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Old 05-14-2003, 01:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Evolution of Music.

Is it correct to atribute the evolution of music to (for example) The Beatles or Elvis.

Did hugely, universal atrisits such as The Beatles really turn the evolution of "popular" music on its head & send it in a totally different direction?
Whether they have relevance in todays music is debatable, even in an inderect way. They "invented" pop/rock or at liest popularised rock & roll. So by this reasonong did they also influence every folk-rock, glam-rock, hard-rock, indie-rock (etc etc...) artist since the 60's? Does every bant that uses a guitar, bass, drums, vocals combo owe a debt of gratitude to the Beatles?

Take Elvis, referd to the world over as simply "The King" was, as I understand, a white man singing black music. He did alot for contemporary music but did he really invent? Or simply popularise/make acessable/open a previously untapped market? Granted he was entertaining, & credit where its due he wrote, like The Beatles, songs that still to this day sound fucking amazing, but does his music still have creative influence?

Jazz: Louis Armstrong
Blues: Muddy Waters
Reggae: Bob Marley
Grunge: Kurt Cobain
Punk: Sex Pistols
Funk: James Brown
The list goes on...

I figure one artists "sound" is influnced by many factors not only the music they listen to/listend to as a kid, I.e. thier influences. Factors as trivial as mood at a certain time, boredom, experimentation, accidental discoveries, recreational drug use, psychological temprament, location & probably most importantly good ol' creativity.

Keep in mind that Im not talking about commercial orentated "fashon"music bucause, in my opinion, pop music today is all style & no substance, created to make money not music.
Also, any Beatles freaks out there, Im not dissing, Im just using them as an example, be it a good one.

So Is it right to put such a weight on the shoulders of "legendary" musicians & If so where is this frequently twisted pyramid effect going to take us now?


P.s. Sorry if I babbled.
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Old 05-14-2003, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Revolutionary artists are rarely legendary artists. Revolutions come from the underground, until someone picks up on it and turns it into a marketing focus.

You referenced Elvis, and what you already know is that he is just a cover artist. Delta blues, Jump swing, and (for lack of a better term) black mans Rock n Roll, did all the same songs before him, and probably did it better. Elvis become legendary because he was cute, white, and shook his ass. Oh yeah, somewhere in there is charisma.

He's not the only one though. The one that sticks out the most in my mind is The Chords versus the CrewCuts. The Chords were the first to record "Sh-Boom", and they were black. THe song was amazingly popular in their home region, but it wasn't until the Crew Cuts covered it that it went national. The Crew Cuts were a white band. Does anyone remember the Chords? No, because the Crew Cuts practically stole the song from him.

If "Sh-boom" doesn't mean anything to you, although it should (listen to it), the Crew Cuts also stole "Earth Angel" from the Penguins. Everyone knows "Earth Angel"

So what is it with legendary musicians? they happen to hit the right people at the right time. They come in during a time of music-anarchy, when everything is stale and people want something new. Then, as the years progress, they change, and continue changing. They HAVE to attract new fans, or they will die with the original ones. Thats the only way to become legendary

Last edited by meanSpleen; 05-14-2003 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 05-15-2003, 07:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by meanSpleen
Revolutionary artists are rarely legendary artists. Revolutions come from the underground, until someone picks up on it and turns it into a marketing focus.

You referenced Elvis, and what you already know is that he is just a cover artist. Delta blues, Jump swing, and (for lack of a better term) black mans Rock n Roll, did all the same songs before him, and probably did it better. Elvis become legendary because he was cute, white, and shook his ass. Oh yeah, somewhere in there is charisma.

He's not the only one though. The one that sticks out the most in my mind is The Chords versus the CrewCuts. The Chords were the first to record "Sh-Boom", and they were black. THe song was amazingly popular in their home region, but it wasn't until the Crew Cuts covered it that it went national. The Crew Cuts were a white band. Does anyone remember the Chords? No, because the Crew Cuts practically stole the song from him.

If "Sh-boom" doesn't mean anything to you, although it should (listen to it), the Crew Cuts also stole "Earth Angel" from the Penguins. Everyone knows "Earth Angel"

So what is it with legendary musicians? they happen to hit the right people at the right time. They come in during a time of music-anarchy, when everything is stale and people want something new. Then, as the years progress, they change, and continue changing. They HAVE to attract new fans, or they will die with the original ones. Thats the only way to become legendary
It was very common in the '40's-'50's for white artists to steal a song; that's one of my biggest reasons for disliking Elvis; "That's alright now Momma" well-remembered Elvis tune right? Wrong! It was a hit for Arthur "BigBoy" Crudup in 1947, but only in the black community; it wasn't released on a "White" label. How about "Hounddog"? BIG Elvis hit right? Not originally; the song was written for Lucille "Big Momma" Thornton by Lieber and Stoler . Big Momma had a moderate hit with it in 1954, but when Tom Parker was looking for a rocker for Elvis to record, he liked "Hounddog" so, he got the rights, and had the song pulled from the Black labels release list, had Elvis record it, and Big Momma got screwed. I never liked Elvis, not as a performer, and not as a person; I felt no sadness at his passing- as far as I'm conerned, he was a creative leech. He never wrote any of his own music, and did very little actual playing of that guitar that hung around his neck. I'm sure I'll get blasted by some rabid Elvis fan, but I don't care, he was nothing but a somewhat talented guy in the right place at the right time.
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Old 05-15-2003, 10:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I feel kind of saddened about the way music is evolving. With the success of pop acts it's really easy to make a disposable song. That may win today's artists fame and fortune, but will these fans come back to see them when they are older and wiser? I have nothing against pop music per se, hey.. it's a job..right?, but when (for the sake of arguement) Justin Timberlake is making alt- folk music in his 40's are people going to look back on his early career and say "Wow, he sure has matured as an artist!" Nope.

It's like the 80's all over again.. except this time with even LESS visible talent.
With each "evolutiuon of music", the same trends seem to be forming. It's very hard to imagine that music , as an industry that provided entertainment to the masses, can evolve any more than it did back in the 1920's.
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Old 05-15-2003, 01:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well lets look at the current crop of stars.

John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and every other new artist that is male, plays guitar, and has somewhat over polished "grit". (provided the fact that I am actually a fan of Jack Johnson)

These guys supposedly write their own songs. These guys supposedly play thier own music. That seriously does not fit in the pop formula, except that they put out somewhat catchy songs. Why aren't there a pile more male singer/songwrites with catchy songs out there now? Where did they come from anyway? Where will they be in 20 years?

All I know is that they are what people turned to when they got sick of Pop-Divas and Bubble-gum. You can thank Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton (VC SUCKS) for opening the doors for them. People wanted something with a little more heart and that is what they got. The major labels went out and looked for people they could market, and here they are.
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Old 05-15-2003, 06:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Stillwater, OK
Talking about the evolution of music, you cannot possibly think of leaving Bob Dylan out. He sure didn't invent rock & roll, or pick up the first electric guitar, but his fantastic lyrics and inventive style has influenced practically every genre of music since. He's written (& rewritten) the book on folk, rock, blues, gospel...you name it. If it weren't for Dylan, music would be a lot less interesting...
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Old 05-15-2003, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have to wonder if pop music really has any effect on " music's evolution" anymore. If anything its an adverse effect. Instead of drawin people to new creative sounds, its pushin people AWAY from old commercialized souless sounds. The real artists and innovators in music arent listenin to the radio, they dont give a shit about pop music. Because its stagnant. Its an artistic wasteland. True artists; those responsible for music's evolutions, have their ears to the underground. This is the last real vestage of talent and creativity. The pop world takes what the underground is doing, sucks the soul from it and packages it in a user friendly form. ( we all know this ) When a genre or a style or sound goes pop- that is its death. I truly believe this. Whose to blame? The music legends; The king, The Beatles, Kirk Cobain etc. These people cheapened the music they performed and bastardized it for the rest of the world.

I say fuck the legends.

Give me the underground.

Give me art.
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Old 05-16-2003, 04:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by bleeckerx
I have to wonder if pop music really has any effect on " music's evolution" anymore. If anything its an adverse effect. Instead of drawin people to new creative sounds, its pushin people AWAY from old commercialized souless sounds. The real artists and innovators in music arent listenin to the radio, they dont give a shit about pop music. Because its stagnant. Its an artistic wasteland. True artists; those responsible for music's evolutions, have their ears to the underground. This is the last real vestage of talent and creativity. The pop world takes what the underground is doing, sucks the soul from it and packages it in a user friendly form. ( we all know this ) When a genre or a style or sound goes pop- that is its death. I truly believe this. Whose to blame? The music legends; The king, The Beatles, Kirk Cobain etc. These people cheapened the music they performed and bastardized it for the rest of the world.

I say fuck the legends.

Give me the underground.

Give me art.
Bearing in mind that some of the legends you mentioned were underground musicans at the begining of their careers, on the whole, I agree with your "Fuck the legends" philosophy. I can think of a number of truly great musicans that never got the really phenominal exposure that some mediocre hacks got; the hacks got really rich, the truly talented people just got a cult following. From my perspective, the guy that got the rawest deal was Frank Zappa; he's been discussed in another thread, but I still think that he was one of the most inventive musicans of the 20 th century, and if mentioning him again gets him a new fan, that's great. Off the top of my head, I'd also suggest David Bromberg as another innovative, but not very well-known artist. As far as groups go, I'd say Little Feat (when Lowell George was still alive) were the equal or better of any band that was contemporary with them. There's tons of bands that were really excellent, but due to various reasons, just never really clicked with the public, but I have to say that the root cause of failure for any really talented group or individual musician is marketing; the public can recognize great artists, but if there's little or no initial publicity for real talent, the public doesn't know these people exist. One of the underlying reasons for the lack of marketing by the recording industry is that they are targeting a segment of the population that really isn't looking for quality, they're just looking for an image. Boy Bands, Divas and that ilk are just images that the market segment the recording industry targets wants; the youth market. That's where the money is, and that's what the bottom line is; quality has little or nothing to do wih pop music- it's strictly money.
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