1971: The Year that Music Changed Everything
By the end of the 1960s, the counterculture movement that sent shockwaves throughout society was all but over. But while the ideology of flower power may have died out, the revolution was far from over. The 70s were simply a new beginning for the revolutionaries and musicians who wanted to change the world during a time of government corruption, social unease, and a lot of drugs. Docuseries 1971: The Year that Music Changed Everything (touted by multi award-winning pair Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees of Amy and Senna fame) aims to examine this chapter of modern history through how events influenced music and how these sounds inspired listeners.
Featuring a selection of archive footage and interviews with key industry figures and musicians, including Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Sly Stone (and that’s just in the opening episodes – later chapters are set to feature David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley and many more), the series offers an immersive deep dive into a turbulent and rapidly changing scene. The testimonies and footage used are a window into the creative mindset of the artists featured, which gives viewers a glimpse at the highly personal and often troubled process going on behind the scenes.
However, despite the docuseries’s title, the opening episodes focus surprisingly little on how this music “changed everything”. Aside from a handful of brief accounts of people being inspired to act by the music they were listening to, this series seems more concerned with celebrity than revolution. In the second episode, The Rolling Stones’ drug-fuelled slump becomes a severe tangent from what starts as a look at the changing drug culture in America. In fact, a lack of focus is a running theme throughout the first two episodes. After dwelling on Mick Jagger’s heroine addiction, the narrative then makes a disjointed jump to Jesus Christ Superstar and religion. Only after trailing along this rabbit hole does the script attempt to join the trains of thought together, to middling success.
At this point, The Year that Music Changed Everything is more about celebrity culture than counterculture. However, there’s still plenty of time for Apple’s latest docuseries to achieve what it sets out to do.
1971: The Year that Music Changed Everything is released on Apple TV+ on 21st May 2021.
Watch the trailer for 1971: The Year that Music Changed Everything here: