Synopses & Reviews
January 1970: the Beatles assemble one more time to put the finishing touches on Let It Be; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are wrapping up Déjà Vu; Simon and Garfunkel are unveiling Bridge Over Troubled Water; James Taylor is an upstart singer-songwriter who’s just completed Sweet Baby James. Over the course of the next twelve months, their lives--and the world around them--will change irrevocably. Fire and Rain tells the story of four iconic albums of 1970 and the lives, times, and constantly intertwining personal ties of the remarkable artists who made them. Acclaimed journalist David Browne sets these stories against an increasingly chaotic backdrop of events that sent the world spinning throughout that tumultuous year: Kent State, the Apollo 13 debacle, ongoing bombings by radical left-wing groups, the diffusion of the antiwar movement, and much more.
Featuring candid interviews with more than 100 luminaries, including some of the artists themselves, Browne's vivid narrative tells the incredible story of how--over the course of twelve turbulent months--the '60s effectively ended and the '70s began.
Named one of the Best Rock Books of the Year” by Rolling Stone
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.”
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.”
"Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and 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.”
A Best New Summer Read”
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 cultureemblematized by the four artists in the subtitletoward 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.”
shifts between the key points smoothly. He unearths some little-told stories along the way.”
It wasnt 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.
Brownes engrossing account of this fertile but volatile period sets the standard by which comprehensive musical histories should be judged.”
Browne engagingly illuminates many overlooked stories that may not be familiar to even dedicated rock enthusiasts. Highly recommended.”
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.”
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 60s. I cant say Im a big music person, but I was hooked from the minute I opened it.”
The big picture that Browne paints throughout Fire and Rain, is a thoroughly fascinating and entertaining one.”
Fire and Rain traces the arc of one tumultuous year using four classic albums as a window into the era.
One of the most entertaining and informative books of the year
to be enjoyed not only by rock fans, but by anyone interested in popular culture and social change.”--NPR.org
Set against a backdrop of world-changing historical and political events, Fire and Rain
tells the extraordinary story of one pivotal year in the lives and music of four legendary artists, and reveals how these artists and their songs both shaped and reflected their times. Drawing on interviews, rare recordings, and newly discovered documents, acclaimed journalist David Browne allows us to seeand to hearthe elusive moment when the 60s became the 70s in a completely fresh way” (Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution
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.