Jump to content


Photo

How Pop Music Stopped


  • Please log in to reply
3457 replies to this topic

#16 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 86,125 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:58 PM

Unless it is a remake, Blister in the Sun dates to 1982.


Fair enough. I thought it was more recent. It sounds like it could have been released last week, which tends to support the point.

#17 Anthony Bonner

Anthony Bonner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 14,218 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:59 PM

An interesting wrinkle is provided by this recent book review essay by Robert Christgau. Christgau claims that his interactions with his students at NYU indicate that they are all familiar with music from the 60s but not from the 50s: they don't know what Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, et al. sound like. (Elvis is different because he lasted into the 70s.)

This seems plausable to me. The 50s stuff was when rock and roll was still essentially a form of black music. Sixties pop and rock (I'll note that "pop" as used this way is purely a British usage which is virtually incomprehensible to Americans, who think that Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra and Patti Page were "pop") turned that music white, and it's that whitened form of the music that really took over the culture and has formed the basis for all rock-oriented pop music since.

It's interesting that hip hop was able to stay so central while remaining black. Maybe that shows a difference between the 60s and later times. Maybe that's how the U.S. got to elect a black President (something that still sends people like me who were alive in the 50s and 60s reeling).

isn't the easier answer driven by how old their parents are?

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#18 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:59 PM

Sneak, you and I are hearing different things. In Williamsburg bars and bars in the East Village most of what I hear was mainstream stuff in the 60s and 70s.


We ARE hearing different things.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#19 splinky

splinky

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 23,816 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:01 PM


it's probably that more recent music has split into tribes, and nobody in a public place wants to play it for fear of alienating someone.
music from the 70s and 80s has gone through a process of filtering through the agency of oldies and lite rock stations.
suffocating stuff it mostly is, but it's not going to make anyone leave the room.

That makes sense in theory but in practice something else is happening. Bars where 90% of the customers are under 30 are playing the greatest hits of the 1960s and early 1970s. You'd think that a bunch of people in a fairly tight age range would share a common musical taste.

And they do. It's for music from the 60s and 70s.

the music of the 60's and 70's soothes the gun toting bar crowd

“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no!', I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.”
~Jack Handey

*proud descendant of cheese eating surrender monkeys*

 


#20 Lex

Lex

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 23,868 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:01 PM


Sneak, you and I are hearing different things. In Williamsburg bars and bars in the East Village most of what I hear was mainstream stuff in the 60s and 70s.


We ARE hearing different things.

We agree on one point - neither of us is hearing any 3 Dog Night.
"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#21 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 86,125 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:02 PM


The point made in the past is that it's inconceivable that a similar event in, say, 1980 would have had a soundtrack from the 1940s, unless it was some kind of theme party.


But would it have been inconceivable that a party in 1940 wouldn't have had music from the 1910's?


Without grappling with the double negative, no - I don't believe a typical party in the 1940s would have featured popular music from the 1910s, unless you count old melodies being reinterpreted by jazz orchestras (I mean, yes, you might well hear Stephen Foster melodies, but not in 1910 style). My parents were "young people" in the late 1940s, and they went out and danced to Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and British equivalents like Joe Loss. They listened to Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney. I am fairly confident they would not have partied to pre-First World War drawing room ballads or lieder.

My sense is that popular music developed fast and relentlessly from its emergence in the early decades of the twentieth century, coming to a grinding halt in the 1980s. (As discussed elsewhere, R&B or hip hop put the brakes on a little later.)

#22 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 86,125 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:06 PM


it's probably that more recent music has split into tribes, and nobody in a public place wants to play it for fear of alienating someone.
music from the 70s and 80s has gone through a process of filtering through the agency of oldies and lite rock stations.
suffocating stuff it mostly is, but it's not going to make anyone leave the room.


Or, it's the last music that everybody -- including young people who weren't around when it came out -- can be expected to know.

Porkwah should note that this isn't limited to the anodyne "rock lite" stuff he's talking about. If you sit in the lobby bar of the Ace Hotel, just about everything you'll hear is rock from the late 60s to the early 80s at the latest in the Velvet Underground tradition. Nothing that ever got played on mainstream radio at the time -- although now it's everywhere.


Yes, that's an important element. The enshrining of what was once underground. Example, The Ramones playing on the radio in "The Bronx is Burning" set in 1977. Fantasy. Nobody was listening to The Ramones on the radio in 1977 (except maybe an underground college radio show here and there - and maybe not even that).

#23 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:07 PM

Sneak, you and I are hearing different things. In Williamsburg bars and bars in the East Village most of what I hear was mainstream stuff in the 60s and 70s.


Maybe I'm over-marginalizing some of the music I'm talking about. I don't think of (in America) T. Rex or the Sweet, say -- except for their almost accidental one hit single each -- as "mainstream". But that's maybe the poppiest of the music I'm hearing at these bars now.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#24 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:08 PM

Yes, that's an important element. The enshrining of what was once underground. Example, The Ramones playing on the radio in "The Bronx is Burning" set in 1977. Fantasy. Nobody was listening to The Ramones on the radio in 1977 (except maybe an underground college radio show here and there - and maybe not even that).


Right, exactly. (And certainly on at least ONE underground college radio show I can think of.)
Bar Loser

MF Old

#25 Lex

Lex

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 23,868 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:14 PM

Nobody was listening to The Ramones on the radio in 1977 (except maybe an underground college radio show here and there - and maybe not even that).

I have the advantage of having lived in New York during those years. I have distinct memories of the Ramones being played on WNEW-FM, a progressive rock station at the time, by 1978. They certainly weren't remotely mainstream. The DJs introduced the songs saying "Wow, these guys are really different!" But they *were* played.
"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#26 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:15 PM

But that's maybe the poppiest of the music I'm hearing at these bars now.


Well, actually, that isn't true. But even the pop hits are chosen with an obvious appreciation for irony, semi-obscurity, historical development. (I'm finding it hard to articulate this.) I mean, if you're going to play a pop hit from 1971, "Man in Black" might not be an obvious first choice.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#27 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:16 PM

I have the advantage of having lived in New York during those years. I have distinct memories of the Ramones being played on WNEW-FM, a progressive rock station at the time, by 1978. They certainly weren't remotely mainstream. The DJs introduced the songs saying "Wow, these guys are really different!" But they *were* played.


In 1977, Meg Griffin began playing that stuff. It was sort of ghettoized. It wasn't part of the station's ethos. (We agree that it wasn't remotely mainstream -- even on WNEW.)

And they CERTAINLY weren't playing it in 1975 and 1976, when the New York punk bands started putting out records. (OK, maybe a little Patti Smith sometimes.) WNEW started playing the Ramones with their third album.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#28 SLBunge

SLBunge

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,202 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:21 PM

Although I think that it is an interesting topic to discuss how popular 40 year old music being popular at parties, I don't support the notion that pop music creation has stopped. If you listen to college radio or "indie" radio there are some very good pop music recordings being produced. It may not be danceable or widely popular in a top-40 radio sense, but many 20-somethings are paying attention to it when they aren't listening to the Ramones and T.Rex or dancing to Michael Jackson songs. I imagine lots of those songs will have staying power for those folks as they settle down and have their own children.
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#29 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63,989 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:23 PM

The point isn't that the new stuff isn't very good.

The point is that the new stuff isn't vastly different from music created from the 60s on.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#30 Anthony Bonner

Anthony Bonner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 14,218 posts

Posted 08 October 2010 - 06:25 PM

My sense is that popular music developed fast and relentlessly from its emergence in the early decades of the twentieth century, coming to a grinding halt in the 1980s. (As discussed elsewhere, R&B or hip hop put the brakes on a little later.)

why do you think that is?

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"