Music History

What Was the Greatest Year in Pop History? Could It Have Been 1971?

What was the greatest year in rock and pop history? One expert has this to say:

Other people disagree. I’ve heard 1967 (Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love), 1973  (Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper at their peak), 1976 (the year punk rock exploded on both sides of the Atlantic) and 1992 (grunge blows up and the Alternative Nation takes over).

A new book will have none of this, however.

1971-Never a Dull Moment - Neil Hepworth

Author David Hepworth believes that rock and pop’s greatest year was 1971. The Telegraph takes a look at 1971: Never a Dull Moment–The Year That Rock Exploded.

It was the year David Bowie headlined the first Glastonbury festival, recorded Hunky Dory and invented Ziggy Stardust. Meanwhile, The Rolling Stones released Sticky Fingers and recorded Exile on Main Street; Carole King’s stratospheric album sales for Tapestry broke the record, Led Zeppelin and The Who made the heaviest rock ever heard and socially conscious soul was given a rich new tone by Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder.

Having started with The Beatles splitting up, the year ended with “American Pie”, a song “about the loss of innocence, in pop music as well as in the grown-up world”, presaging a new pop era that would fetishise the past.

Read on. I’m going to have to get this book.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38031 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “What Was the Greatest Year in Pop History? Could It Have Been 1971?

  • 1987 always stands out for me. That was a monster year for music


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