David Browne is a well- known journalist and music critic. He’s a “Rolling Stone” music editor and a frequent contributor to the “New York Times.”
His latest project is a book called “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970.” The jumping off point for the book is the release that year of four of what came to be considered some of the most iconic albums of all time — “Let It Be,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Sweet Baby James,” and “Déjà vu” — and the subsequent break-up of three of those bands.
David says he was always fascinated with that change from the 1960s to the 1970s. Growing up in the ’70s, he said he always heard the laments that he’d “just missed” the greatest decade ever. He said he’d always wanted to explore what happened there and how that change occurred.
He describes what it meant in pop culture for the biggest star to be someone like James Taylor, who was pretty apolitical and ushered in a new era of music. David uses the popularity of music like Taylor’s to show how the public was worn out and exhausted by the traumas of the 1960s and ready to be more self-centered and reflective.
Plus, he shares the intimate story of how Neil Young sat down and wrote “Ohio” in 10 minutes after seeing the photos from the Kent State shootings in an issue of “Life” magazine.
Find out why David believes 1970 is the year that changed everything.