Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall Of The Rock Stars – David Hepworth

I’ve come to respect how prolific and authoritative David Hepworth is as a music journalist. I published a blog post last year about his earlier book, 1971: Never A Dull Moment. A pivotal year in rock music.

His new book is titled, Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall Of The Rock Stars.

The latest book, “Uncommon People,” takes in the genre through a broader lens, 1955 to 1995, charting the rise and fall of the rock star as a species over that time.

An elegy to the age of the Rock Star, featuring Chuck Berry, Elvis, Madonna, Bowie, Prince, and more, uncommon people whose lives were transformed by rock and who, in turn, shaped our culture

The age of the rock star, like the age of the cowboy, has passed. Like the cowboy, the idea of the rock star lives on in our imaginations. What did we see in them? Swagger. Recklessness. Sexual charisma. Damn-the-torpedoes self-belief. A certain way of carrying themselves. Good hair. Interesting shoes. The talent we wished we had. What did we want of them? To be larger than life but also like us. To live out their songs. To stay young forever. No wonder many didn’t stay the course.


Never A Dull Moment By David Hepworth

Cheap Thrills (Big Brother and the Holding Com...
Cheap Thrills (Big Brother and the Holding Company album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have debated in my mind which year was best for rock music. I am torn between the years 1967-1971. These were formative musical years as a child of the sixties maturing into the 1970s.

Starting with 1967, the year of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. Then 1968 brought us Van Morrison‘s classic Astral Weeks and Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin.

1969 was pivotal for my life as I graduated high school that year. The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair changed the world. Rock albums from Led Zeppelin and Santana pushed multi-dimensional sound.

Then 1970 ushered in the era of the singer/songwriter with Sweet Baby James by James Taylor. Contrast that soft music genre with the electric jazz fusion of Miles Davis‘s Bitches Brew.

Nantucket SleighrideThe capstone of the music period from 1967-1971 was 1971.  This year rose prominently in the music of our heart. I loved the dichotomy of Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death versus Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain.





Thanks to a book by David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well-regarded critic, I have validation. The book David has written, Never A Dull Moment, 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded substantiates 1971’s contribution to rock history with concrete authority.

If you are a fan of rock history and its sociological impact on the rhythm of our existence you must read this book.

Arc Of A Diver – Deluxe Edition – Steve Winwood

Arc Of A Diver, the Deluxe Edition will be released on October 16, 2012. The bonus disc features three extra tracks; Arc Of A Diver (4:14 – the edited US single version), Spanish Dancer (6:08 – radio edit 2010 version) and Night Train (6:30 – instrumental version from the UK 12 single which has never been released on CD before. This version has extra guitar and keyboards and is much longer).

It also features the BBC Radio 2 documentary – Arc Of A Diver, The Steve Winwood Story . Kate Thornton tells the story of a great songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and performer who s been a key figure in pop music for over forty years Steve Winwood. The program includes contributions from Muff Winwood, Van Morrison, Will Jennings, Jim Capaldi, Russ Titelman, Tom Lord Alge, Nile Rogers and Steve Winwood.

The re-issue also includes liner notes written by David Hepworth, the Editorial Director of various magazines including Q, Empire and Mojo as well as presenting the BBC s Whistle Test.

“Steve Winwood never for a moment imagined his escape from the day-to-day would turn into such a long career, that he would still be recording and touring nearly fifty years later. Arc Of A Diver is the record that made that not so much a possibility as a certainty.”

Track Listing

Disc One

  • 1. While You See A Chance
  • 2. Arc Of A Diver
  • 3. Second-Hand Woman
  • 4. Slowdown Sundown
  • 5. Spanish Dancer
  • 6. Night Train
  • 7. Dust

Disc Two

  • 1. Arc Of A Diver [The Steve Winwood Story]
  • 2. Arc Of A Diver [Edited US Single Version]
  • 3. Night Train [Instrumental Version From UK 12” Single]
  • 4. Spanish Dancer [Radio Edit 2010 Version]