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What Was "The Whitest Music Ever?" ELP or the Ramones?
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Veteran political journalist Dave Weigel (who interviewed me in the Washington Post last year) has a new book out about his real passion: old-fashioned progressive rock of the Emerson, Lake, & Palmer / Yes / Genesis / King Crimson ilk: The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock.

From The Atlantic, a hostile review:

The Whitest Music Ever

Prog rock was audacious, innovative—and awful.

JAMES PARKER SEPTEMBER 2017 ISSUE CULTURE

… some of the most despised music ever produced by long-haired white men. …

Do you like prog rock, the extravagantly conceptual and wildly technical post-psychedelic subgenre that ruled the world for about 30 seconds in the early 1970s before being torn to pieces by the starving street dogs of punk rock? …

“We’re a European group,” declared the lead singer of proto-proggers The Nice in 1969, “so we’re improvising on European structures … We’re not American Negros, so we can’t really improvise and feel the way they can.” Indeed. Thus did prog divorce itself from the blues, take flight into the neoclassical, and become the whitest music ever.

Procol Harum fiddled around with Bach’s Air on a G String and came up with “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

Interestingly, Bob Marley’s famous live version of “No Woman, No Cry” (which is much better than his trite studio version) sounds rather like the earlier “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (and “When a Man Loves a Woman”).

… As a breed, the proggers were hook-averse, earworm-allergic; they disdained the tune, which is the infinitely precious sound of the universe rhyming with one’s own brain. What’s more, they showed no reverence before the sacred mystery of repetition …

Presumably, prog rock fans tended to have more musical intelligence and thus got bored faster. Punk rock fans tend to have more verbal than musical intelligence. Punk is musically repetitive but fast, so it appeals to people who aren’t that good at music, but whose brains are set to a higher megahertz rating, which includes many critics.

As I said in my review of Christopher Nolan’s movie Dunkirk, there’s a lot to be said for redundancy. On the other hand, I can’t watch much of prestige television series because the slow pace gets me mentally itchy. Okay, I get it, let’s move on.

Similarly, I liked the first rap song I heard on Top 40 radio back in 1979, “Rapper’s Delight,” but the subsequent 37 years of repetition of what’s basically a novelty hit style, kind of a cross between Boris Karloff’s “The Monster Mash” and the “Buffalo Gals” square dance call, had me pretty bored by about 1983.

… And then, like justice, came the Ramones.

Actually, “the whitest music ever” of the later 20th Century was punk rock. Johnny Ramone explained his style as “pure, white rock ‘n’ roll, with no blues influence.”

I championed the Ramones in the 1970s, giving all the reasons articulated in this 2017 article (here’s my 1979 review of their concert in Houston for the Rice U. Thresher). But, jeez, that was a long time ago. To expand on something I said in 2013:

Johnny came up with a sort of ideological explanation for the Ramones’ linear, utterly unfunky style: the blues had dominated electric guitar music for so long that it was getting boring, so it was time for white people to come up with their own form of rock stripped of black influence. As The Clash’s first single, the extremely Ramonesish “White Riot,” explained: “I want a riot of me own.”

Strikingly, Johnny’s ideology of stylistic racial separatism proved hugely influential and remains relatively dominant even today. It fit in well with black grievances over whites “stealing” their stylistic innovations. Very few blacks have ever accused the Ramones of “cultural appropriation.”

Johnny’s breakthrough was a pretty good idea in the 1970s, but here we are in 2013 and people are still wearing Ramones t-shirts.

While pop (made for girls and gays) continues to be a mixture of black and white elements, serious (i.e., masculine) popular music tends to follow the white rock v. black rap divide that had become evident by the end of the 1970s. This enduring racial division probably accounts in sizable part for the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades in contrast to the astonishing creativity unleashed by black-white interaction in the first three quarters of the 20th Century.

P.S., If Johnny Ramone were alive today, he’d be Trump’s Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 
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  1. Hawkwind and Kraftwerk would be my top candidates, though, admittedly, Kraftwerk’s kraut rock isn’t prog rock. But rock doesn’t get any whiter than German kraut rock or English prog/space rock.

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    • Replies: @Charlie_U
    Agreed, PiltdownMan.

    I always thought of Neu as very white/German music, too.

    Really beautiful stuff.

    Klaus Dinger, the Neu drummer, pioneered that driving motorik rhythm, humorously referred to by Primal Scream drummer Darrin Mooney as the bell-end beat: i.e. relentless.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V85AjBFDmbI
    , @Anonym
    You want something less danceable than Kraftwerk.

    https://youtu.be/jdjEqP6mhV4

    Like REM for example. Most grunge?
    , @Hairway To Steven
    Kraftwerk has been cited by a lot of hip-hop artists as a big influence.
    , @wren
    In my mind Trio outwhites Kraftwerk.

    https://youtu.be/DM-v3cvX8M4

    I had this LP back in the eighties.
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  2. it’s death and black metal, but ancient critics are too old and far gone to get it.

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    • Agree: The Z Blog
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Pretty much everything that's not played on a major commercial radio station is white: metal, ska (despite its origins), indie, country, alt-country, alt-rock, classical etc.
    , @Lot
    Whitish but not white Mexicans and Brazilians love metal. They have their own bands and closely follow European groups.
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  3. Beethoven.

    Fscking boomers always trying to elevate the music they grew up with

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    • Agree: inertial, ia
    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn't it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve's fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

    , @MBlanc46
    Please leave the Boomers out of this. We grew up with Elvis, and Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino, and later Dylan, and Baez, and the British Invasion. These folks don't appear to be the subject of this piece. There were also the Kingston Trio, the Everly Brothers, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Those were all pretty white, but they don't appear to be the subject of this piece, either. Most of the Boomers that I know had graduated from current pop music by the time that the acts that Steve is talking about came along.
    , @Sparkon
    I'm trying to understand your comment.

    The broad sweeping condemnation of Baby Boomers I understand by now since dimwit humans are always parroting some popular cliché, and looking for easy scapegoats.

    But your ignorance of the music my generation listened to as youth is remarkable, not that it was necessarily the same from one house to the next, for that matter, but have you ever heard of Big Band music? That formerly wildly popular genre was actually still alive, but dying out in the late 40s and early 50s, but soldiered on for many years after.

    Ever hear of Lawrence Welk, or Jackie Gleason? They were not contemporaries of Beethoven, you know.

    Anyway, for your edification, here are a few selected hits, according to Billboard, before Elvis. These are the kind of songs many first wave Baby Bloomers ('46-'51) heard in our early youth:

    --1949--
    1. Riders in the Sky, Vaughn Monrone
    2. That Lucky Old Sun, Frankie Laine
    24. Baby It's Cold Outside, J. Mercer/M. Whiting

    --1950--
    1. Goodnight Irene, Weavers
    2. Mona Lisa, Nat King Cole
    3. Third Man Theme, Anton Karas
    9. Harbor Lights, Sammy Kaye
    18. Tennessee Waltz, Patti Page

    --1951--
    1. Too Young, Nat King Cole
    4. Come On-a My House, Rosemary Clooney
    6. On Top Of Old Smokey, Weavers

    --1952--
    1. Blue Tango, Leroy Anderson
    4. Half As Much, Rosemary Clooney
    15. Jambalaya, Jo Stafford
    21. Glow Worm, Mills Bros.
    24. Walkin' My Baby Back Home, Johnny Ray

    --1953--
    1. Song From Moulin Rouge, Percy Faith
    2. Vaya Con Dios, Les Paul & Mary Ford
    9. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes, Perry Como
    10. I Believe, Frankie Laine
    12. Ebb Tide, Frank Chaksfield
    22. Dragnet, Ray Anthony
    29. C'est Si Bon, Eartha Kitt

    --1954--
    1. Little Things Mean A Lot, Kitty Kalen
    3. Hey There, Rosemary Clooney
    4. Sh-Boom, Crewcuts
    6. Oh My Pa-Pa, Eddie Fisher
    8. Three Coins In A Fountain, Four Aces
    9. Secret Love, Doris Day
    10. Hernando's Hideaway, Archie Bleyer
    11. Young At Heart, Frank Sinatra
    12. This Ol' House, Rosemary Clooney
    19. Stranger In Paradise, Tony Bennett
    26. Shake, Rattle, And Roll, Bill Haley and His Comets

    --1955--
    1. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, Perez Prado
    2. Rock Around The Clock, Bill Haley and His Comets
    ...

    And the beat turned on.

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  4. Most popular arts slowly have stagnated for the past 50 years.

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    • Replies: @David
    Culture appears to be subject to Punctuated Equilibrium.

    By the way, I think PE was discovered by computer simulation. If you make a program that "evolves" you always see PE. But Gould, like all artists, did everything he could to cover his tracks.
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  5. When I think of really white music, I think of the Carpenters.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' by Mountain.

    Famously used as the intro to LWT's 'Weekend World' (UK), back in the day.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    Karen Carpenter is up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone in the 20th century's great singers. If she were black, that would be a generally accepted, but for some reason* I keep having to point the fact out.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t90jmRIvz2c


    * probably the same reason why we heard all about Ali, Tyson and Holyfield during their prime but little about Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko.
    , @Father O'Hara
    Funny that Loofa had a monster hit in the 80s with the Carpenters' "Superstar." It was,you'll recall,a sweet ballad with no drums on it.But it was embraced by "the blacks" big time.
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  6. Re Prog Rock: Isn’t Rush considered that too? They’ve been packing stadiums for 4o years.

    As for punk being the whitest popular genre, wouldn’t that be true of pretty much all the post-punk, alt-rock of the 1980s? The Smiths, The Cure, The Cult, etc.? Not a whole lot of black influence there either.

    Flashing forward to today, there are new competitors for whitest. Whatever genre Chvrches is — indie synth pop or whatever — is pretty white.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jean Ralphio
    The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans.
    , @Anonymous
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrejJHPnVfk
    , @Hare Krishna
    The Cult had some blues influence, albeit by way of 1960s/70s rock. They don't really belong being grouped with the Smiths and Cure, either. Both the Smiths and Cure had almost no black influence.
    , @hhsiii
    Geddy Lee has been in my fantasy baseball league for 25+ years. He's very good at it. And a really nice guy.

    I'd say The Beach Boys music was pretty whir. Not much black influence. The Byrds? More folk/Brit rock than any black influence. The Brownie McGhee is pretty attenuated. I'd say the Beatles are more Everly Brotgers and Carl Perkins. And Chuck Berry was pretty Bob Wills and country his own self. Although McCartney did a mean Little Richard.
    , @Anonymous
    The Smiths were chock full of black influences, exclusively through Johnny Marr. Sources as eclectic as Ghanaian highlife, Nile Rodgers/Chic, Little Richard and jazz pianist McCoy Tyner.
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  7. A curious phenomenon I’ve noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R’n’B is very icky music.

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    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "A curious phenomenon I’ve noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R’n’B is very icky music."

    Cash Me Outside Girl seems to be way more into Gangsta Rap than R&B, judging by how often she makes a gun sign with her hands.
    , @Vermont Apple
    Sure, it might be wall to wall sexual innuendo, but the genre isn't that bad.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    "Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B."

    Back in 1971 the same applied to Motown, soul and reggae in the UK, while the clever sixth-form girlies liked Yes, the Moody Blues, Neil Young, James Taylor.
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  8. @passive-aggressive
    it's death and black metal, but ancient critics are too old and far gone to get it.

    Pretty much everything that’s not played on a major commercial radio station is white: metal, ska (despite its origins), indie, country, alt-country, alt-rock, classical etc.

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    • Agree: ATX Hipster
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  9. Prog Rock is pretty white – Jethro Tull, ELP, King Crimson.

    I’d say synth-pop is pretty white too, either of the english variety – Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode – or the german variety, like Propaganda or O.F.F.

    And of course there is Bach, Mozart, Gregorian Chants, bulgarian accordian music.

    And don’t forget Jimmy Hendrix…………now that’s white.

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    • Replies: @Mark Eugenikos
    I'd say Prog Rock is not just pretty white, it's very white. And I agree with Dave Pinsen @#6 that Rush is Prog Rock.

    If you watch interviews by members of currently active metal/prog/alt influential bands on YouTube, many openly admit Prog Rock influence. Tool members admit being influenced by King Crimson, and then they spawned a whole sub-genre called prog metal, even though Tool deny that they are metal. Also, many of the most interesting/extreme metal bands active today (Gojira, Meshuggah, etc.) cite either older Prog Rock or Tool as major influences.

    And then there are a ton of examples of metal bands playing classical music. My favorite is probably Alexi Laiho & Roope Latvala from Children of Bodom covering Vivaldi's Summer from Four Seasons.

    TL;DR: as white as it gets.
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  10. The Ramones were kindergarten.

    Prog Rock was grown-ups.

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  11. Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    Top tune.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbIMx2MYNXk

    , @DCThrowback
    Vince Clarke just pisses out hits. Yaz and then Erasure, guy is amazing.
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  12. I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she’d ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they’re big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn’t country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we’re constantly told how the music business is in decline. It’s hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90′s and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don’t like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon

    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans.
     
    This statement is bizarre and nonsensical.

    (I was going to say Dream Theater are the whitest band ever, but they have quite a few Slavic fans...?)

    The preference of females for so-called rythm-and-blues over hip hop, and the former's being blacker than the latter, goes to women's interest in simplistic music, emphasis on lyrics (it's important these be repetitive, though!) over music, and on rhythm over melody.

    Women prefer dreck of the "shake yo booty" variety (Soulja Boy, Baha Men, Sisquo, Robin Thicke, Bel Biv Devoe, New Edition, The Deal...all the way back to Marvin Gaye). Those latter two, I argue, are not dreck. Crooners, sure, but classy. The difference is not relevant to the draw for women, though, who always conform and always want to be as slutty as society will permit because of hypergamy, hence the trend over time. And, of course, lytically, the themes are all about them: i.e., sex, romance, chasing, worshipping, and pining for women.

    Proper hip hop is a technical game about making clever statements rapidly by using metaphors, puns, and unlikely combinations of words. Women are not big fans of Slaughterhouse.



    Women largely dislike jazz and progressive rock because it is complex and not repetitive, though you might catch a gal at one of Najee's shows (because of his smoother, more repetitive treatment of themes) shows, rare indeed is the female fan of the Mahavishnu Orchesta. Women hate instrumental music (even those who enjoy ppera or symphonic and orchestral music – or jazz, for that matter – do so because they want to seem soohisticated and high-dollar, and it's an in, hip, thing to do for social striving, not for actual love of the music...).

    Music is one of the most consistently predictable ways to sort women and men.

    Once earlier in a discussion if music I was considering the differences between rockstars (e.g, Axl Rose) and musicians' musicians (e.g., Chris Squire). This divide also tracks an appeal to females and males: men are more often more interested in musicians, women in rockstars. Becaus for women, popularity and keeping up appearances are paramount, and being an ostentatious big shot is the best thing in a man. Someone asked who combined both elements, and I offered up Prince. The guy could shred as well as John Petrucci, but he could just as easily make the women swoon. I thought of an even better example, though. I've been really basking in their work lately (I often spend weeks or months on a kick for musicians with huge catalogues): Kiss.

    Many cringe, but the truth is these guys, while not technical virtuosos at performance, are amazing songwriters, capable of effortlessly (or so they make it seeem) minting mountains of irresistably catchy tunes. I expect, with their work ethic, if they'd put their efforts to it they could have become technical wizards, but they, I think, intentionally keep the music relatively simple based upon a strategic branding decision of their fanbase and how to maximize their appeal. Indeed, The Elder suggests they dipped a toe in the water but hastily realised that direction – though artistically possible for them and something they were quite capable of – wasn't the best direction for the band. When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, no band on the planet has the female fanbase of Kiss, excepting, arguably, Journey (who have a sound more oriented to popular music, but who in any event also are great examples of very talented musicians who are also rockstars).

    Setting aside artistic intentions and preferences, the best way to know if one has a hit on one's hands is to play the track back to a bunch of women. I am very curious to know to what extent professional producers and musicians know so and apply this phenomenon, formally or informally.
    , @anonymous
    I can't comment on the music scene post-1990 but can state with certainty that what was originally understood and described as Rock and Roll (not "rock", which isn't the same thing) started its run commencing in the early/middle 50s but petered commencing in the early 60s after Elvis started to concentrate on his movie career. By that time th music industry deemed it too black, too Southern, too "dangerous" (Anyone ever hear of a guitarist named Link Wray?). It reached its nadir around '63-'64 with such glop as "My Boyfriend's Back", "Blue, Navy Blue" etc. etc. ad nauseam. It had a brief resurgence with The Beatles and The Stones. In the case of the former, the tinkering began around '65 (with "Rubber Soul") whereas The Stones pretty much adhered to formula (and successfully too). Back in the late 60s during the course of an interview in which he was asked to describe different musicians and groups, John Lennon stated that Chuck Berry (and others of his era) played "real" rock and roll--an obvious criticism of the state of rock&roll even in the late 60s.

    "Real" R&R had a brief shelf life. Don McLean was right after all.
    , @slumber_j

    Maiden have said many times that they’re big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them.
     
    I was reading an oral history of The Replacements recently and was interested to learn that their original lead guitarist the (unsurprisingly) late Bob Stinson was a huge Steve Howe fan.
    , @Bugg
    Odd thing; being in some less economically successful parts of NYC, notice a lot of black teens wearing knockoff t-shirts for GNR, Iron Maiden,Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Metallica. And never saw any black faces of any of those shows back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Guess they like the imagery but doubt they even know any of the music spare that which gets played at sporting events.
    , @Desiderius

    Isn’t country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?
     
    Nope. The darkest shade of redneck is black.

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Rednecks-Liberals-Thomas-Sowell/dp/1594031436
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  13. @Dave Pinsen
    Re Prog Rock: Isn't Rush considered that too? They've been packing stadiums for 4o years.

    As for punk being the whitest popular genre, wouldn't that be true of pretty much all the post-punk, alt-rock of the 1980s? The Smiths, The Cure, The Cult, etc.? Not a whole lot of black influence there either.

    Flashing forward to today, there are new competitors for whitest. Whatever genre Chvrches is -- indie synth pop or whatever -- is pretty white.
    https://youtu.be/upuIZ2rfOoY

    The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans.

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    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans."

    Brothas are not fans of White music in general. Brothas only like White artists if they do Black music like Eminem and Robin Thicke.

    How many Brothas can correctly name the group who recorded the song Panama without doing a Google search?
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  14. It isn’t rock, but I think that Vera Lynn’s 1940s version of “We’ll Meet Again” is not only very white, but actually extremely WASP-y. It’s got a very stiff upper lip and onwards and upwards quality to it.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Was wondering if anybody here remembered Vera Lynn.
    https://youtu.be/jl20jlVnvYs
    , @ScarletNumber
    Colbert and his friends sang this at the last episode of The Colbert Report
    , @ScarletNumber
    Colbert and his friends sang this at the last episode of The Colbert Report
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  15. had me pretty bored by about 1983.

    Pills & Soap

    https://meetinmontauk.com/2010/12/12/song-of-the-day-885-pills-and-soap-elvis-costello/

    Costello has said that he got the inspiration for the sound of ‘Pills and Soap’ from the rap song ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel. He says of that single, “It was the first rap record that I had encountered that was anymore than an invitation to dance. It spoke about ugly life.”

    Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Message_(Grandmaster_Flash_and_the_Furious_Five_song)

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I bought that single in 1982.
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  16. Steve,

    Just to throw a turd in the punch bowl. Since the topic is “The Whitest Music Ever”, how about the French nationalist group Les Brigandes.

    Any musical group whose performances have been banned in Germany can’t be all bad!

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    • Agree: Bill B.
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  17. @MEH 0910

    had me pretty bored by about 1983.
     
    Pills & Soap

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQTKgOEQkZc

    https://meetinmontauk.com/2010/12/12/song-of-the-day-885-pills-and-soap-elvis-costello/


    Costello has said that he got the inspiration for the sound of ‘Pills and Soap’ from the rap song ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel. He says of that single, “It was the first rap record that I had encountered that was anymore than an invitation to dance. It spoke about ugly life.”
     
    Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PobrSpMwKk4

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Message_(Grandmaster_Flash_and_the_Furious_Five_song)

    I bought that single in 1982.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Apparently Kidd was working as a handyman/security guard in the Bronx. There doesn't seem to be much longevity in rap music. Lots of rockers who were big in the early '80s are still making a living from their music today.
    , @Hodag
    I wrote then erased a reply in the affirmative action post about that Ifill op-ed called A Tale of Two Creoles.

    As was in the news Kidd Creole from Grandmaster Flash fame was recently arrested for the murder of a Manhatten homeless man he thought was hitting on him. This Kidd Creole is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but seems not to have done much with his life other than be on The Message.

    I was confused because the only Kid Creole I knew was from Kid Creole and the Coconuts who had the novelty song "Endicott" around 1980 but I heard a few years later in college.

    This Kid with one D Creole has had some success in life with occasional tours but him and his wife own the Ambrosia Cocktail Lounge on Maui. Being a business owner on Maui means you have done well.

    My angle was going to be one D was of the Caribbean black caste in the Bronx that is hard working and stays away from the rougher edges of black culture, while two D helped create modern course black culture because he was of native US black caste. And how differently the two ended up, one looking at spending the rest of his life in jail after working blue collar jobs all his life the other a Maui lounge owner.

    Then I found out two D was also of the afro-carribean caste from the Bronx. So it looks like my thesis is holed below the waterline.

    But it is an interesting contrast.
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  18. @Anonymous
    When I think of really white music, I think of the Carpenters.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SJmmaIGiGBg

    ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ by Mountain.

    Famously used as the intro to LWT’s ‘Weekend World’ (UK), back in the day.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Whilst on the subject, consider the opening theme of the former Granada TV (UK) 'World in Action' documentary series.
    Aptly described as 'Satan's lullaby to the last day of Judgement'.

    A fitting piece of quintessentially 'white man's' music that formed the backdrop to the industrial, political and economic strife that characterized 1970s Britain.
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  19. @Dave Pinsen
    Re Prog Rock: Isn't Rush considered that too? They've been packing stadiums for 4o years.

    As for punk being the whitest popular genre, wouldn't that be true of pretty much all the post-punk, alt-rock of the 1980s? The Smiths, The Cure, The Cult, etc.? Not a whole lot of black influence there either.

    Flashing forward to today, there are new competitors for whitest. Whatever genre Chvrches is -- indie synth pop or whatever -- is pretty white.
    https://youtu.be/upuIZ2rfOoY

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  20. Or what about The Who at their best with ‘Baba O’Riley’ or ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’?

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    • Replies: @cthulhu
    The Who's early slogan was "Maximum R&B", and they did some incendiary covers of black artists such as Marvin Gaye's "Baby Don't You Do It" (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sjpkYoYKDzE) and Otis Blackwell's "Daddy Rolling Stone" (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ydmPmyVSaC4). And that influence was all over their first album, and was part of why they became the favorite band of the Mod scene.

    But yeah, I suspect that black appreciation of the later works such as Who's Next and Quadrophenia is pretty small. On the other hand, the performance that brought down the house at the post-9/11 "Concert for Heros" in NYC was...the Who, playing "Won't Get Fooled Again."

    Speaking of that song, here's an "unplugged" version before unplugged was cool, live in 1979 from Pete Townshend and classical guitarist John Williams: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjczDq5D4E
    , @canminuteman
    The Who and The Kinks came to mind for me. You can't get more English that Quadraphenia, or Village Green Preservation society. Waterloo Sunset, Victoria, and Sunny Afternoon, sound English and are about English themes. You could add Pink Floyd to this list too.
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  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' by Mountain.

    Famously used as the intro to LWT's 'Weekend World' (UK), back in the day.

    Whilst on the subject, consider the opening theme of the former Granada TV (UK) ‘World in Action’ documentary series.
    Aptly described as ‘Satan’s lullaby to the last day of Judgement’.

    A fitting piece of quintessentially ‘white man’s’ music that formed the backdrop to the industrial, political and economic strife that characterized 1970s Britain.

    Read More
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  22. TGGP says: • Website

    The Bad Brains arguably created hardcore punk by asking whether it could be played even faster & louder than the Ramones. I can’t think of an equivalent for prog, although that was never as big in America compared to Europe. I think it a mark of good taste to enjoy both Banned in DC and Lark’s Tongues in Aspic… AND NOTHING ELSE.

    More seriously, metal in the tradition of Iron Maiden is surprisingly popular in sub-Saharan African countries likes Botswana. Perhaps they just haven’t gotten the message yet that instruments are lame and everyone should listen to drum-machines on loops.

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  23. This enduring racial division probably accounts in sizable part for the slowing of American [...] innovation over the last few decades in contrast to the astonishing creativity unleashed by [racial] interaction in the first three quarters of the 20th Century.

    Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!! Are you planning to move iSteve blog off Unz onto Facebook, or what?

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  24. Pearl Jam was the last good rock band:

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  25. @Steve Sailer
    I bought that single in 1982.

    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Apparently Kidd was working as a handyman/security guard in the Bronx. There doesn’t seem to be much longevity in rap music. Lots of rockers who were big in the early ’80s are still making a living from their music today.

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    • Replies: @wren
    Kid Creole and the Coconuts is still going strong, though, somehow.

    I think I met one of the original Coconuts very recently, but I am not positive.
    , @PiltdownMan

    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.
     

    Looks like (the other) Kid Creole will be reassuring people for a while.

    Kid Creole and the Coconuts Frontman Makes It Clear He's Not the Kidd Creole Who Stabbed Someone to Death

    And unlike Steve, I think early rap had more than one high point, the last of which was this, by Grandmaster Flash in 1983..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsTJaP2tC0A

    , @Fun
    Rap clearly does have longevity. It's just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.
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  26. Rock acts in general are extremely White judging by their fanbase. Rock is not popular in Asian, Muslim, and African countries. The only reason Rock is popular in some parts of South America like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay is because they have a large White/Whitish population.

    How many Negroid, Muslim, and Mongoloid fans do The Clash for example have?

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  27. Joe Strummer, of the Clash, once commented that punk was a good place to start out, because it required little musical skill, and the whole “I don’t give a F—” ethos help to cope with one’s stage anxieties. But really, you could only make one punk rock album, and then you had to move on.

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    • Replies: @anonymous

    But really, you could only make one punk rock album, and then you had to move on.
     
    Or quit. That the Sex Pistols in a nutshell.
    , @Anonym
    I find Pennywise to be pretty listenable, a form of aural meth, good background music for completing mundane tasks. Unknown Road, About Time, Full Circle, Straight Ahead, even From the Ashes is quite good. Yes they are annoying lefties but it is catchy. I rate several of their albums.
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  28. You could split the difference between the two: Roxy Music

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I listened to a lot of Roxy about a year ago.
    , @Charles Pewitt
    Roxy Music and Talking Heads and Brian Eno and David Byrne and Brian Ferry and a feminist video made for the song "The Main Thing." Roxy Music and Brian Ferry were very understanding of the essential nature of women. President Trump got 53 percent of the White lady vote. Trump knows gals, too.

    Both Ends Burning(live), My Only Love(live), True To Life...etc

    Last half of The Byrds' Eight Miles High covered by Roxy Music

    https://youtu.be/ib4-Lyxxyw0
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  29. “Starship Trooper” from The Yes Album is hooky.

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    • Replies: @Wilbur Hassenfus
    You bet. Yes records were packed with hooks in those days. "Heart of the Sunrise" is another one.

    Rush's hits were packed with hooks too. And Kansas'. They came along a bit late but if they don't qualify, I'm not sure who would.

    King Crimson, maybe not quite so much. To be fair, when you talk about prog rock, you can't leave out the more radical bands, and the ones that just haven't stood up well over time.

    As good a way as any to answer Steve's question would be to count noses in the comments. The whitest genre is the one with the most fans among Steve's commenters.

    Personally I prefer Yes and Rush to the Ramones and the Clash. But if I had to pick a top five list, Joy Division's "Closer" would edge out both "Close to the Edge" and "London Calling" for the top spot.

    Then again, JD were exceedingly white, and arguably the only successful merging of the two genres. PiL gave it a good try though.

    And New Order was surely the Steely Dan of the 80s. But that's another discussion.
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  30. @black sea
    Joe Strummer, of the Clash, once commented that punk was a good place to start out, because it required little musical skill, and the whole "I don't give a F---" ethos help to cope with one's stage anxieties. But really, you could only make one punk rock album, and then you had to move on.

    But really, you could only make one punk rock album, and then you had to move on.

    Or quit. That the Sex Pistols in a nutshell.

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    • Replies: @AnotherGuessModel
    Johnny Rotten's later band Public Image Ltd. was pretty good comparatively, and a few of the Sex Pistols hanger-ons, quasi-members evolved into the musically talented Siouxsie and the Banshees. Bands like Siouxsie, The Cure, Joy Division etc. started out as punk bands. I'd argue that the post punk and new wave offshoots of punk are more white than punk rock, because in addition to having purged the influences the Ramones talked about, their lyrics and art direction were proud rather than embarrassed to display their erudition on Western history and the arts.
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  31. I was surprised to hear the Ramones featured in Spiderman Homecoming.

    I didn’t know about the Ramones’ Spiderman song, but don’t know why they chose to use it in the movie.

    It also included The English Beat and A Flock of Seagulls, which made the whole thing feel like an 80′s high school movie.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How old is the director?

    A lot of times, directors seem to put into the soundtrack whatever was big when they were 14.

    , @wren
    To clarify, Spiderman Homecoming uses the Ramones song Blitzkrieg Bop in the movie, but the Ramones also covered the famous Spiderman TV song (which was also used in the movie, but not the Ramones' cover).
    , @Mr. Blank
    The Ramones actually make perfect sense in the context of the movie. "Spiderman: Homecoming" had a very "young frustrated white dude" vibe that meshed well with the Ramones.
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  32. @Nancy Pelosy
    A curious phenomenon I've noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R'n'B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R'n'B is very icky music.

    “A curious phenomenon I’ve noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R’n’B is very icky music.”

    Cash Me Outside Girl seems to be way more into Gangsta Rap than R&B, judging by how often she makes a gun sign with her hands.

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    • Replies: @Wally
    Rap & Hip-Hop are as white as they come.

    Pure Amos & Andy trained seals, negro clowns actin a fool right on cue.

    But hey, they be keepin it real.

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  33. anon • Disclaimer says:

    the blues had dominated electric guitar music for so long that it was getting boring, so it was time for white people to come up with their own form of rock stripped of black influence.

    As I recall, this was the exact motivation given for DEVO’s cover of “Satisfaction”. They were pretty white.

    All of this reminds me of how, a few years ago, some filmmakers found out about this group of black guys in Detroit, who called themselves Death, and made a whole documentary about how these were the guys who really started punk music. I don’t know how much I buy this story. I don’t know how much anyone ever really did. I just remember how all these people I knew simultaneously started talking about Death and how awesome they were. At the time, I thought it was basically because they were trying to assuage their white guilt for liking something so obviously white. There was probably a bit of “THEY WUZ PUNKS!” mixed in with it too, though.

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    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    A Band Called Death Official Trailer 1 (2013) - Documentary HD

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPDm9_nX0o
    , @Allen
    It's a bit silly to claim that Death "started punk" but they were headed in a similar direction before the Ramones. Nevertheless, they were themselves highly influenced by protopunks like MC5, the Stooges, and the early singles of The Who. If we really want to start tracing the lineage of punk, we can go all the way back to 1965 with The Sonics' Here are the Sonics and Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum, or 1966 with Black Monk Time by the Monks.

    Still, Death was a talented group who deserved better than they got. Much less well known is that the group Death morphed into a Christian rock group called 4th Movement that was quite good as well. Their two records have never been released on cd or mp3, but they can be found online if you know where to look...

    None of this takes away from the fact that the Ramones were special because they took the speed and aggression of the protopunk groups and applied it to songs that were, musically, just pre-Beatles rock and girl group pop. They captured the giddy high of pre-British invasion rock music but updated it with speed and tongue in cheek lyrics. Most punk was angry but the Ramones were mostly just goofy and funny.

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?

    , @Glaivester

    As I recall, this was the exact motivation given for DEVO's cover of "Satisfaction". They were pretty white.
     
    Some blogger a while back wrote about this:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2006/03/post-punk-rock-of-1978-1982.html

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  34. @Dave Pinsen
    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Apparently Kidd was working as a handyman/security guard in the Bronx. There doesn't seem to be much longevity in rap music. Lots of rockers who were big in the early '80s are still making a living from their music today.

    Kid Creole and the Coconuts is still going strong, though, somehow.

    I think I met one of the original Coconuts very recently, but I am not positive.

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  35. @Mr. Anon
    Prog Rock is pretty white - Jethro Tull, ELP, King Crimson.

    I'd say synth-pop is pretty white too, either of the english variety - Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode - or the german variety, like Propaganda or O.F.F.

    And of course there is Bach, Mozart, Gregorian Chants, bulgarian accordian music.

    And don't forget Jimmy Hendrix............now that's white.

    I’d say Prog Rock is not just pretty white, it’s very white. And I agree with Dave Pinsen @#6 that Rush is Prog Rock.

    If you watch interviews by members of currently active metal/prog/alt influential bands on YouTube, many openly admit Prog Rock influence. Tool members admit being influenced by King Crimson, and then they spawned a whole sub-genre called prog metal, even though Tool deny that they are metal. Also, many of the most interesting/extreme metal bands active today (Gojira, Meshuggah, etc.) cite either older Prog Rock or Tool as major influences.

    And then there are a ton of examples of metal bands playing classical music. My favorite is probably Alexi Laiho & Roope Latvala from Children of Bodom covering Vivaldi’s Summer from Four Seasons.

    TL;DR: as white as it gets.

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  36. To me, at least, XTC will always feel like the whitest band ever.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A band perpetually on the cusp of fame, but never quite getting there.
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  37. @wren
    I was surprised to hear the Ramones featured in Spiderman Homecoming.

    I didn't know about the Ramones' Spiderman song, but don't know why they chose to use it in the movie.

    It also included The English Beat and A Flock of Seagulls, which made the whole thing feel like an 80's high school movie.

    How old is the director?

    A lot of times, directors seem to put into the soundtrack whatever was big when they were 14.

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    • Replies: @wren
    He was born in 81.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Watts

    Soundtrack:

    http://www.soundtrackmania.net/spider-man-homecoming-soundtrack.html
    , @Ghost of Bull Moose
    I read somewhere that age 14 music really sticks with people. Music nostalgia is huge. How many different formats do people buy of the same music?

    I have owned vinyl, cassette, cd and digital versions of the Clash's Sandinista, for example.
    , @AnotherGuessModel
    Not quite, the director was born in 1981, but there is an obvious marketing strategy in fashion that teens idealize the style, and by connection movies and music, of the generation they just missed out on. It's true for me. Born in the same year, when I was 14, the most accessible options besides pop were a prolonged funeral for the self-serious, aesthetically dull grunge, and hip hop (no judgment, but not for me) with godawful gangsta rap on the brink of becoming huge. Very slim pickings. The only saving graces that were relatively visible were the Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral and The Crow soundtrack, that led me down a rabbithole of incredible youth culture from the 80's.
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  38. @WGG
    You could split the difference between the two: Roxy Music

    I listened to a lot of Roxy about a year ago.

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  39. @wren
    I was surprised to hear the Ramones featured in Spiderman Homecoming.

    I didn't know about the Ramones' Spiderman song, but don't know why they chose to use it in the movie.

    It also included The English Beat and A Flock of Seagulls, which made the whole thing feel like an 80's high school movie.

    To clarify, Spiderman Homecoming uses the Ramones song Blitzkrieg Bop in the movie, but the Ramones also covered the famous Spiderman TV song (which was also used in the movie, but not the Ramones’ cover).

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  40. @Steve Sailer
    How old is the director?

    A lot of times, directors seem to put into the soundtrack whatever was big when they were 14.

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  41. @Jean Ralphio
    The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans.

    “The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans.”

    Brothas are not fans of White music in general. Brothas only like White artists if they do Black music like Eminem and Robin Thicke.

    How many Brothas can correctly name the group who recorded the song Panama without doing a Google search?

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    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    A guy I knew in the army always thought it was hilarious to ask the black guys if they were familiar with various classic rock songs that any white person would at least have heard before. He just couldn't get over the idea of someone never having heard of Journey.
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  42. @Nancy Pelosy
    A curious phenomenon I've noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R'n'B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R'n'B is very icky music.

    Sure, it might be wall to wall sexual innuendo, but the genre isn’t that bad.

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    • Replies: @biz
    No, contemporary R&B aka 'dig out music' (note in spite of the name it is completely different than the classic genre of Rhythm and Blues) is the worst, most formulaic, most grating music ever devised by human beings.
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  43. @anon


    the blues had dominated electric guitar music for so long that it was getting boring, so it was time for white people to come up with their own form of rock stripped of black influence.
     
    As I recall, this was the exact motivation given for DEVO's cover of "Satisfaction". They were pretty white.

    All of this reminds me of how, a few years ago, some filmmakers found out about this group of black guys in Detroit, who called themselves Death, and made a whole documentary about how these were the guys who really started punk music. I don't know how much I buy this story. I don't know how much anyone ever really did. I just remember how all these people I knew simultaneously started talking about Death and how awesome they were. At the time, I thought it was basically because they were trying to assuage their white guilt for liking something so obviously white. There was probably a bit of "THEY WUZ PUNKS!" mixed in with it too, though.

    A Band Called Death Official Trailer 1 (2013) – Documentary HD

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    Yep, that's the one. I remember seeing at least part of it when it came out, and it wasn't bad. I do like how the trailer comes off as kind of "Ken Burns's The Story Of Punk" too.
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  44. I nominate The Alan Parsons Project. Even the name of the band projects whiteness, like “work” or something. Try requesting this on the colored radio station in the middle of the night as you’re driving through Bakersfield.

    If this doesn’t win, how bout Styx or Pink Floyd.

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    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    You are generally correct, but this was a poor example because the Chicago Bulls use it as their intro music.
    , @Daniel H
    >>If this doesn’t win, how bout Styx or Pink Floyd

    Pink Floyd's music is deeply influenced by the blues. I never thought of Floyd as a prog band. They are more like The Who, stretching the blues into something that is quite different than traditional blues but with a core of familiarity.
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  45. The unspoken modifier in the phrase “whitest music ever” above is “rock.” If you’re talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone’s “no blues influence” is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it’s all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin–minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka–those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There’s also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, “Yipee-ti-yi-yay…”

    There’s also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you’re impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, “world music” or New Age, etc.

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    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    "The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There’s also aarge German influence, as you may imagine."

    Uh what German influence? Maybe it exists, but darned if I know where.
    , @Chriscom
    The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Or marketing.
    , @hyperbola
    Then there is also a lot of southern european "white" music. A shame it is not better known in the US.

    Joaquin Sabina - 19 Dias Y 500 Noches (Video Oficial)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3OtzDWBwOo

    And then, "black" music has many more styles than one usually talks about.

    BEBO VALDES Y CIGALA ( Lagrimas negras ).mp4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cR3V8gPqiU

    Cuba Feliz - Lagrimas Negras (Lyric added)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tozhe0yTAqo

    , @Antonymous
    If anything, the last 10 years of political change has taught me to question the dominant narrative. Even the foundational narrative about blacks in the Mississippi delta creating 12-bar blues and by extension, rock. Alan Lomax was the only recording source for the area, doing his work for the Smithsonian in the 30’s. He only sought, and found, black musicians in the delta like the Lead Bellys and Muddy Waters we’re familiar with today. Had he questioned the white subsistence farmers in the area he may have encountered folk music like the following:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxkSuBhzHqg

    I’d have a hard time distinguishing between this 20’s era recording of Dock Boggs, a white man in rural Virginia, and Robert Johnson. It’s an offshoot of Appalachian banjo music, distinct from bluegrass or more celtic-derived forms. Discussions of Boggs claim him to have been influenced by blues, though he lived far from the delta and created music at the same time as the ‘genesis’ of mississippi blues. His singing style is similar to this appalachian recording:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STzoTmbemvA&list=PLy4cr7LaCUZLfh3wMKYOo-PaYAb0PVLaJ

    The official story attributes blues in the delta to tin pan alley’s influence, in urban New York no less, as though destitute black sharecroppers were travelling or receiving regular visitors. Even assuming relatives would visit, Scott Joplin’s ragtime piano was worlds apart from unaccompanied blues on guitar or banjo. Far more plausible and similar in musical style is the folk banjo played by neighboring whites.

    Likewise I question what has now become the official story about the origins of jazz. Marching band music, european in origin, preceded so-called traditional jazz – which is the same instrumentation made wilder in New Orleans style. Trad jazz was tamed for mass consumption in the 30’s and 40’s and not surprisingly, sounded like marching band music again (the “Big Band” era). Though blacks were involved in the transition of marching band to traditional jazz, so were whites – typically band groupings were mixed in New Orleans and Chicago. One of the great 20’s-era horn players and composers was Bix Beiderbecke, a young white man from Iowa.

    Not to write a tome, just to note that ‘black’ and ‘white’ music had significant overlap and influence upon each other. The common refrain that whites stole black musical achievement in the aggregate is anhistorical and unfair. The overlap of blues and folk – and jazz and marching band – is similar to the overlap between negro spirituals and hymns. Hymns, folk, and marching bands are the european antecedents.
    , @J1234

    The unspoken modifier in the phrase “whitest music ever” above is “rock.”
     
    Very true. "Music" and "rock" (or late 20th century pop music) were interchangeable terms for decades. It was always funny to see "Best Songs of All Time" rankings (no qualifiers) in music magazines that would include Stairway to Heaven or American Pie but usually nothing made before Elvis, let alone the recording industry. It was as if "all time" meant the last 50 years.

    *If you’re impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, “world music” or New Age, etc.
     
    Bluegrass is actually pretty far from pure white music. I say this as a person who loved it for many years (still do.) It was rarely, if ever, played by blacks, but was somewhat influenced by black music. Pentatonic blues scales found their way into Bluegrass mandolin well before rock guitar, and the banjo itself had black origins. Generally, the syncopation in Bluegrass is never found in the traditional Celtic music that it was (in part) derived from. Some Irish people I know dislike Bluegrass because of the blues influence. Others like it.

    I do find the drum rhythms heard in Scottish pipe and drum bands interesting, though, because there's a syncopation there that doesn't seem to come from any black source. I could be wrong...I don't really know much about it.

    I liked what you said in your other post about the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Phil Spector. I love all three of those sounds, but the studio engineering was the start of a whole new level of disconnect between musician and audience. Of course, the Beatles and Brian Wilson wrote great compositions, but the engineering was sort of a non-compositional element that couldn't be recreated outside of the studio.

    Also, I think something negative happened with the recording industry itself; it started emphasizing performance over composition, as it allowed the energy of a performance to be captured, to some degree, on vinyl .

    The beginning of recorded music coincided roughly with the start of jazz, a musical form where instrumental or vocal virtuosity seemed to reign supreme, and composition - though clever at times - took sort of a back seat. Black music is essentially emotive at a base level, and therefore more performance oriented.

    And video made it worse. If the biggest pop-music acts of the 1980's and later could've been seen by teenagers back in the 1960's, they might have been perceived as too Las Vegas-y or something since these acts place so much emphasis on lights and costumes and dancing girls. When I see video clips of current pop music acts, I see (in some ways) the dismal logical conclusion of the recording industry: a visual spectacle of performance and not much in the way of composition. I know, I know, that isn't always true, but I think it's valid as a general rule.

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  46. OK, wait, wait … let me rescind my last 3 entries. Why didn’t I think of The Talking Heads earlier?

    This clip of “Life During Wartime” is from the concert movie “Stop Making Sense“. Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in). However, I wish I had something with David Byrne in his XXL suit.

    “This ain’t no party.
    This ain’t no disco.
    This ain’t no foolin around.”

    That Tina Weymouth can play some bass.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in "Once In A Lifetime". Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him "The Thin White Duke" for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    https://youtu.be/4LWiqTEwIJM
    , @Brutusale
    For a girl maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTgKRCXybSM

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's side project.

    And THIS is bass playing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72KdQKwxWyk

    As is this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj5nXTijf_A

    You want to play prog, you'd best have the chops. The guys in Rush have had the chops since Day 1.

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  47. Read More
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  48. pitchfork, the music website, has it’s own festival, every year, in chicago. as you can see from videos, it’s more than white than a republican conference in alabama. liberals love music festival (they rave about corbyn in glastonbury), which are among the least “diverse” entertainment today

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hairway To Steven
    My impression of the Pitchfork music festival line-ups are that they are at least one-quarter black, at least among the headliners. Over the past two or three years, their on-line album reviews have skewed heavily toward hip-hop. All the major genres -- rock, hip-hop, club/techno/EDM, country, R&B -- are old. Hip-hop was the last totally new, totally original, major genre, and its almost forty years old.
    , @Larry, San Francisco
    San Francisco has the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concerts which are completely white or Asian (who are basically white for this exercise). It is actually an interesting contrast with SF's Opera in the Park which attracts a reasonable number of (older) blacks.
    On a side note, I had an intern who was really into metal. I asked him if he listened to Classical. He said "Classical music is boring." I then gave him Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony and told him that this music was called many things but never boring. He really liked it and now is a fan of much 20th century classical music
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  49. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman
    OK, wait, wait ... let me rescind my last 3 entries. Why didn't I think of The Talking Heads earlier?

    This clip of "Life During Wartime" is from the concert movie "Stop Making Sense". Even the 2 black back-up singers can't dance either (see 02:15 in). However, I wish I had something with David Byrne in his XXL suit.

    "This ain't no party.
    This ain't no disco.
    This ain't no foolin around."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jShMQw2H2cM

    That Tina Weymouth can play some bass.

    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in “Once In A Lifetime”. Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him “The Thin White Duke” for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    I always thought it was Bob Fosse who taught Michael Jackson to dance.

    https://youtu.be/QUlEBhGgEe0

    That is from 1974. (Minus the music of course.) The moonwalk shows up near the end.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Others may disagree, but David Bowie's apotheosis as a live performer was in the early 'oughts. He'd ditched the crazy makeup and costumes, and seemed to become his true self.

    Nile Rodgers has his famous story about how Bowie brought him a lugubrious tune called "Let's Dance" and Rodgers punched it up. But later, in live performances, Bowie started the song in his original mode, before segueing into the Rodgers version. And Bowie doesn't dance much on stage here. He doesn't have to.
    https://youtu.be/jl20jlVnvYs
    , @PiltdownMan

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in “Once In A Lifetime”. Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career.

     
    And, as your clip shows, he could, nevertheless, make music like possessed Africans.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DanDvAfCcs
    , @Njguy73
    That was David Byrne who fronted the Talking Heads who did Once in a Lifetime.
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  50. @MEH 0910
    A Band Called Death Official Trailer 1 (2013) - Documentary HD

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPDm9_nX0o

    Yep, that’s the one. I remember seeing at least part of it when it came out, and it wasn’t bad. I do like how the trailer comes off as kind of “Ken Burns’s The Story Of Punk” too.

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  51. I declare the output of the semi-obscure Cocteau Twins to be the “whitest music ever” of the late 20th Century. Lyrically inchoate and ‘precious’ at first impression but revealing real sublimity if one’s in the mood for head-spinning flights of fancy. No one does ethereally feminine better than white women. Because it’s still summer:

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    Liz Fraser so white, she can make hip-hop (well, trip-hop anyway) sound white.

    https://youtu.be/jpLt4LB2pVU

    It's weird, though, that some of the people most directly influenced by the Cocteau Twins were a couple of black guys calling themselves A.R. Kane.

    https://youtu.be/tEtp80EQOgw.

    I hereby declare that the whitest black music ever. It's a strange effect, to be sure.

    Man, do I love iSteve music posts...
    , @Kylie
    Ethereally feminine:

    https://youtu.be/omAfX4DdWxQ
    , @Tooth Barkington
    The Sundays tune "Here's Where the Story Ends." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq9x-ff0fXs
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  52. Fripp and Eno. “No Pussyfooting”

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  53. “the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades”

    Slowing? It’s moribund. I don’t think there’s been a single new subgenre created since the 70s. I say this to people, and they’ll shoot back with their what-abouts. “What about industrial/techno?” “What about rap?” Those all existed in the 70s.

    I’ve long thought that was a combination of music getting stupider/more same-same. For some reason (Idiocracy?) they’re stripping music piece by piece of musicality. Less and less strict form, dynamics, counterpoint, harmony, pleasing timbre, or melody over the years. They’re finally coming for rhythm, too, and I notice most all songs nowadays have a steady, thumping, “four on the floor” beat like they’re disco or house music. Which isn’t appropriate for every kind of song. With this incessant pulse, there’s very little syncopation, or any variation at all. On the other hand, especially in hip-hop, there can be too much variation. It’s a polyrhthmic mess.

    Popular music is so dumb right now. I wonder if either the same five people are writing every song I hear, or possibly it’s a computer. (Uni?) Are there no musical movements, real grassroots stuff, because of the high entry barrier (despite the existence of things like YouTube)? Due to the Five Kings of Music that exist in my imagination? Or is it because no one listens to live music anymore, because they’re at home enjoying themselves alone. (Masturbating to X-box, or whatever people do)? Music is a communal experience.

    That’s another thing. Popular music was mortally wounded by the studio phenomenon. Blame it on the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Phil Spector. Pop music is supposed to be about two things, fundamentally: song and dance. You sing along, and you perpetuated through voice. Or you dance to it, and use it to touch other people. Nowadays, we use it as a commodity, which we more often than not enjoy passively. We can do this, because smart, talented people crafted finished products of sonic beauty for us to listen to in awe or merely as a pastime. Which is fine in itself, but it’s self-defeating in the long run, because music ain’t about that, fundamentally.

    Mass media and recording techniques can be killers. Because music cannot be about the experience of sitting and listening to a finished product. That’s why the Beatles (just as a f’instance) will never, ever be as important and lasting, in my opinion, as the classical composers or a Cole Porter, even. (Who admittedly lived in the mass media/ recording era.) The music lives in communal experience of listening and participating, as well as in person to person reproduction. Some Beatles, for instance, music passes this test. Much more of it fails.

    Another thing about recorded music. It is a slave to fashion, like all popular art in modern times, and it thrives on novelty. Not that you can’t find novelty in sheet music, but there’s so much more of it in rock and roll. Elvis, for instance, made a splash by being utterly ridiculous. He still sounds ridiculous, to this day. Retrospectives put this across as a white boy singing like a black man. But it’s more than that, unless you’re going to say black singers sing like weirdos. Which they do, a lot of the time. Black singing style is, like much of black culture, perfect for the Neophilia of fashion. Because it’s in the moment, spontaneous, improvisatory, as with their clothes, dancing, and slang.

    But Elvis wasn’t just blackish. He was outright annoying and offensive. And that’s the template: each new star tries to sound new, and most of them end up being annoying. Because most new things are annoying. I can’t tell you how many singing stars on my lifetime have annoyed the hell out of me. (Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jewel, some of which I actually kind of enjoyed, when I could get past the voices.) I can almost guarantee they’d be less annoying live in the old days, even if they were trying to be new.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    I might add there are some singers (sticking to singer's for simplicity's sake) who cut the other way. They sing "straight," in a manner of speaking. Take Morrissey, for instance. He has a limited appeal, mostly to white hipsters, though I've been made aware Hispanics like him, too.

    Is his appeal limited by his "straight" style? Would be be more popular if he were more annoying? I don't know.

    There are others who take a minimalist, or what you might call passive-aggressive, approach, and remain annoying as anyone. See most hipster folkies.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    If you're just listening to the radio in the U.S., you're missing a lot of fun music. Go to YouTube, search for "Triple J Like A Version" or "BBC Radio One Live" and you'll find bands like this one from Australia:

    https://youtu.be/ultX5ZR-sQE
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Fer fcuk’s sake guest, is this you?
    , @Sunbeam
    Wow did Elvis pee in your Wheaties as a child?

    See I have a totally different view of Elvis. A truly gifted performer with a great voice for the genre(s) he sang in.

    Not a musical genius, but a truly gifted performer on stage. And he ranged far in what he did.
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  54. @guest
    "the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades"

    Slowing? It's moribund. I don't think there's been a single new subgenre created since the 70s. I say this to people, and they'll shoot back with their what-abouts. "What about industrial/techno?" "What about rap?" Those all existed in the 70s.

    I've long thought that was a combination of music getting stupider/more same-same. For some reason (Idiocracy?) they're stripping music piece by piece of musicality. Less and less strict form, dynamics, counterpoint, harmony, pleasing timbre, or melody over the years. They're finally coming for rhythm, too, and I notice most all songs nowadays have a steady, thumping, "four on the floor" beat like they're disco or house music. Which isn't appropriate for every kind of song. With this incessant pulse, there's very little syncopation, or any variation at all. On the other hand, especially in hip-hop, there can be too much variation. It's a polyrhthmic mess.

    Popular music is so dumb right now. I wonder if either the same five people are writing every song I hear, or possibly it's a computer. (Uni?) Are there no musical movements, real grassroots stuff, because of the high entry barrier (despite the existence of things like YouTube)? Due to the Five Kings of Music that exist in my imagination? Or is it because no one listens to live music anymore, because they're at home enjoying themselves alone. (Masturbating to X-box, or whatever people do)? Music is a communal experience.

    That's another thing. Popular music was mortally wounded by the studio phenomenon. Blame it on the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Phil Spector. Pop music is supposed to be about two things, fundamentally: song and dance. You sing along, and you perpetuated through voice. Or you dance to it, and use it to touch other people. Nowadays, we use it as a commodity, which we more often than not enjoy passively. We can do this, because smart, talented people crafted finished products of sonic beauty for us to listen to in awe or merely as a pastime. Which is fine in itself, but it's self-defeating in the long run, because music ain't about that, fundamentally.

    Mass media and recording techniques can be killers. Because music cannot be about the experience of sitting and listening to a finished product. That's why the Beatles (just as a f'instance) will never, ever be as important and lasting, in my opinion, as the classical composers or a Cole Porter, even. (Who admittedly lived in the mass media/ recording era.) The music lives in communal experience of listening and participating, as well as in person to person reproduction. Some Beatles, for instance, music passes this test. Much more of it fails.

    Another thing about recorded music. It is a slave to fashion, like all popular art in modern times, and it thrives on novelty. Not that you can't find novelty in sheet music, but there's so much more of it in rock and roll. Elvis, for instance, made a splash by being utterly ridiculous. He still sounds ridiculous, to this day. Retrospectives put this across as a white boy singing like a black man. But it's more than that, unless you're going to say black singers sing like weirdos. Which they do, a lot of the time. Black singing style is, like much of black culture, perfect for the Neophilia of fashion. Because it's in the moment, spontaneous, improvisatory, as with their clothes, dancing, and slang.

    But Elvis wasn't just blackish. He was outright annoying and offensive. And that's the template: each new star tries to sound new, and most of them end up being annoying. Because most new things are annoying. I can't tell you how many singing stars on my lifetime have annoyed the hell out of me. (Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jewel, some of which I actually kind of enjoyed, when I could get past the voices.) I can almost guarantee they'd be less annoying live in the old days, even if they were trying to be new.

    I might add there are some singers (sticking to singer’s for simplicity’s sake) who cut the other way. They sing “straight,” in a manner of speaking. Take Morrissey, for instance. He has a limited appeal, mostly to white hipsters, though I’ve been made aware Hispanics like him, too.

    Is his appeal limited by his “straight” style? Would be be more popular if he were more annoying? I don’t know.

    There are others who take a minimalist, or what you might call passive-aggressive, approach, and remain annoying as anyone. See most hipster folkies.

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  55. Whitest (rock) music ever? Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

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  56. @anon
    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in "Once In A Lifetime". Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him "The Thin White Duke" for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    https://youtu.be/4LWiqTEwIJM

    I always thought it was Bob Fosse who taught Michael Jackson to dance.

    That is from 1974. (Minus the music of course.) The moonwalk shows up near the end.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    "I always thought it was Bob Fosse who taught Michael Jackson to dance."

    I think you're right.
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  57. Recently rediscovered the band America, and realized “Hey, those guys were good.” Never took them seriously before.

    I even thought their great songs were by other bands.

    They were the sons of some US Air Force officers that were “projecting our power” in Europe.

    They’re pretty white souding to me, and they’re named after one of the homelands of white people. They always sounded great coming over the radio on road trips across this great land.

    And now, in honor of Steve’s recent trip through my old stomping grounds:

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  58. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican
    I declare the output of the semi-obscure Cocteau Twins to be the “whitest music ever” of the late 20th Century. Lyrically inchoate and ‘precious’ at first impression but revealing real sublimity if one’s in the mood for head-spinning flights of fancy. No one does ethereally feminine better than white women. Because it’s still summer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Mqftd6h-E

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lQzvMqp9rg

    Liz Fraser so white, she can make hip-hop (well, trip-hop anyway) sound white.

    It’s weird, though, that some of the people most directly influenced by the Cocteau Twins were a couple of black guys calling themselves A.R. Kane.

    https://youtu.be/tEtp80EQOgw.

    I hereby declare that the whitest black music ever. It’s a strange effect, to be sure.

    Man, do I love iSteve music posts…

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Chap Hop is really great.

    https://youtu.be/1xj02gt-5Ug

    https://youtu.be/6t28COxEp2k
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  59. As The Clash’s first single, the extremely Ramonesish “White Riot,” explained: “I want a riot of me own.”

    “White Riot” also made the prescient observations that:
    1) Blacks are much more willing to stand up and take action out of group self-interest than whites

    2) Whites go to school to learn how to wield Occam’s Butterknife

    P.S., If Johnny Ramone were alive today, he’d be Trump’s Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Probably true. In what I believe was his last interview, Johnny explained that he was a Republican because he’d always “found it a little more macho.” (His masculinity was indeed toxic): http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/people/2004-09-21-johnny-ramone-interview_x.htm

    I’ve been on a Ramones kick lately, but thanks for reminding me I’ve gone too long without listening to The Clash.

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  60. @Anonymous
    It isn't rock, but I think that Vera Lynn's 1940s version of "We'll Meet Again" is not only very white, but actually extremely WASP-y. It's got a very stiff upper lip and onwards and upwards quality to it.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cHcunREYzNY

    Was wondering if anybody here remembered Vera Lynn.

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    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Vera Lynn would have been perfect for Steve's Dunkirk thread, and this song by Vera Lynn herself, of course, although it, too, was recorded after the summer of 1940, albeit only a year after.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovfQjR3iU-A

    , @BRF
    Dame Vera is still going strong , she turned 100 this year.
    , @Anon
    Dr strangelove

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bISIrij7zAw
    , @Joey Tribioni
    From Pink Floyd's The Wall. Wore that cassette out in high school. Certainly a "whitest band" contender.

    You mentioned Propaganda earlier - there's a flashback to summer '88.
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  61. @Jefferson
    "The Cure are pretty damn white. Not many brothers are gonna be Cure fans."

    Brothas are not fans of White music in general. Brothas only like White artists if they do Black music like Eminem and Robin Thicke.

    How many Brothas can correctly name the group who recorded the song Panama without doing a Google search?

    A guy I knew in the army always thought it was hilarious to ask the black guys if they were familiar with various classic rock songs that any white person would at least have heard before. He just couldn’t get over the idea of someone never having heard of Journey.

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  62. @anon


    the blues had dominated electric guitar music for so long that it was getting boring, so it was time for white people to come up with their own form of rock stripped of black influence.
     
    As I recall, this was the exact motivation given for DEVO's cover of "Satisfaction". They were pretty white.

    All of this reminds me of how, a few years ago, some filmmakers found out about this group of black guys in Detroit, who called themselves Death, and made a whole documentary about how these were the guys who really started punk music. I don't know how much I buy this story. I don't know how much anyone ever really did. I just remember how all these people I knew simultaneously started talking about Death and how awesome they were. At the time, I thought it was basically because they were trying to assuage their white guilt for liking something so obviously white. There was probably a bit of "THEY WUZ PUNKS!" mixed in with it too, though.

    It’s a bit silly to claim that Death “started punk” but they were headed in a similar direction before the Ramones. Nevertheless, they were themselves highly influenced by protopunks like MC5, the Stooges, and the early singles of The Who. If we really want to start tracing the lineage of punk, we can go all the way back to 1965 with The Sonics’ Here are the Sonics and Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum, or 1966 with Black Monk Time by the Monks.

    Still, Death was a talented group who deserved better than they got. Much less well known is that the group Death morphed into a Christian rock group called 4th Movement that was quite good as well. Their two records have never been released on cd or mp3, but they can be found online if you know where to look…

    None of this takes away from the fact that the Ramones were special because they took the speed and aggression of the protopunk groups and applied it to songs that were, musically, just pre-Beatles rock and girl group pop. They captured the giddy high of pre-British invasion rock music but updated it with speed and tongue in cheek lyrics. Most punk was angry but the Ramones were mostly just goofy and funny.

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Also, the Ramones were in New York City, which made a difference. The downtown art scene took them somewhat seriously, which helped their influence. Lots of good musicians have come from, say, the high plains of the Texas panhandle ("Route 66" is kind of the national anthem of professional touring musicians), but if Johnny Ramone had grown up in Lubbock, Texas it's not likely he would have been taken as seriously as an aesthetic theorist.
    , @Njguy73

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?
     
    Half of their songs had Spanish titles. They'd be considered honorary Latinx.
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  63. Metal is probably current holder of the “Whitest Music” title. I saw Meshuggah a couple years ago and the audience may have actually been 100% white (in a city that is nowhere near that number as a whole).

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  64. @anon
    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in "Once In A Lifetime". Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him "The Thin White Duke" for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    https://youtu.be/4LWiqTEwIJM

    Others may disagree, but David Bowie’s apotheosis as a live performer was in the early ‘oughts. He’d ditched the crazy makeup and costumes, and seemed to become his true self.

    Nile Rodgers has his famous story about how Bowie brought him a lugubrious tune called “Let’s Dance” and Rodgers punched it up. But later, in live performances, Bowie started the song in his original mode, before segueing into the Rodgers version. And Bowie doesn’t dance much on stage here. He doesn’t have to.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ATX Hipster

    Others may disagree, but David Bowie’s apotheosis as a live performer was in the early ‘oughts.
     
    I don't know if that's true, but I can attest he got a big boost in popularity amongst hipsterish millenials when The Life Aquatic came out.
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  65. @wren
    To me, at least, XTC will always feel like the whitest band ever.

    A band perpetually on the cusp of fame, but never quite getting there.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    It was because their hayday was a time when touring was crucial to breaking big, but Andy Partridge's paralysing stage fright precluded live performances. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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  66. @Dave Pinsen
    Was wondering if anybody here remembered Vera Lynn.
    https://youtu.be/jl20jlVnvYs

    Vera Lynn would have been perfect for Steve’s Dunkirk thread, and this song by Vera Lynn herself, of course, although it, too, was recorded after the summer of 1940, albeit only a year after.

    Read More
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  67. @guest
    "the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades"

    Slowing? It's moribund. I don't think there's been a single new subgenre created since the 70s. I say this to people, and they'll shoot back with their what-abouts. "What about industrial/techno?" "What about rap?" Those all existed in the 70s.

    I've long thought that was a combination of music getting stupider/more same-same. For some reason (Idiocracy?) they're stripping music piece by piece of musicality. Less and less strict form, dynamics, counterpoint, harmony, pleasing timbre, or melody over the years. They're finally coming for rhythm, too, and I notice most all songs nowadays have a steady, thumping, "four on the floor" beat like they're disco or house music. Which isn't appropriate for every kind of song. With this incessant pulse, there's very little syncopation, or any variation at all. On the other hand, especially in hip-hop, there can be too much variation. It's a polyrhthmic mess.

    Popular music is so dumb right now. I wonder if either the same five people are writing every song I hear, or possibly it's a computer. (Uni?) Are there no musical movements, real grassroots stuff, because of the high entry barrier (despite the existence of things like YouTube)? Due to the Five Kings of Music that exist in my imagination? Or is it because no one listens to live music anymore, because they're at home enjoying themselves alone. (Masturbating to X-box, or whatever people do)? Music is a communal experience.

    That's another thing. Popular music was mortally wounded by the studio phenomenon. Blame it on the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Phil Spector. Pop music is supposed to be about two things, fundamentally: song and dance. You sing along, and you perpetuated through voice. Or you dance to it, and use it to touch other people. Nowadays, we use it as a commodity, which we more often than not enjoy passively. We can do this, because smart, talented people crafted finished products of sonic beauty for us to listen to in awe or merely as a pastime. Which is fine in itself, but it's self-defeating in the long run, because music ain't about that, fundamentally.

    Mass media and recording techniques can be killers. Because music cannot be about the experience of sitting and listening to a finished product. That's why the Beatles (just as a f'instance) will never, ever be as important and lasting, in my opinion, as the classical composers or a Cole Porter, even. (Who admittedly lived in the mass media/ recording era.) The music lives in communal experience of listening and participating, as well as in person to person reproduction. Some Beatles, for instance, music passes this test. Much more of it fails.

    Another thing about recorded music. It is a slave to fashion, like all popular art in modern times, and it thrives on novelty. Not that you can't find novelty in sheet music, but there's so much more of it in rock and roll. Elvis, for instance, made a splash by being utterly ridiculous. He still sounds ridiculous, to this day. Retrospectives put this across as a white boy singing like a black man. But it's more than that, unless you're going to say black singers sing like weirdos. Which they do, a lot of the time. Black singing style is, like much of black culture, perfect for the Neophilia of fashion. Because it's in the moment, spontaneous, improvisatory, as with their clothes, dancing, and slang.

    But Elvis wasn't just blackish. He was outright annoying and offensive. And that's the template: each new star tries to sound new, and most of them end up being annoying. Because most new things are annoying. I can't tell you how many singing stars on my lifetime have annoyed the hell out of me. (Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jewel, some of which I actually kind of enjoyed, when I could get past the voices.) I can almost guarantee they'd be less annoying live in the old days, even if they were trying to be new.

    If you’re just listening to the radio in the U.S., you’re missing a lot of fun music. Go to YouTube, search for “Triple J Like A Version” or “BBC Radio One Live” and you’ll find bands like this one from Australia:

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    I don't listen to much contemporary music at all, at least intentionally. I hear a lot of popular music incidentally, from which I draw observations.
    , @Desiderius
    Love it.

    See also:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNjH8rEJjDc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkujd73yzt0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nTch_IbOHE

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  68. @anon
    Liz Fraser so white, she can make hip-hop (well, trip-hop anyway) sound white.

    https://youtu.be/jpLt4LB2pVU

    It's weird, though, that some of the people most directly influenced by the Cocteau Twins were a couple of black guys calling themselves A.R. Kane.

    https://youtu.be/tEtp80EQOgw.

    I hereby declare that the whitest black music ever. It's a strange effect, to be sure.

    Man, do I love iSteve music posts...

    Chap Hop is really great.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I think Bertie Wooster played the banjolele until Jeeves gave it away.
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  69. @Dave Pinsen
    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Apparently Kidd was working as a handyman/security guard in the Bronx. There doesn't seem to be much longevity in rap music. Lots of rockers who were big in the early '80s are still making a living from their music today.

    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Looks like (the other) Kid Creole will be reassuring people for a while.

    Kid Creole and the Coconuts Frontman Makes It Clear He’s Not the Kidd Creole Who Stabbed Someone to Death

    And unlike Steve, I think early rap had more than one high point, the last of which was this, by Grandmaster Flash in 1983..

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  70. surely Big Black, led by Steve Albini (sic^2). Unadorned Cold War spergy white male Midwestern existentialism.

    For a white performance of (not especially white) music, that intersects with several themes of this blog: the karaoke duo of “Siffler sur la Colline” in the Belgian film La Promesse. The setting is Brussels at what we would now recognize as the start of its Third Worldization. Two men who traffic in illegal immigrants go singing right after hiding the body of an African laborer who was fatally injured in their employ. The film intentionally displays Brussels as grimy industrial hell-hole, but looking back from the Current Year this scene feels like a snapshot of bygone camaraderie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSCe0b03bG4

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    • Replies: @Erik L
    If you're pulling out Big Black, I'm saying The Jesus Lizard.

    Turns out there is plenty of non-classical super not black music that is pretty great but doesn't find a big audience like the black and black influenced music.

    So perhaps a more interesting question for those of us who don't consider white a pejorative when placed in front of music- what is the best selling music that most people would agree was lily white ;)
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  71. @anon
    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in "Once In A Lifetime". Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him "The Thin White Duke" for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    https://youtu.be/4LWiqTEwIJM

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in “Once In A Lifetime”. Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career.

    And, as your clip shows, he could, nevertheless, make music like possessed Africans.

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  72. @wren
    Chap Hop is really great.

    https://youtu.be/1xj02gt-5Ug

    https://youtu.be/6t28COxEp2k

    I think Bertie Wooster played the banjolele until Jeeves gave it away.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Yup.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo_uke
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  73. @Dave Pinsen
    Was wondering if anybody here remembered Vera Lynn.
    https://youtu.be/jl20jlVnvYs

    Dame Vera is still going strong , she turned 100 this year.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Who are the oldest living celebrities? Olivia de Havilland, who was Maid Marian in Robin Hood in 1938 and the second female lead in Gone With the Wind in 1939 is in good health and filing lawsuits against Hollywood interests who wrong her.
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  74. @Dave Pinsen
    Others may disagree, but David Bowie's apotheosis as a live performer was in the early 'oughts. He'd ditched the crazy makeup and costumes, and seemed to become his true self.

    Nile Rodgers has his famous story about how Bowie brought him a lugubrious tune called "Let's Dance" and Rodgers punched it up. But later, in live performances, Bowie started the song in his original mode, before segueing into the Rodgers version. And Bowie doesn't dance much on stage here. He doesn't have to.
    https://youtu.be/jl20jlVnvYs

    Others may disagree, but David Bowie’s apotheosis as a live performer was in the early ‘oughts.

    I don’t know if that’s true, but I can attest he got a big boost in popularity amongst hipsterish millenials when The Life Aquatic came out.

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  75. The limit of The Ramones sophistication was ‘Beat on the Brat with a Baseball Bat’ – the ‘tune’ itself being a derivative of Slade’s ‘Gudbye T’Jane’.

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  76. One of the ‘whitest’ bands ever were the 1970s British band 10cc.
    - deliberately including 1978′s reggae satire ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, a comic retelling of ban actual Jamaican tourist mugging incident.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    One of the ‘whitest’ bands ever were the 1970s British band 10cc.
     
    Jethro Tull?
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  77. @Steve Sailer
    I think Bertie Wooster played the banjolele until Jeeves gave it away.
    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Here's Bertie Wooster playing the banjolele, much to Jeeves' distress.

    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388353173l/16392.jpg

    , @Steve Sailer
    Here's Bertie Wooster playing the banjolele, much to Jeeves' distress.

    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388353173l/16392.jpg

    The thing about Bertie is that while he's the perfect English gentleman/drone, much of his vocabulary and taste in music was very Broadway razzmatazz Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong style American. An analogy would be that "Gangnam Style" video from a few years ago about a rich Korean who acts hip-hop.

    Wodehouse did a lot of writing for Broadway with Jerome Kern and the like, although most of it from what's now the prehistory of the American musical that is seldom revived. His late musical Anything Goes from 1934 is the main Broadway show you see Wodehouse's name attached to, but there were lots more from the previous couple of decades.

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  78. @Dave Pinsen
    If you're just listening to the radio in the U.S., you're missing a lot of fun music. Go to YouTube, search for "Triple J Like A Version" or "BBC Radio One Live" and you'll find bands like this one from Australia:

    https://youtu.be/ultX5ZR-sQE

    I don’t listen to much contemporary music at all, at least intentionally. I hear a lot of popular music incidentally, from which I draw observations.

    Read More
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  79. @PiltdownMan
    Hawkwind and Kraftwerk would be my top candidates, though, admittedly, Kraftwerk's kraut rock isn't prog rock. But rock doesn't get any whiter than German kraut rock or English prog/space rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGPv9hngk4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-G28iyPtz0

    Agreed, PiltdownMan.

    I always thought of Neu as very white/German music, too.

    Really beautiful stuff.

    Klaus Dinger, the Neu drummer, pioneered that driving motorik rhythm, humorously referred to by Primal Scream drummer Darrin Mooney as the bell-end beat: i.e. relentless.

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  80. Having gone through and played a bunch of other people’s suggestions above, I now have absolute confidence in my first instincts here that this is the whitest music ever.

    Presented without description of the link’s contents beyond what is written above,

    What would a NYT review of this look like?

    What would happen if a bunch of white men arrived at some racial grievance meeting at a university campus, completely silent and still other than playing this on a boombox type thing?

    Or … imagine the same, except replace ‘men’ with ‘pigtailed women wearing modest but pretty white dresses’ and ‘playing this on a boombox’ with ‘singing’. You could even add a couple of male drummers.

    Very interesting thought experiment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yup, "Song of Roland" about one of Charlemagne's officers. Very, very deep Euro.
    , @Lot
    Sounds like Enya or the Cranberries.
    , @Anonymous
    In a similar vein, here is "The Gael", from The Last of the Mohicans.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2pCv7k_Hzvg (Just the song)

    https://vimeo.com/28989315 (The song with the accompanying video from the last scene of the movie)
    , @Anonymous
    I've read somewhere (can't remember where) that rap is actually an expression of hostility to whites and white culture. It's a way to figuratively mark one's own territory and piss on that of the dominant U.S. Culture.
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  81. @wren
    Yup.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo_uke

    Here’s Bertie Wooster playing the banjolele, much to Jeeves’ distress.

    Read More
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  82. @guest
    "the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades"

    Slowing? It's moribund. I don't think there's been a single new subgenre created since the 70s. I say this to people, and they'll shoot back with their what-abouts. "What about industrial/techno?" "What about rap?" Those all existed in the 70s.

    I've long thought that was a combination of music getting stupider/more same-same. For some reason (Idiocracy?) they're stripping music piece by piece of musicality. Less and less strict form, dynamics, counterpoint, harmony, pleasing timbre, or melody over the years. They're finally coming for rhythm, too, and I notice most all songs nowadays have a steady, thumping, "four on the floor" beat like they're disco or house music. Which isn't appropriate for every kind of song. With this incessant pulse, there's very little syncopation, or any variation at all. On the other hand, especially in hip-hop, there can be too much variation. It's a polyrhthmic mess.

    Popular music is so dumb right now. I wonder if either the same five people are writing every song I hear, or possibly it's a computer. (Uni?) Are there no musical movements, real grassroots stuff, because of the high entry barrier (despite the existence of things like YouTube)? Due to the Five Kings of Music that exist in my imagination? Or is it because no one listens to live music anymore, because they're at home enjoying themselves alone. (Masturbating to X-box, or whatever people do)? Music is a communal experience.

    That's another thing. Popular music was mortally wounded by the studio phenomenon. Blame it on the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Phil Spector. Pop music is supposed to be about two things, fundamentally: song and dance. You sing along, and you perpetuated through voice. Or you dance to it, and use it to touch other people. Nowadays, we use it as a commodity, which we more often than not enjoy passively. We can do this, because smart, talented people crafted finished products of sonic beauty for us to listen to in awe or merely as a pastime. Which is fine in itself, but it's self-defeating in the long run, because music ain't about that, fundamentally.

    Mass media and recording techniques can be killers. Because music cannot be about the experience of sitting and listening to a finished product. That's why the Beatles (just as a f'instance) will never, ever be as important and lasting, in my opinion, as the classical composers or a Cole Porter, even. (Who admittedly lived in the mass media/ recording era.) The music lives in communal experience of listening and participating, as well as in person to person reproduction. Some Beatles, for instance, music passes this test. Much more of it fails.

    Another thing about recorded music. It is a slave to fashion, like all popular art in modern times, and it thrives on novelty. Not that you can't find novelty in sheet music, but there's so much more of it in rock and roll. Elvis, for instance, made a splash by being utterly ridiculous. He still sounds ridiculous, to this day. Retrospectives put this across as a white boy singing like a black man. But it's more than that, unless you're going to say black singers sing like weirdos. Which they do, a lot of the time. Black singing style is, like much of black culture, perfect for the Neophilia of fashion. Because it's in the moment, spontaneous, improvisatory, as with their clothes, dancing, and slang.

    But Elvis wasn't just blackish. He was outright annoying and offensive. And that's the template: each new star tries to sound new, and most of them end up being annoying. Because most new things are annoying. I can't tell you how many singing stars on my lifetime have annoyed the hell out of me. (Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jewel, some of which I actually kind of enjoyed, when I could get past the voices.) I can almost guarantee they'd be less annoying live in the old days, even if they were trying to be new.

    Fer fcuk’s sake guest, is this you?

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  83. @wren
    Yup.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo_uke

    Here’s Bertie Wooster playing the banjolele, much to Jeeves’ distress.

    The thing about Bertie is that while he’s the perfect English gentleman/drone, much of his vocabulary and taste in music was very Broadway razzmatazz Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong style American. An analogy would be that “Gangnam Style” video from a few years ago about a rich Korean who acts hip-hop.

    Wodehouse did a lot of writing for Broadway with Jerome Kern and the like, although most of it from what’s now the prehistory of the American musical that is seldom revived. His late musical Anything Goes from 1934 is the main Broadway show you see Wodehouse’s name attached to, but there were lots more from the previous couple of decades.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Tangential to this, the 1920s - for the upper classes, at least, - were seen as some sort of idyllic 'golden age' by UK TV producers of the 1970s, when living 1920s personages were still around, and there was quite an TV drama obsession with woosterish young men, flappers, jazz music etc, sometimes counterpoised with the depression era suffering of the workers.
    Perhaps even the iconic 'Naked Civil Servant' TV drama about Quentin Crisp, (the self-declared 'Stately Homo of England'), was in the same vein.
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  84. @BRF
    Dame Vera is still going strong , she turned 100 this year.

    Who are the oldest living celebrities? Olivia de Havilland, who was Maid Marian in Robin Hood in 1938 and the second female lead in Gone With the Wind in 1939 is in good health and filing lawsuits against Hollywood interests who wrong her.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Richard
    Even though it feels like he came from a later generation because of how their careers played out, Kirk Douglas was born the same year as de Havilland and is still well enough to give newspaper interviews.
    , @BRF
    Yeah Kirk Douglas -Issur Danielovitch, born 1916.

    I heard conductors generally live to a good age. Aerobic workout?
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  85. @Mishima Zaibatsu
    Having gone through and played a bunch of other people's suggestions above, I now have absolute confidence in my first instincts here that this is the whitest music ever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414mrPgK5Yk

    Presented without description of the link's contents beyond what is written above,

    What would a NYT review of this look like?

    What would happen if a bunch of white men arrived at some racial grievance meeting at a university campus, completely silent and still other than playing this on a boombox type thing?

    Or ... imagine the same, except replace 'men' with 'pigtailed women wearing modest but pretty white dresses' and 'playing this on a boombox' with 'singing'. You could even add a couple of male drummers.

    Very interesting thought experiment.

    Yup, “Song of Roland” about one of Charlemagne’s officers. Very, very deep Euro.

    Read More
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  86. @Allen
    It's a bit silly to claim that Death "started punk" but they were headed in a similar direction before the Ramones. Nevertheless, they were themselves highly influenced by protopunks like MC5, the Stooges, and the early singles of The Who. If we really want to start tracing the lineage of punk, we can go all the way back to 1965 with The Sonics' Here are the Sonics and Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum, or 1966 with Black Monk Time by the Monks.

    Still, Death was a talented group who deserved better than they got. Much less well known is that the group Death morphed into a Christian rock group called 4th Movement that was quite good as well. Their two records have never been released on cd or mp3, but they can be found online if you know where to look...

    None of this takes away from the fact that the Ramones were special because they took the speed and aggression of the protopunk groups and applied it to songs that were, musically, just pre-Beatles rock and girl group pop. They captured the giddy high of pre-British invasion rock music but updated it with speed and tongue in cheek lyrics. Most punk was angry but the Ramones were mostly just goofy and funny.

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?

    Also, the Ramones were in New York City, which made a difference. The downtown art scene took them somewhat seriously, which helped their influence. Lots of good musicians have come from, say, the high plains of the Texas panhandle (“Route 66″ is kind of the national anthem of professional touring musicians), but if Johnny Ramone had grown up in Lubbock, Texas it’s not likely he would have been taken as seriously as an aesthetic theorist.

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    • Replies: @Jake
    That is absolutely true. And that truth is a major reason the country is headed to Hell in a handbasket. At best, the whites of Middle America are ignored, save for occasional burps, when the 'Coastal Elites' 'discover' something new and steal it to repackage to their liking.
    , @flyingtiger
    That did not harm the chances of Buddy Holly of Lubbock Texas.
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  87. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Here's Bertie Wooster playing the banjolele, much to Jeeves' distress.

    https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388353173l/16392.jpg

    The thing about Bertie is that while he's the perfect English gentleman/drone, much of his vocabulary and taste in music was very Broadway razzmatazz Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong style American. An analogy would be that "Gangnam Style" video from a few years ago about a rich Korean who acts hip-hop.

    Wodehouse did a lot of writing for Broadway with Jerome Kern and the like, although most of it from what's now the prehistory of the American musical that is seldom revived. His late musical Anything Goes from 1934 is the main Broadway show you see Wodehouse's name attached to, but there were lots more from the previous couple of decades.

    Tangential to this, the 1920s – for the upper classes, at least, – were seen as some sort of idyllic ‘golden age’ by UK TV producers of the 1970s, when living 1920s personages were still around, and there was quite an TV drama obsession with woosterish young men, flappers, jazz music etc, sometimes counterpoised with the depression era suffering of the workers.
    Perhaps even the iconic ‘Naked Civil Servant’ TV drama about Quentin Crisp, (the self-declared ‘Stately Homo of England’), was in the same vein.

    Read More
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  88. How about Kraftwerk?

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  89. “This enduring racial division probably accounts in sizable part for the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades in contrast to the astonishing creativity unleashed by black-white interaction in the first three quarters of the 20th Century.”

    I’ve been thinking lately how you’d understand the history of jazz much better through 1960 as a series of responses and reactions of black and white musicians and composers to each other; this is how Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman and George Gershwin described what they were doing, of course, but after the fact it was decided that it was better to view this quintessentially American art form solely as a triumph of the African American spirit rather than as the result of our particular, democratic and commercial, racially mixed but mostly socially segregated culture. The same was true to a large degree to what was happening in Detroit after the war- as Steve noted in his movie review, this was the richest large community of black people in the world, whose young people had enough time and money to buy records and make a million bands responding to what they heard.

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  90. @Steve Sailer
    I bought that single in 1982.

    I wrote then erased a reply in the affirmative action post about that Ifill op-ed called A Tale of Two Creoles.

    As was in the news Kidd Creole from Grandmaster Flash fame was recently arrested for the murder of a Manhatten homeless man he thought was hitting on him. This Kidd Creole is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but seems not to have done much with his life other than be on The Message.

    I was confused because the only Kid Creole I knew was from Kid Creole and the Coconuts who had the novelty song “Endicott” around 1980 but I heard a few years later in college.

    This Kid with one D Creole has had some success in life with occasional tours but him and his wife own the Ambrosia Cocktail Lounge on Maui. Being a business owner on Maui means you have done well.

    My angle was going to be one D was of the Caribbean black caste in the Bronx that is hard working and stays away from the rougher edges of black culture, while two D helped create modern course black culture because he was of native US black caste. And how differently the two ended up, one looking at spending the rest of his life in jail after working blue collar jobs all his life the other a Maui lounge owner.

    Then I found out two D was also of the afro-carribean caste from the Bronx. So it looks like my thesis is holed below the waterline.

    But it is an interesting contrast.

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  91. @PiltdownMan
    Hawkwind and Kraftwerk would be my top candidates, though, admittedly, Kraftwerk's kraut rock isn't prog rock. But rock doesn't get any whiter than German kraut rock or English prog/space rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGPv9hngk4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-G28iyPtz0

    You want something less danceable than Kraftwerk.

    Like REM for example. Most grunge?

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  92. “Actually, “the whitest music ever” of the later 20th Century was punk rock. Johnny Ramone explained his style as “pure, white rock ‘n’ roll, with no blues influence.””

    Heavy Metal is pretty white, although that wasn’t always the case. Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Deep Purple, widely considered as the inventors of Heavy Metal, were heavily blues influenced. Judas Priest, who followed shortly after, were the first Metal band to completely strip away the blues element. Most of the more modern Metal acts have tended to follow the Priest model.

    As for Punk, the subgenre known as Hardcore (that originated in Washington DC of all places) was more or less founded by Bad Brains, an all-black group.

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    • Replies: @Hare Krishna
    Rainbow as well as Priest.
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  93. Easily Vivaldi, Doors and Alice Cooper. Paul McCartney first solo albums absolutely underrated.

    Every night I just want to go out,
    Get out of my head
    Every day I don’t want to get up,
    Get out of my bed
    Every night I want to play out
    And every day I want to do ooh ooh oh oh
    But tonight I just want to stay in
    And be with you,
    And be with you.

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    • Replies: @Stan d Mute

    Easily Vivaldi, Doors and Alice Cooper.
     
    Pathetic that I, as a native, forgot fellow native detroiter Alice Cooper in my short list above!
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  94. Spawned Dr. Who and all other Tv Sci-Fi

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  95. Tool is also undanceable, so a good candidate. One of their main influences is claimed to be King Crimson. Here is an article that (and comments) says that they have mainly white fans, which I believe. There is something about listening about something cerebral over and over again, possibly on drugs, with different time signatures than standard, which is a fairly white thing to do I think.

    https://m.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2016/01/22/is-tool-really-a-band-for-stupid-white-trash

    The initial sample from one of their concerts, on this song from their first album is a classic.

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    • Replies: @Front toward enemy
    Absolutely agree with you about Tool. Maynard's poetry would stand alone but coupled with their extraordinary musianship, sonic brilliance, intricate rhythms and heavy metal basics blend uniquely well. My favorite phrase..."I might fade like a sigh if I stayed."
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  96. Kelefa Sanneh gave Weigel’s book a much more positive review in the New Yorker:

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/19/the-persistence-of-prog-rock/amp

    Wasn’t “miscegenation and jazz music” a big part of Wilhelmine German and perhaps other European conservative Anti-Americanism in the 1910s and 1920s?

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  97. @Clifford Brown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6FBfAQ-NDE

    Top tune.

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  98. Jethro Tull: A Passion Play. Probably the whitest LP of the prog-rock era. Actually, once you get beyond the first couple of albums, you could make an argument for Tull being the whitest music of the 70′s, what with their synthesis of indigenous British Isles music, medieval/Renaissance music, classical music, and growling fuzz-box enhanced Les Paul guitar.
    In general, much of prog rock was pretentious and over-reaching, but at least those bands had imagination and intelligence, not to mention a willingness to take risks.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Long hair and bears were compulsory for all true 'prog-rockers'
    , @Mr. Anon
    I would agree. Jethro Tull went in a very celtic, pagan sort of direction with their music (not unlike Fleetwood Mac). Consider this, from 1982:

    Broadsword

    Then of course there is that whole jazz-flute thing they had.

    Admittedly, they probably weren't that influential, especially not after the early 70s.

    Supertramp was also very white. They are the only group I know of that used a clarinet. They even included Klezmer sounds in one song.
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  99. Least of all for Stuka dive bomber at the end, and the completely ironic
    premise

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  100. @Dave Pinsen
    Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five just stabbed a homeless man to death in New York.

    Apparently Kidd was working as a handyman/security guard in the Bronx. There doesn't seem to be much longevity in rap music. Lots of rockers who were big in the early '80s are still making a living from their music today.

    Rap clearly does have longevity. It’s just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.

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    • Replies: @Clyde

    Rap clearly does have longevity. It’s just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.
     
    Its so sad that so many whites are rap fans over rock and the women can be worse. Jay Zee and pathetic Kanye, idols of white wimmens? It looks this way. What's so bad about the Rolling Stones and Cream? Pathetic! Rap has greatly contributed to the elevation of blacks as cultural icons (what a cliched word) and cultural trend setters. Blacks in sports too, obviously. So white boys are left holding the bag unless its country music.
    The great success of rock and roll was due to the post war baby boom and white population bulge in USA and UK. What we get now in the the US, UK and Europe is a third world yoofs population bulge so their music is what is setting trends.

    As far as prog-rock I like Sting and Peter Gabriel of the 1980s. Soul Cages and Fields of Gold were his best. Gabriel being the more prog musician.

    , @Dave Pinsen
    I mentioned the early '80s and you're giving me counter examples from the '90s. A rapper from one of the most prominent acts of the early '80s was working as a handyman. That would be like John Cougar working as a handyman now.
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  101. “Punk rock fans tend to have more verbal than musical intelligence.”

    For odd reasons*, I have recently gotten into the habit of listening to 40′s music (’40′s junction’, on sirius XM). It is very nice music-generally positive, pleasant, and fun to listen to.

    But it is also notably verbally sophisticated. The lyrics are full of puns, rhymes and off-tempo rhymes (?don’t know if I’m saying it right-my musical vocabulary is limited) and often tell a story. it is really nice to listen to music that engages one’s mind in this way. The singers are easy to understand, and the emotions, events, and general topics of the music are universal-very human sounding music (occassionally, the ‘fight the war boys’ war support songs get repetitive, though).

    joeyjoejoe

    * I got into the music because I played Fallout 3, a post-apocalyptic zombie game on the Xbox, with a soundtrack of music from the late 40′s/early 50′s.

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    • Replies: @James Kabala
    Songs that tell a story are still pretty common in country music (even the pop-ized form played on the radio today). Wordplay is fairly common too.
    , @whoever
    I got into Big Band-era music from retro swing, which I was a big fan of in high school.
    Songs like these two are, for me, still solid senders!
    I appreciate the skill and professionalism of the composition, the arrangement, and the technical virtuosity of the musicians and singers. Not much like it anymore.

    From Orchestra Wives, "At Last":
    https://youtu.be/XcEgvKb_V90
    From Sun Valley Serenade, "I Know Why (And So Do You)":
    https://youtu.be/ivF2KhS14F0

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  102. Oddly enough, I can remember hearing an NPR spot on Yes in the early 2000s (some anniversary of something or other) where some black guy was talking about what a huge Yes fan he was. He elaborated by saying that when Yes came to town he and all his black friends would buy up a row or two of whatever venue they were playing. He called them “the funkiest bunch of white boys” he’d ever heard. He underscored this by playing the breakdown from “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.

    I remember thinking only NPR would feature a black guy talking about prog rock.

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    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Prog-Rock's Return: The Lasting Appeal of Yes
    June 2, 2004·12:00 AM ET
    Heard on All Things Considered

    The U.K. progressive rock band Yes is celebrating 35 years together. Members have come and gone and come again, but the band has a signature sound, full of time changes, electronic keyboards and a tight mix of guitar bass and drums. Music writer Tom Terrell says the white band from Britain had a strange attraction for black kids — like him — from New Jersey.
     
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  103. The music of Johann Sebastian Bach was quite possibly the summit of European civilization.

    Please listen to ‘Jesu bleibet meine Freude’

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    • Agree: James Richard
    • Replies: @Larry, San Francisco
    And became the basis of a great Motown song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDZc9bdUZM
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  104. The Clash have a “white trilogy”: “White Riot,” “… Hammersmith Palais” and “Safe European Home.” Their politics were predictably (naively) leftist (although this is complicated by internecine class differences…) And their best friend was “professional Black man” (Chrissie Hynde’s words) Don Letts, but they would be considered “racist” by today’s standards (i.e., they noticed things and sang about them.)

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  105. @Achmed E. Newman
    OK, wait, wait ... let me rescind my last 3 entries. Why didn't I think of The Talking Heads earlier?

    This clip of "Life During Wartime" is from the concert movie "Stop Making Sense". Even the 2 black back-up singers can't dance either (see 02:15 in). However, I wish I had something with David Byrne in his XXL suit.

    "This ain't no party.
    This ain't no disco.
    This ain't no foolin around."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jShMQw2H2cM

    That Tina Weymouth can play some bass.

    For a girl maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan’s side project.

    And THIS is bass playing.

    As is this.

    You want to play prog, you’d best have the chops. The guys in Rush have had the chops since Day 1.

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    • Replies: @Stealth

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan’s side project.
     
    I never did listen to A Perfect Circle. Was it a substantial departure from Tool? Was its album art?

    Never could get into Tool. The only catchy sounding song they put out was ruined by its description of prison sodomy. I'm told it was actually based on Keenan's own unfortunate experience of sexual abuse as a child.

    , @Wally
    THAT is bass playing?

    You sure don't get out much.

    Geddy Lee's playing = redneck Zionist noise.

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    You've got to include Phil Lesh of The Dead, if you are going to cover all the best bass players. I'm onboard with Geddy Lee, but I can't judge your Judith song (as far as bass) on these cheesy-ass computer speakers - I don't think anything below 200 Hz come out!


    Addendum: Also, Brutusale, sometime it's not just the ability of the musician, but just the great riffs that make the music great - take John McVie's bass line in Fleetwood Mac's "Say you Love Me". It's not that hard or anything, but it makes the song (especially the slide each time around).

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  106. @AngloBerserkerJew
    Jethro Tull: A Passion Play. Probably the whitest LP of the prog-rock era. Actually, once you get beyond the first couple of albums, you could make an argument for Tull being the whitest music of the 70's, what with their synthesis of indigenous British Isles music, medieval/Renaissance music, classical music, and growling fuzz-box enhanced Les Paul guitar.
    In general, much of prog rock was pretentious and over-reaching, but at least those bands had imagination and intelligence, not to mention a willingness to take risks.

    Long hair and bears were compulsory for all true ‘prog-rockers’

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  107. @San Fernando Curt
    Most popular arts slowly have stagnated for the past 50 years.

    Culture appears to be subject to Punctuated Equilibrium.

    By the way, I think PE was discovered by computer simulation. If you make a program that “evolves” you always see PE. But Gould, like all artists, did everything he could to cover his tracks.

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    • Replies: @San Fernando Curt
    Our cultural evolution is punctuated by too many semicolons, not enough periods.

    Gould should have been a performance artist. In that context, fantasy is springboard, not eventual embarrassment.
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  108. @guest
    The unspoken modifier in the phrase "whitest music ever" above is "rock." If you're talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone's "no blues influence" is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it's all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin--minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka--those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There's also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, "Yipee-ti-yi-yay..."

    There's also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you're impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, "world music" or New Age, etc.

    “The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There’s also aarge German influence, as you may imagine.”

    Uh what German influence? Maybe it exists, but darned if I know where.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Marching band music was along with parlor music at one point one of the dominant forms of American popular music, and it is partly German at root.

    There's what they call oom-pah and polka music, which is partly Germanic.

    The waltz, of course. Where would we be without the waltz?

    I was also thinking of Alpine music.

    There's German religious music and of course classical music, which is disproportionately German and impacted more than just High Art music.
    , @guest
    Oh yeah, also drinking songs.
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  109. @Jean Ralphio
    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she'd ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they're big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn't country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we're constantly told how the music business is in decline. It's hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90's and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don't like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans.

    This statement is bizarre and nonsensical.

    (I was going to say Dream Theater are the whitest band ever, but they have quite a few Slavic fans…?)

    The preference of females for so-called rythm-and-blues over hip hop, and the former’s being blacker than the latter, goes to women’s interest in simplistic music, emphasis on lyrics (it’s important these be repetitive, though!) over music, and on rhythm over melody.

    Women prefer dreck of the “shake yo booty” variety (Soulja Boy, Baha Men, Sisquo, Robin Thicke, Bel Biv Devoe, New Edition, The Deal…all the way back to Marvin Gaye). Those latter two, I argue, are not dreck. Crooners, sure, but classy. The difference is not relevant to the draw for women, though, who always conform and always want to be as slutty as society will permit because of hypergamy, hence the trend over time. And, of course, lytically, the themes are all about them: i.e., sex, romance, chasing, worshipping, and pining for women.

    Proper hip hop is a technical game about making clever statements rapidly by using metaphors, puns, and unlikely combinations of words. Women are not big fans of Slaughterhouse.

    [MORE]

    Women largely dislike jazz and progressive rock because it is complex and not repetitive, though you might catch a gal at one of Najee’s shows (because of his smoother, more repetitive treatment of themes) shows, rare indeed is the female fan of the Mahavishnu Orchesta. Women hate instrumental music (even those who enjoy ppera or symphonic and orchestral music – or jazz, for that matter – do so because they want to seem soohisticated and high-dollar, and it’s an in, hip, thing to do for social striving, not for actual love of the music…).

    Music is one of the most consistently predictable ways to sort women and men.

    Once earlier in a discussion if music I was considering the differences between rockstars (e.g, Axl Rose) and musicians’ musicians (e.g., Chris Squire). This divide also tracks an appeal to females and males: men are more often more interested in musicians, women in rockstars. Becaus for women, popularity and keeping up appearances are paramount, and being an ostentatious big shot is the best thing in a man. Someone asked who combined both elements, and I offered up Prince. The guy could shred as well as John Petrucci, but he could just as easily make the women swoon. I thought of an even better example, though. I’ve been really basking in their work lately (I often spend weeks or months on a kick for musicians with huge catalogues): Kiss.

    Many cringe, but the truth is these guys, while not technical virtuosos at performance, are amazing songwriters, capable of effortlessly (or so they make it seeem) minting mountains of irresistably catchy tunes. I expect, with their work ethic, if they’d put their efforts to it they could have become technical wizards, but they, I think, intentionally keep the music relatively simple based upon a strategic branding decision of their fanbase and how to maximize their appeal. Indeed, The Elder suggests they dipped a toe in the water but hastily realised that direction – though artistically possible for them and something they were quite capable of – wasn’t the best direction for the band. When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, no band on the planet has the female fanbase of Kiss, excepting, arguably, Journey (who have a sound more oriented to popular music, but who in any event also are great examples of very talented musicians who are also rockstars).

    Setting aside artistic intentions and preferences, the best way to know if one has a hit on one’s hands is to play the track back to a bunch of women. I am very curious to know to what extent professional producers and musicians know so and apply this phenomenon, formally or informally.

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  110. @Anonymous
    A band perpetually on the cusp of fame, but never quite getting there.

    It was because their hayday was a time when touring was crucial to breaking big, but Andy Partridge’s paralysing stage fright precluded live performances. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  111. @guest
    "the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades"

    Slowing? It's moribund. I don't think there's been a single new subgenre created since the 70s. I say this to people, and they'll shoot back with their what-abouts. "What about industrial/techno?" "What about rap?" Those all existed in the 70s.

    I've long thought that was a combination of music getting stupider/more same-same. For some reason (Idiocracy?) they're stripping music piece by piece of musicality. Less and less strict form, dynamics, counterpoint, harmony, pleasing timbre, or melody over the years. They're finally coming for rhythm, too, and I notice most all songs nowadays have a steady, thumping, "four on the floor" beat like they're disco or house music. Which isn't appropriate for every kind of song. With this incessant pulse, there's very little syncopation, or any variation at all. On the other hand, especially in hip-hop, there can be too much variation. It's a polyrhthmic mess.

    Popular music is so dumb right now. I wonder if either the same five people are writing every song I hear, or possibly it's a computer. (Uni?) Are there no musical movements, real grassroots stuff, because of the high entry barrier (despite the existence of things like YouTube)? Due to the Five Kings of Music that exist in my imagination? Or is it because no one listens to live music anymore, because they're at home enjoying themselves alone. (Masturbating to X-box, or whatever people do)? Music is a communal experience.

    That's another thing. Popular music was mortally wounded by the studio phenomenon. Blame it on the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Phil Spector. Pop music is supposed to be about two things, fundamentally: song and dance. You sing along, and you perpetuated through voice. Or you dance to it, and use it to touch other people. Nowadays, we use it as a commodity, which we more often than not enjoy passively. We can do this, because smart, talented people crafted finished products of sonic beauty for us to listen to in awe or merely as a pastime. Which is fine in itself, but it's self-defeating in the long run, because music ain't about that, fundamentally.

    Mass media and recording techniques can be killers. Because music cannot be about the experience of sitting and listening to a finished product. That's why the Beatles (just as a f'instance) will never, ever be as important and lasting, in my opinion, as the classical composers or a Cole Porter, even. (Who admittedly lived in the mass media/ recording era.) The music lives in communal experience of listening and participating, as well as in person to person reproduction. Some Beatles, for instance, music passes this test. Much more of it fails.

    Another thing about recorded music. It is a slave to fashion, like all popular art in modern times, and it thrives on novelty. Not that you can't find novelty in sheet music, but there's so much more of it in rock and roll. Elvis, for instance, made a splash by being utterly ridiculous. He still sounds ridiculous, to this day. Retrospectives put this across as a white boy singing like a black man. But it's more than that, unless you're going to say black singers sing like weirdos. Which they do, a lot of the time. Black singing style is, like much of black culture, perfect for the Neophilia of fashion. Because it's in the moment, spontaneous, improvisatory, as with their clothes, dancing, and slang.

    But Elvis wasn't just blackish. He was outright annoying and offensive. And that's the template: each new star tries to sound new, and most of them end up being annoying. Because most new things are annoying. I can't tell you how many singing stars on my lifetime have annoyed the hell out of me. (Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jewel, some of which I actually kind of enjoyed, when I could get past the voices.) I can almost guarantee they'd be less annoying live in the old days, even if they were trying to be new.

    Wow did Elvis pee in your Wheaties as a child?

    See I have a totally different view of Elvis. A truly gifted performer with a great voice for the genre(s) he sang in.

    Not a musical genius, but a truly gifted performer on stage. And he ranged far in what he did.

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  112. @Fun
    Rap clearly does have longevity. It's just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.

    Rap clearly does have longevity. It’s just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.

    Its so sad that so many whites are rap fans over rock and the women can be worse. Jay Zee and pathetic Kanye, idols of white wimmens? It looks this way. What’s so bad about the Rolling Stones and Cream? Pathetic! Rap has greatly contributed to the elevation of blacks as cultural icons (what a cliched word) and cultural trend setters. Blacks in sports too, obviously. So white boys are left holding the bag unless its country music.
    The great success of rock and roll was due to the post war baby boom and white population bulge in USA and UK. What we get now in the the US, UK and Europe is a third world yoofs population bulge so their music is what is setting trends.

    As far as prog-rock I like Sting and Peter Gabriel of the 1980s. Soul Cages and Fields of Gold were his best. Gabriel being the more prog musician.

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  113. @black sea
    Joe Strummer, of the Clash, once commented that punk was a good place to start out, because it required little musical skill, and the whole "I don't give a F---" ethos help to cope with one's stage anxieties. But really, you could only make one punk rock album, and then you had to move on.

    I find Pennywise to be pretty listenable, a form of aural meth, good background music for completing mundane tasks. Unknown Road, About Time, Full Circle, Straight Ahead, even From the Ashes is quite good. Yes they are annoying lefties but it is catchy. I rate several of their albums.

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  114. The title “King of Rock and Roll,” somewhat prematurely bestowed upon Elvis Presley, really ought to belong to Elton John. Therefore also Elton John claims the right to the Whitest music ever, ex officio.

    Sure, he has tons of blues/R&B influence, but what he did with it is something only a White man would.

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  115. I was just telling my kids the other day that it seemed in the 80s blacks and whites were more likely to listen to the same music than today. They may not have liked all the same songs but they would each be familiar with most of the Top 40.

    It is a shallow cultural connection and obviously along with similar taste in brand name clothes didn’t last.

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    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    Does anybody remember the 70s black TV comedy "What's Happening"? There was a 2 part Doobie Brothers special. This group of black teens were totally into that band (who were all white except for one black member. I even remember the black teens telling the Doobies "You are our favorite rock band". I know that's just a TV show...not real life but I definitely think blacks were more familiar with white musical acts in decades past compared to today.
    , @ScarletNumber
    I think the change came when Nirvana became popular.
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  116. Whitest music ever?

    Gregorian chant. Latin Masses, by, say, Palestrina and Byrd. Vivaldi and Mozart. Uncle Dave Macon and the Skillet Lickers. The Chieftains and the Bothy Band.

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  117. @Steve Sailer
    Also, the Ramones were in New York City, which made a difference. The downtown art scene took them somewhat seriously, which helped their influence. Lots of good musicians have come from, say, the high plains of the Texas panhandle ("Route 66" is kind of the national anthem of professional touring musicians), but if Johnny Ramone had grown up in Lubbock, Texas it's not likely he would have been taken as seriously as an aesthetic theorist.

    That is absolutely true. And that truth is a major reason the country is headed to Hell in a handbasket. At best, the whites of Middle America are ignored, save for occasional burps, when the ‘Coastal Elites’ ‘discover’ something new and steal it to repackage to their liking.

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  118. In the Beginning…

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  119. @Allen
    It's a bit silly to claim that Death "started punk" but they were headed in a similar direction before the Ramones. Nevertheless, they were themselves highly influenced by protopunks like MC5, the Stooges, and the early singles of The Who. If we really want to start tracing the lineage of punk, we can go all the way back to 1965 with The Sonics' Here are the Sonics and Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum, or 1966 with Black Monk Time by the Monks.

    Still, Death was a talented group who deserved better than they got. Much less well known is that the group Death morphed into a Christian rock group called 4th Movement that was quite good as well. Their two records have never been released on cd or mp3, but they can be found online if you know where to look...

    None of this takes away from the fact that the Ramones were special because they took the speed and aggression of the protopunk groups and applied it to songs that were, musically, just pre-Beatles rock and girl group pop. They captured the giddy high of pre-British invasion rock music but updated it with speed and tongue in cheek lyrics. Most punk was angry but the Ramones were mostly just goofy and funny.

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?

    As for Whitest pop/rock music, has anyone nominated Abba yet?

    Half of their songs had Spanish titles. They’d be considered honorary Latinx.

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  120. Whitest music ever is the current bluegrass-americana-roots music fad so beloved of presumably antiracist SWPLs.
    Festivals everywhere. It doesn’t get whiter than that. White Flight, I call it.

    I’m afraid Ken Burns’ attempt to revive black jazz fizzled by 2005.

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  121. This enduring racial division probably accounts in sizable part for the slowing of American popular music innovation over the last few decades in contrast to the astonishing creativity unleashed by black-white interaction in the first three quarters of the 20th Century.

    I guess blacks also complain about whites stealing their peanut butter technology, but seriously, what happened to that astonishing creativity when it comes to the Space Program, Nuclear Energy, the Computer Industry, etc.

    I guess there’s always this: https://infogalactic.com/info/The_Old_Negro_Space_Program

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  122. @Brutusale
    For a girl maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTgKRCXybSM

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's side project.

    And THIS is bass playing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72KdQKwxWyk

    As is this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj5nXTijf_A

    You want to play prog, you'd best have the chops. The guys in Rush have had the chops since Day 1.

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan’s side project.

    I never did listen to A Perfect Circle. Was it a substantial departure from Tool? Was its album art?

    Never could get into Tool. The only catchy sounding song they put out was ruined by its description of prison sodomy. I’m told it was actually based on Keenan’s own unfortunate experience of sexual abuse as a child.

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    • Replies: @AnotherGuessModel
    Some songs overlap in style, but overall a significant departure, more melodic and unabashedly aiming to be beautiful, less hung up on being gritty and "rock". (More feminine, you could say, no surprise I vastly prefer APC.) 3 Libras could never characterize the Tool sound.
    , @Brutusale
    A Perfect Circle is more "listenable", more "hooky" with fewer time changes. Keenan's lyrics are also a bit less intense with APC.

    Tool's first hit was the one you're thinking of. Disturbing video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hglVqACd1C8

    Some youngsters still want to rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYKLvYGqaC0

    This young drummer is impressive.
    , @Brutusale
    Sorry, wrong video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5sIXUbMgF0
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  123. @Anonym
    Tool is also undanceable, so a good candidate. One of their main influences is claimed to be King Crimson. Here is an article that (and comments) says that they have mainly white fans, which I believe. There is something about listening about something cerebral over and over again, possibly on drugs, with different time signatures than standard, which is a fairly white thing to do I think.

    https://m.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2016/01/22/is-tool-really-a-band-for-stupid-white-trash

    The initial sample from one of their concerts, on this song from their first album is a classic.

    https://youtu.be/66O_ajxVMpY

    Absolutely agree with you about Tool. Maynard’s poetry would stand alone but coupled with their extraordinary musianship, sonic brilliance, intricate rhythms and heavy metal basics blend uniquely well. My favorite phrase…”I might fade like a sigh if I stayed.”

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  124. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Whitest Music: Van Dyke Parks era Beach Boys. Any white music produced before 1965 probably had many black fans since there wasnt as much opportunity for blacks to self-segregate and many people seeking to integrate. Anything produced in the 1970s was popular in Japan including most definitely prog. Everything post-1980 has a lot of Mexican American fans including punk and metal. (Read a recent Wall Street Journal article on the business of classic rock radio. Turns out the more Hispanic the local market, the more that the local classic rock station should tilt toward metal. )

    Least White Music: Indian music. Indian music is artistically complex and has a rich tradition completely alien from historic European music. Furthermore, unlike traditional East Asian music (which is an acquired taste, if that) there is an obvious appeal to Indian pop music. Despite this, no white fanbase has ever really developed for Indian music despite the late 60s attempts of British TM freaks to push Ravi Shankar on people. Everytime I go to an Indian restaurant, I quite enjoy the music being played in the background but have zero interest in finding out anything about it once the check is paid.

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  125. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Off Topic: Americans celebrate Tax Freedom Day every May to mark the day that they stop earning for the government and start earning for themselves.

    I would like to propose that every American city commemorate “Black Lives Matter Day”. BLM Day will be declared on that day of the year that the local homicide tally surpasses the total number of murders seen in 2014. For example, in Baltimore, there were 211 murders in all of 2014. On August 4th, 2017, there were already 208 murders. Sometimes this steamy weekend, I suspect, the Charm City can declare BLM Day. Chicago will be marking their day sometime next week and so on.

    BLM day: the day the lives stop mattering.

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  126. Read More
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  127. Also terribly, horribly white, is Rush.

    Consider YYZ, an instrumental about Lester G Pearson International in Toronto.

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  128. @WGG
    You could split the difference between the two: Roxy Music

    Roxy Music and Talking Heads and Brian Eno and David Byrne and Brian Ferry and a feminist video made for the song “The Main Thing.” Roxy Music and Brian Ferry were very understanding of the essential nature of women. President Trump got 53 percent of the White lady vote. Trump knows gals, too.

    Both Ends Burning(live), My Only Love(live), True To Life…etc

    Last half of The Byrds’ Eight Miles High covered by Roxy Music

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    Roxy Music and Brian Ferry were very understanding of the essential nature of women.
     
    Bryan sure did. Bryan Ferry trivia: he had a romance with, and eventually married, his son's girlfriend. He later divorced her because he "didn't want a baby." LOL.
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  129. @guest
    The unspoken modifier in the phrase "whitest music ever" above is "rock." If you're talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone's "no blues influence" is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it's all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin--minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka--those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There's also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, "Yipee-ti-yi-yay..."

    There's also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you're impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, "world music" or New Age, etc.

    The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Or marketing.

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  130. Jared Taylor is about as white as it gets but he’s a jazz musician who can get pretty gangsta when needed, such as when he dismantled Cenk Uygur. Go to 1:30 in the video if you’re in a hurry:

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  131. No mention of the symphony which started Richard Branson on his career, Tubular Bells:

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  132. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Jean Ralphio
    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she'd ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they're big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn't country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we're constantly told how the music business is in decline. It's hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90's and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don't like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

    I can’t comment on the music scene post-1990 but can state with certainty that what was originally understood and described as Rock and Roll (not “rock”, which isn’t the same thing) started its run commencing in the early/middle 50s but petered commencing in the early 60s after Elvis started to concentrate on his movie career. By that time th music industry deemed it too black, too Southern, too “dangerous” (Anyone ever hear of a guitarist named Link Wray?). It reached its nadir around ’63-’64 with such glop as “My Boyfriend’s Back”, “Blue, Navy Blue” etc. etc. ad nauseam. It had a brief resurgence with The Beatles and The Stones. In the case of the former, the tinkering began around ’65 (with “Rubber Soul”) whereas The Stones pretty much adhered to formula (and successfully too). Back in the late 60s during the course of an interview in which he was asked to describe different musicians and groups, John Lennon stated that Chuck Berry (and others of his era) played “real” rock and roll–an obvious criticism of the state of rock&roll even in the late 60s.

    “Real” R&R had a brief shelf life. Don McLean was right after all.

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  133. While pop (made for girls and gays) continues to be a mixture of black and white elements, serious (i.e., masculine) popular music tends to follow the white rock v. black rap divide that had become evident by the end of the 1970s.

    Thanks for the Sailerian clarity on Pop! Back here in Detroit, we’ve witnessed a little white guy become the hottest rapper in the country – Eminem (Marshall Mathers) – as well as a rapper turned southern rocker turned politician – Senator Kid Rock (Bob Ritchie). And of course our earlier homegrown Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, and Iggy Pop are all over the map stylistically. Jack White is a newer example of this.

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  134. @Pat Hannagan
    Easily Vivaldi, Doors and Alice Cooper. Paul McCartney first solo albums absolutely underrated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mt_HTeERRg

    Every night I just want to go out,
    Get out of my head
    Every day I don't want to get up,
    Get out of my bed
    Every night I want to play out
    And every day I want to do ooh ooh oh oh
    But tonight I just want to stay in
    And be with you,
    And be with you.

    Easily Vivaldi, Doors and Alice Cooper.

    Pathetic that I, as a native, forgot fellow native detroiter Alice Cooper in my short list above!

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  135. Ramones descended from Chuck Berry, whether Johnny Ramone wanted to believe that or not. I interviewed him once, and even though I found him polite and articulate, he wasn’t exactly drawing on a wealth of knowledge about a lot of topics, unless it was the New York Yankees. He insisted the Velvet Underground were “folk-rock,” for one thing, and apparently had never heard their second album.

    Some of the whitest music in modern pop is probably the British folk revival music of the 1960s and 1970s, because these musicians drew on the Irish folk tradition, and largely avoided American rock cliches and rhythms. Nick Drake is an excellent example, but there’s also Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Martin Carthy, etc.

    Prog rock isn’t really all that white, because it relies on jazz rhythms. So while you might be able to make the case that Tony Banks and Keith Emerson are “white” players, they were balanced out by the jazz-influenced playing of Phil Collins and Carl Palmer. (Before he became the ’80s Paul Anka, Collins was an excellent jazz player and spent time in the fusion band Brand X.)

    I think the surest sign of a no-nothing critic is one who dismisses entire genres as “awful.” This just means the critic hasn’t really taken the time to listen and/or doesn’t have the patience or intelligence to “try on” music that’s uncomfortable.

    I came from a background that was Top 40 and New York punk rock. So I was once intimidated and put off by the 20-minute “Supper’s Ready.” But after playing it a few times, it became clear why it was brilliant. Now I swear by those Steve Hackett guitar “swells” at the end. Other critics should try actually listening too — it might take them to a New Jerusalem.

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  136. Whitest group ever: The Moody Blues.

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    • Replies: @duncsbaby
    Funny how the Moody Blues looked like they were in their 40's in the early 1970's. According to Wikipedia the above photo is from 1970 which means everybody in it was still in their 20's. Different times. Little did they know they'd still be playing their music on the radio 50 years later.
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  137. It is amusing that most of the articles dealing with Rock and Roll history go pretty much straight to claims of cultural appropriation, but the simple fact is that blacks do not have a culture worth appropriating.

    They simply have produced nothing like this, for example:

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  138. Never mind ELP. ELO!

    [It is an interesting subtext of the Amazon series "The Man in the High Tower" is the music on the radio, an imaging of what American music would have sounded like c.1960 shorn of all Black and jewish influences.]

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  139. There’s Richard Wagner, and then there’s everybody else.

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  140. @Anonymous
    It isn't rock, but I think that Vera Lynn's 1940s version of "We'll Meet Again" is not only very white, but actually extremely WASP-y. It's got a very stiff upper lip and onwards and upwards quality to it.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cHcunREYzNY

    Colbert and his friends sang this at the last episode of The Colbert Report

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  141. And here is some more culture that is worth appropriating:

    However, modern howitzers do not have the sound of the old Napoleons.

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  142. Isn’t Rush’s “The Trees” the whitest song ever? It is entirely about HBD.

    And 2112 is a 21 minute and 12 second tune about “the elder race of man” returning to save us after voyaging to the stars. A pretty white story, no?

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  143. @Jean Ralphio
    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she'd ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they're big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn't country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we're constantly told how the music business is in decline. It's hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90's and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don't like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

    Maiden have said many times that they’re big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them.

    I was reading an oral history of The Replacements recently and was interested to learn that their original lead guitarist the (unsurprisingly) late Bob Stinson was a huge Steve Howe fan.

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  144. The thing about Prog music and whites is that whites like difficulty for its own sake, and Prog music is difficult to play. Same way whites like climbing mountains and jumping out of airplanes and getting to the bottom of the ocean. All these tasks are, essentially, pointless, yet whites pioneered them all and still are about the only people doing these things. How many brothers are in the X Games, the Olympics of stupid, pointless sports that are difficult for difficulties’ sake?

    Even in jazz, the audience for complex, bee-bop style jazz is probably 98% white, even if many of the players are black. Blacks just don’t like complex things. Ok, there’s a decent Asian audience for jazz too, especially Japanese.

    I’ve always been mixed about Prog music (though oddly I’ve been on a bit of binge with it lately — Gentle Giant yo!). You can recognize the skill in a flashy prog guitar solo, but it often feels cold and heartless, and says nothing. Skill for the sake of skill. Whereas something as simple as the guitar break in the Clash’s “All the Young Punks” is majestic, because it’s emotional and full of yearning.

    Speaking of the Clash, Mick Jones’ Jewish side really showed up when he lost his hair:

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    The thing about Prog music and whites is that whites like difficulty for its own sake, and Prog music is difficult to play. Same way whites like climbing mountains and jumping out of airplanes and getting to the bottom of the ocean. All these tasks are, essentially, pointless, yet whites pioneered them all and still are about the only people doing these things. How many brothers are in the X Games, the Olympics of stupid, pointless sports that are difficult for difficulties’ sake?
     
    Jim Wendler, who's pretty white (and a metalhead) mocks prog music here to make a point about people writing articles in his field (strength training) with gratuitous erudition. This is ironic on a couple of levels. The first is that strength training, beyond a basic level which gives health benefits, is as pointless as prog, mountain climbing, etc. The second level is that his audience includes the world's most hardcore strength geeks: engineers, physicians, and trainers who read science papers on strength for fun.

    https://youtu.be/zQ6PFZcQw2k?t=7m42s
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  145. @Anonymous
    It isn't rock, but I think that Vera Lynn's 1940s version of "We'll Meet Again" is not only very white, but actually extremely WASP-y. It's got a very stiff upper lip and onwards and upwards quality to it.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cHcunREYzNY

    Colbert and his friends sang this at the last episode of The Colbert Report

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  146. @Vermont Apple
    Sure, it might be wall to wall sexual innuendo, but the genre isn't that bad.

    No, contemporary R&B aka ‘dig out music’ (note in spite of the name it is completely different than the classic genre of Rhythm and Blues) is the worst, most formulaic, most grating music ever devised by human beings.

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  147. @Achmed E. Newman
    I nominate The Alan Parsons Project. Even the name of the band projects whiteness, like "work" or something. Try requesting this on the colored radio station in the middle of the night as you're driving through Bakersfield.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBQalkIeE7s

    If this doesn't win, how bout Styx or Pink Floyd.

    You are generally correct, but this was a poor example because the Chicago Bulls use it as their intro music.

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  148. I thought ‘whitest music ever’ became a settled issue when Mumford and Sons became popular.

    The good news, for me, is that all this talk about ‘whitest music’ contrasted with cultural appropriation has finally given me some insight as to the concept of Original Sin. Growing up, I heard the term expressed in my religious instruction. But to be honest, I never really ‘got it’. Now I do. Thanks SJWs!

    The question going forward is how can I cleanse myself of this Sin? I’m thinking of going full-Shia, and doing a self-whipping in the public square, but that seems a bit dramatic. [Plus, there are numerous appropriation issues to consider with 'Guilt Theft' and all.]

    In my quest for racial atonement, I did a search for ‘the unbearable whiteness of’, and let me tell you: It’s a real eye-opener. I don’t want to be a serial appropriator, but I also don’t want to be unbearably white either. I don’t know what to do.

    Asking God for forgiveness is nothing but the delusion of privilege. ‘Poor white man, buckling under the weight of his guilt. Typical whiteness: He even expects his ‘white privilege’ in the after-life.’

    So, where can I turn for salvation? If a Messiah figure came, and died for my Sin of Whiteness, wouldn’t He be the embodiment of the Aryan quest for racial purity? Because, really—a black man couldn’t fulfill this role of absorbing white sins and dying on the cross of whiteness. [Imagine that outcry!]

    Until a white Jesus Christ comes and dies for my sins, I am stuck in the no-win pit of eternal damnation. BUT—if this white Jesus Christ does come, I am damned further still for paying homage to the most singularly racist deity to ever walk this earth.

    To seek my way out of whiteness is to appropriate, while accepting my whiteness is nauseatingly unbearable To rue this sin is to wallow in white self-pity. But to not rue this sin is to indulge my racist nature. I am forever damned. I would ask God for mercy, but it just feels so white-privilegey of me to beg for relief from eternal damnation.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The competition for whitest is so fierce these days. Consider the lead singer of The National, who looks like a young Brian Cranston living as a Brooklyn hipster and dances like, well, see for yourself.
    https://youtu.be/yfySK7CLEEg
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  149. Read More
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  150. Rush has been selling out stadiums around the world for 40 years, so I don’t think it is accurate to portray progressive rock as some sort of extremely provincial thing from a by-gone era that lasted “for 30 seconds.” Is The Atlantic determined to follow Salon to irrelevancy and bankruptcy?

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    You could argue that Rush is essentially its own genre. The don't sound much like King Crimson.
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  151. Dean Discovers Prog Rock | The Venture Bros. | Adult Swim

    Dean Lands In a Floyd Hole | The Venture Bros. | Adult Swim

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  152. @Steve Sailer
    Who are the oldest living celebrities? Olivia de Havilland, who was Maid Marian in Robin Hood in 1938 and the second female lead in Gone With the Wind in 1939 is in good health and filing lawsuits against Hollywood interests who wrong her.

    Even though it feels like he came from a later generation because of how their careers played out, Kirk Douglas was born the same year as de Havilland and is still well enough to give newspaper interviews.

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  153. @Jefferson
    "A curious phenomenon I’ve noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R’n’B is very icky music."

    Cash Me Outside Girl seems to be way more into Gangsta Rap than R&B, judging by how often she makes a gun sign with her hands.

    Rap & Hip-Hop are as white as they come.

    Pure Amos & Andy trained seals, negro clowns actin a fool right on cue.

    But hey, they be keepin it real.

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  154. TEEN VOGUE is uber-WOKE:

    We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs

    If you’ve never heard of the term before, “digital blackface” is used to describe various types of minstrel performance that become available in cyberspace. Blackface minstrelsy is a theatrical tradition dating back to the early 19th century, in which performers “blacken” themselves up with costume and behaviors to act as black caricatures. The performances put society’s most racist sensibilities on display and in turn fed them back to audiences to intensify these feelings and disperse them across culture. Many of our most beloved entertainment genres owe at least part of themselves to the minstrel stage, including vaudeville, film, and cartoons. While often associated with Jim Crow–era racism, the tenets of minstrel performance remain alive today in television, movies, music and, in its most advanced iteration, on the Internet.

    Unlike other physical executions of blackface (such as by Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, Sarah Silverman on her own show, Rachel Dolezal, or the authors of AB to Jay-Z) that require physical alternations and usually a change in demeanor (like Iggy Azalea’s “blaccent”), digital blackface is in some ways a more seamless transformation. Digital blackface uses the relative anonymity of online identity to embody blackness. In the case of Mandi Harrington, a white woman who masqueraded as the fictional “LaQueeta Jones,” digital blackface became a means for her to defend musician Ani DiFranco’s decision to host a retreat at a slave plantation. Digital minstrels often operate under stolen profile pictures and butchered AAVE. Quite often it comes in the form of an excessive use of reaction GIFs with images of black people.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that white and nonblack people refrain from ever circulating a black person’s image for amusement or otherwise (except maybe lynching photos, Emmett Till’s casket, and videos of cops killing us, y’all can stop cycling those, thanks). There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away. But no digital behavior exists in a deracialized vacuum. We all need to be cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from “real life.” The Internet isn’t a fantasy — it’s real life.

    http://www.teenvogue.com/story/digital-blackface-reaction-gifs

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    • Replies: @Laugh Track

    There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away.
     
    That's rich, after the writer spent the whole article being proscriptive and trying to take further GIFs away in advance.

    Ultimately, black people and black images are thus relied upon to perform a huge amount of emotional labor online on behalf of nonblack users. We are your sass, your nonchalance, your fury, your delight, your annoyance, your happy dance, your diva, your shade, your “yaas” moments. The weight of reaction GIFing, period, rests on our shoulders.
     
    Good to see that Lauren Michele Jackson is getting some mileage out of her college degree. Too bad its being employed to funnel drivel to impressionable teens - under the Vogue trademark, no less.
    You can't make this stuff up.
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  155. I’d vote for the one-hit wonders, The Flying Lizards – a 6′ blonde, rapping in Received Pronunciation.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There is a thin line between rapping and not being able to sing. Which side was Rex Harrison on in My Fair Lady?
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  156. Leave it to the musically illiterate to think that “prog rock” was “wildly technical”.

    Anything not built around a 1-4-5 progression is just too deep for some.

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  157. Whitest music by far is the jam stuff of the Grateful Dead and later Phish. The Dead at least have some decent songs, Phish is horrible in every way.You cannot get away from either on liberal college campuses. Leftists would never consider their own soundtrack too white, but doubt you are going to find any minority people at a Dead and Co or Phish show except working in the arena

    In fairness to the Dead, at some point they obviously got way too into drugs and the audience followed suit. Unless you are Keith Richards, that lifestyle ends one way only. And when everyone is whacked out of their mind, then a 28-minute version of “Uncle John’s Band”(a good song, among many) probably seems wonderful. Sad really that nothing nor nobody ever pulled Jerry Garcia and the various other Dead members who’s drug use led to their demises.

    And to poormouth the Ramones in any way is crap. There is nothing so different form the above; 2 minutes and 30 seconds of angry teenage boy thrash. Would imagine now their catalogue and merchandise makes their estates the serious money that eluded them in their lifetimes.

    Either way, having seen a lot of these bands in their primes(Yes, Rush, etc) mostly white faces. But no different from the crowds of U2 or Smashing Pumpkins or pretty much any rock act you could imagine. Core issue is leftist goodwhites don’t like being around badwhites either way.

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    • Replies: @Ripple Earthdevil
    What are you smoking? The Grateful Dead were majorly influenced by blues and R&B, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was one of the greatest white bluesmen ever. They also never played a 28-minute version of Uncle John's Band. 28-minute versions of Dark Star, well, yes, and for the most part were no joke. Their long improvisation obviously owes much to jazz with the more intense parts not dissimilar to the avant-garde jazz of the later John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, or Sun Ra, and they were pretty explicit about their admiration of John Coltrane. Actually, Bob Weir cites McCoy Tyner as an influence on his rhythm guitar playing

    Phish less so, with more prog influence, but it's still very much there and some of their covers and originals are outright blues. And horrible as you may think they are, they just finished their 12th out of 13 shows at Madison Square Garden and have not repeated a single song.
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  158. Genesis in the 70′s, when Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett (Phil Collins on drums) were in the band, were about as Progressive and White as it gets, with the stereotypical long, classical-influenced instrumental sections in their songs, including the 23 minute “Supper’s Ready.”

    Interesting that later on, Phil Collins incorporated R & B into the band and especially into his solo work, by bringing in the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section. Some of Peter Gabriel’s solo work, like “Sledgehammer” also was heavy on the funky R & B style.

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  159. @Dave Pinsen
    Re Prog Rock: Isn't Rush considered that too? They've been packing stadiums for 4o years.

    As for punk being the whitest popular genre, wouldn't that be true of pretty much all the post-punk, alt-rock of the 1980s? The Smiths, The Cure, The Cult, etc.? Not a whole lot of black influence there either.

    Flashing forward to today, there are new competitors for whitest. Whatever genre Chvrches is -- indie synth pop or whatever -- is pretty white.
    https://youtu.be/upuIZ2rfOoY

    The Cult had some blues influence, albeit by way of 1960s/70s rock. They don’t really belong being grouped with the Smiths and Cure, either. Both the Smiths and Cure had almost no black influence.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    That's a fair point about the Cult, though their lead guitarist came out of the whole Manchester post-punk scene (he's the one who encouraged Morrissey to sing).

    Somewhat relatedly, they also blocked me for calling out Ian Astbury for kowtowing to Black Lives Matter a couple of years ago (he had said "All Lives Matter" in response to someone yelling "Black Lives Matter" at a festival or something in Canada, and then folded like a beach chair when BLM rapped his knuckles about it).
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  160. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "Actually, “the whitest music ever” of the later 20th Century was punk rock. Johnny Ramone explained his style as “pure, white rock ‘n’ roll, with no blues influence.”"

    Heavy Metal is pretty white, although that wasn't always the case. Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Deep Purple, widely considered as the inventors of Heavy Metal, were heavily blues influenced. Judas Priest, who followed shortly after, were the first Metal band to completely strip away the blues element. Most of the more modern Metal acts have tended to follow the Priest model.

    As for Punk, the subgenre known as Hardcore (that originated in Washington DC of all places) was more or less founded by Bad Brains, an all-black group.

    Rainbow as well as Priest.

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  161. I’ll throw out a few:

    1.)Creed: not only Christian influenced, but they wrote a song against affirmative action.
    2.)Classical: they need to counterpoint it with Jazz on public radio. Know a guy in an orchestra, he asked for solo suggestions on Facebook, and one woman suggested he not do anything by old white men. Such naked hostility is always a big tell.
    3.)anything nationalistic: “Land of Hope and Glory”, “There will always be an England”, “The Minstrel Boy”, “Kelly, the Boy from Killane”, “A Soldier’s Song.”

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  162. @Jean Ralphio
    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she'd ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they're big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn't country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we're constantly told how the music business is in decline. It's hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90's and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don't like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

    Odd thing; being in some less economically successful parts of NYC, notice a lot of black teens wearing knockoff t-shirts for GNR, Iron Maiden,Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Metallica. And never saw any black faces of any of those shows back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Guess they like the imagery but doubt they even know any of the music spare that which gets played at sporting events.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I spent a couple of years in a black high school where there was one black girl who was into metal. She also had a blond white boyfriend.
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  163. The Who, Deep Purple, Yes, Hawkwind, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull.

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  164. Nomination for the Whitest Music Ever: The St. Matthew Passion by Johannes Sebastian Bach.

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  165. Putative elite vs. actual elite, in writing:

    Putative:

    the tune, which is the infinitely precious sound of the universe rhyming with one’s own brain.

    Actual:

    Punk is musically repetitive but fast, so it appeals to people who aren’t that good at music, but whose brains are set to a higher megahertz rating, which includes many critics.

    See also:

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Exactly.
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  166. I know we’re talking about pop music, but the whitest music has got to be Appalachian shaped-note singing. It’s sort of a folk vocal version of baroque. I’d describe it as mathematical, or mechanical.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yup, shaped-note singing. It's like Tuvan throat singing for white Americans in terms of how hard core it is.
    , @Kylie
    Sacred Harp. Love it.

    https://youtu.be/aRpV9H9ZpB0
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  167. @Mishima Zaibatsu
    Having gone through and played a bunch of other people's suggestions above, I now have absolute confidence in my first instincts here that this is the whitest music ever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414mrPgK5Yk

    Presented without description of the link's contents beyond what is written above,

    What would a NYT review of this look like?

    What would happen if a bunch of white men arrived at some racial grievance meeting at a university campus, completely silent and still other than playing this on a boombox type thing?

    Or ... imagine the same, except replace 'men' with 'pigtailed women wearing modest but pretty white dresses' and 'playing this on a boombox' with 'singing'. You could even add a couple of male drummers.

    Very interesting thought experiment.

    Sounds like Enya or the Cranberries.

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  168. Given that most actual, regular white people (in the states at any rate) have now lived in fairly close proximity with blacks and their culture for several centuries now, I don’t think it makes much sense to say that the “whitest” this or that is that which is most devoid of black influences.

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    • Replies: @guest
    I don't see what one thing has to do with the other. Maybe if the argument was about "to whom does rock music belong?" Then we could say whites have been creating and playing it for decades, and have made as many innovations as other groups. Or if someone were seeking to deny that jazz music was developed by blacks because they used instruments invented by white people and the European tonal system.

    But the argument here is specifically about that which you seek to deny. For what else could it mean to be more white than to be less associated with other races? And how can you exclude the origins of the musical style from such a discussion? What else would you be left with to distinguish? And we can distinguished on that basis, because it's not as if black/white interaction has clouded our view of musical origins, which are lost in the mists of time. Perhaps in the sub-sub-subgenres of rock, but not overall.

    What alternative method would you use, excluding devoidedness of influence? Really all you're left with is artist/audience identification. Which is fraught with error and prone to change. What black people think of as black, or white people as white, is not only factually mistaken in most cases; it's enslaved to fashion. And fashion is fickle.

    Take contemporary jazz (please). It's all but dead as a popular artform, but there are still artists and acolytes. These days, they're stereotypically white nerds/hipsters. Though they're prideful of past achievements, black audiences aren't much moved by modern-day jazz. No one's going to confuse jazz for a white artform, however, because its history is too well-known.

    What isn't as well-known? Punk is heavily associated with white people, but as many posters have pointed out many of its pioneers were black. People have forgotten that, and that only happened a few decades ago. Much bigger historical confusion surrounds country music. Is there anything more stereotypically white? Black people are supposed to hate it, if they're not Charley Pride, Hootie, or Don Cheadle in Boogie Nights. But it's hard to overstate how country music is simply the blues, plus bluegrass and Western music.

    Black people like the blues and hate country, why? Lotsa white people love country and never listen to the blues, why? The differences are superficial. Superficial differences can be inflated over time. Mass media has a lot to do with it. The banjo, I think, is mostly associated with white people these days, perhaps thanks to Deliverance. But it's an African instrument, and was all over black music in bygone days. More persuasively, listen to blues (black country) and country (white blues) in the early years of recording, before the record companies arbitrarily separated it for white and black audiences. Jimmy Rodgers , the Singing Brakeman, sounds totally black. Mississippi John Hurt sounds like a typical country singer. I kid you not.

    So why do black fans of blues pretend not to like country, or white country fans pretend not to like the blues? They don't pretend, really. The thing is, they're being superficial, as humans tend to be. They're drawing fine distinctions, distinctions that could blow away with the wind tomorrow if what's cool changes. It's like that episode of South Park about the difference between goths and emos.

    Identification is not a firm basis for telling what's more or less this race or that. Actual origins are much stronger. Hard to tell, I know, when popular music has become so commodified. But it used to mean a little more to the folk, which is what the previous generation tried to get across with the term "folk music," though they often enough made fools of themselves, failing to see how much of what they vaunted as rootsy was simply the pop music of a previous time.
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  169. @Jean Ralphio
    I was gonna say Iron Maiden are the whitest band ever but they have quite a few Hispanic fans. That being said, I saw Maiden in concert in Dallas about a month ago and the crowd, a near sellout of 13,000 at American Airlines Arena, was easily 80% white. My girlfriend commented that it was the most well behaved concert she'd ever been to. Maiden have said many times that they're big prog rock fans and that bands like Yes and Genesis were big influences on them. They have a lot of prog rock elements in their music.

    Isn't country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Rock is dead for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are way too many bands out there, which is ironic because we're constantly told how the music business is in decline. It's hard for new bands to get noticed. Another thing, rock music became political and super serious in the 90's and that trend got worse when Obama was elected. And girls don't like rock music, except for Dave Matthews, which is barely rock anyway.

    Isn’t country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?

    Nope. The darkest shade of redneck is black.

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Rednecks-Liberals-Thomas-Sowell/dp/1594031436

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    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Tom Sowell`s “Black Redneck” Theory—Ingenious, But Insufficient

    Even more damaging to Sowell`s hypothesis, the Scotch-Irish tended to stay away from the blacks. They went to the highlands, both because disease was less of a problem for Europeans in the cooler uplands than in the lowland South, and because they disliked having to compete with slave labor.

    Today, the state with the least educated whites is the prototypical hillbilly state of West Virginia, which had so few slave-owners that it seceded from Confederate Virginia and joined the Union during the Civil War.

    Other heavily Scotch-Irish states like Tennessee and Oklahoma have limited black populations, too.

    Slaves tended to be owned mostly by big slave-owners on the tobacco and cotton plantations of the Southern lowlands. The planters were often descended from the second sons of minor aristocrats in southern England—just as poor whites in the lowland South often originated among the servant and farm worker classes of southern England.

    African-Americans may have assimilated more of the lowland Southern quasi-aristocratic prejudices, such as for grandiloquent multi-syllabic words (e.g., Jesse Jackson`s style of speaking) and against manufacturing and shop keeping, than they inherited Scotch-Irish populism.

    Consider Liberia. Freed slaves who were sent to Liberia reproduced the Southern lowland social structure—with themselves as the slave-owning aristocrats and the native blacks as the slaves.
     

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  170. @Brutusale
    For a girl maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTgKRCXybSM

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's side project.

    And THIS is bass playing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72KdQKwxWyk

    As is this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj5nXTijf_A

    You want to play prog, you'd best have the chops. The guys in Rush have had the chops since Day 1.

    THAT is bass playing?

    You sure don’t get out much.

    Geddy Lee’s playing = redneck Zionist noise.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Tony Levin?
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  171. @Dave Pinsen
    If you're just listening to the radio in the U.S., you're missing a lot of fun music. Go to YouTube, search for "Triple J Like A Version" or "BBC Radio One Live" and you'll find bands like this one from Australia:

    https://youtu.be/ultX5ZR-sQE

    Love it.

    See also:

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  172. @PiltdownMan
    Hawkwind and Kraftwerk would be my top candidates, though, admittedly, Kraftwerk's kraut rock isn't prog rock. But rock doesn't get any whiter than German kraut rock or English prog/space rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGPv9hngk4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-G28iyPtz0

    Kraftwerk has been cited by a lot of hip-hop artists as a big influence.

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  173. @anon
    Even the 2 black back-up singers can’t dance either (see 02:15 in).

    Ironically, David Bowie tried dancing like possessed Africans in "Once In A Lifetime". Still pretty white, though.

    I think, as a major popular artist, David Bowie was probably the whitest for most of his career. I mean, they even called him "The Thin White Duke" for awhile.

    And he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk!

    https://youtu.be/4LWiqTEwIJM

    That was David Byrne who fronted the Talking Heads who did Once in a Lifetime.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Yeah, I realized that after I hit "Publish Comment". I meant David Byrne, but I was thinking about what I was getting ready to say about David Bowie. Carelessness, you see.
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  174. @passive-aggressive
    it's death and black metal, but ancient critics are too old and far gone to get it.

    Whitish but not white Mexicans and Brazilians love metal. They have their own bands and closely follow European groups.

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    • Replies: @Hare Krishna
    British hard rock band Status Quo were one hit wonders in America but in Mexico were huge and sold out stadiums.
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  175. I started off agreeing about The Alan Parsons Project, but then I heard this funky little number as I reminisced:

    Hard to imagine ‘Yes’ ever did anything like that, but I could be wrong.

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  176. @Baked Georgia
    pitchfork, the music website, has it's own festival, every year, in chicago. as you can see from videos, it's more than white than a republican conference in alabama. liberals love music festival (they rave about corbyn in glastonbury), which are among the least "diverse" entertainment today

    My impression of the Pitchfork music festival line-ups are that they are at least one-quarter black, at least among the headliners. Over the past two or three years, their on-line album reviews have skewed heavily toward hip-hop. All the major genres — rock, hip-hop, club/techno/EDM, country, R&B — are old. Hip-hop was the last totally new, totally original, major genre, and its almost forty years old.

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  177. @AngloBerserkerJew
    Jethro Tull: A Passion Play. Probably the whitest LP of the prog-rock era. Actually, once you get beyond the first couple of albums, you could make an argument for Tull being the whitest music of the 70's, what with their synthesis of indigenous British Isles music, medieval/Renaissance music, classical music, and growling fuzz-box enhanced Les Paul guitar.
    In general, much of prog rock was pretentious and over-reaching, but at least those bands had imagination and intelligence, not to mention a willingness to take risks.

    I would agree. Jethro Tull went in a very celtic, pagan sort of direction with their music (not unlike Fleetwood Mac). Consider this, from 1982:

    Broadsword

    Then of course there is that whole jazz-flute thing they had.

    Admittedly, they probably weren’t that influential, especially not after the early 70s.

    Supertramp was also very white. They are the only group I know of that used a clarinet. They even included Klezmer sounds in one song.

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  178. Politics and Prog Rock with Dave Weigel of the Washington Post

    Asked at the end of a video interview what his favorite band and favorite song are, Dave Weigel answers:

    King Crimson – Starless

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  179. A case could be made for the supreme whiteness of Black Sabbath. More than Zep, they are the proto-metal band because they finally stripped blackness (e.g., the blues and R&B) from heavy rock music. It’s no surprise that more metal bands sound like Sabbath than they do Zep.

    As far as punk goes, most of those early bands — including (barely) the Ramones — had varying amounts of blackness in their music. The Clash, The Jam, and even the Talking Heads had at least some blackness. It was hardcore that finally did us the favor of removing it from the genre.

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  180. @Gunnar von Cowtown
    Oddly enough, I can remember hearing an NPR spot on Yes in the early 2000s (some anniversary of something or other) where some black guy was talking about what a huge Yes fan he was. He elaborated by saying that when Yes came to town he and all his black friends would buy up a row or two of whatever venue they were playing. He called them "the funkiest bunch of white boys" he'd ever heard. He underscored this by playing the breakdown from "Owner of a Lonely Heart".

    I remember thinking only NPR would feature a black guy talking about prog rock.

    Prog-Rock’s Return: The Lasting Appeal of Yes
    June 2, 2004·12:00 AM ET
    Heard on All Things Considered

    The U.K. progressive rock band Yes is celebrating 35 years together. Members have come and gone and come again, but the band has a signature sound, full of time changes, electronic keyboards and a tight mix of guitar bass and drums. Music writer Tom Terrell says the white band from Britain had a strange attraction for black kids — like him — from New Jersey.

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    • Replies: @Gunnar von Cowtown
    Yup. That's the one.
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  181. @Lot
    Whitish but not white Mexicans and Brazilians love metal. They have their own bands and closely follow European groups.

    British hard rock band Status Quo were one hit wonders in America but in Mexico were huge and sold out stadiums.

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  182. Perhaps some place, in an obscure academic journal, you can find popular music criticism which is not reducible to the reviewer peacocking about and talking trash.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    Alan W. Pollack's Notes on ... [The Beatles] series of articles is interesting if you enjoy actual musical analysis instead of the usual "they sound like the Jefferson Airplane" kind of … whatever that is … it's not really criticism. Here's part of AWP's look at "Norwegian Wood":

    Section-by-Section Walkthrough

    Intro
    Next note The intro is sixteen measures long and consists of a verse-like two-fold presentation of the hook phrase; the first, for solo acoustic guitar followed by the entrance of the sitar (which then carries the melody) and bass guitar.

    Verse
    Next note All the verses follow the pattern set up in the intro with John carrying the tune, the guitar stepping back into a role of rhythmic support, and the sitar occasionally providing a mockingbird reprise of the hook's ending as a rejoinder (e.g. the first verse and the first half of the final verse).

    Bridge
    Next note The bridge is also sixteen measures long and though we finally feel the release of some harmonic movement, the slowness of the harmonic rhythm helps maintain the measured mood established earlier:

    |e |- |- |- |A |- |- |- |
    i IV

    |e |- |- |- |f# |- |B |- |
    i ii V

    [Figure 78.2]
    Next note The use of the Major IV chord in context of a minor key lends an antique, modal touch that resonates with the melodic flat seventh used in the verse hook. In context of the Beatles we're much more used to seeing the reverse trick of the minor iv chord in a Major key. In fact, the only other time we have seen this "Major IV in a minor key" gambit used in a Beatles' song was way back in George's "Don't Bother Me".

    Outro
    Next note The outro provides one repeat of the hook. Two repeats would have been more consistent with the established pattern of the rest of the song, but specifically breaking the rule at this point is what good art and composition are all about (in my humble opinion).
     
    More HERE. BTW Steve's analysis of the Ramones being divorced from the blues is all wet in my humble opinion; the keys, chords, times (4/4), and structures are all, especially in combination, from the blues.
    , @Mr. Anon

    Perhaps some place, in an obscure academic journal, you can find popular music criticism which is not reducible to the reviewer peacocking about and talking trash.
     
    Some place? Surely, you meant some "locus". Perhaps somewhere in some obscure locus of the internet there is a comment by you that is worth reading and that somebody might give a damn about.

    But probably not.
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  183. @Clifford Brown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6FBfAQ-NDE

    Vince Clarke just pisses out hits. Yaz and then Erasure, guy is amazing.

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  184. A concise version of this piece in the The Atlantic would consist of a line drawing of Parker’s upraised middle finger. This whole genre of journalism is meretricious. Parker himself is, of course, a British import.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    This whole genre of journalism is meretricious.
     
    How is it meretricious? Do you actually know what that word means, or did you just use it because it sounds high-falutin'?
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  185. @Mishima Zaibatsu
    Having gone through and played a bunch of other people's suggestions above, I now have absolute confidence in my first instincts here that this is the whitest music ever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414mrPgK5Yk

    Presented without description of the link's contents beyond what is written above,

    What would a NYT review of this look like?

    What would happen if a bunch of white men arrived at some racial grievance meeting at a university campus, completely silent and still other than playing this on a boombox type thing?

    Or ... imagine the same, except replace 'men' with 'pigtailed women wearing modest but pretty white dresses' and 'playing this on a boombox' with 'singing'. You could even add a couple of male drummers.

    Very interesting thought experiment.

    In a similar vein, here is “The Gael”, from The Last of the Mohicans.

    (Just the song)

    https://vimeo.com/28989315 (The song with the accompanying video from the last scene of the movie)

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  186. @Mishima Zaibatsu
    Having gone through and played a bunch of other people's suggestions above, I now have absolute confidence in my first instincts here that this is the whitest music ever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414mrPgK5Yk

    Presented without description of the link's contents beyond what is written above,

    What would a NYT review of this look like?

    What would happen if a bunch of white men arrived at some racial grievance meeting at a university campus, completely silent and still other than playing this on a boombox type thing?

    Or ... imagine the same, except replace 'men' with 'pigtailed women wearing modest but pretty white dresses' and 'playing this on a boombox' with 'singing'. You could even add a couple of male drummers.

    Very interesting thought experiment.

    I’ve read somewhere (can’t remember where) that rap is actually an expression of hostility to whites and white culture. It’s a way to figuratively mark one’s own territory and piss on that of the dominant U.S. Culture.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    You could probably say that about a number of musical genres -- they start as ways to piss of the squares like your parents.
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  187. anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Art Deco
    Perhaps some place, in an obscure academic journal, you can find popular music criticism which is not reducible to the reviewer peacocking about and talking trash.

    Alan W. Pollack’s Notes on … [The Beatles] series of articles is interesting if you enjoy actual musical analysis instead of the usual “they sound like the Jefferson Airplane” kind of … whatever that is … it’s not really criticism. Here’s part of AWP’s look at “Norwegian Wood”:

    Section-by-Section Walkthrough

    Intro
    Next note The intro is sixteen measures long and consists of a verse-like two-fold presentation of the hook phrase; the first, for solo acoustic guitar followed by the entrance of the sitar (which then carries the melody) and bass guitar.

    Verse
    Next note All the verses follow the pattern set up in the intro with John carrying the tune, the guitar stepping back into a role of rhythmic support, and the sitar occasionally providing a mockingbird reprise of the hook’s ending as a rejoinder (e.g. the first verse and the first half of the final verse).

    Bridge
    Next note The bridge is also sixteen measures long and though we finally feel the release of some harmonic movement, the slowness of the harmonic rhythm helps maintain the measured mood established earlier:

    |e |- |- |- |A |- |- |- |
    i IV

    |e |- |- |- |f# |- |B |- |
    i ii V

    [Figure 78.2]
    Next note The use of the Major IV chord in context of a minor key lends an antique, modal touch that resonates with the melodic flat seventh used in the verse hook. In context of the Beatles we’re much more used to seeing the reverse trick of the minor iv chord in a Major key. In fact, the only other time we have seen this “Major IV in a minor key” gambit used in a Beatles’ song was way back in George’s “Don’t Bother Me”.

    Outro
    Next note The outro provides one repeat of the hook. Two repeats would have been more consistent with the established pattern of the rest of the song, but specifically breaking the rule at this point is what good art and composition are all about (in my humble opinion).

    More HERE. BTW Steve’s analysis of the Ramones being divorced from the blues is all wet in my humble opinion; the keys, chords, times (4/4), and structures are all, especially in combination, from the blues.

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  188. No, Steve, that was not actually Boris Karloff himself serenading us, during the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Pickett

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    Wasn't Brian Wilson in the the Crypt-Kickers for the 5 and a West Coast Tour? He was in charge of "lab sounds" I think.
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  189. @Baked Georgia
    pitchfork, the music website, has it's own festival, every year, in chicago. as you can see from videos, it's more than white than a republican conference in alabama. liberals love music festival (they rave about corbyn in glastonbury), which are among the least "diverse" entertainment today

    San Francisco has the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concerts which are completely white or Asian (who are basically white for this exercise). It is actually an interesting contrast with SF’s Opera in the Park which attracts a reasonable number of (older) blacks.
    On a side note, I had an intern who was really into metal. I asked him if he listened to Classical. He said “Classical music is boring.” I then gave him Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony and told him that this music was called many things but never boring. He really liked it and now is a fan of much 20th century classical music

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  190. @D. K.
    No, Steve, that was not actually Boris Karloff himself serenading us, during the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Pickett

    Wasn’t Brian Wilson in the the Crypt-Kickers for the 5 and a West Coast Tour? He was in charge of “lab sounds” I think.

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    • Replies: @D. K.
    If so, that would explain the second cover version of the song, as currently listed at Wikipedia.org:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_Mash#Cover_versions

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  191. Pretty well any Canadian rock band that you know. Obligatory Canadian flags, national and provincial, in this clip.

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  192. @wren
    I always thought it was Bob Fosse who taught Michael Jackson to dance.

    https://youtu.be/QUlEBhGgEe0

    That is from 1974. (Minus the music of course.) The moonwalk shows up near the end.

    “I always thought it was Bob Fosse who taught Michael Jackson to dance.”

    I think you’re right.

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  193. Beethoven!

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  194. @Desiderius

    Isn’t country the whitest music ever, I mean before country singers started rapping in their songs?
     
    Nope. The darkest shade of redneck is black.

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Rednecks-Liberals-Thomas-Sowell/dp/1594031436

    Tom Sowell`s “Black Redneck” Theory—Ingenious, But Insufficient

    [MORE]

    Even more damaging to Sowell`s hypothesis, the Scotch-Irish tended to stay away from the blacks. They went to the highlands, both because disease was less of a problem for Europeans in the cooler uplands than in the lowland South, and because they disliked having to compete with slave labor.

    Today, the state with the least educated whites is the prototypical hillbilly state of West Virginia, which had so few slave-owners that it seceded from Confederate Virginia and joined the Union during the Civil War.

    Other heavily Scotch-Irish states like Tennessee and Oklahoma have limited black populations, too.

    Slaves tended to be owned mostly by big slave-owners on the tobacco and cotton plantations of the Southern lowlands. The planters were often descended from the second sons of minor aristocrats in southern England—just as poor whites in the lowland South often originated among the servant and farm worker classes of southern England.

    African-Americans may have assimilated more of the lowland Southern quasi-aristocratic prejudices, such as for grandiloquent multi-syllabic words (e.g., Jesse Jackson`s style of speaking) and against manufacturing and shop keeping, than they inherited Scotch-Irish populism.

    Consider Liberia. Freed slaves who were sent to Liberia reproduced the Southern lowland social structure—with themselves as the slave-owning aristocrats and the native blacks as the slaves.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Fair enough.

    I still see more similarities between blacks I've known (mostly in Georgia, now on the west side of Cincinnati) and my people from West Virginia/Ohio than between either and your average SWPL, for instance.
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  195. “Presumably, prog rock fans tended to have more musical intelligence and thus got bored faster. Punk rock fans tend to have more verbal than musical intelligence.”

    Certainly the appeal of groups like Yes and ELP to prog rock fans is the musical complexity arising from elaborate orchestrstion, multiple melodies forged together to create harmonies, and meter diversity. Like classical music, prog rock requires a great deal of talent and skill to write, perform, and appreciate.

    Punk rock isn’t music so much as a tantrum on stage with shoddy gear purchased at a pawnshop. It’s more a style of rendition rather than a genre, as demonstrated by the Dickies who excelled at turning bubblegum pop tunes into punk standards. The spectacle of punk music is a lot like watching Beavis transforming into the Great Cornholio: a great sight gag but tiresome after a while.

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    • Replies: @jimmyriddle
    Prog tended toward ludicrous subject matter - LOTR and aliens and suchlike bollocks.

    Listen to a couple of Jam tracks: "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" and "That's Entertainment". It's just better and more honest music.

    Admittedly, The Jam weren't really a punk band; they were more Pub Rock, which was an offshoot.
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  196. OT: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/us/politics/2020-campaign-president-trump-cotton-sasse-pence.html?_r=0&referer=

    Kasich and Kristol will never give up. I could see this helping Trump as it would give voters a fresh reminder why they rejected Kristol and the neocon candidates he supported in the first place.

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  197. Whitest music ever? In the popular realm, Pink Floyd, without a doubt.

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  198. @PiltdownMan
    Hawkwind and Kraftwerk would be my top candidates, though, admittedly, Kraftwerk's kraut rock isn't prog rock. But rock doesn't get any whiter than German kraut rock or English prog/space rock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGPv9hngk4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-G28iyPtz0

    In my mind Trio outwhites Kraftwerk.

    I had this LP back in the eighties.

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  199. @guest
    The unspoken modifier in the phrase "whitest music ever" above is "rock." If you're talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone's "no blues influence" is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it's all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin--minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka--those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There's also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, "Yipee-ti-yi-yay..."

    There's also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you're impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, "world music" or New Age, etc.

    Then there is also a lot of southern european “white” music. A shame it is not better known in the US.

    Joaquin Sabina – 19 Dias Y 500 Noches (Video Oficial)

    And then, “black” music has many more styles than one usually talks about.

    BEBO VALDES Y CIGALA ( Lagrimas negras ).mp4

    Cuba Feliz – Lagrimas Negras (Lyric added)

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  200. The Washington Post’s David Weigel Makes a Case for Prog As Rock’s Greatest Rebellion

    At the risk of generalizing, why is the audience for prog almost all older white guys?

    That kind of audience homogeneity is unfortunately common to multiple strains of popular music. I think when progressive rock broke boundaries, it tended it go in European or synthetic directions. Occasionally there were bands like Jade Warrior that, in a kind of Orientalist way, tried to bring in Eastern sounds but … what I’m trying to say is that progressive rock was never very soulful. In the book I quote somebody describing [King Crimson bandleader] Robert Fripp as the whitest guy ever, and I think that’s basically accurate. When I go to a show, it’s mostly white faces and they mostly belong to people older than me. At the same time, progressive rock is very popular in Latin America and Japan, so it’s hard to say. I guess the homogeneity you’re talking about is partly due to the nature of the music and partly due to who the music is marketed to.

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  201. @Desiderius
    Putative elite vs. actual elite, in writing:

    Putative:

    the tune, which is the infinitely precious sound of the universe rhyming with one’s own brain.
     
    Actual:

    Punk is musically repetitive but fast, so it appeals to people who aren’t that good at music, but whose brains are set to a higher megahertz rating, which includes many critics.
     
    See also:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68SgQLKnlYM

    Exactly.

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  202. @Art Deco
    A concise version of this piece in the The Atlantic would consist of a line drawing of Parker's upraised middle finger. This whole genre of journalism is meretricious. Parker himself is, of course, a British import.

    This whole genre of journalism is meretricious.

    How is it meretricious? Do you actually know what that word means, or did you just use it because it sounds high-falutin’?

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  203. @Art Deco
    Perhaps some place, in an obscure academic journal, you can find popular music criticism which is not reducible to the reviewer peacocking about and talking trash.

    Perhaps some place, in an obscure academic journal, you can find popular music criticism which is not reducible to the reviewer peacocking about and talking trash.

    Some place? Surely, you meant some “locus”. Perhaps somewhere in some obscure locus of the internet there is a comment by you that is worth reading and that somebody might give a damn about.

    But probably not.

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  204. more musical intelligence and thus got bored faster

    Or are at different of point on the scale of Williams syndrome

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/31/540553819/country-music-and-brain-research-come-together-at-nashville-summer-camp

    People with the condition are often known for their outgoing personalities and their profound love of music.

    “I listen to country music every day, because when I listen to it, there’s a smile that I can’t take off of me,”

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/04/12/williams-syndrome-children-show-no-racial-stereotypes-or-social-fear/#.WYYSJq2ZPMU

    People with Williams syndrome are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. They are incredibly sociable, almost unnervingly so, and they approach strangers with the openness that most people reserve for close friends.

    Typically, children start overtly gravitating towards their own ethnic groups from the tender age of three. Groups of people from all over the globe and all sorts of cultures show these biases. Even autistic children, who can have severe difficulties with social relationships, show signs of racial stereotypes. But Santos says that the Williams syndrome kids are the first group of humans devoid of such racial bias, although, as we’ll see, not everyone agrees.

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  205. @Fun
    Rap clearly does have longevity. It's just much younger than rock. In the early 80s, it was still considered a novelty. Rappers who came up in the 90s, such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, the late Tupac Shakur etc. have been big for decades at this point, and are well known to anyone under 40.

    I mentioned the early ’80s and you’re giving me counter examples from the ’90s. A rapper from one of the most prominent acts of the early ’80s was working as a handyman. That would be like John Cougar working as a handyman now.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Williams
    Any given rapper and John Cougar are obviously go to manage their money (and careers, lives, etc.) differently. It says nothing about the genre or its staying power.

    For the obvious reason, of course.
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  206. @Anonymous
    Or what about The Who at their best with 'Baba O'Riley' or 'Won't Get Fooled Again'?

    The Who’s early slogan was “Maximum R&B”, and they did some incendiary covers of black artists such as Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjpkYoYKDzE) and Otis Blackwell’s “Daddy Rolling Stone” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydmPmyVSaC4). And that influence was all over their first album, and was part of why they became the favorite band of the Mod scene.

    But yeah, I suspect that black appreciation of the later works such as Who’s Next and Quadrophenia is pretty small. On the other hand, the performance that brought down the house at the post-9/11 “Concert for Heros” in NYC was…the Who, playing “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

    Speaking of that song, here’s an “unplugged” version before unplugged was cool, live in 1979 from Pete Townshend and classical guitarist John Williams:

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    • Replies: @prole
    Thanks for the video..saw the Who last month in Atlantic City, Boardwalk Hall which seat 12,500....I did not notice a single black person....but later playing caps at nearby Bally''s Casino a black man appeared and he told the black croupier "I just got back from a concert with all white people".... I asked if he liked the show, he told me his friend had an extra ticket so he went for free and he did not know a single song , but thought it was decent for a bunch of old white guys.
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  207. wren (#31):

    Peter Parker (Spiderman) and the Ramones are both from Queens.

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  208. @Anonymous
    One of the 'whitest' bands ever were the 1970s British band 10cc.
    - deliberately including 1978's reggae satire 'Dreadlock Holiday', a comic retelling of ban actual Jamaican tourist mugging incident.

    One of the ‘whitest’ bands ever were the 1970s British band 10cc.

    Jethro Tull?

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  209. @Brutusale
    For a girl maybe. Then again, maybe not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTgKRCXybSM

    For the non-cognoscenti, A Perfect Circle is Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's side project.

    And THIS is bass playing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72KdQKwxWyk

    As is this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj5nXTijf_A

    You want to play prog, you'd best have the chops. The guys in Rush have had the chops since Day 1.

    You’ve got to include Phil Lesh of The Dead, if you are going to cover all the best bass players. I’m onboard with Geddy Lee, but I can’t judge your Judith song (as far as bass) on these cheesy-ass computer speakers – I don’t think anything below 200 Hz come out!

    Addendum: Also, Brutusale, sometime it’s not just the ability of the musician, but just the great riffs that make the music great – take John McVie’s bass line in Fleetwood Mac’s “Say you Love Me“. It’s not that hard or anything, but it makes the song (especially the slide each time around).

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Not name-checking bass players, as I'd have led off with John Entwistle, Chris Squire, Tony Levin, Les Claypool and Jack Bruce. Hey, maybe even Flea makes the top 20 list!

    I was just marking the difference between the apprentice Tina Weymouth, the accomplished journeywoman Paz Lenchantin (now singer/bassist for the Pixies) and the master Geddy Lee. Not many bassists do anything but pluck away at their axe, but Lee, as you can see in the videos I posted, is also singing and playing pedals in addition to his ripping bass line.
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  210. Jethro Tull and Yes were ultimate “white bands” (with an incredible musicianship to back it). This is even despite Rick Wakeman doing in his solo albums a lot of blues, that is by means of re-narrating Gershwin. Alan Parsons Project–anything prog (art) rock related containing “sympho” in it was ultimately white. Early Genesis. In general, mainly British prog with Styx popping up here and there together with Pavlov’s Dog;)

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  211. Nobody’s mentioned Lou Reed yet? Despite all of the NYC-streets grittiness of, say, “I’m Waiting for the Man”, Reed and the Velvets were about as white as it gets musically. And ain’t no black person going to be giving props to Metal Machine Music (aka Reed’s middle finger to RCA when he was trying to get out of his contract and go to Clive Davis and Arista).

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    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    and yet Lou Reed wanted to be black

    http://youtu.be/4ehoomjQjfI
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  212. Post-Punk and New Romantic/Synth Pop were even Whiter than Punk, but Hardcore was the fairest of them all. The Michigan band Negative Approach were exemplars of chucking anything remotely related to Rock and Roll’s R&B origins. There is a good argument to be made that Punk was Jewish.

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  213. @Desiderius
    Given that most actual, regular white people (in the states at any rate) have now lived in fairly close proximity with blacks and their culture for several centuries now, I don't think it makes much sense to say that the "whitest" this or that is that which is most devoid of black influences.

    I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other. Maybe if the argument was about “to whom does rock music belong?” Then we could say whites have been creating and playing it for decades, and have made as many innovations as other groups. Or if someone were seeking to deny that jazz music was developed by blacks because they used instruments invented by white people and the European tonal system.

    But the argument here is specifically about that which you seek to deny. For what else could it mean to be more white than to be less associated with other races? And how can you exclude the origins of the musical style from such a discussion? What else would you be left with to distinguish? And we can distinguished on that basis, because it’s not as if black/white interaction has clouded our view of musical origins, which are lost in the mists of time. Perhaps in the sub-sub-subgenres of rock, but not overall.

    What alternative method would you use, excluding devoidedness of influence? Really all you’re left with is artist/audience identification. Which is fraught with error and prone to change. What black people think of as black, or white people as white, is not only factually mistaken in most cases; it’s enslaved to fashion. And fashion is fickle.

    Take contemporary jazz (please). It’s all but dead as a popular artform, but there are still artists and acolytes. These days, they’re stereotypically white nerds/hipsters. Though they’re prideful of past achievements, black audiences aren’t much moved by modern-day jazz. No one’s going to confuse jazz for a white artform, however, because its history is too well-known.

    What isn’t as well-known? Punk is heavily associated with white people, but as many posters have pointed out many of its pioneers were black. People have forgotten that, and that only happened a few decades ago. Much bigger historical confusion surrounds country music. Is there anything more stereotypically white? Black people are supposed to hate it, if they’re not Charley Pride, Hootie, or Don Cheadle in Boogie Nights. But it’s hard to overstate how country music is simply the blues, plus bluegrass and Western music.

    Black people like the blues and hate country, why? Lotsa white people love country and never listen to the blues, why? The differences are superficial. Superficial differences can be inflated over time. Mass media has a lot to do with it. The banjo, I think, is mostly associated with white people these days, perhaps thanks to Deliverance. But it’s an African instrument, and was all over black music in bygone days. More persuasively, listen to blues (black country) and country (white blues) in the early years of recording, before the record companies arbitrarily separated it for white and black audiences. Jimmy Rodgers , the Singing Brakeman, sounds totally black. Mississippi John Hurt sounds like a typical country singer. I kid you not.

    So why do black fans of blues pretend not to like country, or white country fans pretend not to like the blues? They don’t pretend, really. The thing is, they’re being superficial, as humans tend to be. They’re drawing fine distinctions, distinctions that could blow away with the wind tomorrow if what’s cool changes. It’s like that episode of South Park about the difference between goths and emos.

    Identification is not a firm basis for telling what’s more or less this race or that. Actual origins are much stronger. Hard to tell, I know, when popular music has become so commodified. But it used to mean a little more to the folk, which is what the previous generation tried to get across with the term “folk music,” though they often enough made fools of themselves, failing to see how much of what they vaunted as rootsy was simply the pop music of a previous time.

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  214. @syonredux
    TEEN VOGUE is uber-WOKE:



    We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs

    If you’ve never heard of the term before, “digital blackface” is used to describe various types of minstrel performance that become available in cyberspace. Blackface minstrelsy is a theatrical tradition dating back to the early 19th century, in which performers “blacken” themselves up with costume and behaviors to act as black caricatures. The performances put society’s most racist sensibilities on display and in turn fed them back to audiences to intensify these feelings and disperse them across culture. Many of our most beloved entertainment genres owe at least part of themselves to the minstrel stage, including vaudeville, film, and cartoons. While often associated with Jim Crow–era racism, the tenets of minstrel performance remain alive today in television, movies, music and, in its most advanced iteration, on the Internet.
     

    Unlike other physical executions of blackface (such as by Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, Sarah Silverman on her own show, Rachel Dolezal, or the authors of AB to Jay-Z) that require physical alternations and usually a change in demeanor (like Iggy Azalea’s “blaccent”), digital blackface is in some ways a more seamless transformation. Digital blackface uses the relative anonymity of online identity to embody blackness. In the case of Mandi Harrington, a white woman who masqueraded as the fictional “LaQueeta Jones,” digital blackface became a means for her to defend musician Ani DiFranco’s decision to host a retreat at a slave plantation. Digital minstrels often operate under stolen profile pictures and butchered AAVE. Quite often it comes in the form of an excessive use of reaction GIFs with images of black people.
     

    Now, I'm not suggesting that white and nonblack people refrain from ever circulating a black person’s image for amusement or otherwise (except maybe lynching photos, Emmett Till’s casket, and videos of cops killing us, y’all can stop cycling those, thanks). There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away. But no digital behavior exists in a deracialized vacuum. We all need to be cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from “real life.” The Internet isn’t a fantasy — it’s real life.
     
    http://www.teenvogue.com/story/digital-blackface-reaction-gifs

    There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away.

    That’s rich, after the writer spent the whole article being proscriptive and trying to take further GIFs away in advance.

    Ultimately, black people and black images are thus relied upon to perform a huge amount of emotional labor online on behalf of nonblack users. We are your sass, your nonchalance, your fury, your delight, your annoyance, your happy dance, your diva, your shade, your “yaas” moments. The weight of reaction GIFing, period, rests on our shoulders.

    Good to see that Lauren Michele Jackson is getting some mileage out of her college degree. Too bad its being employed to funnel drivel to impressionable teens – under the Vogue trademark, no less.
    You can’t make this stuff up.

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  215. I nominate this one as the whitest rock-and-roll song of all time: “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Talking Heads
     
    King Crimson? Talking heads were totally derivative.
    , @oddsbodkins
    I nominate "Nights in White Satin" as the whitest song ever:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v3jJpGw_K2Y
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  216. FTW

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  217. @Achmed E. Newman
    I nominate The Alan Parsons Project. Even the name of the band projects whiteness, like "work" or something. Try requesting this on the colored radio station in the middle of the night as you're driving through Bakersfield.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBQalkIeE7s

    If this doesn't win, how bout Styx or Pink Floyd.

    >>If this doesn’t win, how bout Styx or Pink Floyd

    Pink Floyd’s music is deeply influenced by the blues. I never thought of Floyd as a prog band. They are more like The Who, stretching the blues into something that is quite different than traditional blues but with a core of familiarity.

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    • Agree: Kylie
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  218. Creedence Clearwater Revival were an uber white band that was deeply grounded in the blues, basic primitive blues and R&B. The only black fans of CCR were Ike and Tina Turner, who did a magnificent rendition of Proud Mary.

    I’ll bet you could walk from New York to LA and stop in every black town along the way and not find a single black CCR fan. Very odd when the influences of Chuck Berry, Motown, Stax/Volt, Little Richard are all over their music.

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  219. @Steve Johnson
    Beethoven.

    Fscking boomers always trying to elevate the music they grew up with

    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn’t it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve’s fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

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    • Agree: BB753
    • Replies: @Jean Ralphio
    Don't be ridiculous. The comments here aren't near as bad as Takimag. That being said, the people you're ridiculing are the ones who got Trump elected. What'd your generation ever do besides sit back and watch the decline you're whining about happen?
    , @Sam Haysom
    I'm confused are you suggesting that Taki mags problem is not enough self-obsessed decrepit relics.
    , @James Kabala
    Steve has always posted more about popular music than about classical music. Most of the things he says in this post have been themes of his for years. Rightly or wrongly, classical music is a subject he rarely brings up.
    , @Anonym
    Some of us younger folk were just being polite, or rather, enjoying the mental game of thinking of the music with the whitest fan base.
    , @Mr. Blank
    Don't be so pedantic. I think most folks here would clearly recognize that Western orchestral music is the ultimate in "white" music. Many commenters here are probably quite fond of it.

    Namechecking "prog rock" "punk" and the Ramones should have been a cue that this is a discussion specifically about post-World War II pop music styles. I doubt anybody here puts Geddy Lee in the same league with Bach.

    It's perfectly possible to cultivate an appreciation for lower art forms while also embracing higher ones. One can read both comic books and Proust and enjoy both on their own terms.
    , @Kylie
    "All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there."

    If you have excluded Schubert from this list, your opinion is so eccentric as to require no serious consideration.
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  220. @Luke Lea
    I nominate this one as the whitest rock-and-roll song of all time: "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1wg1DNHbNU

    Talking Heads

    King Crimson? Talking heads were totally derivative.

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  221. @Dave Pinsen
    I mentioned the early '80s and you're giving me counter examples from the '90s. A rapper from one of the most prominent acts of the early '80s was working as a handyman. That would be like John Cougar working as a handyman now.

    Any given rapper and John Cougar are obviously go to manage their money (and careers, lives, etc.) differently. It says nothing about the genre or its staying power.

    For the obvious reason, of course.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    That's true too, but my point was that people will still pay to see John Cougar play, even if it's in smaller venues. That's probably true of pretty much any rocker who was popular in the early '80s. Steve Perry doesn't play live much anymore, but if he wanted to, I bet he could sell out, say, the Beacon Theater in NYC.

    But Perry's probably making a living from royalties as his stuff still gets played on classic rock stations. Are there any classic rap stations on terrestrial radio?

    A couple of other, related problems rap has: 1) it's more about persona (usually one exhibiting ostentatious wealth). It's tough to carry that off on a career downslope playing small venues. 2) It relies on studio production to the extent that live rap can be disappointing. The big hip-hop station in NYC used to have an annual concert where fights would break out. I suspected that it was partly due to disappointment at the quality of the live rap.
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  222. @anonymous
    "Starship Trooper" from The Yes Album is hooky.

    You bet. Yes records were packed with hooks in those days. “Heart of the Sunrise” is another one.

    Rush’s hits were packed with hooks too. And Kansas’. They came along a bit late but if they don’t qualify, I’m not sure who would.

    King Crimson, maybe not quite so much. To be fair, when you talk about prog rock, you can’t leave out the more radical bands, and the ones that just haven’t stood up well over time.

    As good a way as any to answer Steve’s question would be to count noses in the comments. The whitest genre is the one with the most fans among Steve’s commenters.

    Personally I prefer Yes and Rush to the Ramones and the Clash. But if I had to pick a top five list, Joy Division’s “Closer” would edge out both “Close to the Edge” and “London Calling” for the top spot.

    Then again, JD were exceedingly white, and arguably the only successful merging of the two genres. PiL gave it a good try though.

    And New Order was surely the Steely Dan of the 80s. But that’s another discussion.

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  223. And this is an example of real American cultural brilliance!

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  224. Steve, you surely know that virtually all commercial popular music is noticeably influenced by American Negro musical styles and/or by the harmonies and instrumentations developed by the preponderently Jewish Hollywood and Broadway composers. The music of Prog Rock groups such as ELP are not at all counterexamples to this finding. I have heard these same non-White r-selected aesthetic influences even in post-Soviet era performances and recordings made by the ill-fated Alexandrov Ensemble, the official music and dance troupe of the Russian military, aka the Red Army Choir.

    Steve,”the whitest music ever” is Western classical music, most especially the music written by the composers working in the Austro-Germanic tradition. And in my personal judgment, the music that supremely instances the very highest aesthetic and spiritual characteristics of the White Race, is the music of Anton Bruckner. Steve, please listen, and then you will know. The Fifth, Eighth, and the unfinished Ninth Symphonies are Bruckner’s greatest achievements, but most people are probably better off starting with the somewhat less monumental Fourth or Seventh Symphonies. By way of an introduction, the most accessible (but authoritative) recorded performances are those conducted by Karajan and Jochum (Eugen, not Dwight). Eventually, you might seek out performances by Furtwaengler, Horenstein, Celibidache, and Takashi Asahina (honorary Aryan).

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    • Replies: @Busby
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rccTav52lAI
    , @Old Palo Altan
    Bruckner is the proper riposte to Mahler.
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  225. If you want white music. Go play “roll out the barrel” or “She’s too fat for me” polka or watch some Andre Rieu concerts.

    The Ramones? Almost no one knows them except hard core rock fanatics that are my age or older like Sailer. Though I can’t understand why Sailer blew off pre 20th century classical and European folk music.

    Still never understood death metal, punk or it’s variants. Most seem to lack any talent outside of screaming and banging on s**t. Vocals were a joke. All of them had real up tempos and sounded meaner than a jackhammer going full bore on Sunday morning after a hangover. I guess it is culinary equivalent of eating deep fried tarantulas – a acquired taste.

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    • Replies: @Njguy73

    The Ramones? Almost no one knows them except hard core rock fanatics that are my age or older like Sailer.
     
    Few people care about the Ramones, but pretty much anyone who does works in some media capacity, thus enhancing their legacy. What matters is having fans who write stuff.
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  226. @Old Palo Altan
    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn't it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve's fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

    Don’t be ridiculous. The comments here aren’t near as bad as Takimag. That being said, the people you’re ridiculing are the ones who got Trump elected. What’d your generation ever do besides sit back and watch the decline you’re whining about happen?

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  227. Sacred harp?

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  228. @Old Palo Altan
    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn't it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve's fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

    I’m confused are you suggesting that Taki mags problem is not enough self-obsessed decrepit relics.

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    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Thank you. Your remark makes any attempt on my part to prove my point superfluous.
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  229. Steve, I’ll read this entire thread to see if there are any intelligent comments about real (white) music (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Dvorak, Bruckner, Mahler, etc).

    But until then…

    Dream Theater
    Thu 10/26 @ 7pm
    The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA

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  230. @guest
    The unspoken modifier in the phrase "whitest music ever" above is "rock." If you're talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone's "no blues influence" is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it's all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin--minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka--those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There's also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, "Yipee-ti-yi-yay..."

    There's also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you're impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, "world music" or New Age, etc.

    If anything, the last 10 years of political change has taught me to question the dominant narrative. Even the foundational narrative about blacks in the Mississippi delta creating 12-bar blues and by extension, rock. Alan Lomax was the only recording source for the area, doing his work for the Smithsonian in the 30’s. He only sought, and found, black musicians in the delta like the Lead Bellys and Muddy Waters we’re familiar with today. Had he questioned the white subsistence farmers in the area he may have encountered folk music like the following:

    I’d have a hard time distinguishing between this 20’s era recording of Dock Boggs, a white man in rural Virginia, and Robert Johnson. It’s an offshoot of Appalachian banjo music, distinct from bluegrass or more celtic-derived forms. Discussions of Boggs claim him to have been influenced by blues, though he lived far from the delta and created music at the same time as the ‘genesis’ of mississippi blues. His singing style is similar to this appalachian recording:

    The official story attributes blues in the delta to tin pan alley’s influence, in urban New York no less, as though destitute black sharecroppers were travelling or receiving regular visitors. Even assuming relatives would visit, Scott Joplin’s ragtime piano was worlds apart from unaccompanied blues on guitar or banjo. Far more plausible and similar in musical style is the folk banjo played by neighboring whites.

    Likewise I question what has now become the official story about the origins of jazz. Marching band music, european in origin, preceded so-called traditional jazz – which is the same instrumentation made wilder in New Orleans style. Trad jazz was tamed for mass consumption in the 30’s and 40’s and not surprisingly, sounded like marching band music again (the “Big Band” era). Though blacks were involved in the transition of marching band to traditional jazz, so were whites – typically band groupings were mixed in New Orleans and Chicago. One of the great 20’s-era horn players and composers was Bix Beiderbecke, a young white man from Iowa.

    Not to write a tome, just to note that ‘black’ and ‘white’ music had significant overlap and influence upon each other. The common refrain that whites stole black musical achievement in the aggregate is anhistorical and unfair. The overlap of blues and folk – and jazz and marching band – is similar to the overlap between negro spirituals and hymns. Hymns, folk, and marching bands are the european antecedents.

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    • Replies: @guest
    I value your skepticism, and I admit that my comments on popular music are too sweeping. I'm no expert, and only know what I've been told. The overlaps are indeed greater than they lead us to believe.

    About marching bands, yes. They haven't been forgotten, but nowadays they're associated with sports and high school. Their meaning in everyday life was so much more profound, though, in the America of yesteryear. The Music Man, for instance, made so much more sense after I learned a bit about them. All those old movies with the crowds gathering around the gazebo in the park, guys riding giant unicycles and women with bustles and parasols, they're always going to hear a brass band.

    I got into that style of music years back when I asked myself, "Well, if blacks were busy developing the blues and jazz, what were white people doing? What did they listen to?" Minstrel music, of course. Various "ethnic" music. But what else? What was mainstream white music before jazz as we know it (the Swing era, basically) took over?

    Answer (or one of the answers, anyway): brass bands.
    , @James Kabala
    I think the smarter pop music historians have recognized this for some time. I saw a documentary many years ago that pointed out that Chuck Berry was actually very influenced by white performers. Berry himself was interviewed and cheerfully admitted to this. Ike Turner was also interviewed and denounced Berry in colorful language as too white. Turner was also no fan of bluesman Jimmy Reed but conceded that Reed was the outer limit of what blacks could accept as authentically black.
    , @Bill B.
    Interesting.

    There is a great swath of popular music, or classical for that matter, that is kryptonite to non-whites. Even music that is supposedly diversity derived. There are typically more blacks in the band than in an Adele audience. The camera desperately plays spot-the-black at a Paul McCartney concert, etc..

    I notice a tremendous tendency to attribute to non-white cultures skills and rituals that have been lost or forgotten in the smoothing and commodifying race to modernity.

    Could a black guy listen to more than 10 seconds of Fairport Convention?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1it7BP5PckI
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  231. @guest
    The unspoken modifier in the phrase "whitest music ever" above is "rock." If you're talking about the whitest rock and roll ever, sure,why not progressive or punk? But both derive ultimately from black delta music, along with most mainstream popular music since Stephen Foster. Some exceptions I shall name below.*

    Johnny Ramone's "no blues influence" is bunk. All rock and roll stems from blues. First came minstrelsy, which hit worldwide fame around the middle of the 19th century. From it eventually came the blues, which forked into different streams.

    There was what you might call the Country Blues, which spawned the blues as we know them as well as country music, not counting the aspects of country deriving from bluegrass and Western. Then there was the City Blues, which itself forked off into jazz, ragtime, boogie-woogie, and r&b.

    From r&b and the blues/country (which, again, are largely the same thing) comes rock and roll. The Ramones are undoubtedly rock and roll. To claim they have no blues influence is highly disingenuous.

    Now, back to the main topic. There are countless forms of white non-rock music, which are automatically more white than black-derived rock-based music. Listen to classical music before the 20th century, and it's all based on popular styles. All those dances with funny names you read in the music of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin--minuet, tarantella, galop, mazurka--those were all real dances that people danced to. Then there are the European popular/folk genres that people still listen to, like polka.

    The most dominant forms of white popular music in America are derived from English and Irish music. There's also aarge German influence, as you may imagine. The British Isles contribute heavily to one of two dominant native-grown genres: bluegrass. The other is Western music. You know, "Yipee-ti-yi-yay..."

    There's also the grab-bag we call World Music, which features a variety of white-type music along with the rest. New Age also features various kinds of white music.

    *If you're impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, "world music" or New Age, etc.

    The unspoken modifier in the phrase “whitest music ever” above is “rock.”

    Very true. “Music” and “rock” (or late 20th century pop music) were interchangeable terms for decades. It was always funny to see “Best Songs of All Time” rankings (no qualifiers) in music magazines that would include Stairway to Heaven or American Pie but usually nothing made before Elvis, let alone the recording industry. It was as if “all time” meant the last 50 years.

    *If you’re impatient: bluegrass, Western, other genres based on European popular/folk music, “world music” or New Age, etc.

    Bluegrass is actually pretty far from pure white music. I say this as a person who loved it for many years (still do.) It was rarely, if ever, played by blacks, but was somewhat influenced by black music. Pentatonic blues scales found their way into Bluegrass mandolin well before rock guitar, and the banjo itself had black origins. Generally, the syncopation in Bluegrass is never found in the traditional Celtic music that it was (in part) derived from. Some Irish people I know dislike Bluegrass because of the blues influence. Others like it.

    I do find the drum rhythms heard in Scottish pipe and drum bands interesting, though, because there’s a syncopation there that doesn’t seem to come from any black source. I could be wrong…I don’t really know much about it.

    I liked what you said in your other post about the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Phil Spector. I love all three of those sounds, but the studio engineering was the start of a whole new level of disconnect between musician and audience. Of course, the Beatles and Brian Wilson wrote great compositions, but the engineering was sort of a non-compositional element that couldn’t be recreated outside of the studio.

    Also, I think something negative happened with the recording industry itself; it started emphasizing performance over composition, as it allowed the energy of a performance to be captured, to some degree, on vinyl .

    The beginning of recorded music coincided roughly with the start of jazz, a musical form where instrumental or vocal virtuosity seemed to reign supreme, and composition – though clever at times – took sort of a back seat. Black music is essentially emotive at a base level, and therefore more performance oriented.

    And video made it worse. If the biggest pop-music acts of the 1980′s and later could’ve been seen by teenagers back in the 1960′s, they might have been perceived as too Las Vegas-y or something since these acts place so much emphasis on lights and costumes and dancing girls. When I see video clips of current pop music acts, I see (in some ways) the dismal logical conclusion of the recording industry: a visual spectacle of performance and not much in the way of composition. I know, I know, that isn’t always true, but I think it’s valid as a general rule.

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    • Replies: @guest
    "something negative happened with the recording industry itself; it started emphasizing performance over composition"

    True. I wonder if that was partly inevitable, as performance is what jumps out at you and sticks in your mind. The rest of it, being reproducible in cover versions, coming across on piano transcription, working consistently to get crowds up and moving at weddings and such, comes only after a record has hit or flopped.

    Prior to recording technology, naturally composition outlasted performance experience. The general public is only familiar with three names from American popular music before Edison: Foster, Joplin, and Sousa. That's it. All were composers.

    There were famous love performers, and live popular performing styles. Mostly they're lost to the public, unless you happen to study them. Or they exist in attenuated form in dances that have been passed down, for instance. I think this is partly why minstrel shows and "songsters" get such a bum rap. We can't hear or see them. We only see later versions, like in the Jazz Singer.
    , @Antonymous

    “Generally, the syncopation in Bluegrass is never found in the traditional Celtic music that it was (in part) derived from. Some Irish people I know dislike Bluegrass because of the blues influence. Others like it. I do find the drum rhythms heard in Scottish pipe and drum bands interesting, though, because there’s a syncopation there that doesn’t seem to come from any black source. I could be wrong…I don’t really know much about it.”
     
    I’d disagree that celtic music had no syncopation – look to the clog dancing of England and step dancing of Ireland for the back beat of celtic fiddle. Clog dancing was popular in Appalachia as well, and served as a syncopation source well away from blues or african rhythms.

    Per wikipedia:
    “Clog dancing developed into its most intricate form in the North of England, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham and the Lake District.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clog_dancing

    “Clogging is the official state dance of Kentucky and North Carolina and was the social dance in the Appalachian Mountains as early as the 18th century. American Clogging is associated with the predecessor to bluegrass—"old-time" music, which is based on English, and Scots-Irish fiddle tunes.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clogging

    An old bluegrass clogging video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2WywwxWbvY

    Traditional celtic fiddle with syncopation (modern composer)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjGgTMMnEtY&list=PLgccI5mnPZPyc1A2VKO2bTXDiW6lVZ-1D

    , @prole
    The pentatonic scale was used in Celtic , German, Hungarian and most other European folk music centuries before Blues was invented....

    To suggest that Blacks Americans invented Blues is absurd...Blues is 100% derived from European folk music
    , @prole
    The pentatonic scale was used in Celtic , German, Hungarian and most other European folk music centuries before Blues was invented....

    To suggest that Blacks Americans invented Blues is absurd...Blues is 100% derived from European folk music
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  232. White (meaning not blues-influenced) and hook-filled?

    I’d agree with the other two commenters who mentioned Talking Heads, but particularly “Slippery People”

    But also, Bebop Deluxe and example of which is their “Panic in the World”

    and Godley and Crème, the entire album “Ismism”.

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    At least I'm not the only Be Bop Deluxe fan on iSteve!
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  233. @Steve Johnson
    Beethoven.

    Fscking boomers always trying to elevate the music they grew up with

    Please leave the Boomers out of this. We grew up with Elvis, and Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino, and later Dylan, and Baez, and the British Invasion. These folks don’t appear to be the subject of this piece. There were also the Kingston Trio, the Everly Brothers, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Those were all pretty white, but they don’t appear to be the subject of this piece, either. Most of the Boomers that I know had graduated from current pop music by the time that the acts that Steve is talking about came along.

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    • Replies: @prole
    So true, my parents were boomers and would not know any prog rock bands, they had albums from the Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Animals and Early Rolling Stones..

    Yet me and my Gen-X classmates were very familiar with prog rock, they were still playing it on the rock stations in the 80's...
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  234. @Steve Sailer
    How old is the director?

    A lot of times, directors seem to put into the soundtrack whatever was big when they were 14.

    I read somewhere that age 14 music really sticks with people. Music nostalgia is huge. How many different formats do people buy of the same music?

    I have owned vinyl, cassette, cd and digital versions of the Clash’s Sandinista, for example.

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  235. Still not sure what is up with equating whiteness with flatness, lack of soul.
    Not what I feel when I hear Medieval Chant, the plaintive guitar in Spanish Baroque, American Country music, or Abba.

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    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    A three-quarters "amen" to your comment; a triple obeisance to your composer of choice.
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  236. @Steve Johnson
    Beethoven.

    Fscking boomers always trying to elevate the music they grew up with

    I‘m trying to understand your comment.

    The broad sweeping condemnation of Baby Boomers I understand by now since dimwit humans are always parroting some popular cliché, and looking for easy scapegoats.

    But your ignorance of the music my generation listened to as youth is remarkable, not that it was necessarily the same from one house to the next, for that matter, but have you ever heard of Big Band music? That formerly wildly popular genre was actually still alive, but dying out in the late 40s and early 50s, but soldiered on for many years after.

    Ever hear of Lawrence Welk, or Jackie Gleason? They were not contemporaries of Beethoven, you know.

    Anyway, for your edification, here are a few selected hits, according to Billboard, before Elvis. These are the kind of songs many first wave Baby Bloomers (’46-’51) heard in our early youth:

    –1949–
    1. Riders in the Sky, Vaughn Monrone
    2. That Lucky Old Sun, Frankie Laine
    24. Baby It’s Cold Outside, J. Mercer/M. Whiting

    –1950–
    1. Goodnight Irene, Weavers
    2. Mona Lisa, Nat King Cole
    3. Third Man Theme, Anton Karas
    9. Harbor Lights, Sammy Kaye
    18. Tennessee Waltz, Patti Page

    –1951–
    1. Too Young, Nat King Cole
    4. Come On-a My House, Rosemary Clooney
    6. On Top Of Old Smokey, Weavers

    –1952–
    1. Blue Tango, Leroy Anderson
    4. Half As Much, Rosemary Clooney
    15. Jambalaya, Jo Stafford
    21. Glow Worm, Mills Bros.
    24. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home, Johnny Ray

    –1953–
    1. Song From Moulin Rouge, Percy Faith
    2. Vaya Con Dios, Les Paul & Mary Ford
    9. Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes, Perry Como
    10. I Believe, Frankie Laine
    12. Ebb Tide, Frank Chaksfield
    22. Dragnet, Ray Anthony
    29. C’est Si Bon, Eartha Kitt

    –1954–
    1. Little Things Mean A Lot, Kitty Kalen
    3. Hey There, Rosemary Clooney
    4. Sh-Boom, Crewcuts
    6. Oh My Pa-Pa, Eddie Fisher
    8. Three Coins In A Fountain, Four Aces
    9. Secret Love, Doris Day
    10. Hernando’s Hideaway, Archie Bleyer
    11. Young At Heart, Frank Sinatra
    12. This Ol’ House, Rosemary Clooney
    19. Stranger In Paradise, Tony Bennett
    26. Shake, Rattle, And Roll, Bill Haley and His Comets

    –1955–
    1. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, Perez Prado
    2. Rock Around The Clock, Bill Haley and His Comets

    And the beat turned on.

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  237. This has to be the whitest rock-type music

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  238. My cousin was in an old DC punk band called Deadline. Now he plays even whiter music, ‘psychedelic drone noise’ or something.

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  239. @Old Palo Altan
    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn't it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve's fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

    Steve has always posted more about popular music than about classical music. Most of the things he says in this post have been themes of his for years. Rightly or wrongly, classical music is a subject he rarely brings up.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    He's a fan, nay, a booster, of the Pacific Opera Project.
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  240. @joeyjoejoe
    "Punk rock fans tend to have more verbal than musical intelligence."

    For odd reasons*, I have recently gotten into the habit of listening to 40's music ('40's junction', on sirius XM). It is very nice music-generally positive, pleasant, and fun to listen to.

    But it is also notably verbally sophisticated. The lyrics are full of puns, rhymes and off-tempo rhymes (?don't know if I'm saying it right-my musical vocabulary is limited) and often tell a story. it is really nice to listen to music that engages one's mind in this way. The singers are easy to understand, and the emotions, events, and general topics of the music are universal-very human sounding music (occassionally, the 'fight the war boys' war support songs get repetitive, though).

    joeyjoejoe

    * I got into the music because I played Fallout 3, a post-apocalyptic zombie game on the Xbox, with a soundtrack of music from the late 40's/early 50's.

    Songs that tell a story are still pretty common in country music (even the pop-ized form played on the radio today). Wordplay is fairly common too.

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  241. @Luke Lea
    I nominate this one as the whitest rock-and-roll song of all time: "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1wg1DNHbNU

    I nominate “Nights in White Satin” as the whitest song ever:

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  242. @Anonymous
    When I think of really white music, I think of the Carpenters.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SJmmaIGiGBg

    Karen Carpenter is up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone in the 20th century’s great singers. If she were black, that would be a generally accepted, but for some reason* I keep having to point the fact out.

    * probably the same reason why we heard all about Ali, Tyson and Holyfield during their prime but little about Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko.

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  243. @Nancy Pelosy
    A curious phenomenon I've noticed. Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R'n'B. IMHO this is a much blacker form of music thanhip-hop. R'n'B is very icky music.

    “Low class-low.IQ White urban girls are majorly into black R’n’B.”

    Back in 1971 the same applied to Motown, soul and reggae in the UK, while the clever sixth-form girlies liked Yes, the Moody Blues, Neil Young, James Taylor.

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  244. @James Kabala
    Steve has always posted more about popular music than about classical music. Most of the things he says in this post have been themes of his for years. Rightly or wrongly, classical music is a subject he rarely brings up.

    He’s a fan, nay, a booster, of the Pacific Opera Project.

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  245. Completely OT, but a pretty interesting story might be brewing at Google: http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

    A few days ago, a low level software engineer wrote a document about Google’s “ideological echo chamber” and suggested that there may be fewer female engineers due to biologically-based population differences in interests, personality traits, etc. (Incidentally, he’s not a “senior” software engineer, as one article described him. He’s just above a new college grad. He seems to have gotten his PhD in Biological Systems from Harvard last year.). He shared the document with the whole company and has been excoriated by some.

    Not surprisingly, there has been serious backlash. However, he’s had many vocal defenders as well. Interestingly, many of those defenders have Russian surnames. In one online survey, (which may obviously suffer from selection biases swinging both ways), about 50% of the ~250 respondents strongly agree, agree somewhat, or were neutral to the document.

    Steve, watch this and write about it!

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  246. Why do people think its so cool to trash prog rock? It was certainly before my generation and I think its awesome (I certainly like it much better than a lot of current music). Yeah, when it gets long (or aimless) on the synth noodling its tedious. But when its the right length and with just enough of a catchy core:

    As for being white music, you can’t get much whiter than covering Copland:

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  247. @Dahlia
    Still not sure what is up with equating whiteness with flatness, lack of soul.
    Not what I feel when I hear Medieval Chant, the plaintive guitar in Spanish Baroque, American Country music, or Abba.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho9rZjlsyYY

    A three-quarters “amen” to your comment; a triple obeisance to your composer of choice.

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  248. @Anonymous
    When I think of really white music, I think of the Carpenters.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SJmmaIGiGBg

    Funny that Loofa had a monster hit in the 80s with the Carpenters’ “Superstar.” It was,you’ll recall,a sweet ballad with no drums on it.But it was embraced by “the blacks” big time.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I wasn't aware that anyone covered it in the 1980s, but do you mean Luther Vandross? If so, I just listened to his version and can see why black people would like it - it was very soulful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG9MqIFzoUk (Luther Vandross singing Superstar)
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  249. @Old Palo Altan
    Yes, pretty nonsensical isn't it?
    Note too that most everybody here is happily chipping in: where are the older Steve fans who would have blown this nonsense out of the water in an instant?

    Steve's fan base is changing. Dare I say that it is even becoming alarmingly similar to that which comments on Takimag?

    All that aside: Monteverdi, Schütz, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Richard Strauss: punkt. It ends there.
    And of course the many hundreds of the second rank.
    White, inimitable, a tradition now lost.
    Like us.

    Some of us younger folk were just being polite, or rather, enjoying the mental game of thinking of the music with the whitest fan base.

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  250. @Faraday's Bobcat
    I know we're talking about pop music, but the whitest music has got to be Appalachian shaped-note singing. It's sort of a folk vocal version of baroque. I'd describe it as mathematical, or mechanical.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyrUhdBHOg8

    Yup, shaped-note singing. It’s like Tuvan throat singing for white Americans in terms of how hard core it is.

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  251. @jimmyriddle
    I'd vote for the one-hit wonders, The Flying Lizards - a 6' blonde, rapping in Received Pronunciation.

    There is a thin line between rapping and not being able to sing. Which side was Rex Harrison on in My Fair Lady?

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    I can see your quandry but, Dr. Doolittle removes all doubt. Rex H. is a stone GANGSTA.
    , @PiltdownMan

    There is a thin line between rapping and not being able to sing. Which side was Rex Harrison on in My Fair Lady?
     

    Well, the story has it that Lerner and Loewe wrote the lyrics for Rex Harrison's part in My Fair Lady so that it would sound like he was singing. It worked very well.

    Barrett Strong wrote Money long before the Flying Lizards lady per