British-American Music Revolt Essay, Research Paper
A British-American Music Revolution
When British music of the late 1960 s is mentioned, most think of only one band: The Beatles. However, what about the people behind the scenes, the underground, and those that influenced music indirectly? There are so many of these people in the history of modern rock who were key to the revolution. Sadly, so many of many people are completely overlooked in many of the depictions of the time period in the late 1960 s to early 1970 s that was so vitally crucial to so much of the music we know today.
The roots of almost all modern rock and roll, alternative, punk, and even heavy metal can be based on almost exclusively a small group of bands that were considered very unorthodox for their time. Bands such as David Bowie, The Kinks, The Who, and the Sex Pistols began the movement during a time when the world was changing drastically around them, a time that would eventually be known to the world as a time of higher thinking and self-liberation. (Brown 6)
These people were part of a revolution that was to change the music world forever. This revolution, however, was not necessarily just the bands creation but also a reflection in the changing views and likes of the musical audience to which this music was aimed towards. The whole revolution was started by the creation of the British Sound , and more importantly the personalization of this music. While the western music movement of America was in its teenage craze and the huge crowds, Britain was creating a more personalized music. Bringing the music out of the clubs and into the studios was arguably the most important step in this whole revolution. This began the trend of making music with a view. Music was no longer about love and the beauties of life, but about the personal strife and thoughts of its creator. Music was had once again became an art form and way of release and even its own individuality. (Brown 3)
One of the originators of this revolution was David Bowie. David Bowie was a prime example in the growing diversity of the musical crowd in Britain and the world. The mop-topped singers of the previous years were dying out and self-expressing stage performers were rising from the dust of the crumbling music machine known as the Beatles that had owned the world just years before. Bowie is mainly known for his contributions in style and theatrics in music. (Nite 63) It was a rather common site to see David Bowie on stage covered from head to toe in glitter and make up, with feather boas and sequin jackets. It was from these descriptions that the media derived the name for the music he would eventually be labeled the pioneer of: Glam Rock. (Nite 62-63)
While Bowie was cultivating the British style and personality of music, there was another, and just as important, influential band that was beginning to come through. This band one was of the first, but certainly not the last, bands to promote the revolution through its fair share of controversy. (Nite 346) Though the Kinks got their start in clubs, which just happened to be the very setting that the British Sound was shying away from, they are nonetheless one of the biggest influences to ever grace the ears of the world of rock and roll. (Nite 349) The Kinks advanced rock through their adventurous and fearlessly creative music and stage shows. (The Kinks Bugjuice np) Though the Kinks showed the often bitter side of the youth for which they were playing, they also proved to have a very sentimental side that helped make the music more personal to the audience. They were one of the first shows to make the audience feel as if they could relate to rock and roll even with its heavier sound.
The other less friendly side to the British music revolution was the punk-rock side of the movement. Included in this movement, were bands such as the Who and the Sex Pistols. These bands helped to produce the heavier stages of rock and introduced music as propaganda and a weapon against the oppression or wrongdoings of the world. (Eden np) Though this band was rather short lived, it helped to establish a new type of music. While the groups before them had been displaying their thoughts and ideas about the world around them, the Sex Pistols were tearing everything they hated (mainly the British Government) apart with words. (Eden np)
The Who had many things in common with the Sex Pistols, though they were a very different act. While the Sex Pistols were blatantly attacking anything deemed a threat, the Who sat back and made shots at their threats and dislikes from the faces of album covers or artwork. In many ways, they were like the passive aggressor of early punk rock. (The Who np)
One of the major trends that the Who started, though it was purely accidental, was the now popular act of smashing the band’s equipment into oblivion upon the stage at the closing of a concert. Though the first time was an accident, the reaction it caused made it a permanent fixture in the Who s act. (The Who ubl np) This coupled with the official title by the Guinness World Book of Records as the loudest concert band ever made them nearly unstoppable as a touring powerhouse.
Eventually, the Who along with David Bowie would usher in a new age in the development of musical concerts; this addition was theatrics. While many bands were just getting on stage and playing their music, groups such as David Bowie and the Who were using props, costumes, and even some minor pyrotechnics. Without them, the modern concert as we know it may have never existed.
However, one band towers above all the rest in the theatric influence of British rock on the music scene of today; that band is the phenomenon known as Pink Floyd. Not only did Pink Floyd use props and costumes, but also they also used complete stage sets and even included a plot to their concerts. Their concert was not only a theatrical concert, but also a one of a kind experience.
Without much thought, it can be seen that every one of these bands profoundly affected the American music scene. The repercussions of their effects are still seen today in the music of bands like Oasis and Blur who specifically list some of the above-mentioned bands in their musical inspirations. Though they may not be the most known artists in the rock and roll world, they most certainly are the motivators and creators of rock and roll, as we know it today. Without their influence, who really knows what the world might be listening to now.
Brown, Ashley, ed. The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated History of Popular Music, vol. 1. Long Island. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 1989
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