Most of the above can be connected by music. I spent my money on records, I became politically aware through the civil rights movement in the US via the late sixties and current soul records that I collected, fashion was dictated by which clan you were in ( I suppose I was a latter day soul mod rather than a long haired rock fan). The places I went to - the Tottenham Royal and the St Anne's Disco nights at Chingford Hatch all driven by the music they played. The radio shows i listened to, the magazines I bought - all connected.
My record collection grew - I soon realised that I was buying successive singles by artists that would all appear on their latest album (first album bought - Motown Chartbusters Vol 6) so my buying habits changed when I could afford it; I spent a great deal of time in the Record Centre and got to know the owners (two real characters, Mick and Brian) well enough for them to offer me a job running a stall in Green Street east London during the run up to Christmas that year. I was supposed to save the money but always ended up taing my pay in vinyl.
Mick was really knowledgable about all genres of music and didn't flinch when people asked for "Grandad" and "Chirpy Cheep Cheep" whilst he played "Extension Of A Man" by Donny Hathaway. But we also had a great time getting the old uns to singalongamax! I'm sure that stall didn't make any money. It did give me confidence and I had a ball. On return on the final Saturday prior to Christmas I was told they needed further help in the shop and I had the job. I would get £6 per week - a fortune.
As time moved on through that year I had become known as the person in my group who knew music. It helped me a great deal as I wasn't good at sports (or interested) or much at all really; and pretty shy - but here was something I knew and was passionate about. I helped out Ian at the school discos; became the one to bring the records to parties, to get hold of records for school friends, even for my older sister's friends. Most importantly I had something to talk about - even to girls.
So you see ... that year is important to me personally but as the years have gone by i've realised what a fantastic period it was for music, films, design and the media in general. I post about these in the main blog and highlight 1971.
Here's some great musical reasons why it was a special time:-
Aretha - "Spanish Harlem" and "Day Dreaming"
Beach Boys - "Surf's Up" - forget "Smile" this is a great album by a band (not just Brian)
Betty Wright - " Clean Up Woman"
Beginning Of The End - "Funky Nassau"
Bar-Kays - "Son Of Shaft" - a different take but magic repeated
Burundi Black "Burundi Black"
Booker T And The MGs - "Melting Pot"
Carla Thomas - "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry"
Carole King - "Tapestry"
Carpenters - "Superstar"
Chi-Lites - (For God's Sake) Give The Power To The People" (Album) - Eugene Record = Genius
Curtis - Curtis
Faces - "Stay With Me"
Dave And Ansil Collins - "Double Barrel"
David Bowie - "Hunky Dory" - the record that really opened my ears
Doors - "Riders On The Storm"
Eddie Kendricks -"Keep On Truckin'"
Nilsson - "Without You"/"Gotta Get Up"/"One"
Isaac Hayes - "Shaft Soundtrack" and "Black Moses"
Isleys - "Ohio/Machine Gun"
Jackson 5 - "Never Can Say Goodbye"
Jerry Butler - "One Night Affair" - after this I sought out the names Gamble and Huff on anything
Undisputed Truth - S/T and "Face To Face"
Paul Simon - "Mother And Child Reunion" - i've been a fan ever since
Joni Mitchell "Blue" - converted by "Carey" revisited regularly ever since
Pink Floyd - "Dark Side Of The Moon" - bliss
Stones - "Brown Sugar"
Rod Stewart - "Every Picture Tells A Story" - a great album - undervalued today.
Sly and Family Stone - " Family Affair"
Staples - "Respect Yourself"
and last but by no mean least - the ones for my desert island
Marvin Gaye "What's Going On"
Stevie Wonder "Where I'm Coming From"
Bill Withers - "Still Bill"
there are many more...
added July 2016
For further insight into the music, fashion and trends as well as the news and events context of the year and the whole period, i'd recommend two books: David Hepworth's recent "1971: Never A Dull Moment" and, "Not Abba" by Dave Haslam.