Songs from 1971

After being so serious as of late, I thought we could do with something cheery and infectious for mid-week, so here’s a happy little number, a huge hit in Australia and the nation’s chart-topping single on this day back in 1971: ‘Eagle Rock’ by Daddy Cool.

No, I hadn’t heard it before either.

What a year it was, 1971. For David and Pink Floyd, it was of course the year of Meddle (and Relics). We got debut albums from Thin Lizzy, Crazy Horse, Rory Gallagher, J.J. Cale and Bonnie Raitt; live albums from Free, the Grateful Dead and James Gang; a hat trick of solo offerings from Crosby, Stills & Nash: the amusingly titled If I Could Only Remember My Name from David Crosby, Songs for Beginners from Graham Nash and Stephen Stills 2 (Stephen Stills, by the way, spoke passionately recently at the Musicians United for Safe Energy – MUSE – concert, where he was joined on stage by his long-time bandmates). Some of the finest albums ever recorded, in fact, were released in 1971: Blue (Joni Mitchell), Imagine (John Lennon), What’s Going On? (Marvin Gaye), Aqualung (Jethro Tull), Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones), Who’s Next (The Who), Led Zeppelin IV… I’ll stop right there.

We lost Jim Morrison of The Doors and Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band at tender ages, as well as the grand pioneers of jazz and rockabilly in the forms of Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong and Gene Vincent. We also lost Derek and the Dominos after just one album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. We gained the Eagles and Roxy Music, though. The Concert for Bangladesh, the benefit organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, took place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 1971.

In other news, Apollo 14 landed on the Moon (see the stunning on-board footage here), Greenpeace was born, many Britons were baffled by decimalisation (see for yourself, but it was The day Britain lost its soul, according to the Daily Mail) and the world’s first microprocessor, the 4004, was released by Intel.

Another first for 1971: The Old Grey Whistle Test (granted, it was without Whispering Bob, a ludicrous notion, for he would not begin his stint as presenter until 1972).

To the songs, I cannot limit myself further than I have done, so here are ten of my favourite tracks from any year, which just so happen to be from 1971 and, amazingly, I think, are not featured on any of the aforementioned albums. I’m not going to say anything whatsoever about ‘Good Old Arsenal’ at this point nor ‘Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers In the Air)’, or else we’ll all be blushing, I expect.

– Badfinger, ‘No Matter What’
– James Brown, ‘Hey America’
– Creedence Clearwater Revival, ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain?’
– Deep Purple, ‘Fireball’
– Free, ‘My Brother Jake’
– Al Green, ‘Tired Of Being Alone’
– Elton John, ‘Your Song’
– Tom Jones, ‘She’s A Lady’
– Slade, ‘Coz I Luv You’
– Ringo Starr, ‘It Don’t Come Easy’

As you know, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is soon to be celebrating a significant birthday and MOJO magazine, with a variety of contemporary artists, has recorded the album in its entirety, along with Wish You Were Here, for its latest CD offering: Return To The Dark Side Of the Moon/Wish You Were Here Again, available with the current edition.

The Pineapple Thief recorded ‘Money’, making it “heavy and naughty” and replacing the original crashing cash registers, brilliantly, I thought, with the beeping of supermarket barcode scanners. Video here along with all you need to know about the new – that’s the October 2011 – edition.

Thank you, Pete.

Finally, the chatroom will be open from 11am until 1pm (UK) tomorrow if you’d like to chat about any of the above over your lunch or breakfast, or even care to ask me why this post concerns 1971 when you’d think 1973 would have been much more apt. Oh well. If you only knew how much time I spend being easily sidetracked by many of the things ‘researched’ for even seemingly innocuous topics such as this one, you’d understand. Feel free to ask me anything about Apollo 14.

On second thoughts…

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

88 thoughts on “Songs from 1971”

  1. Let’s face it, if anyone knows about losing your soul it’s the Daily Mail.

    Naturally the introduction of a logical easily understood system in place of an anachronistic antiquated one must have seemed terribly unBritish, what what. As a 6 year old, of course, it all seemed very straight-forward to me, much as electronic gadgets do to today’s youngsters. Not that I actually had any money you understand.

    A bit young for musical memories, cottoning on to the joys of Stairway to Heaven and Baba O’Riley only later …. I was probably more aware of “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep at the time, but Hell, you’re only young once.

  2. I was in high school and trying so hard to be cool… I was listening to Rare Earth’s I Just Want to Celebrate.

  3. Yes’ third album (“The YES Album”) was recorded and released in 1971. It was their first record that anyone bought. And it remains one powerful statement!! Rock music of such complexity and virtuostic musicianship is extremely rare, but this embodies the best of that. Songs like “Starship Trooper” and “Yours Is No Disgrace” leave you picking your jaw up from the floor.

    ELP’s third album “Tarkus” was also done in 1971. While technically astounding, this does not reach me on an emotional level the way that The Yes Album does.

    Elton John hit the scene in 1971 with “Your Song.” Led Zep did its untitled 4th album and cemented its place as one of history’s best-selling bands. Janis Joplin released her “solo album” called Pearl. Carole King did “Tapestry,” giving the songwriter cred as a performer. Soft Machine released “Fourth,” one of the few albums from them which I have not heard. Jethro Tull did their unbelievable “Aqualung.” The Doobie Brothers did their self-titled album. Hiyt Axton released “Joy To The World” the same day as Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story.” Diana Ross and her erstwhile band The Supremes released records on the same day. Joan Baez and Black Sabbath released albums two days apart, which must have been disorienting. Isaac Hayes did “Shaft” which did a whole lot for the wah-wah pedal. Mahavishnu Orchestra released “Inner Mounting Flame” in 1971.

    1. It was a year when The Allman Brothers released two different live albums form Fillmore East. For traditionalists, there were releases from Conway Twitty, Johnny Mathis and Barbara Streisand in August. T Rex did their wonderful “Electric Warrior”. Santanna 3 came out in September. Chicago put out its 4-record “Live at Carnegie Hall,” the definitive collection of their early work. Cat stevens did his oh-so-mellow “Teaser and the Firecat.” Genesis put itself on the map with “Nursery Crimes.”

      And my beloved Yes came back in November with a new star keyboard player and a great new record, “Fragile,” that showcased them at their very best. It gave them one of their biggest hits ever, “Roundabout,” later voted by critics as the most intelligent song of the 1970s.

      2 days earlier Carly Simon made us feel “Antici…Pation!” The previously amazing King Crimson reached a new low with “Islands” which made a lot of people believe they were ready to be “put to sleep.”

      There you have it — one extraordinary year in music. And if you think I got all this just out of my own memory, you are mistaken. Wikipedia helped me a lot. I was 4 at that time. That said, I love all the music I mentioned above (even the awful King Crimson).

    2. 1973 saw a significant release from our favorite band! But generally speaking, I agree with you.

  4. Ahh, 1971. A mere 40 years ago when I was sweet sixteen, fresh out of school and entering service in the Royal Navy.

    Enough of the reminiscing, time for an A to Z…

    America – Horse With No Name
    Byrds – Chestnut Mare
    Curved Air – Backstreet Luv
    Deep Purple – Strange Kind Of Woman
    Elgins – Heaven Must Have Sent You
    Family – In My Own Time
    Greyhound – Black & White
    Hot Chocolate – I Believe(In Love)
    Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With
    Jethro Tull – Life’s A Long Song
    Kongos (John) – He’s Gonna Step On You Again
    Lightfoot (Gordon) – If You Could Read My Mind
    McCartney (Paul) – Another Day
    Newton-John (Olivia) – If Not For You
    O’Sullivan (Gilbert) – We Will
    Presley (Elvis) – I Just Can’t Help Believing
    Quicksilver Messenger Service – Play My Guitar
    Ross (Diana) – I’m Still Waiting
    Smith (Hurricane [Norman]) – Don’t Let It Die
    T.Rex – Hot Love
    Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes
    Vandellas (Martha Reeves & The) – Forget Me Not
    Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
    X – ?
    Yes – Roundabout
    Zeppelin (Led) – Black Dog

    I’m curious to know what Apollo trivia you have accumulated FEd. You could be in for a grilling during the chat. :/

    1. Most of it goes in through one ear and comes straight back out through the other, Ken. I am terrible for being distracted lately, though. Oh look, a balloon. (See what I mean?)

      Some brilliant songs in your list. Seeing Elvis there reminds me that he put out a gospel album entitled, and including, You’ll Never Walk Alone in 1971.

  5. I turned 20 in 1971. All of these songs hold so many memories:

    What’s Going On ~ Marvin Gaye
    Maggie May ~ Rod Stewart
    Madman Across The Water / Tiny Dancer ~ Elton John
    Rock Steady ~ Aretha Franklin
    The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys ~ Traffic
    The Last Time I Saw Richard ~ Joni Mitchell
    Ain’t No Sunshine ~ Bill Withers
    Moonlight Mile ~ The Rolling Stones
    Simple Man ~ Graham Nash
    Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon ~ James Taylor
    Let’s Stay Together ~ Al Green
    Cry Baby ~ Janis Joplin
    Vincent ~ Don McLean
    When the Levee Breaks ~ Led Zeppelin
    Fearless / Echoes ~ Pink Floyd
    Imagine / Gimme Some Truth ~ John Lennon

    and last, but not least,

    Bangladesh ~ George Harrison & Friends

    I haven’t been able to get my shit together to post any comments for a long time but have been reading yours when I find the time. There have been some heavy topics of late (for good reason) and your posts have provided much food for thought. Thanks for that!

    My best to you, FEd, as well as to everyone else in David’s and all the Irregulars’ circle of friends and loved ones!

    Peace and love, always 🙂

  6. David: Did you ever have any voice lessons growing up as a kid or is the voice a natural gift? “The Voice” is amazing! An eclectic mix of hard rock with an ultra smooth voice! A nice find in today’s music!

    Thank you.

  7. Hi Fed

    Thanks for finally mentioning the up and coming ‘celebrations’ for Dark Side of the Moon etc. Can we also thank and acknowledge the work and time David has spent enabling it all to come to fruition.

    In eager anticipation.

    Many thanks

  8. Blimey. 1971 – what a year that was.

    I do remember The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and John Lennon all having great albums released that year but I was also buying 45rpm singles. George Harrison and My Sweet Lord, Bob and Marcia and as Ken mentioned in that fantastic list, Greyhound, all had great singles released.

  9. Great read, and a great year. I loved BackStreet Luv, and A Horse with No Name, and Coz I Love You, and Fireball and…

    I think maybe 1971 was the year I took control of buying my own records, rather than just going along with my parents choices. Back Street Luv had a quality that I really responded to. Of course “dirty” was how my father described that sound. In fact he also described many musicians, and their songs, and their lyrics, and the noise certain instruments like the saxophone or an electric guitar made as “dirty”. Even violins became “dirty” when an electric current was passed through them. And of course “dirty” was a quality we schoolboys really appreciated imagining in a singer; Mungo Jerry and Tom Jones and Sonja Kristina could be wonderfully and magically “dirty”.

  10. Hi FEd,

    Long time no type.

    Apropos of nothing at all, found this today and what with you being in the Land of the Dragon, thought this might be fun.

    The final Cut indeed.

  11. Dare I say The Pineapple Thief appear to have done a very credible interpretation. The true test for me will be after I’ve heard it in its entirety.

    I was definitely into ‘my music’ in 1971 albeit still pre-teen and totally consumed by piano and cello lessons, the latter soon to be replaced by the violin (alas, I was not good at any of them and gave them all up along the way). I adored George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord (made Mom very happy) and Mother of Mine (made Mom even happier) but was starting to show leanings towards Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, Nazareth, The Doors’ Love Her Madly, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, and all that “Black Magic Woman” “stuff” (made Mom slightly nervous and she was ever so tolerant since her high school students would share their latest finds and she’d bring them home for us to listen to together). Was absolutely nuts about Wild Horses, Toast and Marmalade for Tea and Tiny Dancer. Hadn’t yet heard Stairway to Heaven and T-Rex was creeping in to my reality.

    Saw Fiddler on the Roof at the drive-in and wouldn’t stop singing If I were a Rich Man (still do although I am neither). Was not permitted to see A Clockwork Orange 😕 … in fact, I don’t think it made its way to South Africa until some years later.

    Morning Has Broken was a staple on the radio and John Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man became a hit. There was the ‘horror’ of Mammy Blue, Ernie, The Fastest Milkman in the West was a lot of fun and quite a hit that year also.

    The ban on The Beatles was lifted in South Africa and I remember my Mom and I taking road trips during school holidays in her little white Karmann Ghia outfitted with an 8-track listening to The Beatles, The Hollies and covers from the Springbok Hit Parade. The Marmalade’s Cousin Norman was also a hit.

    It was the year that Tangerine Dream released Alpha Centauri; Charles Manson was sentenced to death (later changed to life); Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol’s muse died; Idi Amin, one of the worst dictator’s ever, took over Uganda; saw the end of the Ed Sullivan show – and I was clueless about all of it! I didn’t know what television was and wouldn’t actually see one until some years later.

    Found these interesting little treasures: this and this which could have been right ‘up my alley’ then had I known they existed before last night! This has now led me to a whole new world of discovery. :))

    As always, thanks FEd. 😉

    1. Say it if you like Pavlov. :))

      I love The Pineapple Thief music. Well worth a listen if you have not heard them before.

    2. I’ll give it the thumbs up as well.

      I have never had a problem with people covering PF songs or those of any other band I like because, by definition, these are good songs / good music and should be played as often and by as many as possible.

      Of course talentless musicians will produce talentless covers but if it’s done with love and respect, let’s have more of it.

      Interesting that Pineapple Thief chose to take it into heavier “badder” (dirtier?) territory … that’s generally the direction I would go with a cover as well.

    3. Tim – Through seeing The Pineapple Thief live a good few times over the last few years I have got to know some of the band and I was recently chatting to Bruce when he first told me about the opportunity to get involved with this Mojo album.

      He mentioned that this was the first time he had ever covered anyone else’s work. This being due to the fact that he would much rather work at and compose his own music.

      He, like us here, is a big fan of Pink Floyd. But after this ‘work out for his fingers’ he laughed that he now had even more respect of David as a guitar player.

    4. That’s a really great story Pete 🙂 and beautiful to see another musician’s respect for DG.

  12. Fed,

    I’ve been getting quite reminiscent tonight, by going through all the old blog posts for a good few hours. Amazing that it’s over 5 years since David’s tour ended.

    One of my favourite blog topics was Random Nonsense #4, posted on 28 April 2008. The topic was to construct two segued albums of Floyd/Gilmour work, limited to 80 minutes. Might attempt that again this week. Great fun.

    Also looking back to previous posts like Glassman, Blotto, Whose Shoes, Premiere’s, DVD announcements, seems all a long time ago.

    As always, it’s been Happy Days.

    Simon J

  13. Thanks for that link to Owen Jones via Twitter Fed. 🙂

    Well, I’ve changed my opinion of him. He is a clever bloke and seems to know what he’s talking about!

    I don’t think I understood the definition of “chav” before. He put it into a different perspective for me. I always used to think that anyone who had to work, that is, they weren’t born into old money, was “working class” so that meant just about all of us. Now I realise that there seems to be a more up to date distinction between the various kinds of workers. (I think I must be very old fashioned. :)) ) Interesting.

    I have a story that illustrates a difference between some of the haves and have nots.

    My mobile phone deal gives me 600 minutes of talk and unlimited texts (I barely use texts) per month, for approx. £8 paid by bank standing order.

    I was in a shop the other day and a bloke bought a £10 top up for the same operator. I wondered why he chose such an expensive option. It can only be that he didn’t have banking facilities. The only people that don’t have banking facilities nowadays are the very poor. No credit rating.

    I thought it a terrible shame that he was too poor to benefit from the same as me and he was probably having to pay out five/ten times as much to get similar talk time. Here is a case of the poor getting poorer. 🙁


    1. I don’t think I understood the definition of “chav” before. He put it into a different perspective for me. I always used to think that anyone who had to work, that is, they weren’t born into old money, was “working class” so that meant just about all of us. Now I realise that there seems to be a more up to date distinction between the various kinds of workers.

      It’s funny you should say that, Ash, because I was discussing this just yesterday and brashly declared that, even if I had a million pounds in the bank (I wish), I would still consider myself to be working class, as I did in one of the blog posts recently – and proud of it. I don’t want to be labelled “middle class” because, for me, rightly or wrongly, that has a lot of negative connotations attached (not least on account that, generally, historically it was the middle class which voted Conservative – or Liberal, which has unfortunately always been a vote against Labour, which is all that really matters when the purpose of voting for many is to create a fairer society – and what harm that did us all).

      Actually, I find myself believing less that the middle class cares much about the creation of a fairer society. We’re seeing that now. Even sections of the supposedly working class show little concern for those who have less than they now that everyone, allegedly, is struggling to get by. I particularly hate the moral hypocrisy of the middle class. I, for one, don’t care one bit that someone in the Home Counties may have to manage with just the one holiday abroad this year (good), when someone less well off is soon to be making the brutal choice between heating or eating.

      What makes somebody middle class, anyway? I suppose someone who is neither rich nor poor, perhaps a professional, possibly educated, who owns their own home, changes their car every couple of years and holidays abroad frequently, etc. But you can be all of these and remain working class, surely. “Working class” shouldn’t be unflattering. The clue is in the name: working. On the contrary, a great many of the middle class haven’t done a real day’s work in their lives. Rather like the “chavs” we hear so much about, in fact.

    2. Don’t get one Pete! It ruins your life!

      Your mother, wife and children will be able to find you on a whim. You’ll get texts saying things like, “Get bread”, and you’ll have to detour on your way home from work and get stuck in traffic.

      You’ll find yourself using the mobile to call someone whilst you’re leaning up against a public call box!

      Your boss will call you on the beach in Minorca and you will have to pay to receive the call!

      You won’t arrange to ‘meet by the doors or the security guard if we get separated’, because you can phone each other to find each other in aisle 8 or by the kitchenware.

      Oh, and all you need is one that makes calls.

      No privacy Pete, no escape, no life of your own. . . .


    3. Another thing, Ash, now that you’ve practically forced me onto my soapbox: 😉

      Aside from those born into old money, as you say, for swelling the ranks of the middle class so that we now have a huge mass of influential apologists at the core of society doing sod all for anyone but their own (and still voting Conservative), we can blame Thatcher again. I do love to blame the old witch for most things, as you know. She sold off council houses (are former council tenants middle class now on account of their home ownership?), which has left those unable to buy, even if they have delusions of being middle class, with limited scope and stuck in deprived sink estates, which we all are told we must live in fear of. Either that or they get fleeced, as does the man buying credit for his phone, by paying extortionate rents (most likely to someone from the middle class who hasn’t done a real day’s work in their life).

      But I blame Blair, too, for this ludicrous embourgeoisement. That’s what’s created the “chav” and his conspicuous consumption; it has nothing whatsoever to do with a working class. The “chav” is a product of middle class prejudice (as depicted best on television by the privately-educated for the amusement of middle class executives and producers). When you realise just how terribly middle class everyone and everything is nowadays, there’s really little wonder that the world is as it is and why there’s no real desire to change it.

      I sure as hell don’t know why anyone would aspire to be middle class.

    4. Another of those topics that creaks under serious examination. Modern concepts of class are becoming far outdated, typically harking back to a simpler, more rudimentary Industrial system where most employees represented “Labour” … an input into the industrial process and the Middle class were involved in the administration / management of the business or worked in one of the Professions where academic knowledge was a pre-requisite.

      Try and push the definition too far in any direction and it all unravels. Skilled versus unskilled, office versus factory floor, manufacturing versus service, industry versus agriculture. The modern World has far more graduated and blurred lines that defy easy classification. Try and overlay attitudes, voting habits, “taste” on top and you’ll go wrong quickly.

      You F’ed may or may not be working class … it’s a label you can do whatever you like with, but unless you are moonlighting as a sheet metal worker I suggest you are involved in a middle class occupation. It really doesn’t matter. What matters are your principles, moral outlook, etc. and these are universal, not the possession of any one social class.

      As Roger once said, “You don’t have to be a Jew to disapprove of murder” … you don’t have to be working class to be politically left-leaning, favour social justice, promote egalitarian views or be interested in the improvement of the “lot” of the poor or disadvantaged.

      Equally, being working class does not preclude anyone from voting Tory, sending the kids to ballet, pursuing further education or joining a tennis club.

      It seems to me that the whole point is to have a society where opportunity is open to all, a meritocracy, but which also respects that “success” can take many forms. The old class system promotes and perpetuates barriers and has all too often been a self-imposed prison of attitudes which hold people in their “Place.”

      I also need to refute the idea that being Middle class means you somehow don’t “work”. There is more to work than shovelling coal into a bucket. The typical middle class professions work too hard in many cases, longer hours than would be allowed by regulation, juggling difficult and often conflicting priorities, using technical and interpersonal skills, taking responsibility, using creativity etc. etc. Why isn’t that “real”work?

      You question why anybody would aspire to be Middle class … I can’t myself think of a reason to aspire to be working class either? We aspire to all sorts of things, material, cultural. These might be bundled together and overlayed to define a social group but it’s the component parts that inspire, unless you are some fictional contrivance in a sit-com. It seems to me that you are rejecting snobbery or elitism and simply relabelling these as Middle Class. I’m sure you need look no further than David to see that this equation doesn’t hold.

      Right, I’ll step down off my crate of elderflower cordial (I couldn’t find a soapbox) and go and give those idle proletarean chickens of ours a nudge … only three eggs today, the lazy little buggers. 🙂

      1. Equally, being working class does not preclude anyone from voting Tory, sending the kids to ballet, pursuing further education or joining a tennis club.

        Only if you can afford to, of course. 🙂

    5. What makes somebody middle class, anyway? I suppose someone who is neither rich nor poor, perhaps a professional, possibly educated, who owns their own home, changes their car every couple of years and holidays abroad frequently, etc. But you can be all of these things and remain working class, surely. “Working class” shouldn’t be unflattering.

      Absolutely. Working class is the honest backbone of any society. Some will work in the offices, some in the factory of a company. Very often the factory worker earns more than some of the office staff. I don’t think people change their class if they win the lottery or if they lose their job.

      I think there is another way of defining class that has absolutely nothing to do with how much wealth a person has nor on their current employment status. Manners and respect and caring about others.

      I wonder if because of their social status (in regard to how much money they have defining where they live therefore who they mix with), some people are not learning these things. I think that applies to all people across the spectrum (in different ways), too.

      I nearly said I hate that people are summed up almost instantaneously by how they look or speak or from their address. I confess to being guilty of doing it too though. :))


    6. I think there is another way of defining class that has absolutely nothing to do with how much wealth a person has nor on their current employment status. Manners and respect and caring about others.

      That’s so true. Thinking back to those caught up in the rioting in London, Manchester and Birmingham in particular, there was certainly very little class shown. I’m not sure how one goes about looting in a classy manner, though…

    7. Soapboxes. :)) Fed, Tim, I’m sorry. I started it. Please don’t fight.

      I read all 38 pages of Owen Jones book preview (is this what I should call it?).

      It was he who pointed out that a re-defining of the classes appears to have happened. His writing certainly made me think, yes, that is happening. New ghettoes are being formed in places that used to be akin to model villages where families thrived and industry had a reliable healthy workforce. Reliable and healthy because they had good housing.

      Something I noticed whilst looking for reminders of what happened in 1971, I checked the Wikipedia 1971 page. Check it out, it is so similar to today: wars, scandals, waste. I thought to myself, nothing has changed and it’s my generation who are in positions of power now.

      I regard myself as working class and think I have good moral values. I try to be well mannered but you lot will have to tell me. :)) (I do swear, yes but in a very classy way, just like David, remember Bizet? What a thing to say about one of the classical composers. 😛 )


      1. Something I noticed whilst looking for reminders of what happened in 1971, I checked the Wikipedia 1971 page. Check it out, it is so similar to today: wars, scandals, waste. I thought to myself, nothing has changed and it’s my generation who are in positions of power now.

        It’s thoroughly depressing, Ash. I don’t think many of those who are in positions of power would still consider themselves to be working class, if indeed they ever were. Take our government, for example: millionaires, most of them. I think only six members of the cabinet (of 29) are not millionaires, poor sods.

    8. Only if you can afford to, of course. 🙂

      Well yes, but we’re talking about the working class not the poor … as Ash points out the Working Class can often earn good wages and most certainly overlap the Middle Class. I would not want them to be defined by what they chose to spend it on, but they often are.

      1. Well yes, but we’re talking about the working class not the poor … as Ash points out the Working Class can often earn good wages and most certainly overlap the Middle Class. I would not want them to be defined by what they chose to spend it on, but they often are.

        Indeed. You mentioned a sheet metal worker earlier; I wonder how his salary might compare to my own and, if greater, would that automatically make him more middle class than I, never mind more working class?

        I would also love to be able to poll the working class, not the poor – sheet metal workers included – to find out how many can afford, or would indeed have any desire for, ballet classes or tennis lessons. I think it’s been well documented already that many simply cannot afford to pursue further education any more, making it something more likely for the children of the middle class to pursue.

    9. Gosh, I think I’m going to have to go back and re-evaluate my understanding of “middle class” unless what I’m reading into the definitions above is unique to the UK.

      I’m considered “middle class” by the statisticians but so are people who earn at least double (if not more) than I do. We live modestly, work incredibly hard (although we are in offices), and pay more in taxes than higher (and lower) wage earners. We are too “wealthy” to qualify for certain programs at school that our son could benefit from but too “poor” to afford them out of our own pockets. We live modestly (except for a trip to visit family once every two years and we save like the dickens for it). Yet, a friend is considered at the “poverty level”. She does not pay in to the system (i.e. taxes, social security, etc.), gets a medical subsidy for herself and the kids, gets a housing subsidy, food stamps, and a host of other social benefits. Yet, she drives a great car, goes on holiday at least twice a year (with many long weekends in-between) and appears to have a lot of ‘disposable’ income. I mention it only because it makes me angry when I see the the “middle class” (in the US) getting squeezed and strangled by both the rich, with their tax shelters and the like, and the so-called poor [some, not all] with their abuse of the system. Their are many below the bread line who choose not to work because they reap more benefits than if they were working. The super rich really do pay less in taxes and many of the poor pay none — the middle class is what drives this country and there are even ‘classes’ within the middle class!

      1. Gosh, I think I’m going to have to go back and re-evaluate my understanding of “middle class” unless what I’m reading into the definitions above is unique to the UK.

        I’m glad you say that, Pavlov, because I imagine the UK is a special case; different parts of the UK vary, even. That said, what you mention about abuse of the system by those that do not contribute is absolutely true of the UK and a source of much irritation to working and middle class alike.

    10. I’ve lost the plot. 8|

      I wanted to say something but can’t find the way so I’m having to read all 38 pages again!

      Pavlov, I think the British class structure is/was different to the American one to start with so if the British one has now “evolved”, as I suspect it has, then I don’t know how it relates to other countries’ (since I’m having trouble fathoming ours out!).


    11. … as Ash points out the Working Class can often earn good wages and most certainly overlap the Middle Class.

      No Tim, that isn’t what I meant. I said,

      Working class is the honest backbone of any society. Some will work in the offices, some in the factory of a company. Very often the factory worker earns more than some of the office staff.

      I admit I could be wrong, but I kind of thought that we were all working class people. To me, the middle class ones were doctors, solicitors, people in those sorts of positions.

      Jones has pointed out that the boundaries of the classes have now moved and there is a new hatred for “working class” people it seems and some people from classes above regard working class people as chavs.

      So, all us working people (see my definition above) are chavs! It seems it’s the media and news reporters who have somehow given the country these new opinions and none of us are what we thought we were!

      Well, if we are all going to be something else, I want to be a pig (or maybe a mermaid, or a giant turtle)! :))

      I think I’ll have to buy Jones’ book.


    12. Fed said of Thatcher,

      She sold off council houses (are former council tenants middle class now on account of their home ownership?)

      I think we can trace back some of the country’s financial problems to this. Suddenly there were lots of people who had access to large loans secured on their property, everyone spent money they borrowed, probably thinking that was the “done” thing, even re-mortgaged as property values (briefly) climbed. Now the borrowing bubble has burst and property values have plummeted.

      She “won” a lot of votes from people who thought they’d just joined a different class. Now they probably need repairs to their homes and can’t afford them and they are still living on a council estate because no one wants to buy ex-council houses even if they could afford a mortgage now.

      Really what she did was off-load responsibility for maintenance of council housing and effectively saddle people with a load of debt.

      Maybe the looting was a consequence of seeing all the buying the council house owners were now capable of. (even though they are not anymore).

      Of course she also one way or another got rid of our assets and watched British industry crumble. Some went abroad to cheaper labour but lo and be-hold because the pound is so weak, the exchange rates means that they have to pay more so these businesses are re-locating back to Britain!


    13. It’s unfortunate that money has become the focus because the real point I was trying to make is that it is not reasonable to simply ascribe one moral outlook, or set of tastes for that matter, on a “class”.

      Ash, I agree it’s not what you said, sorry I didn’t read you carefully enough. Consider me mortified with shame. :v

      That said it’s still true – where I used to work “engineers” (who were skilled and spanner-wielding rather that easel-based graduates) took home substantial money, often enhanced by overtime arrangements. I suspect plumbers and plasterers etc. would also be working class and they famously (if mythically) carry large wedges of cash around and wave it at the less fortunate.

      What seems to me very odd is the number of views expressed here that seem to say working class = virtuous and middle class = selfish or “anti-virtuous”. I simply put it to you that whatever the proportion of good and bad is, it is equally distributed within both classes.

      Being particular about it, let’s look at two examples of the Middle Class.

      1) Me
      2) David

      If anyone would care to make a case that we fall into the “bad” group, please feel free. List the virtues that you think the “working class” possesses that somehow escape us. Speculate on our voting habits, attitudes to social justice, good works etc. I’ll do my best to score objectively in my own case and leave it to the “rock-throwing” bloggers to comment on David’s scores.

    14. Consider me mortified with shame.

      And so you should be! Have you learned nothing from all the nagging . . . err. . . advice us girl bloggers have given you about paying attention to what we say? :))

      You are quite right to point out that class is not really to do with money, I said so myself, it’s about good breeding and manners. (I aspire to be upper class in that respect. . . whether or not I actually get there though?)

      Tim, I’m very sorry, I can’t concentrate and think straight at the minute therefore can’t comment about what else you said. I’m going out to a debate and am concentrating my mind and hoping I don’t start any trouble. :)) (All fired up. . . let me at him, let me at him!)


    15. What seems to me very odd is the number of views expressed here that seem to say working class = virtuous and middle class = selfish or “anti-virtuous”.

      Well, I did say that

      a great many of the middle class haven’t done a real day’s work in their lives. Rather like the “chavs” we hear so much about, in fact.

      I stand by that. As Owen Jones was writing about an underclass demonised (I like it better with an ‘S’) by the middle class, I think it’s a useful comparison. Far better that the young and seemingly hopeless “chav” sees someone whose precious material possessions have been acquired through hard work than looking to someone who has found them relatively easy to come by and even easier to discard.

      Being particular about it, let’s look at two examples of the Middle Class.

      1) Me
      2) David

      I’m sure that won’t be necessary or particularly helpful. I might as well ask if you consider being in a rock band to be “real work” or if you consider somebody who has purchased a council house and declares themselves to be middle class as a result of that purchase to be your middling equal. What does it matter? It’s a mere state of mind, which is the very first thing I implied when I said that a million pounds wouldn’t make me feel different. Neither would two or three. We can all stick whichever labels we wish to stick all over ourselves; it’s when other people stick them on us that we feel uncomfortable. I think we can all see that this is true from the way this discussion has gone.

    16. Amen to your last comment F’ed. It was the bandying about of labels that got me oiled up enough to comment. I’ve always thought of myself as possessing a splendidly fair state of mind and didn’t fancy spending eternity herded into the same pen as your average (cliched) Daily Mail reader just because both parents and 3 of my grandparents were teachers, the other being a pharmacist and having spent three years at the rather non-elitist University of Lancaster studying history (where we learn to theorise wildly on the experience of the working class) qualified as a chartered accountant. It seems to make me middle class but as anyone will tell you I have no class whatsoever (ha ha).

      A string always seems to have run its course when it becomes a two or three way discussion so I’m sure we can agree on that point … I’m really not at all keen on easy labels and would only make the following points in conclusion.

      I’m not an egotist so someone doesn’t have to do anything, let alone buy a council house to become my “equal” – they start and end that way.

      Secondly I’m genuinely surprised (not wanting to argue, just surprised) that you think that a great many middle class people haven’t done a real day’s work. We would be much better thrashing that one out over a pint of beer / glass of Sauvignon Blanc (chose your weapon 😉 ) than at tedious length here as we either know a very different bunch of Middle Class people or we differ on what constitutes real work, or probably both.

      Can I leave the final word to our old friends Monty Python who found their own twist on the old chestnut (painfully middle class boys as they all were of course) of class mobility.

      1. Pint of beer or glass of wine? Hmm. Both, please, but in different glasses; I do have some class, I’ll have you know. 😉

        I still maintain that a great many middle class folk wouldn’t know “real work” if it crept up behind them and bit them on the backside, but hey, I also think that a great many working class folk are far too stupid to do anything about it and change the system in their favour. Alas, history proves that one, so there should be no need for further beer-wine combinations. Shame.

    17. Ash,

      We could always have something at the chatroom bar, as long as you bring some cheese to go with F’ed’s cream crackers and a little olive oil for me to dip my grissini in.

  14. I wonder when Britain will lose its soul once again, that is stop driving on the wrong side of the road. 😉

    I think that the Montreux Casino (Lake Leman, Switzerland) burnt down in 1971, event which was at the origin of the song ‘Smoke On The Water’ by Deep Purple.

    Here, the (now international) independent humanitarian organisation ‘Médecins Sans Frontières’ (= ‘Doctors Without Borders’) was created in 1971. They are doing an amazing job all around the world.

    So many songs I love, from 1971:

    – ‘Echoes’, Pink Floyd
    – ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, The Who
    – ‘Wild Horses’, Rolling Stones
    – ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, Leonard Cohen
    ‘Joan Of Arc’, Leonard Cohen – Could listen to it for hours.
    – ‘Black Dogs’, Led Zeppelin
    – ‘Get It On’, T.Rex

    1. Apologies for the belated Birthday Greetings Michèle. :v

      I was AWOL this weekend at River Cottage HQ in Devon (care of a competition held by Mazda) enjoying a no-obligation test drive in an MX5, followed by a gourmet organic lunch.

      It almost made me feel middle class, in a chavvy kind of way. 😉

    2. Merci à mon ami Ken.

      Now, I would like to know more about that “gourmet organic lunch”… 😉

    3. Lol @Tim. Burberry? Oooh no!! So noughties, don’t you know… I’m strictly a Flying jacket, goggles and White silk scarf man. 😛


      What is ‘River Cottage’?

      “It was 1998 when Hugh (Fearnley Whittingstall) moved into the original River Cottage in Dorset, to start growing and rearing some of his own food. ‘River Cottage’ has since moved on, and has grown and developed, but we continue to stand for the same principles: less dependence on the outside world, food integrity, and the consumption of local, seasonal produce.”

      After entering a competition (and being a lucky winner) to take part in a Mazda Experience Gourmet Test Drive at this location, my wife and I had the choice of one of about 18 MX5’s on display, to take the vehicle of choice out on an hour’s test drive around the meandering lanes of Devon and Dorset. Prior to registering for the drive, we were given a guided tour around the Farm HQ and gardens. On our return we savoured an exquisite buffet style lunch, laid on by the River Cottage team of chefs.

      Here are some photos of the location, food and vehicles on display, on what was a great day. It would have been a great way to celebrate a birthday. 😉

      P.S. If Lorraine reads this, I understand Mazda will be running a similar event near Loch Lomond in the near future. Get yourself down there. Hard to believe, I know, but there was absolutely no sales pitch throughout any part of the day.

    4. I’m strictly a Flying jacket, goggles and White silk scarf man. 😛

      I always knew you were a class act, Ken.

      Sounds like a really good day out. Hope you steered well clear of the paté. 8|

      It’s the road from Fort William to Mallaig that I’d love to drive in a car that can accelerate uphill. (A Renault Scenic with several kids, a dog and a weeks shopping in the back just lacks a certain va va voom.)

  15. Apart from the very beautiful albums mentioned above, some 1971 songs I like are:

    Joan Baez – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (originally by The Band)
    The Doors – Riders on the Storm
    David Bowie – Life on Mars?
    John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
    Paul & Linda McCartney – Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
    Aretha Franklin – Bridge over Troubled Water
    Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary
    Tom Jones – She’s a Lady

    I think “Meddle” is my favourite Pink Floyd album. 🙂

  16. I attended a cold and wet Reading Festival in 1971. It was great though. 😀

    I also went to Weeley Festival that year, also great.

    I saw Thin Lizzy play in a pub (!!!!) before they were famous.

    I loved The Stones’ Sticky Fingers album, Joni Mitchell’s Blue.

    Meddle!!! Of course. Meddle was the first Floyd album I really sat up and took notice of. I knew bits and pieces of their other works but Meddle was incredible.

    I also discovered Bob Dylan that year, one of his earlier albums but that was the year I discovered it.

    I’d been to a few concerts in the previous three years but 1971 was the year when I really, really got into concert going. Had a smashing group of friends, we were all hippies and when we didn’t have a concert to go to we met at a pub where the DJ liked the sort of music we were all into, well, he was one of us. Everyone went home early though to see the Old Grey Whistle test or Monty Python. Everyone tuned in to John Peel on a Saturday. It seemed like a wonderful time in music.

    (I wasn’t actually born then, but I’ve used my time machine to go back and do it.)


    1. Ash – you legend. Weeley was, according to my brother, an incredible festival.

      I still have his programme from the event. Awesome line up.

  17. i was 9 in 71 and didn’t know anything, was listening to my sister’s records: simon and garfunkel and stuff like that. radio 1 and the chart show was my musical experience taping the top ten and things like that. :v move on five years and i was grooving to quo and the sweet and my sister had bought dark side. lord, i was saved.

    happy days.

  18. Well, I was only a wee fella back in 71. When I think back I remember how cold I always was. My mum has only just had central heating fitted.

    I have had to look back and see what was around.

    How to Mend a Broken Heart – Bee Gees

    You Got a Friend – James Taylor

    And for you Fed,

    She’s a Lady – Tom Jones

    My Sweet Lord George Harrison

    I Am I Said – Neil Diamond

    If I Were Your Woman – Gladys Knight and The Pips

    Riders on the Storm – The Doors (fab track, love that one)

    Tired of Being Alone – Al Green

    Fancy buying my Triumph Daytona 955 injection, Fed? I can imagine the fun you would have riding it around the beautiful countryside of Wales. Or do you live in London? Just messin’.


    1. Damian, I fear I’d ride it straight over a mountain top, but the thought was there. Thanks.

      Live in London? Not unless you paid me.

  19. I liked the crunchy guitar in ‘Why Don’t We Eat More Carrots’ on Faust’s first album (1971), Moving Waves on Moving Waves by Focus (1971) and Tago Mago by Can which was also released in 1971 (Father Can’t Yell).

    I also think this class thing is very English (British) probably because, unlike many other nations, this country still has a Royal Family, an honours system, an unelected House of Lords, an emotionally stunted government drawn from mainly a Public School background and an underclass. I find it difficult to work out quite where I lie on this continuum now-a-days because I live in an ex local authority council house but have worked as a psychiatric nurse (influenced by Syd) and in higher education for a number of years. I think class is a very emotional subject because, when talking about it, it involves a lot of unfairness, guilt and anger.

    I bet the Queen and her celebrity ‘dolls house army’ would all say they work very hard but I just can’t regard them as working class.

    I used to have a paper round and spent all my money from 1969 to 71 trekking off to see the Pink Floyd whenever they turned up in South East England. I was one of those sad individuals whose lives fell apart when it was announced that the acetate of DG playing on Interstellar Overdrive had been lost at Bromely Tech and was never to be recorded on vinyl ever.

    1. And Michèle, I know you must have had a wonderful birthday! 😀

      It’s a privilege to know you, mon ami.

      Joyeux anniversaire!!!

  20. 😀 I just want to wish a big, beautiful happy birthday to Roger Waters!

    This past year was utterly astounding, unbelievable, monumental in every way and unforgettable! I can’t imagine what the next year will bring.

    Keep making history, you dreamer, you seer of visions…

  21. And me, I just want to wish a Happy Fifth Birthday to our chatroom.

    It’s such a lovely and peaceful place.

    Thank you, FEd, for creating it and for your time and patience during all these years.

  22. I second your fifth b’day wish to the Chatroom Michèle. A toast to past, present and future and here’s to many, many more.

  23. A happy, wonderful birthday to our dear friend Roger Waters. At 68, he’s just getting better with age like a fine wine.

  24. Still getting regular rotation at my house and guaranteed to lift me out of doldrums and keep me smiling right from the very first note of the very first song through to the very last note of the very last song is the delightful, wonderful, whimsical Caravan’s 1971 album ‘In The Land Of Grey And Pink’. Induced escapism at its finest! (At least for me, anyways.)

    1. Hi Pete.

      I knew about the 40th anniversary remaster but haven’t purchased it yet. I think I will now speed up that process based on your comment.Thank you.

  25. And 1971 saw the birth of Greenpeace.

    Just received this e-mail from them:

    “Forty years ago this month, on 15th September 1971, a small team of activists set sail in a small fishing boat from Canada to protest about nuclear testing. Since then, the Greenpeace movement has grown to a massive 2.8 million members around the world.

    We’ve launched a special edition Greenpeace Giving gift to celebrate our anniversary. It’s £10 and, a bit like that traditional birthday staple, the gift voucher, your donation could be spent on any aspect of our work, and will be directed where the money is most needed. You can choose to send the ecard direct to us, or to a friend in honour of our birthday.”

    Happy 40th Birthday, Greenpeace.

  26. Why do you not record a live DVD playing in the studio without an audience, to take leave of the stage as Pink Floyd to celebrate and enjoy the great Richard, inviting great keyboardists like Rick Wakeman, John Lord, Dan Ayroy and others? It would be a great show and a great gift for the fans who follow the band all these years. Think a little of the fans …

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