Music writer Bruce Pollock takes a look at the social and music scene in the U.S. from around November 1968 (Nixon’s election) to June 1970 (the aftermath of the Kent State shootings in Ohio). Along the way he includes a wealth of first-hand accounts from people who were involved at the time.
The first part of the book looks at the major music hotspots on both coasts — Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, etc. — not forgetting to cover Detroit, as well. The second half looks at the competition between singles produced for AM radio and album-oriented rock, and the major festivals of the period. In each segment, Pollock is careful to show how the music of the time was linked with events of the day, both good and bad. The peace-and-love aspirations of events like Woodstock shine amidst darker realities such as the Manson Family murders and violence at other events.
The book also looks at the volatile mix of musical styles that thrived in these times — The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and more. It’s not light reading, by any means, but it does provide a compelling picture of how rock music fit into and reflected the times.