The History Of Rock – 1967 (2015)

FrontCover“Welcome to 1967. In the popular imagination, this is a year defined by its summer – a summer not announced by warmer weather, so much as by the Beatles release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in June, and continuing through singles like their own ‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘Itchycoo Park’ by the Small Faces and Traffic’s ‘Hole In My Shoe’. It is also a more symbolic season, in which the tentative drug dalliance, conceptual thought and musical explorations seeded in the previous year all burst into vibrant colour. Or, in the case of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, into flames.

“Bands are leaving the cities. They are growing (and shaving) moustaches. Fans are following them in greater numbers not to scream, but to mingle with them as something like equals, to listen and watch the lightshow. An American city, San Francisco, becomes the spiritual home of this development – generally called ‘Flower Power’, which George Harrison goes to witness in person – and quickly, of its kitsch. The ‘genuine people’, as Graham Nash observes, have already gone elsewhere.

“The Beatles make influential music in 1967, but it may be the Rolling Stones (for whom this is not considered a vintage year) who are the avatars of the culture. In January, Brian Jones tells the world that something called ‘the age of Aquarius’ is coming. It is the sentencing in July of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that threatens to bring the summer’s idyll to an end. The band’s return with ‘We Love You’ offers a new and ironic note of defiance for the autumn. Come the winter, Jagger will be telling reporters that Satanic Majesties is ‘just another album’, as the year’s costumes are removed and put away.

“The staffers of NME and Melody Maker were there with all these musicians, increasingly for longer periods. Transatlantic travel is fractionally more common, and when the opportunity arises, American groups are visited in their own surroundings. Making music has come to reflect an entire lifestyle, and travel of one kind or another is broadening the mind.

“This is the world of The History Of Rock, a new monthly magazine and ongoing project which reaps the benefits of this access for the reader decades later, one year at a time. In the pages of this third edition, dedicated to 1967, you will find verbatim articles from frontline staffers, compiled into long and illuminating reads. Missed an issue? You can find out how to rectify that here.

“What will surprise the modern reader most 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, however, representatives from New Musical Express and Melody Maker are where it matters. At Monterey with Brian Jones, or looning at UFO. Talking Coronation Street with the Monkees. They are with Traffic, awaiting a delivery of poached eggs.

“Join them there. You’ll flip on it.”

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The History Of Rock – 1966 (2015)

FrontCover“This year, the pop scene feels more than ever like a land of opportunity. It is, as one writer in these pages puts it, ‘wide open’. A year that begins with ‘beat’ groups attempting to extend their range quickly becomes a laboratory of musical ideas: new instruments and influences, even ‘electronic music’. By its end, the musical experimentation is attempting to alter consciousness and a new word (‘psychedelic’) has entered the vocabulary to describe what is happening.

“An audio-visual signifier for these developments is the sitar, an Indian instrument that quickly becomes a yardstick of musical curiosity. It can only be imported at considerable expense from specialist shops or transported by well-travelled friends. Jimmy Page claims to have had one of the first in England. David Crosby from The Byrds thinks he had one even before George Harrison.

“By 1966, Harrison is growing in stature within The Beatles, but is already a major figure among his peers. His interest in new sounds has given rise to his sitar part on ‘Norwegian Wood’, one of the key compositions of 1965. Now, with the arrival of Ravi Shankar in the country, he assumes a new role: as an agent of cultural exchange and sonic curiosity.

“Even in a group as tightly knit as The Beatles, the environment of 1966 is one where the individual is given room and his interests accommodated. The writing of 1966 reflects this: the trench friendships formed between group and reporter in previous years have developed into more nuanced relationships, and a group need no longer be represented by the writer as a democracy.

“This is the world of The History Of Rock, a new monthly magazine and ongoing project that reaps the benefits of this access for the reader decades later, one year at a time. In the pages of this second edition, dedicated to 1966, you will find verbatim articles from frontline staffers, compiled into long and illuminating reads. Missed our 1965 volume? You can find out how to rectify that by clicking here.

“This year, Ringo is interviewed less, and Bill Wyman is not required to file a letter from America. However, Mick Jagger is questioned in depth, and Brian Jones readily opens up an intriguing private world. The more contrarian Pete Townshend often absents himself from proceedings completely.

“What will surprise the modern reader most is the access to, and the sheer volume of, material supplied by artists who are giants of popular culture. Now, wealth, fear and lifestyle would conspire to keep reporters at a rather greater length from the lives of musicians. At this stage, however, representatives from New Musical Express and Melody Maker are where it matters. Backstage with The Beach Boys. Returning to Hamburg with The Beatles. Close by while Dusty Springfield troubleshoots a problem with a monkey in an orange crate.

“Join them there. You’ll be gassed.”

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The History Of Rock – 1965 (2015)

FrontCover

The History Of Rock 1965 is the complete guide to an extraordinary year of music. This is the first issue of a new monthly magazine that tells the history of rock using revelatory, long-lost Nme and Melody Maker interviews. . . “Spread the word and you’ll be free!” As the year 1965 dawns, the personalities who will define much of the music of the next 50 years – be that The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or The Rolling Stones – are all still in their early twenties and producing classic work like Help!, Highway 61 and Satisfaction. In their wake, a second wave of innovators are busy determining their own paths, inspired by the work of others. The music writers of New Musical Express and Melody Maker were there with them all. They skilfully captured the major personalities up close, at a time where music – and along with it, music writing – was undergoing rapid change. Join them at John Lennon’s dinner table, being serenaded by John Coltrane in his hotel room, in a Tv studio with The Rolling Stones. Relive this fantastic year when the Beatles met Elvis, Dylan unveiled “Like A Rolling Stone”, the Who and the Kinks exploded onto the music scene and The Byrds, Walker Brothers, John Coltrane, Burt Bacharach, Bert Jansch and many more shared everything with Nme and Melody Maker.

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