point in time to extrapolate out to the bigger themes of the book - the obsessive, highly insecure, hugely ambitious nature of the ‘rock star’ and the unbearable expectations we placed on them. There are some monsters in this book (the Led Zeppelin machine), some pathetically sad and lonely people (Cobain) and some outright psychopaths (Keith Moon). But as Hepworth says, that was how it had to be. That was why they were there and we are here. If you were only to read one book about the now long gone ‘rock era’, make it this one.