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Fire and Rain Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820724
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 758,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Named one of the "Best Rock Books of the Year" by "Rolling Stone"
"Kirkus Reviews"
"Through the lens of four fabulously successful musical acts, a "Rolling Stone" contributing editor looks at the moment 1960s idealism "began surrendering to the buzz-kill comedown of the decade ahead...A vivid freeze-frame of Hall of Fame musicians, some of whom would go on to make fine records, none ever again as central to the culture."
"Parade"
"This juicy, fascinating read transports you back to a turbulent year...Browne artfully describes the creation of these classic songs in a way that makes them seem brand-new."
"New York Daily News"
"Through rich anecdotes and incisive analysis...the book threads traces of politics, but music remains its worthy focus. The form of the book, told chronologically over four seasons, lends it the compacted, real-time drama of an episode of '24'."
"New York Post"
"Behind-the-scenes, fly-on-the-wall looks at [the artists] make it a worthwhile read."
"Associated Press"
""Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970" is a worthy addition to anyone's collection of such music histories...the nuanced account of the struggles inherent in making music is more than enough to satisfy, as are the delightful surprise connections and asides scattered throughout the book. . . . I couldn't help but be riveted by the account of this group of immensely talented people who also, when they weren't at each other's throats, seemed like they'd be cool to hang out with."
"Entertainment Weekly"
A "Best New Summer Read"
"Chicago Reader"
"Its principal task is to dive into the 60s hangover on a day-to-day level, describing the tensions that drove U.S./UK rock culture--emblematized by the four artists in the subtitle--toward the sweet, consoling embrace of Let It Be, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sweet Baby James, and Deja Vu, ... Browne renders this s

Associated Press
"Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 is a worthy addition to anyone's collection of such music historiesthe nuanced account of the struggles inherent in making music is more than enough to satisfy, as are the delightful surprise connections and asides scattered throughout the book. . . . I couldn't help but be riveted by the account of this group of immensely talented people who also, when they weren't at each other's throats, seemed like they'd be cool to hang out with.
Entertainment Weekly
A Best New Summer Read
Chicago Reader
Its principal task is to dive into the 60s hangover on a day-to-day level, describing the tensions that drove U.S./UK rock cultureemblematized by the four artists in the subtitletoward the sweet, consoling embrace of Let It Be, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sweet Baby James, and Deja Vu, Browne renders this somnambulant period with such care that he makes it seem alive.
Mojo
Highly readable shifts between the key points smoothly. He unearths some little-told stories along the way.
"

Named one of the Best Rock Books of the Year by Rolling Stone
Kirkus Reviews
Through the lens of four fabulously successful musical acts, a Rolling Stone contributing editor looks at the moment 1960s idealism began surrendering to the buzz-kill comedown of the decade aheadA vivid freeze-frame of Hall of Fame musicians, some of whom would go on to make fine records, none ever again as central to the culture.
Parade
This juicy, fascinating read transports you back to a turbulent yearBrowne artfully describes the creation of these classic songs in a way that makes them seem brand-new.
New York Daily News
Through rich anecdotes and incisive analysisthe book threads traces of politics, but music remains its worthy focus. The form of the book, told chronologically over four seasons, lends it the compacted, real-time drama of an episode of 24'.
New York Post
Behind-the-scenes, fly-on-the-wall looks at [the artists] make it a worthwhile read.
"

About the Author

David Browne is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of three previous books, including Goodbye 20th Century. He lives in New York City.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Here's a book which tells the story of a year in the life of four musical acts: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles and James Taylor. The year is 1970, and the four albums they are working on (Deja Vu, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Let It Be and Sweet Baby James) would all go on to become amongst the best-loved and most popular records of all time. It was also the year in which each of the three ensembles would break up, and the author describes how this happened in detail - concentrating particularly on the way the members of The Beatles pulled the group apart, leaving the fragmented and unsatisfactory "Let It Be" to be re-worked for release by Phil Spector (whose arrangement of "The Long And Winding Road" came as an unpleasant surprise to Paul McCartney, resulting in further divisions between him and his colleagues).

By contrast, the split between Simon and Garfunkel seems to have been as allusive and underplayed as one of their delicate songs - "The Dangling Conversation", for example. And CSNY could be viewed as barely having been together in the first place: although "Deja Vu" is probably a stronger record than their groundbreaking
...Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This very well written and entertaining book chronicles in novelist fashion four groundbreaking albums: "Deja Vu" (CSNY), "Sweet Baby James" (James Taylor), "Bridge Over Troubled Water"(Simon & Garfunkel) and "Let It Be".

Actually the focus is not so much on the albums themselves - Brownes interpretations of the various songs are surely one of the weaker aspects of the book - but more the tumultous lifes of the involved artists. All 3 bands at the verge of break up and breakdown, leaving James Taylor in many ways as the 'hero' of the story.

No doubt David Browne has put lots of effort and research into this work, though apparently CSN are the only ones who have actually wanted to participate in the books making. He also succesfully manages to put the music in to a larger perspective: Nixon, Vietnam war, bombings running rampant in the US (a rather forgotten aspect of the times), the killings at US university campuses by the national guard, the Mason family.

In the end though he doesn't really make it evident why such brilliant and long lasting Art could grow out of all this trivial in-fighting and dope misuse. The idea that perhaps Art is a sphere of it's own with its owm laws seem foreign to him. Which might be connected with his disdain for the more spiritual aspects of these artists as when he says that '..he[Phil Spector] even made the chant "Hare Krishna" in "My Sweet Lord" palatable'.

A fine read for anyone into rock history and ofc for anyone interested in these four formidable acts.
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