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The 1970s began as the decade of the rock superstar. Excess became the norm for bands such as the Rolling Stones, not just in terms of their private wealth and well-publicized decadence but also in terms of stage and studio effects and costs. The sheer scale of rock album sales gave musicians--and their ever-growing entourage of managers, lawyers, and accountants--the upper hand in negotiations with record companies, and for a moment it seemed that the greater the artistic self-indulgence the bigger the financial return. By the end of the decade, though, the 25-year growth in record sales had come to a halt, and a combination of economic recession and increasing competition for young people's leisure spending (notably from the makers of video games) brought the music industry, by this point based on rock, its first real crisis. The Anglo-American music market was consolidated into a shape that has not changed much since, while new sales opportunities beyond the established transatlantic route began to be pursued more intently.
Challenges to mainstream rock
The 1970s, in short, was the decade in which a pattern of rock formats and functions was settled. The excesses of rock superstardom elicited both a return to DIY rock and roll (in the roots sounds of performers such as Bruce Springsteen and in the punk movement of British youth) and a self-consciously camp take on rock stardom itself (in the glam rock of the likes of Roxy Music, David Bowie, and Queen). The continuing needs of dancers were met by the disco movement (originally shaped by the twist phenomenon in the 1960s), which was briefly seized by the music industry as a new pop mainstream following the success of the film Saturday Night Fever in 1977. By the early 1980s, however, disco settled back into its own world of clubs, deejays, and recording studios and its own crosscurrents from African-American, Latin-American, and gay subcultures. African-American music developed in parallel to rock, drawing on rock technology sometimes to bridge black and white markets (as with Stevie Wonder) and sometimes to sharpen their differences (as in the case of funk).
Rock, in other words, was routinized, as both a moneymaking and a music-making practice. This had two consequences that were to become clearer in the 1980s. First, the musical tension between the mainstream and the margins, which had originally given rock and roll its cultural dynamism, was now contained within rock itself. The new mainstream was personified by Elton John, who developed a style of soul-inflected rock ballad that over the next two decades became the dominant sound of global pop music. But the 1970s also gave rise to a clearly "alternative" rock ideology (most militantly articulated by British punk musicians), a music scene self-consciously developed on independent labels using "underground" media and committed to protecting the "essence" of rock and roll from commercial degradation. The alternative-mainstream, authentic-fake distinction crossed all rock genres and indicated how rock culture had come to be defined by its own contradictions.
Second, sounds from outside the Anglo-American rock nexus began to make their mark on it (and in unexpected ways). In the 1970s, for example, Europop began to have an impact on the New York City dance scene via the clean, catchy Swedish sound of Abba, the electronic machine music of Kraftwerk, and the American-Italian collaboration (primarily in West Germany) of Donna Summer and Giorgio MoroderGiorgio Moroder. At the same time, Marley's success in applying a Jamaican sensibility to rock conventions meant that reggae became a new tool for rock musicians, whether established stars such as Clapton and the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards or young punks like the Clash, and played a significant role (via New York City's Jamaican sound-system deejays) in the emergence of hip-hop.
5. Rock in the 1980s and '90s
Digital technology and alternatives to adult-oriented rock
The music industry was rescued from its economic crisis by the development in the 1980s of a new technology, digital recording. Vinyl records were replaced by the compact disc (CD), a technological revolution that immediately had a conservative effect. By this point the most affluent record buyers had grown up on rock; they were encouraged to replace their records, to listen to the same music on a superior sound system. Rock became adult music; youthful fads continued to appear and disappear, but these were no longer seen as central to the rock process, and, if rock's 1970s superstars could no longer match the sales of their old records with their new releases, they continued to sell out stadium concerts that became nostalgic rituals (most unexpectedly for the Grateful Dead). For new white acts the industry had to turn to alternative rock. A new pattern emerged--most successfully in the 1980s for R.E.M. and in the '90s for Nirvana--in which independent labels, college radio stationscollege radio stations, and local retailers developed a cult audience for acts that were then signed and mass-marketed by a major label. Local record companies became, in effect, research and development divisions of the multinationals.
The radical development of digital technology occurred elsewhere, in the new devices for sampling and manipulating sound, used by dance music engineers who had already been exploring the rhythmic and sonic possibilities of electronic instruments and blurring the distinctions between live and recorded music. Over the next decade the uses of digital equipment pioneered on the dance scene fed into all forms of rock music making. For a rap act such as Public Enemy, what mattered was not just a new palette of "pure" sound but also a means of putting reality--the actual voices of the powerful and powerless--into the music. Rap, as was quickly understood by young disaffected groups around the world, made it possible to talk back to the media.
The global market and fragmentation
The regeneration of DIY paralleled the development of new means of global music marketing. The 1985 Live Aid event, in which live television broadcasts of charity concerts taking place on both sides of the Atlantic were shown worldwide, not only put on public display the rock establishment and its variety of sounds but also made clear television's potential as a marketing tool. MTV, the American cable company that had adopted the Top 40 radio format and made video clips as vital a promotional tool as singles, looked to satellite technology to spread its message: "One world, one music." And the most successful acts of the 1980s, Madonna and Michael Jackson (whose 1982 album, Thriller, became the best-selling album of all time by crossing rock's internal divides), were the first video acts, using MTV brilliantly to sell themselves as stars while being used, in turn, as global icons in the advertising strategies of companies such as Pepsi-Cola.
The problem with this pursuit of a single market for a single music was that rock culture was fragmenting. The 1990s had no unifying stars (the biggest sensation, the Spice Girls, were never really taken seriously). The attempt to market a global music was met by the rise of world music, an ever-increasing number of voices drawing on local traditions and local concerns to absorb rock rather than be absorbed by it. Tellingly, the biggest corporate star of the 1990s, the Quebecois Cйline Dion, started out in the French-language market. By the end of the 20th century, hybridity meant musicians playing up divisions within rock rather than forging new alliances. In Britain the rave scene (fueled by dance music such as house and techno, which arrived from Chicago and Detroit via Ibiza, Spainvia Ibiza, Spain) converged with "indie" guitar rock in a nostalgic pursuit of the rock community past that ultimately was a fantasy. Although groups like Primal Scream and the Prodigy seemed to contain, in themselves, 30 years of rock history, they remained on the fringes of most people's listening. Rock had come to describe too broad a range of sounds and expectations to be unified by anyone.
Rock as a reflection of cultural change
How, then, should rock's contribution to music history be judged? One way to answer this is to trace rock's influences on other musics; another is to attempt a kind of cultural audit (What is the ratio of rock masterworks to rock dross?). But such approaches come up against the problem of definition. Rock does not so much influence other musics as colonize them, blurring musical boundaries. Any attempt to establish an objective rock canon is equally doomed to failure--rock is not this sort of autonomous, rule-bound aesthetic form.
Its cultural value must be approached from a different perspective. The question is not How has rock influenced society? but rather How has it reflected society? From the musician's point of view, for example, the most important change since the 1950s has been in the division of music-making labour. When Elvis Presley became a star, there were clear distinctions between the work of the performer, writer, arranger, session musician, record producer, and sound engineer. By the time Public Enemy was recording, such distinctions had broken down from both ends: performers wrote, arranged, and produced their own material; engineers made as significant a musical contribution as anyone else to the creation of a recorded sound. Technological developments--multitrack tape recorders, amplifiers, synthesizers, and digital equipment--had changed the meaning of musical instruments; there was no longer a clear distinction between producing a sound and reproducing it.
From a listener's point of view, too, the distinction between music and noise changed dramatically in the second half of the 20th century. Music became ubiquitous, whether in public places (an accompaniment to every sort of activity), in the home (with a radio, CD player, or cassette player in every room), or in blurring the distinction between public and private use of music (a Walkman, boom box, or karaoke machine). The development of the compact disc only accelerated the process that makes music from any place and any time permanently available. Listening to music no longer refers to a special place or occasion but, rather, a special attention--a decision to focus on a given sound at a given moment.
Rock is the music that has directly addressed these new conditions and kept faith with the belief that music is a form of human conversation, even as it is mediated by television and radio and by filmmakers and advertisers. The rock commitment to access--to doing mass music for oneself--has survived despite the centralization of production and the ever-increasing costs of manufacture, promotion, and distribution. Rock remains the most democratic of mass media--the only one in which voices from the margins of society can still be heard out loud.
I V. ROCK SUBCULTURES
Variant(s): or hip·py /'hi-pE/
Inflected Form(s): plural hippies
Etymology: 4hip + -ie
: a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favoring communal living) and advocates a nonviolent ethic; broadly : a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person
- hip·pie·dom /-pE-d&m/ noun
- hip·pie·ness or hip·pi·ness /-pE-n&s/ noun
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Hippie, member of a youth movement of the late 1960s that was characterized by nonviolent anarchy, concern for the environment, and rejection of Western materialism. Also known as flower power, the hippie movement originated in San Francisco, California. The hippies formed a politically outspoken, antiwar, artistically prolific counterculture in North America and Europe. Their colorful psychedelic style was inspired by drugs such as the hallucinogen Lysergic Acid Diethylamid (LSD). This style emerged in fashion, graphic art, and music by bands such as Love, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and PinkFloyd.
Etymology: origin unknown
1 archaic : PROSTITUTE
2 [probably partly from 3punk] : NONSENSE, FOOLISHNESS
3 a : a young inexperienced person : BEGINNER, NOVICE; especially : a young man b : a usually petty gangster, hoodlum, or ruffian c : a youth used as a homosexual partner
4 a : PUNK ROCK b : a punk rock musician c : one who affects punk styles
1 : very poor : INFERIOR
2 : being in poor health
3 a : of or relating to punk rock b : relating to or being a style (as of dress or hair) inspired by punk rock
- punk·ish /'p&[ng]-kish/ adjective
Etymology: perhaps alteration of spunk
1 : wood so decayed as to be dry, crumbly, and useful for tinder
2 : a dry spongy substance prepared from fungi (genus Fomes) and used to ignite fuses especially of fireworks
Entry: punk rock
: rock music marked by extreme and often deliberately offensive expressions of alienation and social discontent
- punk rocker noun
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
PUNK also known as PUNK ROCK aggressive form of rock music that coalesced into an international (though predominantly Anglo-American) movement in 1975-80. Often politicized and full of vital energy beneath a sarcastic, hostile facade, punk spread as an ideology and an aesthetic approach, becoming an archetype of teen rebellion and alienation.
leather jackets adorned with shiny metal spikes and studs, combat
boots, spike multi-colored mohawks
a strip of hair left on
the top of the head, running from front to back),
slam dancing, and fast 3-chord rock and roll; all icons of the
movement know as “punk”. These are icons that defined the punk
movement in the 70’s and 80’s, from the earliest forms to the
later forms. These are what many have seen when they saw a “punk”
walking down the street.
“Punk” is a word that was originally a term for a prostitute in England, 17 century (you can find it in W. Shakespeare’s play “Measure for measure”), then it was a jailhouse term for a submissive homosexual, and was slapped on as a label for a generation of miscreant mid-1960’s U.S. Garage bands that were experimenting with post-Beatles British influence and early psychedelics . The term later expanded to include the rest of the “miscreants” that erupted in the mid 70’s.
The punk movement emerged in the mid 1970’s. Most people disagree to just where the punk movement started. Some say that it developed in the US in NYC, others say it was an effort for the British youth to rebel against the current UK government. There are some who say that it was an art form, then there are some who believe it was a unorganized, combined effort between the US and the UK, that eventually developed into a sort of a “punk race”. Despite the controversy about whether the punk movement started in the US, the UK, or some other place in the world, it is sure the entire world has felt its force in the emergence of subcultures and its direct influence on the music styles of today.
If it is asked who the first punk band was, and the person answering held true to the belief that punk was born in the UK, many persons would answer that it was the Sex Pistols. SEX PISTOLS – rock group who created the British punk movement of the late 1970s and who, with the song "God Save the Queen," became a symbol of the United Kingdom's social and political turmoil. By the summer of 1976 the Sex Pistols had attracted an avid fan base and successfully updated the energies of the 1960s mods for the malignant teenage mood of the '70s. Heavily stylized in their image and music, media-savvy, and ambitious in their use of lyrics, the Sex Pistols became the leaders of a new teenage movement - called punk by the British press - in the autumn of 1976. Their first single, "Anarchy in the U.K.," was both a call to arms and a state-of-the-nation address. When they used profanity on live television in December 1976, the group became a national sensation.
am an anti-Christ
I am an anarchist,
don't know what I want
but I know how to get it.
I wanna destroy the passers-by
'cos I wanna be anarchy…
The Sex Pistols released their second single, "God Save the Queen," in June 1977 to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee (the 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne). Although banned by the British media, the single rose rapidly to number two on the charts. As "public enemies number one," the Sex Pistols were subjected to physical violence and harassment.
save the Queen
the fascist regime,
they made you a moron
a potential H-bomb.
God save the Queen
she ain't no human being.
There is no future
in England's dreaming
Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need.
There's no future
there's no future
there's no future for you
God save the Queen
'cos tourists are money
and our figurehead
is not what she seems
Oh God save history
God save your mad parade
Oh Lord God have mercy
all crimes are paid.
When there's no future
how can there be sin
we're the flowers
in the dustbin
we're the poison
in your human machine
we're the future
save the Queen
we mean it man
there is no future
in England's dreaming
no future for you
no fufure for me
formed a style to disassociate themselves from society. They refused
to dress conservatively, wearing clothing such as ripped or torn
jeans, t-shirts or button-down shirts with odd and sometimes
offensive remarks labeled on them. This clothing was sometimes held
together with band patches or safety pins, and the clothing rarely
matched; such patterns as plaid and leopard skin was a commonplace.
It was not unusual to see a large amount of body piercing and oddly
crafted haircuts. The punks dressed (and still do) like this to
separate themselves from society norms.
Punks believed in separating themselves from society as much as possible; thus the odd dress and/or rude style. Many times these punks are associated with anarchy. Although most all punks were about anarchy, They believed that government was evil, and that a government society could never be perfect; the government was as far from Utopia as one could get. By the early 1980’s, punk went underground and underwent many changes. These changes were the formation of subcultures.
Etymology: short for modern
1 : of, relating to, or being the characteristic style of 1960s British youth culture
2 : HIP, TRENDY
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
The Mod was a product of working-class British youth of the mid-sixties. The popular perception of the mod was this: "Mod" meant effeminate, stuck up, emulating the middle classes, aspiring to be competitive, snobbish. The old image was one of neatness, of 'coolness'. The music of the Mod was strictly black in inspiration: rhythm and blues, early soul and Tamla, Jamaican ska. The closest thing to a Mod group was probably the Who - the music neatly caught up the 'pilled up'. London nightlife of the mod mythology in a series of effective anthems: 'My Generation, 'Can't Explain', 'Anyhow, Anywhere'. The drug use of Mods was of amphetamines ('purple hearts', French blues', Dexedrine) and pills, uppers and downers, and sleepers. Brake explains why the Mods existed by writing "for this group there was an attempt to fill a dreary life with the memories of hedonistic consumption during the leisure hours...the insignificance of the work day was made up for in the glamour and fantasy of night life." These were working class teenagers whose white-collar office work was a drudgery that, for many, would exist for the rest of their lives. The Mods had their “own” style of life, “own” music and “own” bands. They were different from another fashion victims not only with their clothes (suits, severe ties, long scarfs) but they led a secluded life, they were on bad with the strangers. They spent endless evenings in their “own” bars and had a great passion for scooters.
Date: circa 1953
1 : a person whose hair is cut very short
2 : a usually white male belonging to any of various sometimes violent youth gangs whose members have close-shaven hair and often espouse white-supremacist beliefs
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Skinhead origins begin in Britain in the mid to late 1960's. Out of a youth cult known as the "Mods," the rougher kids began cutting their hair close, both to aid their fashion and prevent their hair from hindering them in street fights. These working class kids adopted the name "Skinheads" to separate themselves from the more dainty and less violent Mods. Huge groups of these explosive youths would meet every Saturday at the football grounds to support their local teams. The die hard support for a group's team often lead to skirmishes between opposing supporters, leading to Britain's legendary "football violence." When night swept the island, the skinheads would dress in the finest clothes they could afford, and hit the dance halls. It was here they danced to a new sound that was carried to Britain by Jamaican immigrants. This music went by many names including: the ska, jamacian blues, blue beat, rocksteady, and reggae. At these gatherings the skinheads would dance, drink, and laugh with each other and the Jamaican immigrants whom brought the music to Britian.
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