Andrew Grant Jackson,
1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music
(Thomas Dunne, 2015)

It is amazing so early in the year that I have found what I consider must be the music book of 2015.

In this fantastic book by Andrew Grant Jackson, we are reminded that so much happened 50 years ago, both musically and otherwise, that influenced not only those alive at that time but generations that followed. I was neither old nor young in the year in question, but the songs, events and artists mentioned coloured my life. More intriguingly, my sons identify very much with a lot of the content and the singers included in this book, although both were born more than a decade later. This is testimony to the power of the music of 1965 and the years immediately before and after.

In many ways reading this book is a nuisance because after every few paragraphs you want to call a friend and say "Hey, did you know...?"

Just flick the pages open at random to find fascinating gems of musical and other history.

For instance, The Byrds were not overly keen on recording "Mr. Tambourine Man," and even when it went to recording Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) was not confident in their musicianship; the instruments were played by The Wrecking Crew, session musicians who included a young Glen Campbell on guitar. The same musicians would be players on innumerable hits in those years.

The writers of "Eve of Destruction" knew that whoever recorded and released the single would be a "one hit wonder" because the unpatriotic content would see them blacklisted. Barry Maguire recorded it, the disc sent to a radio station to gauge reaction was played without the company agreeing to it, and it became a hit.

The iconic choreography of The Supremes on "Stop in the Name of Love" was cobbled together in a men's room only minutes before it was first performed on TV.

One could go on dipping at random into the book and unearthing gems -- and not just in music history.

Jackson reveals that Martin Luther King Jr. was set to deliver a different speech on THAT day until Mahalia Jackson shouted to him "tell them about the dream" and he extemporized on the spot, making history.

We hear of a Davy Jones who had to change his last name to Bowie when another Davy Jones hit fame with The Monkees. We hear of the way Motown chose the records to release.

It is impossible to praise this chronicle too highly. Jackson must have read every pop, rock, soul and r&b memoir ever published so that you do not have to.

book review by
Tom Knapp

DATE Rambles.NET
book review by
Nicky Rossiter

9 May 2015

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