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Re: classic rock and change

classic rock and change
November 17, 2018 02:33PM
Here's an essay I wrote about classic rock and the need to open up its canon, while acknowledging that's probably impossible, inspired by the recent releases of the white album and Esher demos, MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS and the compilation VENEZUELA 70 VOLUME TWO. [medium.com]
Re: classic rock and change
November 18, 2018 11:59AM

Good essay and very true - the canon argument is basically based on 2 things detrimental to all Art assessment - repetition of majority opinion at the exclusion of any contrary opinion and importance based on the creator of the work itself (ie The White Album is worthy because the Beatles made it).

On the other hand I would never rank The White Album as an equal to Sgt Pepper myself (to me the band peaks 65-67) so even within that argument there are voices of dissent on the canon which is healthy itself.

Re: classic rock and change
November 19, 2018 02:19AM
Just recently I've come to the conclusion that it's okay if 'classic rock'.... and 'rock in general'... goes the way of classical music. You're right, they keep reissuing and regurgitating the same stuff over and over. The classic rock stations keep playing the same songs and artists over and over. The gods of classic rock don't WANT any new additions to the canon.

Don't know how this strategy will work for them in the long run. It's exclusionary to potential new additions. It's like nationalism, right? Like Brexit... or the wall? Maybe in 2075 people will say how brilliant these strategies were... who knows. But at this point they seem difficult to sustain, if nothing else. Maybe someday whole nations will look to classic rock radio programming for historical perspective.

Sorry. It's a Sunday night and I always get a little punchy knowing I have to go back to work!
Re: classic rock and change
November 19, 2018 01:22PM
Steven Hyden's book on classic rock suggests that this exclusionary quality is one of the reasons rock music is falling so far out of fashion now. I know that "Love Is the Drug" is the only Roxy Music song I've ever heard on commercial radio. Ditto for "I Wanna Be Sedated" and the Ramones. From that, you'd never guess those groups' importance and large catalogues.
Re: classic rock and change
November 19, 2018 01:33PM
I'm OK buying the re-issues with bonus tracks for the sake of convenience if those bonus tracks are legit songs that were b-sides, unreleased, alternate versions or mixes, fun covers, etc. What I don't need are unfinished demos, sloppy live versions, and the like. And I'm not enough of an audiophile to care about the new mixes with superior audio quality. My old vinyl played at 33 1/3 will do fine in most cases.
Re: classic rock and change
November 19, 2018 07:42PM
The Beatles' Esher demos are different enough from the album versions and include 8 songs which didn't make it onto the white album, while still being finished acoustic songs, that I think they warrant listening. I don't know about the demos on the 6-CD version of the white album. In the case of the 6-CD version of MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS, there are lot of fragmentary tracks. The 1-CD version, which assembles an alternate album of BLOOD, is all I'm likely to listen to again.
Re: classic rock and change
November 26, 2018 01:35AM
There was a (very cursory) discussion about classic rock at work this past week.

The woman over the cubicle wall was playing (streaming?) classic rock on her cell phone.

I asserted that classic rock radio's refusal to play anything from the several decades that have elapsed since the airlock on the Classic Rock Tomb was sealed does nothing whatsoever to dissipate the charnel house atmosphere that tends to blanket the proceedings ... and that this stale funk that might be somewhat mitigated if they'd only slip one or two new(-ish) tunes into the mix for every hundred standards that they revisited for the Nth time.

I also said that - if airplay was any indication - the seal on the Classic Rock Tomb was almost literally fashioned out of Guns 'N Roses.


As if on cue, the very next tune in the rotation was "Paradise City."


Addenda: My girlfriend told me she's heard Nirvana and other 90's bands on "classic" rock stations. So maybe I'm out to lunch on the whole Guns-'N-Roses-Are-The-Seal-On-The-Tomb-of-Classic-Rock thing?

Re: classic rock and change
November 26, 2018 01:29PM
HollowbodyKay - No. I don't think you're out to lunch at all! I think you're a seer! You seem to be spot on in every way. "Charnel house atmosphere." Poetry, sir. Poetry!

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: classic rock and change
November 26, 2018 03:52PM
Kay, did you get any actual response from your cubicle neighbor?

My experience has long been that it's pointless to argue about radio formats, and whether they really reflect what's good, choice or even "classic" in rock. Most listeners just know what they like. A lot of them never have stopped to wonder if they should even try listening to anything else. (I'll never forget the girl who listened to my assertions about commercial radio, and about how it shuns so many great artists ... and who simply asked, "If those bands are so good, then why haven't I heard them on the radio?")

I haven't listened to any classic-rock radio since I left Colorado. The format was familiar enough to me while I lived there -- the local station was/is well-known and well-established, at promo events all over town. I couldn't even tell you what the classic-rock station is in Seattle, or if there's more than one.

That said, I do remember hearing a few '90s rock acts on that classic-rock station in Colorado Springs. Sure, the station leaned toward well-known names, and of course, winnowed each band's output to only a few select songs. Nevertheless, Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, the Chili Peppers, Metallica and U2 all were present and accounted for.

Re: classic rock and change
November 27, 2018 12:08AM
Yes, I've heard a few 90's acts (Pearl Jam etc) on classic rock stations...a FEW.. but I agree with Kay that GnR almost feels like a hard stop in their programming.

Yes, it's probably not cool to judge, BUT there's really nothing else like classic rock programming. Country adds new titles, as does top 40, alt rock, and even classical stations add new renditions. In fact, oldies stations keep updating... I often hear songs from the 70s and early 80s creeping into their playlists.

To me it's fascinating how tightly sealed that format is. Steevee's original post was about Beatles and Dylan...those artists never really get played on classic rock radio. But we all know who does. The Who songs from 'who's next'. Boston debut album. Skynrd. Carry on my wayward son. Pink Floyd. Of course led zep. It's a really closed, predictable format. And people must love it, because it still exists. Comfort food, I suppose.
Re: classic rock and change
November 27, 2018 07:50PM
> Comfort food, I suppose.

Yep, that's it right there.

For some, maybe it's a bit different from comfort food. Speaking for myself, I have only so much interest in that '70s-fixated format -- as evidenced by the fact that I haven't sought it out since moving to Seattle. But I'm as devoted as ever to the music that first turned my world from black & white to Technicolor -- Talking Heads, the B-52's, Devo, Joe Jackson, Blondie, Nick Lowe, the Specials -- and the music that kept that panoramic view expanding during my college years. I think, more than a craving for musical "comfort food," people just retain a devotion to the music that reminds them of the days when they were young.

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