Monday, December 08, 2008

The 70's & Rock n Roll

I know, I know there's a pattern forming here, but my mind creates patterns...

So I'm watching the History Channel...

Don't get me started on how it makes you feel when the History Channel is doing an expose on your childhood years. Needless to say, that's all my children needed to see.

Anyway, it's halftime of a good football game, and I already know all the scores and highlights due to a highly productive day, so what better way to accelerate halftime than to go to History. They are doing a bit on the 70's and the two segments I see are Jonestown masacre and the party life that surrounded Studio 54. Don't get me wrong...these were important events, I guess...

So it got me thinking about culture and the 70's and other stuff...and it hits me...

Our culture is 30-40 years behind Europe. And in the 70's the UK gave us everything we could absorb in Rock n Roll. They gave us Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Beatles...I could go on...but lets just say...if Lynyrd Skynyrd is the best we could produce in that era...compared to these pillars...well it's like comparing the MLS to Premier League Soccer.

So, fast forward 30-40 years...and you get the last 10 years of our history. Where I would assume that those pillars of Rock n Roll influenced the GREAT artists of today, of this generation...and I also might assume they might come from the good 'ol US of A.

So here's your question(s) for today...What groups or artists are we producing that are on a par with the stalwarts I mentioned earlier? And, if you are like me, and have trouble thinking of, oh, any, then why is this void occuring in our society?


Blogger Brent said...

That role of influence goes both ways.

In other words, all those bands of the British Invasion (which, I'd suggest was actually more from the '60's--ever listen to any Rolling Stones stuff from the '70's? Awful.) were influenced by a few great American artists of the 20's, 30's and 40's...namely Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and an entire slew of Mississippi Delta blues greats. Each and every band you mentioned all nod at the time they listened to records by blues greats and how inspirational/influential they were. Most did covers of their favorites.

Now, to your point that our culture is 30 years or so behind Europe: Francis Schaeffer posited that theory in 1970. It's correct, but the one thing he didn't write about was American influence back across the ocean. Think blue jeans.

Also, you're "great" & "pillars of rock" monikers are somewhat subjective. I mean, stroll into Alabama and say that Lynyrd Skynyrd isn't the "best we could produce" and you'd find some folks that would seriously argue with you. Tell some folks from California that the Beach Boys are irrelevant and you'd get arguments.

Granted, Zep, The Who, Pink Floyd, Beatles, etc., have all proven to have longevity, but even those bands produced terrible records in their day...but that good outweighs the bad that their perception overrides those abberrations (Goats Head Soup was awful, the Beatles were done by '73, The Final Cut was dismal, and Coda was bad).

I'd suggest that there is some music out there right now that you don't even know exist, Hollywood. But, if you're looking at more recent times, I don't know of anyone who won't revere U2 at least as much as The Who. I'd also suggest that some bands, like REM, will have major critical acclaim once they hang it up, too. And, if you don't think Nirvana and Pearl Jam are brilliant and influential, well, you're sadly mistaken on that point.

Want some more popular bands as "pillars?" Your honor, allow me to produce exhibit A for truly legendary American bands (even if I'm not a big fan): The Eagles, The Grateful Dead & Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

6:47 AM

Blogger Brent said...

A few current bands that might actually be truly innovative & influential are favorites of the arts & croissant crowd (as Rush Limbaugh refers to them): The Cold War Kids. Death Cab for Cutie. The White Stripes. Wilco. Widespread Panic. Time will tell...but I really enjoy all of them, and they all have current critical acclaim.

6:50 AM

Blogger Brent said...

Oh, I forgot Beck. And how could I have left out maybe the most influential American band of the last half-century, The Velvet Underground. Not many people listened to the Velvets, but everybody who did formed a band.

One last thought on this: While you were dead-on about the role of European influence, you didn't mention the influence various disciplines have on each other.

Francis Schaeffer believed that it was the intellegensia of society that came up with ideas and began teaching them in universities to students. So, philosophy professors would teach, the art students would then begin to create great paintings, etc. They would then influence the musicians, which would influence the general culture, which would eventually influence theological disciplines.

So, for example, the Beatles might've started out with "Twist and Shout" but eventually that became "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as they became exposed to various Eastern religious ideas, which influenced the general culture and then you began to see the churches of the late '60's become more acceptable to some influences of hippie subculture. For example, guitar in services, jeans allowed, etc.

The Velvet Undergound is a perfect example. Andy Warhol was heavily influenced by Eastern Europe's philosophers, and was a widely known artist (whether or not you like it or not is irrelevant). He hooks up with Lou Reed's Velvet Underground, which influenced everybody from the Clash to the Violent Femmes to the Ramones to the Replacements to Iggy and the Stooges, etc. That created the so-called punk movement of the late 70's early 80's. At least it influenced some level of general culture...although I'm not sure it influenced theology much (because anarchy clearly isn't scriptural) it certainly has had an influence on pretty much every Christian band out there today, and people come to church much more open to "harder" music in worship services.

For a fascinating read, check out "Escape from Reason," "He is There and Not Silent" and "The God Who is There" all by Francis Schaeffer. In fact, there's a book called "Francis Schaeffer Trilogy" for about $20 you should be able to pick up at any Barnes & Noble.

7:06 AM

Blogger some chick said...

is it possible to stroll into alabama? i thought you had to sashay there?

4:13 PM


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