The Who’s Quadrophenia. Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. These three unprecedented tours—and the albums that inspired them—were the most ambitious of these artists’ careers, and they forever changed the landscape of rock and roll: the economics, the privileges, and the very essence of the concert experience. On these juggernauts, rock gods—and their entourages—were born, along with unimaginable overindulgence and the legendary flameouts. Tour buses were traded for private jets, arenas replaced theaters, and performances transmogrified into over-the-top, operatic spectacles. As the sixties ended and the seventies began, an altogether more cynical era took hold: peace, love, and understanding gave way to sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
But the decade didn’t become the seventies, acclaimed journalist Michael Walker writes, until 1973, a historic and mind-bogglingly prolific year for rock and roll that saw the release of countless classic albums, from The Dark Side of the Moon to Goat’s Head Soup; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.; and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Aerosmith, Queen, and Lynyrd Skynyrd released their debut albums. The Roxy and CBGB opened their doors. Every major act of the era—from Fleetwood Mac to Black Sabbath—was on the road that summer, but of them all, Walker writes, it was The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper who emerged as the game changers.
About the Author
Michael Walker is the author of the national bestseller Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
The story covers three major musical groups during their epic tours during 1973. This was the year that changed how bands toured, fans perceived them and the money they made. The Who, elder statesmen, have just released Quadrophenia and plan to put this album on display like they did with Tommy. Led Zeppelin, craves the critical attention that The Who attains and is touring around the United States in their first major press. Alice Cooper champions a true stage presentation of their music with Billion Dollar Babies. Each band has something different to offer the audience but underneath it all, they just want attention. This is the start of rock stardom with all of the excess and lays the foundation for any musical wannabe to attain.
I found this book truly fascinating even though it presents a history of each act and contains a lot of facts about the background of each. There is a lot of analysis. interviews with the people who supported each act and goes into the business behind a major band during this time period. Yes, the drugs and groupies are all mentioned and a lot of the stories I had heard in passing are all present. Led Zeppelin’s groupies, Keith Moon’s drugs and Alice Cooper’s alcohol are given fair play. I have met several people mentioned as supporting characters and found that reading their history put a whole new spin on it for me.
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