Uncommon People by David Hepworth



Title: Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars 1955-1994 Author: David Hepworth Reviewer: Alan Wilson

Who He? He’s a music writer who’s been round the block a few times, so knows whereof he speaks.

What’s It About? His thesis is that, like the age of the cowboy, the age of the rock star is dead.

Expectation? I’m hoping for a detailed analysis of what specifically makes a rock star, as opposed to just a rock musician or a star in any other sphere of life.

Can You Give Me a 400 Character Summary? Why, of course I can. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll – AKA the Internet killed the Rock and Roll Star

ELI5?* A few ordinary citizens found that they had extraordinary talent. Using copious amounts of narcotics and alcohol they fashioned an identity all of their own before succumbing to the all-knowing gaze of the world wide web and fading as quickly as they’d risen. *for the oldies, Explain Like I'm 5

The Premise: The Age of the Rock Star is dead. Or, to put it another way. In much the same way that video killed the radio star, Tim Berners Lee killed the rock star. Sir Tim, how could you?

These prototype rock stars arrived out of nowhere, with roots in R&B or hillbilly country, waxed with the advent of the record industry, peaked in the seventies when the full PR machine of the music business realized there was money in them thar stars and died in the fag end of the 20th century as the product became the message.

The widespread ubiquity of the drum machine, auto-tune, choreographed dancing and click-track regulated careers removed the last remaining mystique from the people behind the music.

Chapter by Chapter OK, enough rambling and preamble. Let's get on with it. The crowd are getting twitchy and can't take any more roadies doing sound checks and shuffling guitars around on stage (OK, I admit it, this gig analogy is not very good).