Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars

Holt. Nov. 2017. 320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781250124128. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781250124135. MUSIC
BBC radio host, Guardian columnist, and author (Never a Dull Moment) Hepworth takes a year-by-year approach in documenting the concept of the rock star in this title. He begins in 1955 with Little Richard and the writing and recording of "Tutti Frutti," and moves up to the rise and 1994 suicide of Kurt Cobain, whom Hepworth claims was the last rock star. Along the way, the Beatles appear, and the Who, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust persona, and other expected icons. Hepworth does have a British view of the concept of the rock star, however, so Ian Drury, a briefly popular new wave/punk figure, is included. Although Drury barely made a ripple in U.S. rock music, his presence tells the reader something important about what being a "rock star" meant at the time. Interestingly, Hepworth devotes a final chapter to the post-Cobain rock stars, the "computer nerds" who brought us Apple, Microsoft, and the like, during the 1990s.
VERDICT A worthwhile read for all pop music fans. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/24/17.]
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