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Summary

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 40 rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst 100 myths and create 100 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.

©2017 David Hepworth (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
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Bliss

One of those books that you are slightly bereft when it finishes. Hepworth has a point of view which he expresses beautifully through stories and his own recollection. It’s detailed but fantastically entertaining. A high point was his account of the death of Kurt Cobain. The description of what Elvis’ life was like before he died was so engaging I became almost depressed. I loved every minute.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An entertaining read from a genuine fan

Loved this. A series of insightful, reflective articles about a bygone era written and read by someone knows and cares about his subject. More than just a nostalgia fest.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Excellent book... would highly recommend for music fans. Very well told and really interesting stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim
  • London
  • 04-08-17

Uncommonly Good

The history of the rock star told through a structure which takes each year from 1955 to 1994 and follows one rock star on a day which will be hugely significant in their career. Hepworth's encylopaedic knowledge of music and consistently amusing prose style allows him to write about some great choices in a way that's both fascinating and entertaining. As with his other audible book "1971" each chapter ends with a playlist of tracks to sum up the year in question. I loved the stories; sought out tracks from the playlist (I'm reasonably knowledgable about music but Hepworth is in another league altogether and his playlists have introduced me to some great performers) and laughed like a crazy person while listening to this on public transport. Particular highlights include Little Richard's first recording session in which his producer has to find alternative lyrics to substitute for the original; wholly unpublishable; words of "tutti-frutti" and the sympathetic chapter on the profoundly damaged Janis Joplin's decision to attend her high-school reunion.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Riveting book!! Highly recommended!!

Fabulously entertaining with a wealth of knowledge delivered in a concise way. So many interesting facts and insights make this book a fabulous addition to anyone’s library. I highly recommend this book!!

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A riveting and trenchant listen.

An excellent romp through four decades of pomposity and misdemeanor and an enjoyable litany of hoary rock anecdotes which are told with a freshness and a cynical overtone.

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Cracking book

I had this audiobook for a while because I liked the look of it but never quite made it round to listening to it. I finally started it the other day and couldn’t stop.

Every chapter concentrates on a specific year and a musician for that year. The stories the book tells are intriguing and entertaining. And the insights into the people and the lives of the “rock stars” in question are eye opening.

The book made me listen to the songs related to each artist and unearthed some hidden gems I’d never heard before.

A great book I never wanted to end focusing on a subject matter that is now dead in the social media era.

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Like a cultural trip through time.

Fantastic. I am not a big music fan at all but I really enjoyed this book. The structure of 40 key points over 40 years made it very bingeable. It was like 40 mini autobiographies with a lot of interesting facts about interesting people. Well researched and well read. Even better than I hoped it would be.

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Excellent work, essential for music fans.

Well presented, with many interesting viewpoints and anecdotes. Hepworth has an engaging style. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • Steve
  • Haverhill, United Kingdom
  • 18-02-18

Absolutely fascinating.

My only complaint is it could of been twice as long & still as good.