Uncommon People: The Rise And Fall Of The Rock Stars by David Hepworth review

Perceptive overview of rock’s defining moments

Cover art for Uncommon People: The Rise And Fall Of The Rock Stars by David Hepworth

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From Angus’s satchel to Lemmy’s black stetson, every rock icon has struck upon an image and attitude which set them apart. In his follow-up to Never A Dull Moment: 1971, The Year That Rock Exploded, David Hepworth – a former editor of Smash Hits, Q and Mojo – charts the pivotal moments which shaped the culture as a whole, from 1956 to 1995. So we hear about how, inspired by a Hammer horror poster, a gang of blue-collar Brummies renamed themselves Black Sabbath in 1969; how MTV helped Axl Rose turn hellraising into an art form in 1987; how Madonna simulating masturbation on stage in 1990 ushered in an age where “stars had no secrets”.

Packed with pub-friendly facts – who knew that Tutti Frutti was originally an ode to anal sex? – and peppered with Hepworth’s own memories from 30 years on the frontline, it celebrates rock while also mourning its demise.

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.