Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Fire and Rain
on 5 February 2012
This is the musical story of 1970, concentrating on the making of four albums: Let it Be by the Beatles, Bridge over troubled water by Simon and Garfunkel, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor and Deja Vu by CSNY. 1970 was a year in which two of those groups fell apart, one achieved success and then collapsed and another, James Taylor, broke through with a successful album. It was a year when the Beatles went into freefall and the author relates the various issues - the end of the Apple dream, solo albums (including the arguments over the release dates of the McCartney album), John's primal scream therapy, etc.
The whole saga of CSNY's tour is described, including the lack of rehearsals which resulted in the first show ending with Crosby, Neil and Young flying to LA and leaving Stills to head to the soundcheck in Chicago only to find the show had been cancelled. After threats from promoters, they agreed to resume the tour. Meanwhile, Paul Simon was becoming irritated by Art Garfunkel's disappearance to make films. Unhappy about having to work around a partner, Simon ended the year by deciding to make records on his own. There is also the inter-twined story of James Taylor and manager Peter Asher (of Peter and Gordon fame and who sensibly decided to leave the debacle that was Apple) and his rather reluctant path to success.
It is interesting to read how all these great musicians intersected - having the same girlfriends, hanging out together, competing and also, often, combining to make wonderful music. Still, the year ended in December with Paul McCartney having writs delivered to Lennon, Harrison, Starr and Klein. As Stills recalled, "The Let it Be stuff was overhanging the whole year, that they were basically ready to kill each other," and that "it permeated the whole industry". This is a fascinating account of that year of excess and personal trauma and the music that was made, almost despite the problems facing the people involved.