1973: Rock at the Crossroads

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Dec. 2019. 448p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250299987. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250299994. MUSIC
Jackson (1965) argues that 1973 was a transitional yet cornerstone year for rock music, as the once almost monolithic world of rock and pop started to split into multiple subgenres and styles, leading to the eventual erosion of its singular influence in music. The year produced classics, including Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, key albums from all four former Beatles, debuts from Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith, and landmark work from David Bowie and Stevie Wonder. Examining the first big stateside impact of reggae with Bob Marley and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the peak of glam rock, the rise of outlaw country, and the beginnings of punk and disco, the book surveys 1973’s diverse musical landscape. This lively, detailed narrative provides a backdrop of historical changes that were also roiling the world as the Seventies hit their stride.
VERDICT Deeply sourced and entertainingly informative, Jackson’s chronology of a transformative year in music, culture, and society may prompt debate (as well as playlist creation) and will appeal to a wide swath of readers.

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