I once read an article in the newspaper that rued that the previous decade, the 00’s, had nothing of significance to contribute to the world of music; that the best way to remember the ten years would be to forget it. That was back in 2007, and Coldplay had only recently come out with Viva La Vida, which was being hailed worldwide as their coming-of-age album. The article went on to argue that bands like Coldplay had all but become a rarity, and despite that, there was no one band which had risen above the others and given the decade a musical identity. The author argued that with three years left to go, there seemed to be no one on the horizon to take up that mantle. According to him, the music industry had hit rock-bottom. If only I could read his thoughts now.
“You tell me that its evolution, well, you know…..”
|Led Zeppelin live|
“Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear…..”
|The Beatles at their famous Rooftop Concert|
But the 60’s were not just about The Beatles. While the Fab Four did break down most walls and bring artistic legitimacy to Rock n Roll, there were pioneers aplenty in that decade. The greatest poet-cum-singer to have ever lived, Bob Dylan, did his best work in that decade and made the leap from Folk to Rock n Roll. Throaty-voiced and Jack Daniels-drinking Janis Joplin redefined the concept of a female rocker while, bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones pulled music inexorably towards a more heavy sound. This was the decade of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, two members of the hallowed yet heartbreaking 27’s Club. The one band which, in the annals of music, is considered worthy to hold a torch to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, had its seed sown in this decade with the formation of The Yardbirds, the band which also has the distinction of launching the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Pink Floyd, the original and true masters of psychedelia, got together, while bands like The Animals and The Byrds kept making chart-toppers from time to time.
“To be a rock and not to roll…..”
The 70’s would go on to see many other greats take center-stage. It would be the decade of Led Zeppelin and Queen, of Pink Floyd and AC/DC, and of Ted Nugent and Steven Tyler. Paul McCartney would play to packed stadiums with his post-Beatles band, Wings, while John Lennon would become Saint John, the perfect archetype to young and hungry rock n rollers everywhere. Eric Clapton would come into his own, while Bob Dylan would lose his way. People like David Bowie and KISS would shock and challenge the limits of audience acceptance. Out of the wilderness would rise a band named Black Sabbath which would singlehandedly invent Metal, later to be perfected by Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth.
|Kurt Cobain goes into a solo at the Roxy, Aug 15 1991|
“The times they are a-changing …..”
|AC/DC's Angus breaks into his antics|
“It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll.”