Not Abba: The Real Story of the 1970s

Dave Haslam

Not Abba tells the story of the 1970s, celebrating the musicians and songs that illuminated and soundtracked the ideas, fashions, sexual revolutions and raw politics of the decade.

The 1970s is a decade frequently miscast; a parade of fashion disasters soundtracked by glam pop hits or frothy, mainstream disco. The generation who grew up in the 1970s remember the decade differently; inflation, strikes, and polarised politics; violence and conflict; the rise of the National Front; IRA terror campaigns on the British mainland; womens liberation, gay liberation; ‘Mean Streets’; ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’.

Not Abba provides an antidote to history told via soundbites by exploring life in the margins, and ideas beneath the surface, and by painting the big picture behind the most enduring and influential music of the decade, including the politicised soul and funk of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, the punk explosion, new wave, and the years of Ziggy Stardust, gay disco, the Stooges, Patti Smith, the Raincoats, Cabaret Voltaire, the Specials, and black British reggae.

Not Abba tells the story of the decade via the key songs, using in-depth research, drawing not only on interviews with musicians, writers, and artists but also a wide range of representatives of the 70s generation; their personal stories drive our narrative. They are our guides to the real story of the 1970s, introducing us to life and music away from the mainstream; nothing bland, nothing obvious. Not Abba.

Intro: Boogie Wonderland (1979)
One: Lola (1970)
Two: Riders on the Storm (1971)
Three: Freddie’s Dead (1972)
Four: Life on Mars (1973)
Five: Sad Sweet Dreamers (1974)
Six: Land of a Thousand Dances (1975)
Seven: Young Hearts Run Free (1976)
Eight: In the City (1977)
Nine: Handsworth Revolution (1978)
Outro: Everybody’s Happy Nowadays (1979).

Reviews of Not Abba: The Real Story of the 1970s

    • Praise for MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (The Sunday Times Music Book of the Year)
    • ‘About bloody time. The city that gave us every significant band of the lasty 20 years has finally made it into print. ****’ Uncut
    • ‘A new kind of political history, firmly rooted in the expereince of popular culture.’Michael Bracewell, Guardian
    • ‘A serious book about the city’s pop heritage was inevitable and Dave Haslam’s Manchester, England does the job admirably. Awesome.’ NME
    • ‘ Filled with a personal love of music and urban life and Saturday nights.’ Andrew O’Hagan
    • ‘Excellent’ Mojo