1971

A woeful year for pop which went all Eurovision on us...

A woeful year for pop which went all Eurovision on us with Clodagh Rogers and Middle Of The Road (‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’) and a quiet year for the rockers, though The Who did produce probably their finest album, Who’s Next, from the wreckage of another rock opera-style project, Lifehouse. The Stones cut ‘Brown Sugar’, which was either about heroin or a racist/sexist ditty. Thanks, chaps. Jim Morrison took his last bath in Paris in July, dying of a heart attack and shutting The Doors forever.

Gone: Benny Hill, to the lasting shame of our pop-picking parents, was number one for weeks with ‘Ernie (Fastest Milkman In The West)’, a hellishly feeble, innuendo-ridden comedy pop caper.

Album of the year: Who’s Next – The Who

Single of the year: Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone

Band/artist of the year: The Who

1971 belonged to: The Who, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone

Key moment of the year: Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s rock musical soundtrack outstrips sales of Sergeant Pepper and heralds a three decade Reich in the West End to come. George Harrison was the busiest ex-Beatle in 1971. First came All Things Must Pass, a triple album featuring the single ‘My Sweet Lord’, later found to have been nicked “unconsciously’ by George from The Chiffons’ ‘She’s So Fine’. Then came his involvement in the concerts For Bangladesh, an early Live Aid-style effort on the part of rockers such as Dylan, Clapton, etc, to bring relief to famine victims. At the New York concert, Ravi Shankar was thunderously applauded after ten minutes of sitar work, only to inform the audience that actually he’d been tuning up.

Soul was revived greatly in 1971, with Curtis Mayfield‘s galvanising ‘Move On Up’, Sly Stone‘s ‘There’s A Riot Going On’ and Marvin Gaye‘s ‘What’s Going On’ looking ahead to another fertile and turbulent decade in black music.