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on 18 October 2007
One of the many things different about the role of music in popular culture between the sixties and today is the political dimension. Nowadays pop stars use their fame to wield a miniscule amount of political influence, maybe succeding in turning the political spectrum a couple of clicks at best. But back in the sixties the music *was* the revolution. Or so a lot of radical political activists hoped. Trailblazing singers and visionaries like Dylan and Lennon had captured the hearts and minds of their generation so successfully, it seemed only natural in some quarters that people's political inclinations would follow suit, and that there would be a general overthrow of the established world order.

The fact it didn't go down like that is the subject of Doggett's absorbing, scholarly and highly readable account of rock's honeymoon with politics in the late sixties and early seventies. Not only a brilliant work of popular culture, telling one of the most interesting epic tales in the annals of pop music, but a serious piece of cultural history which celebrates the optimism of a time when people felt the music was the message which could move mountains, as well as sadly recognizing, in hindsight, the naivety of those who believed it possible.

As Townshend (a musical giant featured extensively in the book) once wrote: 'a parting on the left is now a parting on the right... meet the new boss - same as the old boss.'
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