The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars 1955-1994
The definitive and most entertaining book on the cult of the rockstar over the last 40 years from one of Britain's leading music writers
As heard on BBC 6 Music with Shaun Keveny, BBC Radio 5 Live and Talk Radio with Eamonn Holmes
The age of the rock star, like the age of the cowboy, has passed. Like the cowboy, the idea of the rock star lives on in our imaginations.
What did we see in them? Swagger. Recklessness. Sexual charisma. Damn-the-torpedoes self-belief. A certain way of carrying themselves. Good hair. Interesting shoes. Talent we wished we had.
What did we want of them? To be larger than life but also like us. To live out their songs. To stay young forever. No wonder many didn’t stay the course.
In Uncommon People, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.
As this tribe of uniquely motivated nobodies went about turning themselves into the ultimate somebodies, they also shaped us, our real lives and our fantasies. Uncommon People isn’t just their story. It’s ours as well.
“Marvellous . . . The age of the rock star is over, and Hepworth’s never-less-than fascinating book is a more than fitting farewell”
“David Hepworth is such a clever writer . . . Uncommon People is a gorgeous read, celebratory and bittersweet, both pep rally and memorial, throbbing with insight and incident”
Julie Burchill, Spectator
“This book is a kind of elegy for a glorious but passing phase in entertainment history . . . brim[s] with insight, humour and a certain genial astringency”
Stuart Maconie, Mail on Sunday
“[A] wonderful portrait of rock stardom . . . Hepworth’s writing is sublime”
“The effect is that of faded, evocative, partisan Polaroids scattered from the memory of one obsessive music fan . . . Uncommon People emerges as part of the drive to capture, analyse and archive key moments in musical history that might otherwise vanish from popular memory before we know it”
“Hepworth’s celebration of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll will strike an emotive chord with those of us whose best times have been spent in the company of black vinyl or a live band, minus people filming on a mobile phone . . . The best compliment I can give it is that it feels like one of those evenings when you sit with your friends and talk about the music you love. Uncommon People leaves you with the same companionable glow –”
Clair Woodward, Daily Express