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Hit Parade: Spirit of ’71 Edition

Did the music 50 years ago really “change everything”? How a new generation of singer-songwriters rebooted the charts.

At any given time, the music world is celebrating some anniversary, but 1971 has received more than its share of commemorations this year. And with good reason: Carole King. Marvin Gaye. Joni Mitchell. Sly Stone. Janis Joplin. The Who. All released their best work a half-century ago.

For our 50th episode of Hit Parade, we go back 50 years, celebrating the semicentennial of the year when, critics claim, “music changed everything.” The Quiet Beatle became the Favorite Beatle, when Mick Jagger sang lyrics even he regrets, when Carole King graduated from songwriter to singer-songwriter, and commercial juggernaut, when blaxploitation took over the charts and the Oscars, and when the radio was somehow awash in Osmonds. It wasn’t a perfect year—but Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy is fond of ’71 for personal reasons.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson.

Content retrieved from: https://slate.com/podcasts/hit-parade/2021/09/music-of-1971-hit-parade-50th-episode.