On "keeping it real" and the end of an era

Backslapping time. Well done us. We are fantastic.
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automatic_drip
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Postby automatic_drip » 21 Jan 2005, 02:53

Money Changes Everything.

It strikes me that earlier posts alluding to a shift in drugs of choice from Psychedelics to Cocaine, coupled with the LA rockstar exodus from the city to the canyons, underscores that fact that being a successful rock artist meant that, as the boomers aged, more people were buying records and tickets than ever before. Simply put, there was more money to be made. Rock star excess and the pursuit of material riches had as much to do with the demise of creativity as everyone strove to protect what they had.

Also by making so much money touring, they didn't have to record as often as they did in the golden age. More touring and less recording possibly stalled the communal rise to new creative heights. Suddenly every record had to be a creative statement to last a touring band for the next year, not just four months to their next record. This theory is a bit simple minded, but it does go well the the idea posted earlier about thebase of musical cultural power shifting from the UK to L.A., via Woodstock NY (BIG PINK!).

Beatles>The Band>The Doors>Sonny and Cher.

It happened again in 1977. The UK took it back, made it great, and as it worked it's way back to LA, it started sucking again.

Sex Pistols/Clash>Blondie>Motley Crue>Cher and her four year farewell tour.

Come on UK! Please take it back again and just keep it this time!
Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.... - Sammy Hagar

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Quaco
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Postby Quaco » 21 Jan 2005, 04:20

The change is quite understandable. For The Beatles and the other musicians involved in that exciting time ('65-'68 or whatever), the experimental stuff they did was just another idea. After a year or two, they wanted to move on to something else.

In retrospect, we see it as this incredible time, but for the people making the music, it's easier to get bored and want to move on to other things. Ringo said that he liked the White Album better than Pepper because it felt like a band again, instead of feeling like a session musician on his own album. So, it's clear why they dropped psychedelia; it just happened that the Dylan/Band thing was the form the inevitable back-to-roots music took.

Maybe Ennio Morricone was right after all when he said The Beatles were very good but could've used more formal training. After all, had they had more, they might have been able to continue progressing upwards and onwards, instead of feeling the pull back to their rock and roll roots after a mere two years of experimentation.
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Postby mentalist (slight return) » 21 Jan 2005, 04:54

No mention of John Lennon here. So maybe there are some interesting thoughts about his role in this period.

It seems he may not have been affected as much by the back to roots mentality. Maybe for Lennon it was back to rock & roll, similar in a way to the Ramones a few years later. His Rock 'n' Roll album (by far the best of any post-Beatles fab four output IMHO) comes out in 1975 a bit out of the period discussed I guess. He also had a part in the writing of Bowie's Fame, although how much I don't know, an adventurous & intoxicating tune. Maybe for Lennon and Bowie, it was Back To Toots.

Also, was this back to roots mentality a withdrawal away from political activism and popularism? Maybe with all the money these 'stars' were accumulating, this was a withdrawal to moneyed conservatism. Again if that's the case, Lennon in a way bucks the trend slightly as he was far more politically active during this period.

Heck I just wanted to say something, however misguided.
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Postby Moleskin » 21 Jan 2005, 10:58

I'm going to try to summarise what I think we've got so far.

First, and perhaps least important, some of the elements of the musical style of 1967 swiftly became cliches.

Secondly, the questing spirit that underlay psychedelic music moved on from studio trickery to "taking yourself to a different place to compose", which almost as swiftly became "getting it together in the country with my acoustic guitar".

Third, there was a change in drug: I would suggest from LSD to heroin rather more than to cocaine. Certainly this was the beginning of Lennon's heroin period (though cocaine was also in use).

Fourth, there was a reactionary backlash against youthful rebellion, which I've suggested made people turn inwards, rather than continuing to try to change society at large.

Fifth, as Timothy Leary said, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out". It's a lot easier to drop out of mainstream society if you are away from the city; you can be self-sufficient for example. The 'back to nature' movement was contained within one of the core messages of the hippie period.

Finally, I think what we've identified is that there is no single answer. Everything is connected in a way that is not always apparent at the time. I am sure that the change was seen by commentators in 1968 as being simply fashion-driven, which is simply inadequate as an explanation, being more of a 'how' than a 'why'. Yes, there was a change of fashion, but what were the causes? I think we've identified some of what (we think) was going on, but although we have plenty of answers we only have a partial explanation.

Incidentally, some of what I have written here is derived from/inspired by articles writtten for the OU by Arthur Marwick, a British historian, who has identified a cultural revolution encompassing sexual and racial equality, the removal of censorship and much more, associated with what he calls 'the long sixties', running from 1958 to 1974. I shall read his book soon.

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Postby Deebank » 21 Jan 2005, 11:28

Quaco wrote: Maybe Ennio Morricone was right after all when he said The Beatles were very good but could've used more formal training. After all, had they had more, they might have been able to continue progressing upwards and onwards, instead of feeling the pull back to their rock and roll roots after a mere two years of experimentation.


I for one think formal musical training is the most overated factor in popular music.

There was a very good programme on TV (Channel 4) in the UK before christmas that argued that the fabs influence on classical music was revolutionary (I think the presenter - a famous composer - said they actually saved classical music in the 20th century), and it was the more ground breaking experimental tunes from the Rubber Soul to MMT period that were in the spotlight.

Did anyone else see the show? It was called something like 20 Century Classics. It was excellent.
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Postby Toby » 21 Jan 2005, 12:26

My two cents on this predictably are that I don't think my generation and perhaps those younger than me qualify that period as being particularly revolutionary. It would be dangerous to ascertain that period as being "golden" - certainly, two of the most important records in contemporary western popular music were released at that time, but history in the future may paint a more different picture than we do right now. The way that we review our musical history changes constantly because essentially we draw into line other forms of music that have had an influence somewhere along the line. One could argue that the most influential musician of the time when you consider what he was doing within the academic realms of music was Stockhausen, but on a purely commercial level he fades away.

I would argue that "Bitches Brew" in a few years time will be seen as far more influential and timeless on the shape of the form of music itself rather than just the impact a record had at a particular time on culture. It is necessary I think sometimes to make a distinction between the music and perhaps the cultural impact something has. Look at Music Hall from the late 19th century and early 20th century. Massive impact then, but forgotten now. Do I hear the production values of Phil Spector in today's music? Probably not, but the impact he had in his role as a producer is what is far more important.

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Postby Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe » 21 Jan 2005, 12:31

Deebank wrote:Did anyone else see the show? It was called something like 20 Century Classics. It was excellent.


Yeah, I caught the end of it. I am not a Beatles fanatic by any means and thought it was the usual classically trained guy stooping to the level of rock and roll and pulling out a token example of artistry. But the case he made was very persuasive. Mind you I can't quite remember that case but I was very interested at the time :D .

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Postby Hugo » 21 Jan 2005, 12:49

Experimentalism is only half the story of what was going on in 1966-67 though. The other half was the surreal insertion of patently older forms of music and styles - that's very much in evidence in the very concept of Sgt Pepper, where psychedelia fights it out with music-hall. And it's something that was being reflected in the wider 'pop' culture too, with pop art and TV series like The Prisoner or the Avengers, where modern, groovy Emma Peel is paired with staid, Victorian John Steed. It was a moment where the plastic and the inauthentic suddenly got shoved into the limelight, and the "authenticity" reaction against it was inevitable since one trend is always playing off the previous one.

Also, as someone commented upthread, 1968 was a point of divergence between the UK and the US, and the back-to-the-roots movement had less sway in the UK (there's nothing too rootsy about prog after all). I think that's because it was so much harder for the British to carry off the roots thing because r&b, rock 'n'roll, country, folk etc. where fundamentally anchored in American musical history, not British. The British ultimately had to make a virtue out of the inauthentic because that was their only real strategy, hence glam, Bowie etc in the early 70s.

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Postby Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe » 21 Jan 2005, 12:54

The Electrician wrote:Also, as someone commented upthread, 1968 was a point of divergence between the UK and the US, and the back-to-the-roots movement had less sway in the UK (there's nothing too rootsy about prog after all). I think that's because it was so much harder for the British to carry off the roots thing because r&b, rock 'n'roll, country, folk etc. where fundamentally anchored in American musical history, not British. The British ultimately had to make a virtue out of the inauthentic because that was their only real strategy, hence glam, Bowie etc in the early 70s.


Although there was a concurrent development in the UK, when bands such as Fairport Convention (who had previously been quite influenced by the Byrdsy sounds of the West Coast) drew on their own country's musical history to create a back-to-basics movement of sorts.

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Postby Hugo » 21 Jan 2005, 12:59

Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe wrote:
The Electrician wrote:Also, as someone commented upthread, 1968 was a point of divergence between the UK and the US, and the back-to-the-roots movement had less sway in the UK (there's nothing too rootsy about prog after all). I think that's because it was so much harder for the British to carry off the roots thing because r&b, rock 'n'roll, country, folk etc. where fundamentally anchored in American musical history, not British. The British ultimately had to make a virtue out of the inauthentic because that was their only real strategy, hence glam, Bowie etc in the early 70s.


Although there was a concurrent development in the UK, when bands such as Fairport Convention (who had previously been quite influenced by the Byrdsy sounds of the West Coast) drew on their own country's musical history to create a back-to-basics movement of sorts.


Yeah, it certainly happened in the UK but not so severely, I suppose is my point, and it went out of fashion in the UK faster as well.

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Postby Mr Maps » 27 Jan 2005, 18:03

Who else thinks this should be in Classic Threads?

Can I get a 'Hell yeah'?
nathan wrote:I realize there is a time and a place for unsexy music, but I personally have no time for it.


Django wrote: It's video clips of earnest post-rock I want, and I have little time for anything else.

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marios

Postby marios » 27 Jan 2005, 18:09

Hip Priest wrote:Who else thinks this should be in Classic Threads?

Can I get a 'Hell yeah'?


HELL YEAH!!! :D

Not many contributions unfortunately but this thread was a pleasure to read and quite informative and thought-provoking too.

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Postby Jeff K » 27 Jan 2005, 18:12

I thought there would be more response too. Especially after repeated gripings from certain posters about the lack of serious music threads on Yakety Yak. Still, a terrific thread that deserves to be saved.
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Postby Mr Maps » 27 Jan 2005, 18:14

Emperor Marios Ketchup wrote:
Hip Priest wrote:Who else thinks this should be in Classic Threads?

Can I get a 'Hell yeah'?


HELL YEAH!!! :D

Not many contributions unfortunately but this thread was a pleasure to read and quite informative and thought-provoking too.


My thoughts exactamundo, as the Fonz might say, and I was saddened that I had to go back 5 or 6 pages to find it.

Jeff K wrote:I thought there would be more response too. Especially after repeated gripings from certain posters about the lack of serious music threads on Yakety Yak. Still, a terrific thread that deserves to be saved.


Word.
Last edited by Mr Maps on 27 Jan 2005, 20:55, edited 1 time in total.
nathan wrote:I realize there is a time and a place for unsexy music, but I personally have no time for it.


Django wrote: It's video clips of earnest post-rock I want, and I have little time for anything else.

19th biggest tosser on BCB

The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 27 Jan 2005, 20:38

Great points Goldie. I would add that the futility of talking about pop music as if it's created in a cultural and industrial vacuum is once again revealed. You can't talk about the "innovation" of white musicians without understanding the wider context of the industry and audience. No one was going to give a black musician months and months of studio time like EMI did The Beatles in 1966/67. Look at the battles Marvin Gaye had to fight to get "What's Going On" released and that was a few years after the period Jimbo refers to. Some white artists were given the license to experiment because the record companies thougfht that's what their audience wanted. Black artists however, were seen to have a different audience and therefore were expected to stick to certain conventions.

However all this racial designation shouldn't blind us to the fact that the most creative musician of the psychedelic era was a black man steeped in soul and blues.

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Postby Mr Maps » 27 Jan 2005, 21:11

Kind of in keeping with what MrModerista said above, I got a copy of Don't Look Back on DVD for Christmas and was watching for the first time with the commentary on. In one of the scenes when Dylan is hanging out backstage there is a black guy in the background and Pennebaker identifies him as Tom Wilson. I didn't know Wilson was black and how did a black man get to produce records for Columbia in 1965?

Not that I expect anyone to give me a detailed answer but I was surprised.

carry on.
nathan wrote:I realize there is a time and a place for unsexy music, but I personally have no time for it.


Django wrote: It's video clips of earnest post-rock I want, and I have little time for anything else.

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The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 27 Jan 2005, 21:19

Hip Priest wrote:Kind of in keeping with what MrModerista said above, I got a copy of Don't Look Back on DVD for Christmas and was watching for the first time with the commentary on. In one of the scenes when Dylan is hanging out backstage there is a black guy in the background and Pennebaker identifies him as Tom Wilson. I didn't know Wilson was black and how did a black man get to produce records for Columbia in 1965?

Not that I expect anyone to give me a detailed answer but I was surprised.

carry on.


And later produced The Velvet Underground of course. I think he was also the guy who put the guitars on Sound Of silence, but I may be wrong.
Given his presence at so many pivotal recordings, it's odd not more has been written about him. Like HP I'd be interested to know more, I believe his background was in Jazz but I'm sure someone will sketch this in.

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Postby Mr Maps » 27 Jan 2005, 21:36

IlModernista wrote:I think he was also the guy who put the guitars on Sound Of silence, but I may be wrong.


No, you're right. Guitars, bass and drums. Gave then their first hit and probably saved their career.
nathan wrote:I realize there is a time and a place for unsexy music, but I personally have no time for it.


Django wrote: It's video clips of earnest post-rock I want, and I have little time for anything else.

19th biggest tosser on BCB

marios

Postby marios » 27 Jan 2005, 21:37

Hip Priest wrote:
IlModernista wrote:I think he was also the guy who put the guitars on Sound Of silence, but I may be wrong.


No, you're right. Guitars, bass and drums. Gave then their first hit and probably saved their career.


Was he involved in the whole album or just the hit?