In Perfect Harmony: Singalong Pop in ’70s Britain

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In Perfect Harmony: Singalong Pop in ’70s Britain

In Perfect Harmony: Singalong Pop in ’70s Britain

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Biography: Will Hodgkinson is author of the music books Guitar Man, Song Man and The Ballad of Britain.

The 1970s was a remarkable decade which saw Britain creaking under the strain of social and political turmoil.Rampant inflation, perpetual strikes, fuel shortages, pollution, nuclear threats and racial tension – sounds familiar doesn’t it? The story of how Kenny Everett’s constant lampooning of the Bee Gees proved to be “…the death knell for the band who took disco to the masses as a serious proposition for years to come. Hodgkinson displays a historian’s attention to detail throughout, but In Perfect Harmony is never dry or taxing and is peppered with the wit and wisdom of the protagonists and the author’s own humorous observations. Add into the mix the underlying fear created by the IRA bombings and it’s easy to imagine ten years of unremitting misery. In Perfect Harmony is a loving paean to the artists of the time set against the volatile historical backdrop; an evocative and insightful book in which author Will Hodgkinson brings to life the hardships but also the fun and frivolity of the time.

To the art school-educated Bowie/Roxy Music fans," or those pretentious sorts we mentioned in paragraph one, "Slade might have seemed hopelessly recherché; the kind of people for who a shag carpet in the bathroom and a personalised number plate on the Roller were the height of sophistication" but, as our guide points out. The woman who ran the nursery school I attended must have gone off for a bit of sun at some stage as I can remember dancing around to that classic in her front room, all those years ago. I, and many, others would contend that the 1970s is the greatest era of recorded popular music, where everything from reggae to rock reached its apogee - and the records just sound better - but here giants like Bowie and Roxy Music are mere background figures, over shadowed by the hit machines of Slade and Sweet. These were the songs you heard on Radio 1, during Saturday-night TV, at youth clubs, down the pub and even emanating from your parents' record player.There's a fair and decent case to be made for Slade's strikingly coiffured and perma-grinning guitarist Dave Hill as the greatest rock star ever. Online since 2010 it is one of the fastest-growing and most respected music-related publications on the net. These were the songs you heard on Radio 1, on Saturday-night TV, at youth clubs, down the pub and even emanating from your parents' record player. We are also treated to a rollercoaster revisitation of the wider popular culture of the time with references to the comforting presence of Morecambe and Wise, Delia Smith, Tommy Cooper, The Good Old Days and Tiswas as well as the more sinister presence of Jimmy Saville, Gary Glitter, The Black And White Minstrels and Love Thy Neighbour; a reflection of a rich melting pot beset by the thinly veiled tensions which epitomised the times. In Perfect Harmony is a definitive work; the rosetta stone for anyone interested in the true cross generational people's pop soundtrack of the 1970s.

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