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Re: Ed Ward RIP

Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 09:04AM
Pioneering music critic Ed Ward has died. I'll admit to not keeping up with his work much in the last decades, but I still think his portion of the Rolling Stone book Rock of Ages is the best analysis of the early years of rock & roll and what it meant (and means).

My old friend Tim Stegall (whose work some of you may know from Alternative Press, among others) talks about him here.
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 09:24AM
With Ed's death in mind, I started a FB thread about the idea of a rock writers hall of fame. While that name engendered waves of antipathy from friends and colleagues, there was also some support for the idea. The pushback involved needless fears of it enshrining nothing but Old White Men (grrrrrr......booooo!!!!!) as well as transferred objections to the R&R HoF as well as suspicions about judging relative merit, which I find risibly pot/black coming from critics. In any case, I wasn't imagining simply a blue plaque to Lester Bangs but a more nuanced way to honor the profession and the contributions to music that have always been ignored by both the R&R HoF and the Grammys. What do you think?
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 11:52AM
I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I get why we might want to acknowledge the hard work and exceptional talent of our peers, and to remind folks about same. On the other hand, I've always felt that what we do isn't supposed to call attention to itself as much as to the work we're writing about (whether we're supporting or criticizing it). Plus I personally work better in the shadows, as it were. (Not that I presume to think I'd be inducted into such a HOF.) But I'm of an open mind on the idea.
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 05:44PM
Pitchfork gives the idea a 6.5, and will explain why in a 10,000 word essay focusing on the invention of papyrus before getting bogged down pondering if Adam and the Ants' "Press Darlings" and Pete Townshend's "Jools and Jim" offer conflicting or complementary views on Nick Kent.

Chuck Klosterman will use the opportunity to reflect on the Fame of Halls, such as Monty, Jerry, Daryl and Montezuma.

Rolling Stone will argue for Eric Clapton's inclusion on the grounds that he expressed an opinion about a song once.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2021 05:48PM by breno.
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Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 11:33AM
I think it’s crazy NOT to pursue it, Ira. Music critics were SO important to shaping not only my musical taste, but also in teaching me how to confidently be both discerning and accepting....and how to become a better writer and communicator of my own views.

There are pieces of music criticism that i guarantee I’ve re-read as often as any bible verse by my pious grandmother.

We’re so quick in this country to embrace the doctor, the fire fighter, the teacher, the police officer, etc as the American Hero. I say it’s TIME to embrace the MUSIC CRITIC as an AMERICAN HERO!

(Ok, so maybe I went a little over the top there at the end.... but you get my drift!)
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 11:41AM
I like that idea quite a bit. I really appreciate that you used the term "writers" instead of "critics" to boot. Not that I bear any ill will toward critics, but there are plenty of people who have written about rock music in ways I wouldn't describe as criticism who, in my opinion, warrant laurels as well. I, for one, have derived a lot of pleasure (and utility that might not be best characterized as "pleasure") from rock writers!
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 11, 2021 01:10PM
I think of some of the musical artists I might not have found when I did (or maybe not ever) had it not been for the music writers at various publications. And I think, oh yeah, a Hall of Fame -- or something like it -- definitely is called for.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2021 01:10PM by Delvin.
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 13, 2021 04:51PM
It kinda dawned on me that the rock writing ...I’ll avoid the term rock criticism.... of my youth (ie TP magazine era) served a somewhat different purpose than current day.

Then it really had to do two things: (1) try to describe the music with words and (2) convince or dissuade you from spending your hard earned cash on it.
Because for anything “out there” you pretty much had to buy it to hear it.

Now you just stream it. Or sample it online. The mystery of “what’s it really like?” is only kept going by your own laziness or reluctance to make a few clicks.

How is today’s writing different? I think now rock writing maybe tries to gauge the music’s importance... either to the current scene or just to the band’s own catalog.

(I’m obviously referencing reviews of new releases, not general ‘think pieces’).

... this feels like one of those posts where you hate the way it sounds and you almost delete it, but you spent all this time trying to express it that you begrudgingly push ‘post message’...
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 14, 2021 11:15PM
Ha, no, I totally get what you're saying, Bip. And I would add that music writers still serve that original purpose since what good is an album that's only a click away, if no one knows about it to click on it in the first place?
Re: Ed Ward RIP
May 16, 2021 08:59AM
nice tweet about Ed from Ian Hunter today

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