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Reconsidering MC5’s High Time

Struggling with drug addiction, interpersonal problems, and a dwindling fan base, MC5 cut High Time in 1971. The band which had ignited punk rock and upped the ante on rock ‘n roll’s protest ethic with a single live recording released its third album to lukewarm reviews and apathy from the record-buying public. High Time went down as the unsatisfying finale in the story of MC5’s meteoric rise and fall. The times had changed. Or had they? This article considers High Time not as the last gasp of MC5 but rather as a vital exploration of the then-fledgling heavy metal genre and its relationship to rock ‘n roll.