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Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 Paperback – July 3, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

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 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.”

BookPage
“It wasn’t obvious as it was happening, but, as David Browne shows in Fire and Rain, 1970 turned out to be a watershed year in popular music. … Browne’s engrossing account of this fertile but volatile period sets the standard by which comprehensive musical histories should be judged.”

Library Journal
“Browne engagingly illuminates many overlooked stories that may not be familiar to even dedicated rock enthusiasts. Highly recommended.”

HollywoodReporter.com
“An irresistible page-turner, a gossipy, scholarly account of an explosive rock moment, as organized as the times were chaotic— as well-crafted as a Beatles tune. The book is a brilliant lens on a time you only thought you knew.”

St. Petersburg Times
“If you liked Life, then try Fire and Rain.”

Indiewire.com
“Totally entertaining…There are drugs, love affairs and infighting behind the music, a story Browne smartly sets against the backdrop of a culture emerging from the turbulent 60’s. I can’t say I’m a big music person, but I was hooked from the minute I opened it.”

UGO
“The big picture that Browne paints throughout Fire and Rain, is a thoroughly fascinating and entertaining one.”

Music Ta

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820724
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

David Browne has done an excellent job of research.
Gail from Lake Geneva
This book crafts a gorgeous narrative of four artists whose work dovetailed and really defined at least one generation.
Kathleen Whaley
This was a fun book to read, very interesting, well written and glad I read it.
Michael Merican

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By D. Tuttle on June 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you were in JR. High and High School between 1968-1977 or so and collected and enjoyed the music of the talents mentioned in the title, then you'll enjoy this book. Like many geezers my age (52), these acts were, among others, the soundtrack of my youth and reading the particulars behind the music was an enjoyable journey to the past. I've been reading a number of musical biographies lately, 'you never give me your money' (beatles), 'The bitch is back' (Elton John), 'Broken Music' (Sting), all have been interesting and this one was no exception. I recommend it without reservation.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Whaley on May 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Thank you, David Browne, for capturing the essence of this time for those who remember, and describing it beautifully for those who don't.

This book crafts a gorgeous narrative of four artists whose work dovetailed and really defined at least one generation. Browne's research is extensive and the facts uncovered are a goldmine. Definitely a compelling read for all people who listen to music, of any age.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tom Dupree on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's been a long time since I had a *better* time reading a book than David Browne's FIRE AND RAIN. I gulped it down in two sittings and still wanted more.

I was 20 in Mr. Browne's target year, I had just gotten my first auto-changing turntable, and we had a groundbreaking FM rock station in town, whose playlists came to be cited in the national trades. I reveled in all the music: I was an intense fan of all four acts he explores, and I read about them and others in the new, hip mag Rolling Stone. Pop music was one of the most important things in my cultural life back then, and I did pay attention to details - but Mr. Browne went far beyond. His research is amazing. I learned stuff I didn't know in every single chapter. He took me onstage for shows I only dreamed about from far-off Mississippi. I personally think the Seventies began in 1972, with McGovern's defeat, but Mr. Browne makes a compelling case for 1970 itself, at least where pop music is concerned. If you care[d] at all about the genre in 1970, you will not be able to put this thing down.

Full disclosure: I edited Mr. Browne's first book, DREAM BROTHER, but I had nothing to do with this one. Too bad: it's still a muggafugga.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Mahoney on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
OK, I'd like to have given four-and-a-half-stars, for only one dark reason. This fine, carefully and consciously researched book is about the most salient music in 1970, which as, as David Browne notes on page 298, had a "collective message [that] couldn't be denied. Be it bands, community, the antiwar movement, none of it could be relied on anymore."

But that message was received in the fall of 1969. What's missing in this book is what happened, decisively, during the fall and winter before 1970. I was 20 years old at Woodstock, and even then, it seemed more like the Last Gathering of the Tribes than it did a signal of a new renaissance. And we all knew that the Beatles had signed off on the whole thing when Abbey Road came out that fall - "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Right, bless you, and now we're all on our own - an attitude that David Brown captures very lucidly - seeing "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "Let It Be" as the elegies they were.

The Stones' tour late that fall was a wake, the funeral being Altamont, captured in awful clarity by Stanley Booth's "True History of the Rolling Stones," which you who read this excellent book ought to read next. CSN&Y were clearly Frozen-Nosed hold-overs, and "Teach Your Children" was seen as painfully pathetic by those of us who knew a certain Dream Was mostly Over - but what wasn't at all dead in that Dream had to be kept alive, for the sake of our souls, pretty much. Except now, in 1970, only on an individual basis.

So people like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell - and the Band - exemplifying keeping yourselves and hopefully your friends together, somehow, was a way past, a way out, a way through this weird, unnecessary, inevitable collapse - of a deeply, lovingly imaginative, dis-economic, unempowered, socially valid and morally clear vision of a better humanity. Buy this book- it's the only one of its kind, and it's radically necessary cultural history.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
David Browne's evocative, insightful FIRE AND RAIN takes the reader on a magical mystery tour through the musical and societal upheavals that took place in 1970. 1970 was one of those landmark years that many of us would like to forget, a 'bummer' year beset by struggle, strife, sex, drugs and rock 'n roll beginnings and endings. Against the backdrop of an imploding America, music critic David Browne charts the varying fortunes of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and James Taylor. The times they were a'changing and Browne poignantly captures it all in this 2011 Da Capo Press release.

Musically, in 1970: the Beatles, ostensibly putting the final touches on their 'Let It Be' album, were about to crash and burn. So too were Simon & Garfunkel, set to release 'Bridge over Troubled Water.' A new super-group - CSN&Y - with the warmest harmonies this side of heaven was blossoming and already beginning to self-destruct! And a sweet-voiced, stone-faced troubador named James Taylor was inching his way into the American consciousness. As if that wasn't enough, sweeping changes were taking place in the music industry. Far more important changes were taking place in American life. The anti-war movement was floundering with a lunatic fringe carrying out a bombing campaign nationwide. Students were killed at Kent State. Three astronauts almost died on Apollo 13 and so on. In short, 1970 was a wild-and-crazy year.

FIRE AND RAIN captures all of 1970's craziness, sweetness, sadness and confusion in an affectionate, compelling style. Impeccably researched, Browne's book is a great read. Highly recommended.
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