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Uncommon People

The Rise and Fall of The Rock Stars

David Hepworth

Henry Holt and Co.

Uncommon People Download image

ISBN10: 1250124123
ISBN13: 9781250124128


320 Pages



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Named one of the best music books of 2017 by The Wall Street Journal

Recklessness, thy name is rock.

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.


Praise for Uncommon People

“[A] colourful, richly marinated survey of the phenomenon of the rock star between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s . . . Hepworth is, in many ways, a dream author. Not only does he know his stuff . . . but he is alert to broader social and cultural trends . . . [His] chapters yield something of the satisfaction of a sharply observed, neatly shaped short story.”—David Kynaston, The Guardian (UK)

“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.” —Barbara Ellen, The Guardian (UK)

“[A] zippily entertaining portrait of the men and women with flawed outsized personalities who . . . belong to a fallen age of rock stardom.”—Will Hodgkinson, The Times (London)

“The research in Uncommon People is fantastic and its fascinating detail will entertain even those who think they’ve read it all before . . . Hepworth’s knowledge and enthusiasm for music makes it a hugely enjoyable and informative reflection on the days when rock ruled the world."Express (UK)

“This book is a kind of elegy for a glorious but passing phase in entertainment history . . . brims with insight, humour and a certain genial astringency.”—Stuart Maconie, Mail on Sunday

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt

September 14, 1955

Rampart Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

Enter the first rock star

Little Richard was unusual. He had always been unusual. He was one of ten children of Leva Mae Penniman. She said he was more trouble than...

About the author

David Hepworth

David Hepworth is a music journalist, writer, and publishing industry analyst who has launched several successful British magazines. He presented the definitive BBC rock music program Whistle Test and anchored the coverage of Live Aid in '85. He has won Editor and Writer of the Year awards from the Professional Publishers Association and the Mark Boxer Award from the British Society of Magazine Editors. He is the radio columnist for the Guardian and a media correspondent for the newspaper, and the author of Never a Dull Moment.

Imogen Hepworth

David Hepworth

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