(A Guest Blog By Terry Douglas)
I really think the moment the “music died” (popular/rock based music) was the day that Kurt Cobain (or whoever killed him!) blew his brains out. Now, allow me a moment (hopefully not being too long winded and redundant) to give you an abbreviated, yet somewhat concise opinion of how we got to where we are now…
If you look at rock and roll as a genre, I think it’s safe to say that 1955 was year zero. There was Elvis (the big bang) who took hillbilly and black R&B/blues and sex appeal and changed the world. It was great and it was popular.
Then the Beatles did a few things that some people kinda liked and KA-BOOM – an evolutionary shift of such seismic proportions in popular (remember that word as it is crucial to this whole discussion) music splintered into a million different vibrant, psychedelic and wonderful directions. So many bands and artists were inspired and an industry (music bizness) that up until that time had treated popular/rock music as a fad (only to be exploited for teenage $ and quickly discarded) woke up to the fact that:
A: This shit is blowing up on a world wide basis and influencing all the other arts!
B: It looks like it just might be around longer than an early 60’s “dance craze”!
C: Serious people (critics, writers, social observers etc.) were treating this popular music as a legitimate art form!
Music then became big business… but the business side (while always a necessary evil for funding/distributing this terrible “noise” to the kids) was always a step behind what was happening (hey HEY hey) NOW. And it was kinda hard for record companies to prefabricate music for this culture of DFHs (dirty fucking hippies) who were young and growing (wild in the streets).
Sure, there was disposable crap (our current morass) that was cheesy and cynically devised to “move units.” The Archies (not even a real band!), The Monkees (almost a real band!), The Osmonds (ironically, the Jonas brothers of their time with Donny O. being the “Bieber” of his time) and other bubblegum stuff. Catchy and fun, but ultimately not cool. And the kids? Well most of them wanted to be cool! This was their culture. They were cynical of anyone over 30 and demanded unique and diverse sounds to boogie and get high to.
Oddly, all this cool recorded music wasn’t just in the underground, buried away on late night FM stations. It was in the charts! Top 40! Mainstream! No sh#t! The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Janis, Hendrix, Dylan and on and on – great songs with depth and meaning (not always, but that was cool too because the music had passion) that sold and was popular. How in the hell did this happen?
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