Music: James Taylor: One Man's Family of Rock

THE 1960s reverberated to rock. The walloping folk rock of Bob Dylan sang a striking counterpoint to the sweet-sour, sometimes thunderous eloquence of the Beatles at their best; the psychedelic star shells launched by the Jefferson Airplane soared over the Beelzebub beat and leer of the Rolling Stones. And now, suddenly, the '70s have brought a startling change. Over the last year a far gentler variety of rock sound has begun to soothe the land.

Why? Theories abound, few of them satisfactory. The fading out of ear-numbing,...