10 Interesting Facts And Events In Rock n’ Roll In 1971
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alan Messer/REX/Shutterstock (133333jj) DON McLEAN VARIOUS
Rock’s Greatest Year
There are so many reasons why the 1970s became the golden era of rock ‘n roll. But even in this decade, one year stands out as the genre’s greatest – 1971. Aside from the countless albums and singles which would go on to achieve classic status, there are several important events that happened that year.
Let’s revisit some of them:
On February 1, Ginger Baker and jazz legend Elvin Jones had a “drum battle” at The Lyceum in London. Prior to the event, they’ve been feuding in public and Jones reportedly said, “Baker had better put his drums where his mouth is.” They notably hugged at the end.
On February 3, Davy Jones announced his departure from The Monkees. He also released his solo album on the same year.
On February 8, Bob Dylan’s documentary film Eat the Document premiered at New York’s Academy of Music. It documented his 1966 UK Tour and it also featured a scene with John Lennon where the pair famously chatted in a limo.
On March 12–13, the Allman Brothers Band recorded their epic At Fillmore East live album. They played extended jams of “Whipping Post”, “You Don’t Love Me” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Although it was their third overall release, it served as their artistic and commercial breakthrough which basically put them on the map.
On July 3, The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub at a Paris apartment he rented. He was just 27 years old and although the official cause of death was heart failure, there have been numerous speculations regarding the mystery surrounding his death. No autopsy was performed.
On July 9, Grand Funk Railroad broke the previous record of The Beatles by performing a sold-out concert at New York’s 55,000-seater Shea Stadium. Tickets sold out after only 72 hours, faster than The Beatles. Guitarist Mark Farner told Goldmine, “We sold out Shea Stadium before ‘We’re an American Band,’ ‘Some Kind of Wonderful,’ ‘The Loco-Motion’ or ‘Bad Time’.” He added, “There were no hit singles. It was all underground radio that we were getting played on.”
On August 1, The Concert for Bangladesh took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The benefit concerts were organized by George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar. It featured a stellar lineup that included Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, and Billy Preston to name a few. With 40,000 attendees, it became an inspiration to future events like Live Aid.
On October 29, Duane Allman passed away following a motorcycle accident – just a few months after The Allman Brothers Band’s breakthrough. They were on a break at the time from touring and recording. He was still alive when he was rushed to the hospital but died hours later because of massive injuries.
On November 8, Led Zeppelin released their untitled fourth album which would not only become their biggest-selling LP but the biggest-selling LP of 1972. Just three years after their debut, they already had a massive following but still, critics weren’t impressed. Their answer? An album that’s flawless and spectacular from start to end. There’s no boring or weak moment and all the songs became classics.
On December 4, The Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland caught fire while Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention performed – this happened because an audience member fired a flare gun to the ceiling. Deep Purple, who were supposed to record there the following day, watched the entire incident from their hotel which inspired one of their best-known songs “Smoke on the Water”.