January 1970: the Beatles assemble one more time to put the finishing touches on Let It Be; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are wrapping up Déjà Vu; Simon and Garfunkel are unveiling Bridge Over Troubled Water; James Taylor is an upstart singer-songwriter who’s just completed Sweet Baby James. Over the course of the next twelve months, their lives--and the world around them--will change irrevocably. Fire and Rain tells the story of four iconic albums of 1970 and the lives, times, and constantly intertwining personal ties of the remarkable artists who made them. Acclaimed journalist David Browne sets these stories against an increasingly chaotic backdrop of events that sent the world spinning throughout that tumultuous year: Kent State, the Apollo 13 debacle, ongoing bombings by radical left-wing groups, the diffusion of the antiwar movement, and much more.
Featuring candid interviews with more than 100 luminaries, including some of the artists themselves, Browne's vivid narrative tells the incredible story of how--over the course of twelve turbulent months--the '60s effectively ended and the '70s began.
"The year 1970 ushered in some big changes. The Vietnam war was beginning to wind down, as were student protests (after Kent State) and radical politics. The 'Me Decade' began with the Beatles breaking up and each member having a go at a solo career. Simon & Garfunkel scored a big hit with their album 'Bridge Over Troubled Water,' and America's super group, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, released their seminal hit, Deja vu. Also, a fresh solo voice emerged from the college scene, a quiet, thoughtful singer/song-writer named James Taylor. I always thought Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' was about a plane crash but I was mistaken, the metaphor apparently lost on me. The song certainly didn't crash and burn, though others of that era weren't so lucky.
David Browne's book skips back and forth among these performers and the strange year that helped shape their art. With all the drugs, sex, egos, rivalries, jealousies, money, and even movie and television opportunities, it's a wonder anything got done at all when it came down to music. But anyone listening to classic rock radio today will still hear many songs from 1970, 42 years down the road. In addition, most of the artists mentioned are still performing today. 1970 was the birth year for Earth Day and Greenpeace, but was also the year we lost both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I would strongly recommend Fire and Rain to any rock fan or even students of cultural history. It was a fascinating time and a wonderful reading experience."