Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 is a fascinating look at the year in popular music, seen through the lens of four influential groups and other artists in their sphere. Browne makes a good argument that 1970 was a year of transition for popular music. It is possible someone could write a book like this regarding any year in popular music as the form thrives on change. But it is also equally true there are music styles/themes that seem to play out in the Billboard charts over the space of 7-10 years. In 1970 we saw the accession of the singer songwriter.
The book has a very personal and intimate feel. Browne achieved this by interviewing the principals and going back to original interviews from 1970. The book does a splendid job of humanizing people we often think of as musical abstractions.
Privately, though, Lennon was peeved: He’d wanted to be the first to tell the world the Beatles- and the ’60s, with which he was increasingly disillusioned- were over.
..(Paul) Simon had contributed, part of which read: “Half the people are stoned/ And the other half are waiting for the next election.”
In the course of six short years, the ebullient Beatles of A Hard Days Night had been replaced by four grumpier, scruffier men who seemed to be existing in for different worlds.
“Sometimes you have a desire for something loud to wash all your sings away,” a Wesleyan undergrad told one Time reporter, “and sometimes you want something quiet and lyrical.”