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Thursday 10 December 2009

...And Music Of the Past.

I've just finished reading the book "I'm With The Band", the pretty infamous story of Pamela Des Barres.

Yes, the book is primarily about her sexual exploits with many famous rock stars of the 1960's & 70's. But, another thing that jumped out at me, whilst reading the book, was a realisation that we just don't seem to have rock stars, or even music like that these days.

If i name some of the bands, or artists, mentioned in the book you might see what i mean:
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart & The Faces, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa etc etc.

With the possible exception of Frank Zappa, who i know is still widely respected in musical circles, all of those bands listed are still listened to, revered & very much appreciated today. Possibly even more so than they were back then. In fact i still listen to all of them regularly myself.

Many of those artists are also considered a huge influence on modern day music & i certainly wouldn't argue with that.

So, i suppose that hat i'm getting at is, does the music of today stand up to the music of those heady years & also, will we still be playing the music of today in 30 years time?

Unfortunately, on both counts, i'd have to say a big fat NO. Well, ok, there may be a few exceptions, but not very many. I'm wracking my brains here...

I fully realise that at least a part of what i feel is influenced by the fact that i was born in 1958 & grew up listening to that same music. That always makes a difference to the way you feel about certain music & artists. The music of your youth will always have a huge influence of your future listening experience. That's only natural.

But, i really don't see many bands around these days who stand up to those of the past.
Are there really any big influential bands around now. Or, are they all just copycats of the past?
Maybe we've just run out of ideas & it's now a case of "it's all been done before"

When something supposedly "new" does come along, it often harks back to the past. And even then, the few original bands that do try a new angle are followed by many substandard hangers on.
I know that it has always been this way, even back in the 60's & 70's. But, the quality of the copycats just seemed better & more original back then.

The only really "new" music that has come along in the past 30 years, in my humble opinion anyway, has been electronic music & hip hip/rap. And i suppose the only reason that has happened is because, for the most part, the technology just wasn't available any earlier to actually help produce that type of music?

It could, of course, just be a case of the way that music is produced & sold now?
Maybe experimentation is frowned upon by record comapanies? Whereas, back in those early days it was positively encouraged. (This is a topic i may well cover in a future blog, or vlog post)
Or, maybe, the problem is far deeper than that?

There is still some very good music being made right now. But, i'm not sure that much of it will ever be considered to be "great" music.

Only time will tell, i guess?


  1. Good questions. My musical prejudices are right along with yours, but still, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of today's artists having such longevity.

    When the artists you mention were starting out, the generation just previous said they'd never compare to Elvis or Buddy Holly, and the folks before that swooned for Sinatra and Dinah Shore.

    We romanticize the classic rock era (and I include myself in that "we"), but we tend to forget that for every band like the Kinks, there's 25 bands like the Tremeloes, and not that "Silence is Golden" wasn't a smash hit, but how many of today's kids would have any idea what I'm talking about?

    And, BTW, Peter Noone is a very nice gentleman and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm still a huge Herman's Hermits fan.

  2. I think Oasis and Take That, perhaps in different ways stand up equally to groups of the past. Take That only sing where as The Beatles play guitars, but those were the days without computers and my dad told me how uncool and cheesy they were considered in the day! The Stones and the Kinks were cool, The Beatles he said were as cool as the Beach Boys (not very!)

    too nowadays. Or maybe they are solo stars as opposed to groups and struggle without a group to bounce off. Maybe groups like the Stones were more astute - weren't they public school boys? Or maybe they were in danger of fading away but then made comebacks because nosatalgia sells records too. Oops, I am posing nearly as many questions as you now!

  3. I lost the middle of my reply there, I was just spouting other reasons as to the artists you mentioned longevity!

  4. Ken: I remember Hermans Hermits. In fact i can remember being st school, in the 60's & being asked who my fave group was at that time. Everyone else said The Beatles, but i said H
    Hermans Hermits!
    I agree that there was a lot of sub standard rubbish around then as well. But, i do think there were more "great" bands & artists around then than there are now.

  5. Anthony: The Stones were always seen as cool, because they were considered a little more rebellious. The Kinks too i think.
    I'm not sure i agree with you about Oasis, or Take That. But that could just be my age talking? I do agree that they are 2 of the best examples of their own style of music, so maybe you're right in that respect?