Barclay James Harvest's Social History

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HARDBACK BOOK, NEW, 376 pages.

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"The Fifties Child: A Social History Through the Songs of Barclay James Harvest” revolutionises the approach to standard, chronological rock band histories. Instead of concentrating on a blow by blow account of Barclay James Harvest’s story, this book takes inspiration from more than 125 songs written over the band’s songwriters' 40+ year career that deal with societal subjects and presents a social history dealing with the period of the life of a Fifties Child.

Coming to consciousness in the 1950s, the Fifties Child would face a very different world to that of previous generations. In the aftermath of two cataclysmic World Wars, the Fifties Child’s generation would break free from the strictures of an authoritarian past, rejecting the authority of Church and Man, but would have to face a rapidly changing world under constant threat of violent conflict of some kind. Imbued with the “summer of love” and under peer pressure to trip out on drugs, how would this generation survive the onslaught of the age?

Alex Torres’ topical approach to Barclay James Harvest’s songs has produced an insightful social history that covers many of the key aspects of the second half of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st. As a result, “The Fifties Child: A Social History Through the Songs of Barclay James Harvest” will appeal not only to fans of the band for its in-depth analysis of many songs, but also to general readers and social historians who are interested in seeing how the momentous life of the post-War world is reflected in song. A review of issues of unique importance to us all as we grow older is also covered: the battle for the mind against the ravages of temptation and depression, and the search for a satisfactory spirituality to suit the modern world. Corroborative societal observations from other songwriters are also described within this social history: amongst other artists referenced are Yes, Jethro Tull, Camel, Renaissance, the Sutherland Brothers, Strawbs, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind.

Fans of Barclay James Harvest will revel in fresh and revealing interpretations of songs from throughout their history, including classics such as ‘Summer Soldier’, ‘For No One’, ‘Lady Macbeth’, 'In Memory of the Martyrs', 'Mr. E', ‘Revolution Day’ and more.


"This book is an absolute gem of a read... the historical references are very well put together and thought through."

Reading this excellent book, which frankly I have found difficult to put down since it arrived on my doormat a few days ago, has made me realise how ignorant I was of the various events which have moulded our social history during my lifetime."

"A great read... unputdownable... an excellent piece of work... it offered some new insights in a very accessible way. A very fine analysis of the band's songwriting and an excellent social history rolled into one... I'm sure that fans will find it fascinating reading."

This book is an absolute must for all rock fans with a social conscience!

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