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I’ve been thinking some more about a book by Susan Rogers, who was Prince’s sound engineer on Purple Rain and then got a cognitive science Ph.D., called This Is What It Sounds Like about the appeal of popular music. I feel like I didn’t give enough examples from the 1970s when I reviewed it awhile ago in Taki’s Magazine.

Rogers argues that there are three different audiences for musicians: the public, other musicians, and the critics.

First, the public: They “…like what they like and don’t seem to care who is the most clever, creative, or virtuoso. Instead, the public listens for music that lets them pay a relatively cheap price in mental effort to get a good-sized return in musical pleasure.” For example, in the mid-1970s, the Steve Miller Band had a string of hit singles that were instantly enjoyable in their time:

Steve Miller didn’t appeal much to critics because his records didn’t require critical explication

High musical pleasure / low mental effort artists tend toward the Familiarity pole of Rogers’ Familiarity-Novelty bell curve. I wonder if they have short arcs at the top? For instance, Miller sold 13 million units of his Greatest Hits 1974-1978, but his span at the top was not long.

Second, other musicians. For example, last week I saw this obituary headline in the Los Angeles Times:

Sax great Anthony Ortega dies at 94; from Sinatra to Zappa, he played with them all.

Frank Sinatra was a rare example of what Rogers calls a triple crown winner: all three constituencies acknowledged his supremacy, and for quite a few years, whereas even Prince was on top for only a single year, Purple Rain’s 1984.

In contrast, the public didn’t much notice Frank Zappa other than his novelty hit single with his daughter Moon Unit, “Valley Girl,” — Zappa’s music required a lot of cognitive work for its rather meager rewards of aesthetic fun — and critics tended toward ambivalence about him: he didn’t much seem to embody the future of music but instead stuck to his own furrow.

But … musicians worshiped Zappa.

To have been a member of Zappa’s band was the highest credit for a Los Angeles professional studio musicians. They’d stay off drugs to be allowed to play for Zappa.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are starting to be tombstones around Los Angeles that read, rather like Oscar-winner Lee Marvin’s,

Frank Zappa Band
1968-1971

Third, there are artists who become famous by appealing to critics.

An upbeat example are The Ramones, who had no pop hits and only a few FM hits like “I Wanna Be Sedated” in a long career. And other musicians were at most condescending about their ability to stick to the beat.

But critics got The Ramones’ joke. And they spent a long time explaining why you should too.

For example, here’s my 1979 review of a Ramones concert in the Rice U. Thresher.

Their first drummer and manager Tommy Erdelyi somehow managed to translate the slightly racist blue collar musical prejudices of Johnny Ramone — who was sick of the blues and wanted to develop a white form of rock and roll — into theory that the Downtown New York art scene crowd could run with.

In the long run, us verbalists have a lot of influence.

Hence, the estates of the various Ramones have profited enormously in this century from T-shirt sales and TV commercials. Here’s the wonderful 2014 Cadillac commercial that connects Hewlett-Packard and The Ramones:

 
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  1. J.Ross says:

    Razorfist’s video on the Ramones is pretty good; he points out that the reason they supposedly didn’t grow is because they successfully developed their own sound early on.
    Also: it’s racist to want your own thing? Hardly. Racism would be obstructing somebody else from having his own thing.

  2. dearieme says:

    It’s been about a century and there are still enthusiasts for the recordings of Armstrong, Beiderbecke, Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, and the Noo Awlins Rhythm Kings.

    ‘Cause it’s gorgeous.

  3. This is rather trivial.

    The same could be said for much more important classical/concert music- but, here, all three components are enormously more developed. And even in that case, there are many perspectives & subjective assessments that could be dismissed. Influential, almost genius-type musicologist Richard Taruskin was evidently driven by anti-German animus (as a Jew), so his opinions/works should be carefully examined.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/arts/music/richard-taruskin-dead.html
    …………………………………

    It was no coincidence, he forcefully argued, that Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were so well-regarded: Their popularity and acclaim represented the aftereffects of a long-unacknowledged, and deeply rooted, German nationalist ideology.

    Huh?

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/the-monumental-musicology-of-richard-taruskin

    The Germanic bias of the instrumental canon was Taruskin’s chief bugbear;

    Huh?

    Only he could have opened an article about John Cage with a Lenny Bruce-inspired description of the composer as music’s “scariest goy.”

    Huh?

    And it is, of course, even worse when analyzing products of & ideas about “popular music”.

  4. Anon[114] • Disclaimer says:

    Whatever happened to Legionnaire’s Disease?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Dr. Krieger
    , @Lurker
  5. I still remember the day I learned that Bruce Springsteen was more popular with critics than Bob Seger, and that Seger was apparently envious of Springsteen for years. What the hell? To me there was no competition–Seger was superior, but the critics loved the Boss’s mumbly voice, phony working class shtick and rhyming dictionary approach to dittycraft.

    One genre deviates from your paradigm: Rap. It’s utter garbage and always has been, but for some reason no critic has ever stated this simple fact. “Remember when black people seemed competent at music? Generations ago? It’s a shame rap destroyed all that, huh?” But instead they all pretend it is good somehow. And of course idiots enjoy it immensely. So…they have something to agree on.

  6. @Bardon Kaldian

    “Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven”

    Perhaps they were good?

  7. You wanna know Frank? Here is Frank….

    I never got to meet the man, but I did get to know lots of other guys who did.

    The “Mothers of Invention” is a workaround title because the real name of the band was the *Motherf!uckers* if you need to know what that means in musicians lingo. And it was true.

    My Christmas present circa 1978: Zappa/Mothers Live at the Roxy. Here comes that poodle dog!

    • Replies: @Ganderson
  8. People of Color especially Black Men create the best music.

    As usual they create and white men steal

    Name one thing white men created?

    This is another reason white girls prefer them.

  9. JimDandy says:

    David Lee Roth once said that the reason why critics love Elvis Costello so much is because they look like him. Your review was refreshingly pretension-free.

    As for this: “First, the public: They “…like what they like and don’t seem to care who is the most clever, creative, or virtuoso. Instead, the public listens for music that lets them pay a relatively cheap price in mental effort to get a good-sized return in musical pleasure.”

    It’s reductive. A lot of music consumers identify as amateur critics. And musical tastes are often expressions of identify. How many of those Ramones t-shirts are sold to people who still listen to the Ramones–or ever really did in a sustained, organic way? Most people wear Ramones t-shirts to say something about themselves. Usually, it’s: “I’m not like the other glorified cubical workers approaching middle age–I used to listen to punk. I have a history of transgressive hipness. Don’t let this expensive baby carriage and this Starbucks beverage fool you.”

  10. I’m a musician. Zappa’s albums were worth one listen. Once you get the joke, that’s it.

    He’s never played on the radio, not even on Sirius radio, which plays everything.

    He’s the most incredibly innovative musician nobody wants to listen to.

  11. watson79 says:

    Reminds me of writers – Harold Robbins sold a lot of books, not a critic’s choice. Then there are the writers the critics worship – some overlap with the popular type. Then there are writer’s writers, also known as the poverty striken. Happy Armistice Day!

  12. Anonymous[350] • Disclaimer says:

    Is anybody gonna talk about the fact that rock is dead? Was it demographic change or what.

    And in the other article you mentioned that the Houston music scene was about a year behind Los Angeles. But these days music doesn’t seem to change much over the course of a decade. A few years used to be a big deal in music.

  13. G. Poulin says:

    The Beatles win the Triple Crown, by a wide margin. They had, and continue to have, immense appeal to all three groups of listeners.

  14. SafeNow says:

    “You know it’s a hit when you’re staying around after a session, playing back takes, and all the musicians stay too. None of them leave. They keep listening to it over and over.”

    So wrote Shelby Singleton, a record producer and record label owner from back in the day. If this is true, then there must be a large overlap of agreement between the musical judgment of musicians and that of the public. Now, I realize that maybe the musicians listen to it over and over to sharpen their concept of what the listening public likes. But it seems more likely the musicians are enjoying it themselves.

    (Yes, another “back in the day” comment from me; maybe things have changed; if so, someone usually sets me straight.)

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  15. “upbeat”

    “sick of the blues and wanted to develop a white form of rock and roll”

    You know who else were sick of the blues (the tragic sense) and were drawn to the more upbeat (a march, say)?

    Invert the a and o in Ramones and leave off the e.

    God punished the Romans for killing Jesus by making them into Italians, but they retained a good bit of that spirit.

  16. Seger was apparently envious of Springsteen for years. What the hell? To me there was no competition

    Maaaannny such cases. Might even be what drives the creative spirit in the first place. Kind of sucks though if you’d rather not be at the mercy of people like those critics.

  17. Ralph L says:

    The drummer of the Ramones was a clue last night in the semis of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. The old professor got it–and beat one of the 3 super champions.

  18. Anon[790] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Nothing is more ephemeral than the work of a classical music critic. Once past a certain time period, nobody reads them except for maybe focusing on a few remarks by George Bernard Shaw.

    • Disagree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
  19. Arclight says:
    @onetwothree

    I would say there are a handful of rap acts that produced interesting wordplay and/or beats that deliberately use samples of notable musicians, but they are grains of sand on a beach. But of course it cannot be publicly criticized because it’s obviously an unbelievably simplistic form of music with insanely stupid and repetitive lyrics implies its fans might also be kinda dim as well. Inner city fans LARPing as a character in their favorite album has probably resulted in an unbelievable number of people in jail from acting out their fantasies.

  20. @Steve Sailer

    For all his gifts, Taruskin was partially a psycho.

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/the-monumental-musicology-of-richard-taruskin

    Taruskin’s early focus on Russian music was itself a defiant gesture, because the field had been considered a musicological backwater. The Germanic bias of the instrumental canon was Taruskin’s chief bugbear; he resisted the idea that Bach and Beethoven are “universal” in appeal while Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov are merely national.

    This is stupid. No sane mind thinks that Tchaikovsky is “merely national”. He is universal, just Beethoven or Bach are creators of greater eminence; Tchaikovsky is great, but BMB are supreme.

    This leads us to the fact that philosophers of aesthetics & musicologists frequently admit there is something wrong in their endeavor & their assessments are highly relative- especially re. modern, 20th C music:

    [MORE]

    Schoenberg

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

    In the 1920s, Ernst Krenek criticized a certain unnamed brand of contemporary music (presumably Schoenberg and his disciples) as “the self-gratification of an individual who sits in his studio and invents rules according to which he then writes down his notes”. Schoenberg took offense at this remark and answered that Krenek “wishes for only whores as listeners”.

    Allen Shawn has noted that, given Schoenberg’s living circumstances, his work is usually defended rather than listened to, and that it is difficult to experience it apart from the ideology that surrounds it. Richard Taruskin asserted that Schoenberg committed what he terms a “poietic fallacy”, the conviction that what matters most (or all that matters) in a work of art is the making of it, the maker’s input, and that the listener’s pleasure must not be the composer’s primary objective. Taruskin also criticizes the ideas of measuring Schoenberg’s value as a composer in terms of his influence on other artists, the overrating of technical innovation, and the restriction of criticism to matters of structure and craft while derogating other approaches as vulgarian.

    Ben Earle (2003) found that Schoenberg, while revered by experts and taught to “generations of students” on degree courses, remained unloved by the public. Despite more than forty years of advocacy and the production of “books devoted to the explanation of this difficult repertory to non-specialist audiences”, it would seem that in particular, “British attempts to popularize music of this kind … can now safely be said to have failed”.

    In his 2018 biography of Schoenberg’s near contemporary and similarly pioneering composer, Debussy, Stephen Walsh takes issue with the idea that it is not possible “for a creative artist to be both radical and popular”. Walsh concludes, “Schoenberg may be the first ‘great’ composer in modern history whose music has not entered the repertoire almost a century and a half after his birth”.

    Stravinsky

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

    In 1935, the American composer Marc Blitzstein compared Stravinsky to Jacopo Peri and C.P.E. Bach, conceding that, “there is no denying the greatness of Stravinsky. It is just that he is not great enough.” Blitzstein’s Marxist position was that Stravinsky’s wish to “divorce music from other streams of life”, which is “symptomatic of an escape from reality”, resulted in a “loss of stamina”, naming specifically Apollo, the Capriccio, and Le Baiser de la fée.

    The composer Constant Lambert described pieces such as L’Histoire du soldat as containing “essentially cold-blooded abstraction”. Lambert continued, “melodic fragments in Histoire du Soldat are completely meaningless themselves. They are merely successions of notes that can conveniently be divided into groups of three, five, and seven and set against other mathematical groups” and he described the cadenza for solo drums as “musical purity … achieved by a species of musical castration”. He compared Stravinsky’s choice of “the drabbest and least significant phrases” to Gertrude Stein’s ‘Everyday they were gay there, they were regularly gay there everyday’ (“Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene”, 1922), “whose effect would be equally appreciated by someone with no knowledge of English whatsoever”.[
    …………………………..
    Stravinsky’s reputation in Russia and the USSR rose and fell. Performances of his music were banned from around 1933 until 1962, the year Khrushchev invited him to the USSR for an official state visit. In 1972, an official proclamation by the Soviet Minister of Culture, Yekaterina Furtseva, ordered Soviet musicians to “study and admire” Stravinsky’s music and she made hostility toward it a potential offence.

    While Stravinsky’s music has been criticized for its range of styles, scholars had “gradually begun to perceive unifying elements in Stravinsky’s music” by the 1980s. Earlier writers, such as Copland, Elliott Carter, and Boris de Schloezer held somewhat unfavorable views of Stravinsky’s works, and Virgil Thomson, writing in Modern Music (a quarterly review published between 1925 and 1946), could find only a common “‘seriousness’ of ‘tone’ or of ‘purpose’, ‘the exact correlation between the goal and the means’, or a dry ‘ant-like neatness’”.

    If the two supposedly greatest 20th C composers are treated- justifiably so- ambiguously by various experts, what can one expect from a popular music critic?

  21. guest007 says:

    A music critic or professional musician is someone who got past only liking the music they listened to in high school. Compare that to the huge number of adults who refuse to listen to anything other than what they listened to in high school or college.

  22. @dearieme

    At the risk of being a heretic, I have always thought that blues progression – I I IV I V IV I I – was somewhat overrated.

    But a good stomp or a rag on the other hand, well now you’re talking!

    • Replies: @dearieme
  23. Shale boi says:

    That’s an Arlington tombstone. Buried my dad and mom there, over the years. Stone looks very familiar.

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @J.Ross
  24. Shale boi says:

    I like(d) the Beastie Boys. and still to this day any time someone says “six minutes”, I have to add “Dougie Fresh, you’re on”.

  25. Mike Tre says:

    Steve’s musical tastes are interesting. There have to be hundreds of more qualified and experienced and successful studio producers/engineers than Susan Rogers (literally one hit record to her name, and she wasn’t even the most notable engineer of the 4 that worked on the album. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that her influence on what Purple Rain sounded like was minimal.) But this person got a doctorate in a fake discipline – Opinions on Music, essentially – made a living forcing students to listen to her talk about her opinions of music in a classroom, and then used a dead pop star’s hit album to promote her own book.

    Stone Temple Pilots named their second album Purple because part of it was recorded at Prince’s recording studio.

    Steve Miller was vastly overrated. A few bubble gum rock hits. That later psychedelic stuff was just silly (I want to reach out and grab ya!) His lyrics were terrible.

  26. Renard says:
    @J.Ross

    Their first drummer and manager Tommy Erdelyi

    WHOSE SISTER IN LAW IS SABRINA RUBIN

    SMALL WORLD

    J/K

  27. Mike Tre says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    The guy wrote music like he hated the people who listened to it.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  28. Renard says:
    @onetwothree

    phony working class shtick and rhyming dictionary approach to dittycraft.

    OH, that could start some fights!

    So many critics said that they “believed” Bruce. I remained somewhat unmoved.

    Everyone should weigh in. It’s one of those things like Neil Simon or Woody Allen. Beatles or Stones. New York City or Los Angeles. Chocolate or Vanilla. You have to choose.

    Seger for me, by a mile. However I certainly recognize that Bruce’s written some great songs over the years.

    PS: Verdi or Wagner? BOTH

  29. Mike Tre says:
    @Arclight

    “But of course it cannot be publicly criticized because it’s obviously an unbelievably simplistic form of music with insanely stupid and repetitive lyrics implies its fans might also be kinda dim as well. ”

    The first rap album to go #1 was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic back in 1992. I was a senior at a top tier college prep school in the SFV. All the FBLA’s couldn’t get enough of it. The album would have never topped the charts without the support of the white Gen-X teenagers who bought it.

    • Replies: @Arclight
  30. megabar says:

    The second category, musicians who appeal to other musicians, happens in academia, too. What is peer review, after all?

    Imagine if the only musicians who were paid were those deemed worthy by other musicians. The world’s music scene would be far different. The model can work well if there is there is sufficient external correction.

    • Replies: @Inverness
    , @jb
  31. Since Rogers has a PhD in cognitive science, it is surprising that she does not attempt to correlate musical tastes with intelligence in her book. Steve has pointed to Linda Gottfredson’s claim that a quick way to estimate someone’s IQ is by asking if he or she likes classical music: those that do almost always have above-average intelligence. So it would be interesting to discover if there are correlations — or inverse correlations — between intelligence and the predilection for other types of music besides classical.

    • Thanks: Jonathan Mason
  32. Seek you out a documentary called “Hired Gun”, if you haven’t already seen it (about studio musicians in LA). Among the small obsidian gem strewn about within is Jason Newsted (the bass player brought in after a drowsy Swedish bus driver killed Cliff Burton) opining “It’s more important to have a classic song than a number one song”.

  33. Renard says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Mind-bending thing is that there are dozens of composers in European history who cannot be matched by anyone from any other region, ever.

    Yes, even SSA. Even Zimbabwe.

    PS to Shouting Thomas: I’ve listened to one Zappa album several dozen times. FWIW!

    • Agree: Kylie, Inverness
  34. anon[403] • Disclaimer says:

    Zappa’s late 70’s social parody songs were instantly popular among my college hang-out peers when we finally heard them (mostly via someone in the circle’s older brother/sister’s borrowed record or something).

    So he did have the good effort/reward ratio component for public popularity, but those songs (Valley Girl excluded) were just a bit beyond acceptability for the mass dissemination of commercial radio at the time.

    Five or ten years later, shock jocks finally got like-minded material on the radio and got majorly rewarded financially.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  35. “I’m a musician. Zappa’s albums were worth one listen. Once you get the joke, that’s it.”

    I just don’t know what his music is going for. John Coltrane –> opera/blues of human sentience, Jimi Hendrix –> pop tunes and opera/blues of human sentience, Allman Brothers Band (like “Whipping Post” or “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”) –> opera/blues of human sentience.

    Maybe the most popular instrumental album ever is Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” and it’s opera/blues of human sentience (like the guitar riff that starts in at 2:25 is an awesome example. It’s an aria and it’s the blues.)

    Maybe you can do something else with instrumental music, but THAT sounds almost as boring and pointless as most people say, about noodling music.

  36. What musicians think is at least interesting–unlike “critics”–but brass tacks, music is supposed to be for actual human beings.

    No one will listen to the Ramones or much less Frank Zappa in a few decades.

  37. @onetwothree

    One genre deviates from your paradigm: Rap. It’s utter garbage and always has been, but for some reason no critic has ever stated this simple fact. “Remember when black people seemed competent at music? Generations ago? It’s a shame rap destroyed all that, huh?” But instead they all pretend it is good somehow. And of course idiots enjoy it immensely. So…they have something to agree on.

    The bolded has been my recurrent thought for a few decades. Blacks are not this untalented at music.

    Hate to be a broken record, but the answer here is my favorite word–“minoritarianism”.

    A white critic pointing out that black music now sucks–essentially because they stopped being “white adjacent” and went off to do their own thing–would be “racist!”. The worst thing ever.

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @Bardon Kaldian
  38. pirelli says:

    In this post you say the Ramones were beloved by critics but scorned by musicians, and in your Rice U article you said the opposite: that the Ramones’ fame shows that no one pays attention to critics (their “triumphant concert reminded [you] of near total impotence of American popular music journalism”) and that their early fans were disproportionately “young professional musicians.”

    I suppose you’re allowed to contradict yourself over the span of four decades…

    I could see an alternate universe in which iSteve was a popular music critic. You’d be like an even more tragically un-hip Robert Christgau, with more populist sensibilities and a more agnostic attitude toward what’s good and bad.

    • Replies: @Peterike
    , @Steve Sailer
  39. Gee Steve…Such an earth shattering topic to discuss….Are the Han and Hindu still voting Whitey into an ever dwindling white racial minority within the borders of America?

  40. @Shouting Thomas

    I was a huge fan of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention back in the late ’60s, early ’70s, but have no interest in revisiting him. His whole épater la bourgeoisie routine no longer appeals now that the establishment has gone so tiresomely woke.

    Take a day
    And walk around
    Watch the nazis
    Run your town
    Then go home
    And check yourself
    You think we’re singing
    ‘Bout someone else . . . but you’re
    Plastic people!
    (Woooooooooooooooooooh!)
    Oh baby, now . . .
    You’re such a drag

    Daring stuff, eh?

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Prester John
  41. “In the long run, us verbalists have a lot of influence.”

    eeaaaaaaahhhh…this statement requires nuance.

    Legendary icons, such as talented accomplished pianists as Jerry Lee Lewis, considered to be one of the founders of Rock and Roll. His peers and fellow musicians all gave him high marks (actually, just as high praise as Zappa, who has never caught on with the public, even in the 21st century).
    Frankly I am surprised that Steve totally ignored mentioning that Lewis passed few weeks ago. He was a founding member of the music genre that dominated the 2nd half of the 20th century. That he would praise an obscure (to the public) saxophonist but one who’s adored by the elite critics and musicians but totally ignore one of the FOUNDING MEMBERS of ROCK AND ROLL, Jerry Lee Lewis, is totally baffling. May not like Jerry Lee, but one does have to respect what he did for the genre as a whole. Of the two musicians, I dare say that Jerry Lee Lewis has the longer staying power of which of the two will be most remembered and recalled by the public (and for most of music critics). Jerry Lee Lewis was part of the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll HOF.

    Come on, Steve. Its Jerry Lee Lewis for goodness sakes. Even the critics like him.

    For years and decades there has been a vast gulf between what the public likes and what the critics like and therefore unequivocally tell the public what they should also like as much as they do.

    There are examples of the critics missing the boat. When Rock and Roll first emerged in the ’50’s, very few music critics embraced the genre, much less the musicians. When the British Invasion arrived in the US in ’64, few critics jumped on board the initial arrival. In other words the critics came late to the party (and a few critics never came to the party at all). It took the public, who initially embraced the British Invasion, ’50’s rockers, etc to eventually convince the critics that “Hey, maybe the public is onto something after all.”

    Solo acts/bands are practical. They love what they do, but they also want ot make a living at what they do. What’s the line from “Make ’em Laugh” (from Singing in the Rain)

    “You can study Shakespeare and be quite elite/You can charm the critics and have nothing to eat”

    In several instances’ a band/solo acts’ greatness was merely confirmed by critics post-public approval, or the next generation of music critics embraced them. The main point is that sometimes the public gets it right and well before the critics bother to catch on to the next new creative wave of music.

    Instead of the Steve Miller Band, perhaps a more apt example would be the Eagles, one of the ’70’s commercially successful bands (and with multiple grammy awards, proving that one can please both public and critics at the same time).

    But Jerry Lee Lewis, Steve. It’d be akin to ignoring the passing of Joe DiMaggio in MLB an what Joe meant to the sport at large (quite a lot, actually).

  42. Tiny Duck says:
    @J.Ross

    Black People create all pop culture, including music.

    Name for me an original artist that was not influenced by those of African desecent?

  43. @Shouting Thomas

    Almost all of Zappa’s music isn’t played on the radio or Sirius, but it is odd to see this comment since, just last week I heard “Valley Girl” for the first time in a couple of decades when Al Yankovic selected it for his special program that ran on Sirius’ 80s channel.

  44. Erik L says:

    Back in the 1970s the critics hated Led Zeppelin. Then a generation that loved Led Zeppelin grew up to be musicians and critics.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  45. @Harry Baldwin

    “Daring stuff, eh?”

    Well…no more. Back then though it was considered downright subversive.

  46. I like to think about the quality of modern music and songs this way- what will still be played a hundred years from now and generate revenue for someone? For example, I am pretty confident that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones will be remembered a 100 years from now. I suspect no one will remember The Ramones (and I like the Ramones’ music) or any of the current Hip Hop/Rap artists of today. Probably 1/2 percent of the current musical artists selling music or less will be remembered in a 100 years.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  47. guest007 says:
    @AnotherDad

    It is odd now to find a video from a black music group from the 1970’s when there were multiple black musicians playing real instruments versus 2022 with one guy operating a computer, three rappers, and 10 people standing around not doing anything.

  48. @Bardon Kaldian

    I must admit to never having heard of Taruskin. His CV is quite impressive, based upon the Wiki bio at least.

  49. Thanks for the Cadillac “from garages, great things come” commercial. I note that the Ramones song playing in the background isn’t “Blitzkrieg Bop” or “I Wanna Be Sedated,” both of which have been milked dry, but “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” the leadoff track to the band’s 1980 album with Phil Spector, End of the Century. https://youtu.be/Gi9a7ldRiBl. (The album is best known for the stories the Ramones told later about Spector pulling a gun on them to make them do more takes. He was a great record producer — cue Yojimbo to tell us why Spector is massively overrated, since his records are no better than the boyband fare of New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys or some other Lou Pearlman creation — but a certifiable nutcase, even in 1980, if not earlier.)

    This was the Ramones’ nostalgic tribute to the music of their own youth — mostly pre-Beatles pop and rock, although the final verse mentions “John Lennon, T. Rex and old Moulty [for those of you playing along at home, that last one refers to https://youtu.be/25x3alWs76E%5D. Whether through unconscious “borrowing” or intentional tribute, “Do You Remember…” bears more than a trivial resemblance to Freddie Cannon’s “Palisades Park” in the organ and sax, https://youtu.be/JBgaf5gXJcc. (The band closed the circle in 1989, covering “Palisades Park” — on the square, and in typically frenetic Ramones fashion — on Brain Drain, a generally dispirited album on which they said goodbye to both Sire Records and bassist Dee Dee.)

    Steve is largely correct about the critical response the Ramones received: many critics thought the band was an art project, a conceptual statement about pop music. And, to preempt the Jewish-logrolling-in-our-time complaints, here’s the definitely non-Jewish James Wolcott, in his book Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York, on seeing the Ramones in 1974, their relative infancy:

    “At first the Ramones looked like a novelty act, as cartoonish as the Archies, but instead of gee-whiz varsity sweaters they were rigged out in matching monikers…leather jackets, hole-poked jeans, flat-soled sneakers (Keds they looked like, or Converse) mop-top haircuts and, as if to complement the Beatlesque bangs, Joey’s lispy Liverpudlian accent, which resembled Ringo’s on the Saturday morning Beatles cartoon series rather than the real-life item….The uniform persona and unison attitude, the slashing zoom of their chords and lyrics, the ritualistic formalism of each set — ‘It’s like a set of karate stances,’ Albert Goldman later observed with his customary cackle. Kiai! ” [pp. 129-130]

  50. Anon[407] • Disclaimer says:

    The Zappa band tombstone would read:

    The Mothers of Invention
    1968-1971

  51. @dearieme

    A pity that, like so many talented musicians (Charlie Parker, to name one), Beiderbecke was evidently driven by devils.

  52. @onetwothree

    But instead they all pretend it is good somehow.

    It’s the same instinct that causes ‘intellectuals’ to treat the pronouncements of LeBron ‘King’ James as having some deep meaning rather than being the ramblings of a semi-literate man-child. I.e. the instinct for self preservation.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  53. OT: This is beginning to sound like a real Way Forward. If self-determination means anything, it should be promoted. Doesn’t it mean more freedom for more people?

    Expect to see this condemned and vilified in the MSM..

    Two more Oregon counties vote to become part of Idaho: ‘It’s all about values’

    https://nypost.com/2022/11/10/two-more-oregon-counties-vote-to-become-part-of-idaho

  54. Art Deco says:
    @onetwothree

    It’s utter garbage and always has been, but for some reason no critic has ever stated this simple fact.

    Anthony Esolen did, but he’s not widely circulated. “Horrible anti-music” he called it.

  55. Much like with movies, I’d add there’s a fourth very limited brand of fame — from fans who do crave cognitive effort and relish digging up any obscure gem they can proclaim “underrated.” They especially enjoy fellowship with other fans of some long-ignored group or sub-sub-sub-genre. The internet has made all this much easier than back when I was buying my first Renaissance album.

    These fans dote of course on blatantly out-of-the-box prog-rock like Curved Air or King Crimson. But even some well-known and highly listenable groups — e.g. Steely Dan, Procol Harum — appeal to this “thinking man’s” audience with a gloss of richly cryptic lyrics. Would these folks still like Draconian, Be’lakor or The Gathering if they somehow became insanely popular?

    I certainly have at least one foot in this camp — you’ll find us in a small clique moaning that Sandi Saraya should have made it big, or arguing that Triumvirat was just as good as ELP

  56. @dearieme

    Bechet

    Some obscure Manhattan filmmaker named his kid after him.

    It’s been about a century and there are still enthusiasts for the recordings of Armstrong, Beiderbecke, Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, and the Noo Awlins Rhythm Kings.

    My biggest fear when the Minneapolis riot exploded was that Vintage Music would be lost. They specialize in 78s and will repair your Victrola or other gramophone. But it’s at 38th and Cedar, not (now-historic 38th and Chicago.) A safe ¾ mile from CUP Foods. Easy to confuse. Matt’s Bar and Grill, birthplace of the Jucy Lucy, lies a few blocks up Cedar, and that was another concern.

    Then again, there is the example of Ingebretsen’s, on main drag Lake (which is 30th) a block or so from Cedar. That was broken into, but not looted. Nobody steals Viking troll dolls, let alone rømmegrøt mix and luteisk.

    How would looters have treated dusty old Vintage? Probably like a burglar who broke into a hoarder’s house. “Get me outta here!”

    Every major city must have a Vintage or two. However, Twin Cities Public Television implies that it’s unique, so let us know if you know of another:

    STEP INSIDE THE SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS MUSIC SHOP WITH THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILLION 78 RPM RECORDS

  57. theMann says:

    Critics in any field are pretentious buffoons at best, hardcore gay/lefty/anti-American/ anti-good taste filth at worst . In addition, music critics are simply irrelevant where YouTube, among others, allows endless free sampling.
    Musician’s musical taste tends towards lotus eating, so I don’t see how their opinions matter much either. Did any Critic or Musician have anything but scorn for the Monkees? Because three of them are having the last laugh in heaven now, aren’t they?

  58. Steve Miller didn’t appeal much to critics because his records didn’t require critical explication

    The lack of guilt & bad vibes in Miller’s music seems to slowly but steadily incite more & more curiosity. A bit like Mozart.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Curle
  59. @onetwothree

    One genre deviates from your paradigm: Rap.

    It doesn’t belong in any musical paradigm. Rap is not bad music, it’s bad spoken-word verse.

    On the other hand, it strongly suggests that there still exists a market for poetry which is greatly under-served. Derbyshire once hired some college students with sonorant voices and issued a CD of classic poetry. Whatever happened to that?

    Spoken-word has been a Grammy category for over 60 years. Look at the names:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award_for_Best_Audio_Book,_Narration_%26_Storytelling_Recording

    • Replies: @Known Fact
    , @EdwardM
    , @Anon
  60. @Arclight

    Poetry commonly loses it’s Muse in decadent ages, so no surprise it would lose it’s Music as well.

    Evidently Epic Greek poetry was once performed as song. Likewise the Canterbury Tales, the Psalms, etc..

  61. @Dieter Kief

    And John Phillip Souza

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  62. p38ace says:

    Steve Miller songs were played in a lot of strip clubs in my youth. Now when I hear them, I remember who danced to those tunes. Has anyone asked what are the dongs played most frequently in a strip club?

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
  63. Woodsie says:

    My cousin was a member of the scene at Max’s Kansas City, a brilliant guitarist who’s “shot” at the big time was a cut on one of Max’s “sampler” albums- his band was lauded as having the best track on the record by the critics- but the singer dropped dead of some fatal childhood disease before they landed a contract. Danny went on to studio/session gigs and many other bands, but always needed a day job, ultimately ending up doing bar gigs with no hope of being discovered. BUT – here’s the cool part – early on one of his bands, back when he was doing “glam” schtick and competing with the New York Dolls, Joey Ramone (by another name) was his front man. Imagine Joey in spandex, a shag hairdoo, makeup and platform shoes! Of course, as was the theme of my cousin’s whole music career, it was the singer’s NEXT band that hit it big.

    • Thanks: Curle
    • Replies: @onetwothree
    , @thud
  64. @Gary in Gramercy

    “cue Yojimbo to tell us why Spector is massively overrated, since his records are no better than the boyband fare of New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys or some other Lou Pearlman creation — but a certifiable nutcase, even in 1980, if not earlier.)”

    It’s already been stated, at least you’re seeing it. Which producer was it again who was convicted of murder? Oh yes, that’s right…

    Everyone has their armpits, as well as their opinions. If going by pleasing the public then both Spector and Pearlman’s concoctions proved successful in their respective eras. Did Spector have the most amazing, accomplished musicians playing on his records? Not really. His strength lay at overproducing, that is, making it appear as though there was something more, that the songs had actual depths of layers, than what there really was to see. Had most of the girl bands been produced by standard NY/LA producers at the time the songs would still have most likely charted quite high, but they wouldn’t have been remarked upon decades later (after all, how many critics write books praising such novelty songs as Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny…Bikini”? Or “Little Green Bag”). The point remains: Spector worked with girl bands, while Pearlman worked with boy bands. Nothing much to see in either direction, and both have their critics as well as their defenders. It mostly boils down to a generational thing: the bulk of Spector’s fame came on the cusp of the British Invasion (ca. 1961-64). His post-girl group work is a mixed bag.

    John Lennon famously wrote “SHIT. The worst recordings” regarding Spector’s “helping out” on the Let It Be album, and generally the critics have agreed with John’s assessment. The later remixes of Let It Be album. basically removing Spector’s help, have met with far greater critical aplomb, if that sort of assessment is the be all and end all of music. So take Spector out of his usual familiar girl group surroundings and he wasn’t all that. Put Spector up vs an actual creative producer such as George Martin, and there’s no comparison–Martin wins hands down. Even put Spector up vs a US producer like Chips Moman, and it’s not a comparison. Moman was far more accomplished. But because he wasn’t based in NY, he doesn’t always get the credit that he deserves, though having about 120 top twenty hits with various artists in roughly a 5-10 yr period isn’t too shabby.

  65. @Reg Cæsar

    No Jim Dale? His Harry Potter audiobooks were far and away the best thing about that series

  66. Inverness says:
    @megabar

    It’s true in a lot of fields.

  67. Gordo says:

    My wife likes the Bay City Rollers and I like the Ramones.

  68. TWS says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    My brother was a musician and loved Zappa. I couldn’t stand listening to Zappa.

    My tastes run to Stevie Ray Vaughan rather than the Ramones.

  69. pirelli says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    I’m also a musician and have never enjoyed Zappa, not even for one listen. His music is far too intellectual, too conceptual for my taste, and his songs have the feel of a raving schizophrenic on the street, albeit an articulate one.

    That said, many musicians I know have enormous respect for Zappa, although I’m not sure how much they actually listen to him.

  70. EdwardM says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Agree, and when you look at it that way, rap has redeeming qualities. It can be funny a lot of the time. When I was a white teenager in the suburbs, I found hilarious such masterpieces as “I’m Not a Gentleman” by Geto Boys and “Bitch Better Have My Money” by AMG. The Wikipedia entry for the late Russell Tyrone Jones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ol’_Dirty_Bastard) is an uproarious journey of manic antics. The only “concert” I have attended in my life, if you can call it that, was a performance by Wu-Tang Clan at a college-town movie theater. There were dozens of “performers” on stage, which was covered in clouds of marijuana smoke before that was socially acceptable, most of whom were doing nothing at all other than starting cross-eyed into space with their pants around their ankles, while a few members of the group displayed undeniable talent for word-play.

    The fact that neo-puritans used to criticize it for its “misogyny,” “glorification of violence,” “drug culture,” etc. makes it even funnier. I guess the left can’t do that anymore because that would be RACIST. Rap, in all of its ugliness, can give a profound view into DoAS culture. Surely many of them don’t take themselves seriously, but then plenty practice what they preach. Have to admire the authenticity!

  71. @Shouting Thomas

    I don’t get the joke, but I quite enjoyed some of Zappa’s music back in the day.

    For example this track reminds me a lot of the opening of Blue Train by John Coltrane. Even now 50 years later, it seems listenable to me.

    • Agree: Dieter Kief, ganderson
    • Thanks: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  72. @Jonathan Mason

    Also Sun Ra produced a number of great albums, but was not a singles artist. He was a great act though. I saw him in England in 1970.

    Back in those days about 50 years ago a lot of baby boomer students enjoyed psychedelic or avante-garde music and many musicians were able to make a good living from it.

    Bob Marley was one of the biggest and most popular artists in the world, yet he scarcely had a hit single in the US.

    Rolling Stone picked his album Exodus as the greatest LP of the last century.

    Even today, 40 years after his death, he has millions of fans who still enjoy his music.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldlan
  73. @Arclight

    “a handful of rap acts that produced interesting wordplay”

    Reggae ‘toasting’ perhaps reached a peak in the early 80s. He really takes off from 2:00 – 3:33.

  74. Zappa only made one good album, Hot Rats. On which he did not sing, thank god.

    Oh, yeah, and he was also a CIA operative. Forgot that part.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  75. @onetwothree

    One genre deviates from your paradigm: Rap. It’s utter garbage and always has been,

    I will go out on a limb here and suggest that only 99.9% of it is garbage.

    My memory fades as I get older but I still clearly remember the release of the “Walk this Way” collaboration between Aerosmith and Run DMC. Groundbreaking and also musically interesting. Of course, the rapping was a purely rhythmic rendition of Aerosmith’s lyrics on top of real music.

    I can also recommend the self-titled first album of an obscure 80’s band, Rise Robot Rise. Also good music with rap on top, and the lyrics were thoughtful.

    Most rap will either chase me out of the room or lead to the sound system experiencing mechanical difficulties….

  76. An upbeat example are The Ramones

    His Brother’s Keeper: A Ramones Tour of Queens

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/arts/music/his-brothers-keeper-a-ramones-tour-of-queens.html

    • Replies: @Feryl
  77. Agree about Sinatra. Another act that would qualify as a triple crown winner, albeit not as popular was Steely Dan.

    I have a CD that Barry Manilow did of Sinatra songs about 6 months after Sinatra died. Manilow is a talented arranger and he gathered around him the best of L.A.s studio musicians for the project. He’s got a surprisingly expressive voice that IMO was wasted on the bubblegum that was the bulk of his creative output.

  78. The song Jet Airliner may have been popularized by Steve Miller but it was written by Paul Pena, a fascinating figure of 20th century music and subject of the 1999 documentary Genghis Blues:

    As far as Zappa is concerned, he was one strange figure who combined incredible sophistication as a composer and guitarist with the most puerile sense of humor.

  79. Mr. Anon says:

    His whole épater la bourgeoisie routine no longer appeals now that the establishment has gone so tiresomely woke.

    Agreed. It’s kind of hard to like that stuff now, knowing where it ended up. Some of Zappa’s music wasn’t bad, in my estimation*, though I think he’s overrated. But the lyrics were usually of the typical “white bread America is so restricting and awful” type or they were just outright filthy, which was off-putting.

    *I kind of like this:

  80. dearieme says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    What a wonderful display that is in your photo.

    Years ago I used to visit a CD and record shop in Cambridge (England) that sold only jazz and classical music. One day it had a closing down notice in the window. I commiserated with the owner: “I suppose jazz lovers are getting old and dying off.”

    “It’s not the jazz that’s the problem”, he said, “it’s the classical. The young don’t buy classical any more.”

    I particularly liked the CDs from the Dutch firm “Timeless”.

    The British label “Frog” was also good. I discovered them in a CD shop in Paris. I enjoyed the joke.

  81. For a while Mike Patton had assumed Zappa’s crown of world’s most genius experimental musician in the popular culture. Unlike Zappa, however, Patton has also made some very catchy music that appeals to the public, mostly with Faith No More.

    One thing that boggles my mind is the current popular music for the last ten years or so. You hear it in trendy stores and restaurants. I guess it could be described as lullaby rock or lullaby pop? It’s vaguely sad, in a petty kind of way. Nothing like the heart ripping anguish of some Patti Smith songs. I haven’t listened intensely to this new lullaby pop, but I think it jumps back and forth from minor to major keys, with the verses sung in minor and the chorus sung in major. I think that is what gives it that petty, bored and slightly bummed-out sound. Adele uses this musical structure, but also uses a lot more blues chords than the others so her music sounds better, plus she has that voice. Most of the lullaby pop all sounds exactly the same: too slow, under-mixed drums and over-mixed vocals and often a whispery or whiny voice. It is the worst music ever made. It makes cheeseball 70’s disco seem edgy and heartfelt.

    When I encounter these stillborn songs in public spaces with people under 30 working there, I inquire if they like this music. Oh, yes, they do! I tell them it is music to be euthanized to. Whenever I hear it I get the strange feeling someone is trying to kill me, or get me to kill myself, and it makes me want to fight that someone. Maybe they like it because they are all on anti-depressants?

    Insane Clown Posse, one of the worst musical acts ever formed, is better than the musical anesthesia pouring out of the speakers of corporate America.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
  82. Curle says:

    Saw the Ramones a few times in DC between ‘83-‘85. All memorable shows. The best was at the old 930 Club located in an basement of some old hotel. Capacity was small so crowd was too. Everyone was packed in front of the stage up close. When the band launched into songs it was electric.

    A mosh pit got going. Two girls, one very well endowed, climbed the stage and started dancing in front of Joey. He never acknowledged their existence not even after they removed their tops and bras. They eventually jumped back into a crowd of boys waiting there to catch them. Was an amazing night.

  83. @AnotherDad

    Yes, but why is anyone listening to that crap?

    https://headphonesaddict.com/music-genre-statistics/

    20+ Music Genre Statistics: Most Popular Music Genres (2022)

    What is the Most Popular Genre in the US?

    R&B/Hip-Hop is the most popular music genre in the US.

    It has been this way since 2017 when it overtook pop and rock music genres.

    (Billboard)

    Here’s a more detailed view of the music genres’ popularity in the US from 2017 to 2021.
    Music Genre 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
    R&B
    Hip-Hop 27.7% 28.2% 27.7% 31.2% 25.1%
    Rock 20% 19.5% 19.8% 23.1% 23%
    Pop 13% 12.9% 14% 15.1% 13.4%
    Country 8.1% 7.9% 7.4% 8.4% 8.0%
    Latin 5.4% 4.7% 5.3% 7.7% 5.7%
    Dance
    Electronic 3.3% 3.2% 3.6% 3.6% 4.0%
    Christian
    Gospel 1.8% 1.9% 2.3% 2.9% 2.5%
    World Music 2.0% 1.8% 1.5% / /
    Children 1.2% 1.3% 1.4% 1.1% 1.4%
    Classical
    Music 1.1% 1.0% 1.0% 1.1% 1.0%
    Jazz 1.0% 1.1% 1.1% 1.1% 1.0%
    Holiday
    Seasonal / / 1.4% / /

  84. Anon[133] • Disclaimer says:

    Pretty sure Sly & the Family Stone hit all three for about 3 years. Well reviewed, popular (even the near-unlistenable Family Affair hit #1), and I’m guessing allowing your bass player to invent a whole new way of playing would make musicians like you.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  85. @Gary in Gramercy

    In fact, only the most intense Ramones fans know that the band was named after Paul Ramone, a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney in checking into hotel rooms in the early sixties, and one last time as the Beatles were breaking up.

    Then, nine years later, in 1969, you did a session with Steve Miller and again called yourself Paul Ramon.

    That’s right, that was during the tense Apple time. We had a Friday-night session at Olympic studio in Barnes and Allen Klein showed up with all the guys. It was a big showdown. And my lawyer was Jewish so he didn’t work on Friday nights. But there was Klein, he was Jewish and he was working, so he had a big advantage. Maybe he knew my lawyer was Jewish. Anyway, they all showed up at Olympic and there was a big row – they all accused me of stalling; in my mind I was actually trying to save our future, and I was vindicated later, but at the time I was definitely “the dark horse, the problem”. And that was actually the night we broke the Beatles, that was the big crack in the liberty bell, it never came back together after that one.

    So we were stuck, the session was over and the studio was free. I hung around a little bit and met Steve Miller, who was in one of the other studios. We got chatting and he was an “up”. After the big downer I needed an up, so he was my security blanket. I stayed chatting for a while and then he suggested cutting something. I asked what and he said “We’ll make something up!”. I asked if I could play drums and just thrashed around. He called it ‘My Dark Hour’ and we recorded it, just the two of us. I overdubbed a bit of bass and some guitar and we sang it all. We stayed there all night. We just had to do something.

    And why did you use Paul Ramon?

    I was probably worrying about contractual matters. I’ve never insisted on having credits. I said “Just put me down as Paul Ramon”, remembering the previous time.

  86. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @Bardon Kaldian

    It was no coincidence, he forcefully argued, that Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were so well-regarded: Their popularity and acclaim represented the aftereffects of a long-unacknowledged, and deeply rooted, German nationalist ideology.

    I could say that about any number of Jewish artists: they represent a long unacknowledged Jewish nationalist ideology. They’ve defined and popularized it, and have gaslit the gentiles into superficial adoption of Jewish sensibilities–for which we are horribly unsuited.

    I imagine the Jewish response (if there’s any awareness over there) to this would be toughen up goyim. [Barbara Specter voice] You will learn to be like us or perish.

    And this is what philo-semites and the many, many who dodge the question entirely are signing on for.

    At some point an aware gentile realizes he’s spent his life in a culture that is by and for someone else. He’s unconsciously adopted an alien point of view unnatural to him; he’s unaware of its origin and he can’t even identify this source of his alienation and unhappiness.

    And he’ll get no help from his intellectual class, as they’re all sucking up to their Jewish friends.

    Just what our aging boomers are saving themselves for I don’t know.

    • Agree: J.Ross
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  87. Third, there are artists who become famous by appealing to critics.

    Elvis Costello must be one of those. I’d never even heard of the guy until I was well into adulthood but when I did, the source I heard it from gushed that he was the most brilliant musician of all time. All the other sources I checked after that did, too.

    I think The Clash might fall into that category, too. They were supposedly “the only band that mattered” but I hardly remember them being played on the radio when I was growing up and never remember them being referred to as “the only band that mattered”.

    Somewhat OT, but not long ago someone had video of the very first hour that MTV was on up on youtube. I was in a nostalgic mood and watched it. One of the vids broadcast was a song called “When Things Go Wrong” by a band called Robin Lane and the Chartbusters. Despite having listened to rock radio extensively growing up in the ’80’s, I had never heard of this band or heard this song a single time before then. How the hell did they rate highly enough to be one of the first bands played on MTV but never get any play on FM radio?

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @jamie b.
  88. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @Shouting Thomas

    There were a few accessible tracks in there.

    • Replies: @ganderson
    , @Dieter Kief
  89. Russ says:

    Their first drummer and manager Tommy Erdelyi

    I wonder if he was kin to Arthur Erdelyi of hypergeometric function fame.

    When Oingo Boingo came out with “Dead Man’s Party,” I somehow supplanted the lyrics “… don’t be afraid, it’s only me …” with “… don’t be afraid of Arthur Erdelyi …” somewhere between ear and brain. When my time comes, I suspect that the autopsy won’t reveal any clues.

  90. anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:

    Idiosyncratic musician Frank Zappa (1940-93), son of a chemical warfare spook, was a leading figure in the CIA-military-complex-led music scene at Laurel Canyon, California, where it turns out, so many of the 1960s – 1970s musical figures were birthed, their members hugely often from Deep State government families … Jim Morrison of the Doors, son of Gulf of Tonkin incident Admiral Morrison, and many more.

    Frank Zappa was essentially a ringmaster for the CIA ‘hippie music scene’ operations doing their psy-op on USA culture (hedonism & feminism derailing the ‘revolution’), which is why Zappa was so ‘worshipped’, he ‘launched careers’ with a nod to the Deep State & media complex. Everyone needs to be familiar with the epic work of the late great David McGowan (1960-2015), who wrote:

    Frank’s dad Francis Zappa was, in case you were wondering, a chemical warfare specialist assigned to Edgewood Arsenal, the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations … Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex.

    Frank Zappa [the musician his son] was, by numerous accounts, a rigidly authoritarian control-freak and a supporter of U.S. military actions in Southeast Asia. Frank Zappa never really made a secret of the fact that he had nothing but contempt for the ‘hippie’ culture that he helped create and that he surrounded himself with.

    https://centerforaninformedamerica.com/inside-the-lc-the-strange-but-mostly-true-story-of-laurel-canyon-and-the-birth-of-the-hippie-generation-part-i/
    Laurel Canyon was also the California locale of the CIA movie studios where the ‘moon landings’ of 1969-72 were likely filmed.

    • Thanks: Cortes
  91. Bugg says:
    @AnotherDad

    The Ramones is great party music. As long as teenagers gather around a keg on a Friday night, thye’ll get an audience. Fun is fun.

    As a teen briefly hung with a group of guys who like Zappa a lot, but mostly because of the songs “Titties&Beer” and “JAP” rather than any great musicial appreciation. And nobody is playing those songs anywhere today. Heck, “JAP” would probably get him Kanye West treatment.

    In both cases, neither made the leap to selling out arenas. When you look at lots of acts who did, suspect it had more with lousy business sense than talent. They each had decent careers. But it is remarkable that in the 1970s and 1980s you never heard the Ramones on any radio station. Now they’re a staple in classic rock media, be it radio, satellite or streaming.

  92. J.Ross says:
    @Anon

    Coming back with a vengeance in Australia along with numerous minor ailments (RSV = “a cold”) which people with unmolested immune systems need not fear. Did you get your shot to be one less? You could be one less.

  93. Curle says:
    @Dieter Kief

    Billy Joe did shoot a man while robbing his castle.

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
  94. jb says:
    @megabar

    The great mid-20th century classical music desert of serialism was basically academic composers writing for other academic composers. What a colossal waste of talent!

  95. @Dennis Dale

    ‘I could say that about any number of Jewish artists: they represent a long unacknowledged Jewish nationalist ideology. They’ve defined and popularized it, and have gaslit the gentiles into superficial adoption of Jewish sensibilities–for which we are horribly unsuited…’

    Maybe on two, definitely yes on one.

    I can think of at least two and possibly three examples of Jews promoting each others’ work — obviously because the work had been done by fellow Jews. The clearest example I ever encountered was the intriguingly entitled The Invention of the Middle Ages. It turned out to be basically a series of adoring thumbnail sketches of notable Jewish medievalists — compiled by a Jew.

    Since Medieval history is not a field in which Jews are especially dominant, it was pretty noticeable. But absent a background in the subject, the reader would emerge with the distinct impression that Jews ‘invented’ the modern historiography of the Middle Ages. No…actually, it wasn’t all them. There were one or two, but…

    As with so much else Jewish, it’s not necessarily reprehensible; I’d expect a Greek-American to be proud of the work of his Greek contemporaries, etc. It’s just that Jews are so disproportionately dominant that the overall effect is toxic. I’d argue that right now, the decided cultural collapse we’re seeing is ultimately the effect of Jews — consciously or not — putting so much weight on one end of the scales.

    Mormons can think whatever they want to; we’ll live with it. I don’t think we can extend the same license to Jews. They’re just too good at what they do.

  96. Curle says:
    @Gary in Gramercy

    Youtube has already declare two of your videos unavailable. Too bad.

    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
  97. @Curle

    Which reminds me: I don’t know why it bothers me, but I can’t figure out why Johnny Cash (also mentioned in Steve’s review) was serving his sentence in California, even though he was in Nevada when he shot a man just to watch him die.

    • Replies: @Curle
    , @jamie b.
  98. Curle says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    I liked Zappa but really liked Beefheart.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  99. Brutusale says:
    @SafeNow

    It gives truth to the scene in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, where Freddy Mercury is beefing with Brian May and Roger Taylor. They movie showed the three screaming at each other while bassist John Deacon is sitting, dourly picking out a riff. The others stop and look, see it’s a great hook, and leap into action.

    The muse can be fleeting. Catch her while you can.

  100. ganderson says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Hälsa dem därhemma!

    Ahhh.. a trip through the old neighborhood. Don’t forget the Scandia Barber Shop, kitty corner from Matt’s where the late Helge Lamo cut hair and played the squeeze box. While Mrs. Ganderson and I were married in NJ, a week later we had a second wedding reception back in the Twin Cities for our MN family and friends. Helge and his band, The Norsemen, played. They did a fine rendition of Nær Bonden gick ut Etter Øl (When the Farmer Went Out After Beer)

    Never a huge Jucy Lucy fan, my standard order at Matt’s was two cheeseburgers and an order of fries, washed down with an ice cold Grain Belt. When I first started going to Matt’s it was so long ago the Grain Belt was still being brewed at the Grain Belt Brewery!

    I have no opinion on the Matt’s vs. 5/8ths Club competition. I never saw a reason NOT to go to Matt’s.

  101. Vlad III says:

    For me, Steve Miller embodies 70s AOR more than probably anyone else, and is very much underappreciated. Les Paul was friends with his parents & recognized his talent at a very young age (Miller claims to have written his first song at age 5). Ironically, the song Steve posted is not a Miller composition. The original was by a virtual unknown named Paul Pena. While I like it, I do think Miller’s version is better. YMMV:

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  102. “the public, other musicians, and the critics”

    Crickets matter not a whit. They carried more heft back in the 70s when a positive Rolling Stone review could ship more records. That was a golden era, the 70s, for album-oriented rock and films, and for the crickets themselves. I just wish I wasn’t 5 when it was all going down. The public, in terms of live performances, especially these days when physical media is not the profit center it once was, are always important. But it is the respect from other musicians that seem to carry the most weight, at least to the ones I know. The same jerks who turn off the lights and close their blinds when they see me walking up the driveway with my geetar case. In fairness, I’m pretty awful. I should donate my Adam Jones Gibson Signature to the retarded kids. They could play it better than I can. And they’re not posers: they are legitimately retarded. But it’s just so pretty.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  103. ganderson says:
    @Dennis Dale

    I saw the Mothers play a bunch of times- they were a terrific live act. San Ber’dino was a boffo closing number in the mid 70’s.

    I liked Frank a lot- I think my favorite record was a live set from ’74 maybe? called “Roxy and Elsewhere”.

    I also liked the stuff with Flo and Eddie (nasty though it sometimes was): although I always felt that Zappa should have had someone at his side to say “Frank, that’s a good idea”, or alternately “Bad idea Frank!” of course Frank never really listened to anyone else…

    It was often and truly said, though, that the Mothers of Invention had “no commercial potential…”.

    His music wasn’t usually even played on the so-called underground stations, at least until “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”

  104. JimDandy says:
    @Brutusale

    Wow, is that gay.

    • Agree: Ron Mexico
    • LOL: Kylie
  105. ganderson says:
    @AnotherDad

    Frank has a chance to be remembered- although that’s perhaps just the fanboy coming out in me. I agree that in all likelyhood nobody’s going to revive “What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are”.

    However I could see someone in the future dusting off the music from “Burt Weenie Sandwich”- which contains “Little House I Used to Live In” as well as the suite “Igor’s Boogie, Phase One”-“Overture to a Holiday in Berlin”-“Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich”-“Igor’s Boogie, Phase Two”-“Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown”-“Aybe Sea”

    You’re absolutely right about the Ramones.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  106. Curle says:
    @AnotherDad

    “No one will listen to the Ramones or much less Frank Zappa in a few decades.”

    The Ramones were through with their major album period by the early ‘80s, yet here we are forty years later and they remain popular. The Ramones and the Stooges both captured the same sound and sensibility. The Stooges remain popular 50+ years after their heyday. Even if one dislikes their sound or sensibility, they’ve demonstrated their staying power.

    • Agree: Inverness
    • Replies: @JimDandy
    , @J.Ross
  107. Anonymous[383] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s also genre-based fame, however limited. Some people follow certain acts because they like the culture, the sense of familiarity, even ‘home’. This is especially true of Country Music, which unlike Jazz and Blues, continues to have a large fan base.

    ‘Critic’ presumably is meant in a loose sense, more a matter of sensibility rather than profession. Plenty of professional ‘critics’ are merely fanboysandgirls, and they’re hired as publicists by magazines and outlets that care more about what’s hot than what’s good. In contrast, plenty of non-professionals have a critical, even intellectual, approach to popular music.

    [MORE]

    Even among the real critics, some tend toward empathy, an embracing attitude of trying to understand the appeal of all kinds. Other kinds of critics are harder. In rock, they can’t be snobs but they’re certainly snubs and rubs who love to snub inferior acts and rub it in hard. Some critics have a genuine feel for what’s popular whereas some prefer the peculiar.

    There’s also a phase that criticism goes through. When the creative form emerges out of nowhere, there’s hardly any critic as expert or master-scholar of the form. They are excited and try to grasp the essence of what’s going on. This was true enough of Rock criticism through most of the 60s. Critics were there to follow, appreciate, and choose the good from the bad. They hadn’t yet developed a Grand Theory of Rock or hardened along ideological positions.
    That followed later, especially with the rise of punk, which would have emerged without critics but was given certain cachet as the result of critical backing.

    Critics seem torn between purism and complexity. Intellectually driven, they appreciate complexity but also fear it may drain the form of vitality, spontaneity, and freshness. One would think critics would have appreciated Progressive Rock of the 70s, but many remained skeptical, even hostile. Many jumped on the primitivist punk bandwagon as vital and rebellious. Problem was, unlike the naturalness of early Rock n Roll, punk was as dogmatic and insistent on its mission as the Folk Movement. It was vitalism by obligation.

    https://greilmarcus.net/2018/03/21/the-10-worst-rock-critics-1982/

    Sometimes critics like to feel special, thus making them feel ahead of the curve, or avant garde. Just as some works are critic-proof, some have become fan-proof, i.e. no matter how much it’s rejected by the public, critics see value in it.
    In a way, such critics seem motivated by repressed envy of the artists who create. Critics don’t create, therefore are always subservient to the creator. But if they control the Theory of what’s correct and what’s not, they get to police and dictate creativity. Also, the sheer amateurism of punk means even a no-talent can make music by being ‘different’. When artists fall into this trap created by critics and intellectuals, they tend to stink. Of course, some people are both creative and critical. Some critics try to create(Lester Bangs disastrously), and some creatives, like Pete Townshend, have lots of ideas about music.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1985/10/06/pete-townshend-the-rocker-writes/cc5d0069-bd1f-4646-908a-c82ab1364075/

  108. guest007 says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    The most viewed Elvis Costello video on youtube.

  109. Curle says:
    @I, Libertine

    Johnny started an forest fire with an cigarette IIRC. Seems he got off on the Nevada thing.

  110. @Dennis Dale

    The mildly surrealsitic cover of this One Size Fits All album is also a gem.
    And it stuck in my memory from the moment on I came across it. I think of it more often than about – any LP by Nazareth, or Black Sabbath or The Quicksilver Messenger Service…
    But with Zappa it’s not so much about songs than about pieces of songs: She’s 200 years old/ ….I was sitting in a breakfast room in Allentown Pennsylvania / six O’clock in the morning, I got up too early, it was a terrible msitake/ I was sitting there face to face with a 75 cent glass of orange juice about as big as my finger /and a bowl of horribly foreshortened cornflakes/ – – – such pieces…

  111. @Reg Cæsar

    “rommegrot mix and lutefisk”

    Don’t forget the tray of leverpostej. And the damned hyggelig candle. The Danish word for gay is Danish.

  112. @ganderson

    Mike Douglas, being a big band singer earlier in his career, and hanging around a lot of great jazz musicians, obviously thought very highly of Zappa, as this clip shows.

    It might have been Frank’s only appearance on “mainstream” television, ever.

    • Thanks: Dieter Kief, Desiderius
    • Replies: @Ganderson
    , @MGB
  113. guest007 says:

    For those who are not rap fans see the video. And when I recently I saw a bunch of high school kids wearing white Adidas shoes with the three navy blue stripes, all I could think was that Run-DMC called and wanted their shoes back.

    • Replies: @jamie b.
  114. @SunBakedSuburb

    They could play it better than I can. And they’re not posers: they are legitimately retarded. But it’s just so pretty.

    a lover, a SINNER, — a midnight – joker – playing his music on the run…(to play and to sin /are akin)

  115. JimDandy says:
    @G. Poulin

    A lot of what the critics praised then sounds treacly and corny to me now. Kettle corn.

    • Agree: Mike Tre
  116. @Colin Wright

    Yes, well put. I’ve worked with Jewish guys and gals and have mostly benefited from the experience. They dominate the business I’m most interested in; but they also built and still control it. So natural talent is not always a factor in their seeming prowess. They can produce mounds of shite and still find work.

  117. @anonymous

    Idiosyncratic musician Frank Zappa (1940-93), son of a chemical warfare spook, was a leading figure in the CIA-military-complex-led…

    Frank Zappa was essentially a ringmaster for the CIA ‘hippie music scene’ operations doing their psy-op on USA culture (hedonism & feminism derailing the ‘revolution’), which is why Zappa was so ‘worshipped’, he ‘launched careers’ with a nod to the Deep State & media complex…

    Frank’s dad Francis Zappa was, in case you were wondering, a chemical warfare specialist assigned to Edgewood Arsenal, the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations … Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex…

    People seem to think anyone who worked on a government project was like Edward Teller or Q from James Bond. Almost all of them were normal scientists and engineers who could just as well have ended up designing Buicks. All you can really conclude is that they didn’t have a huge problem working on weapons. It is not as if a guy spent Mondays through Thursdays trying to synthesize tribromylchlorate or whatever and then on Fridays was sitting down with the CIA to plot how to make radioactive bananas grow in Guatemala.

  118. Anon[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I have yet to encounter any proof that blacks actually listen to rap lyrics. I think they just listen to the beats. Many professional rappers don’t even write the lyrics themselves.

  119. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @ganderson

    “Live at the Roxy and Elsewhere”
    I loved that record.

  120. JimDandy says:
    @Curle

    The Stooges were a great band, a breakthrough band, an incredibly influential band. The Ramones were a novelty act. They remain “popular” (primarily in name only) as a symbol of something they never really represented–punk.

    • Agree: slumber_j, Meretricious
    • Replies: @Feryl
    , @Curle
  121. I’m impressed how similar 1979 Thresher Steve’s prose is to 2022 Unz Steve’s, right down to tics like “but so what?”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  122. @JimDandy

    The Ramones IMO were purely a 3d-tier punk band. Listen to The Saints, an Aussie band, to get an idea how inferior their music was:

    • Replies: @JimDandy
    , @Curle
  123. @Mike Tre

    “Steve Miller was vastly overrated”

    Wash your mouth out! Yes, he did some bubblegum, but also this.

  124. vinteuil says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Influential, almost genius-type musicologist Richard Taruskin was evidently driven by anti-German animus (as a Jew), so his opinions/works should be carefully examined.

    Wow – I never knew that Taruskin was Jewish, and I hadn’t heard that he had died.

    Brilliant, quirky guy. Many years ago, he was a Professor at Berkeley while I was undergrad there. At the time, I was working in the Music Library, but, so far as I know, we never crossed paths.

    A few years later, I was a grad student at Michigan, and the Borodin Quartet came to perform a cycle of Shostakovich’s String Quartets. This must have been about 1990.

    Taruskin was there for every performance – often standing up, intruding himself into view – it was the weirdest thing.

    A few years after that, I enountered him again on an internet forum devoted to Shostakovich where he was promoting Laurel Fay’s ridiculous travesty of a biography…and what can I say? He was just incredibly nasty. He positively rejoiced in the suicide of Ian MacDonald

    What a shame that such a great musicologist could be so ill bred.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  125. dearieme says:
    @Paul Jolliffe

    The whole oeuvre is wonderful stuff. It’s true that the blues can be a bit overwrought and repetitive but a decent jazz band will have a varied repertoire. Play that thing!

  126. Curle says:

    For the Ramones skeptics watch the first number and pay attention to the crowd reaction especially. Then ask yourself, how many acts this side of The Who ever produced this kind of reaction from a crowd?

    • Replies: @JimDandy
    , @Desiderius
  127. guest007 says:
    @Shale boi

    This is the tombstone that all honorable veterans are eligible for. One can find those types of tombstones throughout the U.S. See Fort Rosecrans in San Diego

  128. J.Ross says:
    @vinteuil

    Consider that part of his genius, something like Roland Barthes, had to come from not only learning everything, but then unlearning it, and inventing explanations for how 2+2 doesn’t really equal four.

  129. Muggles says:
    @anonymous

    Laurel Canyon was also the California locale of the CIA movie studios where the ‘moon landings’ of 1969-72 were likely filmed.

    You had me somewhat interested until this.

    Laurel Canyon doesn’t resemble the moon, of course. Not even using Green Screen, etc.

    And what explains all of the other man-made lunar surface junk put there by non Americanos?

    So the CIA can pull that off but can’t keep some chubby S. Vietnamese Army General in power there?

    I guess they were too busy inventing the “space program.”

    Or maybe you took too many hallucinogenics at one time…

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  130. Dmon says:
    @Ebony Obelisk

    Name one thing white men created?

    • Replies: @Dmon
  131. J.Ross says:

    OT — Two items — after an obvious, inorganic, and illogical neocon talking point that Trump-endorsed candidates largely winning the recent election somehow proves once and for all that Trump is finished, and we have to move on to such vote-getters as Mitt Romney or Egghead McMuffin, the leading Republicans of the Senate are asking that their internal leadership election be delayed.
    [Photograph of a scared Mitch McConnell peering out from within the safety of his shell.]
    And the other one is a very, very interesting book, which will reward all fans of Devon Stack, below the more tag.

    [MORE]

    Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars: An Introductory Programming Manual
    In 1986 an employee of Boeing Aircraft bought a surplus IBM copier for scrap parts at a government sale and found this manual inside. The manual outlines a plan to control the masses through manipulation of industry, education and politics, and to divert the public’s attention from what is really going on. Surprisingly, much of what is outlined has come to pass, and makes interesting reading for those exploring the deeper levels of our social structure and how it may be controlled or influenced. This Book Tree edition includes all of the important charts and diagrams not seen in other versions. It is an exact replica of the original, aside from some minor alterations to correct print quality.
    Link:
    https://libgen.rs/book/index.php?md5=02F79513DEB7BAA0EF379C0761B630CC

    • Replies: @James J. O'Meara
  132. tyrone says:
    @Ebony Obelisk

    https://youtu.be/AXyys1JEkbk. I picked this just for you ………you can thank me later

  133. J.Ross says:
    @Curle

    To this point, guess who just released a banger?

    • Thanks: JimDandy, Curle
    • Replies: @JimDandy
  134. @Steve Sailer

    Three of our most talented black men!

  135. @Mike Tre

    Steve Miller was vastly overrated. A few bubble gum rock hits. That later psychedelic stuff was just silly (I want to reach out and grab ya!) His lyrics were terrible.

    C’mon, Man! This is some serious rhyming right here:

    Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
    You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
    He ain’t gonna let those two escape justice
    He makes his livin’ off of the people’s taxes

    – Take the Money and Run

  136. Muggles says:

    Yes, music topics really bring out the comments here.

    Everyone is an expert because it is so subjective. Not technically, but musicians and others who learn theory and play have an entirely different level of appreciation.

    For the rest of us schmucks, it is mainly associated with our feckless youth. Circa age 12 to about 25. Ah, wonderful times and wonderful tunes. God knows what kids now will relate to.

    I guess rapper fans will recall with sentiment all of the fatalities at those concerts.

    Now I listen to my vast collection of CDs, some recent. Blisses me out for an hour or so on the elliptical machine.

    One mystery for me: I listen to Sirius sat. radio on jaunts to the gym, etc. Mainly the pop channels to see whats up with the kids. Not much. Sounds pretty similar, but a few good things.

    But Taylor Swift’s new CD “Midnight” has yet to make it on any of my random listenings on any of the main pop channels. Lots of hype and alleged sales on Day One, but evidently no one is requesting that to be heard on those channels. About two weeks now and (random tuning) no show.

    So is the TS hype more of her RobotFan merchandising power on display? I’m kind of curious since I thought her Pandemic “CottageCore” CDs were terrible. More gloomy “me-me” without much tuneful song. Her old producer is back too, but am I missing something?

    Her prior albums used to dominate Sirius pop channels immediately and for months.

    Has her fandom now become Wine-Moms? Can a chubbier, fake married Swift still appeal to the throngs of empty headed Lonely Girls? Or did Billie Ellish take over the narcissist teenys worried about their insecurities and why guys are just so into looks?

    Does anyone know?

    • Replies: @Joe S.Walker
  137. Barnard says:

    OT: Can we assume the reason he wanted to kill people in Dubuque was following someone who had moved there as part of Obama’s AFFH program? How lucky for Dubuque and the entire state of Iowa that they have been enriched in this way.

    https://www.breitbart.com/crime/2022/11/11/report-chicago-man-accused-attempted-murder-iowa-previously-cut-off-ankle-monitor/

  138. @Woodsie

    How about that. “Jeff Starship”

  139. guest007 says:

    For those who want to go down a musical rabbit hole, try the idea of black sheep hits:

    “Sometimes, a musician has a huge hit with a song that is at right angles to their usual style. For some reason, this happens very often with hard rock/metal bands who hit it big with a slow ballad. Or alternatively a hardcore rapper/rap group with a crossover party anthem. For bands with a very niche appeal, the Black Sheep Hit is usually one of the songs “mainstream” enough to receive play on the radio stations.

    While having a hit is something most bands strive for, this type of hit can develop into a millstone around their neck because they only wanted to play rock (or metal, or whatever), and now they will forever be associated with this song. Often results in Creator Backlash.”

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackSheepHit

    The Ramones only get one mention:

    Patti Smith was a founding mother of American punk music who was shockingly profane for a female vocalist of her time, and brought to her music a strong feminist vibe. Her best-known hit is “Because the Night” (first heard on the 1978 record Easter), a pop love ballad written by Bruce Springsteen, which contains none of these elements.

    “Hungry Heart” for Springsteen would qualify as well, being musically miles away (although lyrically similar) from his bleak late 70’s/early 80’s output. He originally wrote it for the Ramones, but recorded it himself after being chewed out by his manager for giving away his hit songs (“Because the Night”, as well as “Blinded by the Light”, which became a #1 hit for Manfred Mann, and “Fire”, later a #2 hit for the Pointer Sisters). Most of his later singles from Born in the U.S.A. were cut from the same cloth.

    Elvis Costello also gets one mention:

    “Everyday I Write the Book” is one of Elvis Costello’s biggest hits, but he’s said he’s not that big a fan of the song, admitting he deliberately wrote it to be very poppy.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @JimDandy
  140. @Jonathan Mason

    Marley’s dad was white.😉
    I read a story once about Bob,as a child, getting friendly with a girl when,Pow!,a rock slammed into his head. It was the girls brother,who took exception to his sister being wooed by a “white boy.” Tough crowd.
    Rihanna also had similar problems growing up.
    I guess that’s why today she is so sensitive to the needs of white people?
    Or not.

    My brother had much more expansive taste in music than me. Zappa,Lou Reed,Ramones,he loved all that stuff. I couldn’t be bothered. The Ramones suck. We are both hard-core Beatles fans,though,but he is way more serious about it.
    There’s so much good music,why waste time with the off- brand stuff?
    Lou Reed is famous today for one reason: He had the inspired idea to use the word “colored,” to refer to some singing girls.If he called them ‘ black women,’ no one cares.

  141. Ganderson says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Big as a blimp with a rhinestone collar..

  142. Peterike says:
    @pirelli

    “ You’d be like an even more tragically un-hip Robert Christgau, with more populist sensibilities and a more agnostic attitude toward what’s good and bad.”

    Christgau has been mostly useless as a critic since the 90s, but he’s a good longer form writer than his little capsule reviews. Politically he’s basically a terrified and hysterical old woman, and has been his entire life. Basically, he’s an idiot.

  143. jamie b. says:
    @guest007

    For those who are not rap fans see the video.

    For those who don’t like having needles stuck in their eyes, spend 30 minutes having needles stuck in your eyes. Great suggestion.

  144. @Curle

    For some reason, when I type in the YT link — my laptop doesn’t allow me to cut and paste anymore, probably a sign to get a new or reconditioned one — the last letter or number gets cut off. That’s why you got the “this video is unavailable” message.

    The first link was to the studio version of “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?” from End of the Century. The second was to “Moulty,” by New England’s very own Barbarians. Both are readily available on YT with a 30-second search.

    • Thanks: Curle
  145. jamie b. says:

    “…the public listens for music that lets them pay a relatively cheap price in mental effort to get a good-sized return in musical pleasure.”

    Rap must be a new fourth category, where one invests no mental effort, and gets no genuine musical pleasure in return.

  146. tyrone says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    You’re giving E.O. obelisk envy.

  147. Anon[320] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s an audio clip of Zappa explaining the business of music, particularly touring, and how to make it profitable. The guy was really bright and a tough taskmaster. A musician’s talent was not dispositive: Zappa required you to show up to pre-tour rehearsals and behave like a sober professional during the tour. He regularly fired musicians in the middle of a tour or during recording, and he shitlisted those he fired … and news got around.

    One of the shitlisted “musicians” was the London Philharmonic, who rent themselves out to anyone who will pay them. They recorded one of Zappa’s pieces written for an orchestra, but were kind of shitty to him.

  148. @Tiny Duck

    Tiny Duck says:

    Name for me an original artist that was not influenced by those of African desecent?

    Lana Del Rey
    Beach House

    Now tell me that they are both too white!

  149. Can’t argue with her categories, she’s the expert hit-maker, I’m Joe Schmo.

    But its hard for us common folk to see the difference between musician’s acclaim and critical acclaim. I always thought a critical shortcut would be to notice who of note was playing the instruments for a band/singer and how well/ how complicated they played, and then declare the artist “genius” or “trash” based on that.

    Then again, if that were true, Billy Joel’s virtuoso piano work would’ve gotten him acclaim from many fellow-travelers rather than the supercilious, oh-you-play-for-plebeians condescension that niche guys like Elvis Costello used to give him. And ABBA, who’s poppy nonsense was a big hit with audience, would’ve gotten more contemporary critical acclaim, since many fellow musicians lauded their sound/voices as unique.

  150. @JimDandy

    How many of those Ramones t-shirts are sold to people who still listen to the Ramones–or ever really did in a sustained, organic way? Most people wear Ramones t-shirts to say something about themselves. Usually, it’s: “I’m not like the other glorified cubical workers approaching middle age–I used to listen to punk. I have a history of transgressive hipness. Don’t let this expensive baby carriage and this Starbucks beverage fool you.

    Reminds me of the old joke: if all the people who claim they were in the French Resistance had actually been in the French Resistance the Nazis would’ve never taken Paris.

    • LOL: JimDandy
  151. J.Ross says:
    @Shale boi

    Very possibly, given who it is. However, I have visited an American military graveyard in Michigan, which (appropriately) uses the same format. My expectation would be that non-Arlington military cemetaries try to look like Arlington.
    Except for the magnificent Late Imperial Age giant white sculpture of the cobra, which was not a grave. Somewhere in Arlington it rears up to hiss, not a grave, maybe a band facility for holiday events.

  152. northeast says:
    @onetwothree

    I agree that Seger was/is superior to Springsteen. Bob was as big or bigger than Springsteen between 1978-1981 by almost every metric.

    Where we part ways is that Seger could have cared less that Springsteen was a more popular artist.

    Bob constantly shunned TV in his prime, would not interview on many occasions, and frequently mentioned that he wanted no part in the kind of worldwide exposure that Bruce experienced.

    Seger basically retired from 1996 until his comeback in 2006. He spent those 10 years helping bring up his 2 children.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  153. jamie b. says:
    @I, Libertine

    he shot a man just to watch him die.

    He did no such thing.

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
  154. @Muggles

    Taylor Swift used to seem like a nice girl who sang country. She went on to become a kind of ghastly female Michael Jackson, a mixture of ruthless marketing and extreme narcissism. And she obviously really enjoys bitching about things.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  155. @p38ace

    This was funny and I am sure unintentional: “what are the dongs played most frequently in a strip club?”
    Everyone who has one?

    • LOL: Russ
    • Replies: @Lurker
  156. @AnotherDad

    It’s a few decades later now. Frank Zappa and the original Ramones have all died.

  157. J.Ross says:

    OT — So has Sam Bankman-Fried gotten an article or a blogpost that I missed? This might be the iSteviest story in a while, and it’s definitely one of the biggest stories of the year.
    High intellectual family and their closest friends, all academics or high level government technocrats, conspire to use a fraudulent cryptocurrency loan scheme to fund the Democrat party and especially the Biden presidential campaign. Which needed so much funding because the Biden basement is pretty much Iron Mountain. Everyone involved likes to rub hands. The fraud was so good the crypto was the new hotness of the moment for cryptosuckers. It fell apart because Sam Bankman-Fried started using the money to assemble a sex cult in the Caribbean. It’s possible the lottery wierdness was an attempted bailout. The long term goal of the crypto was not just political donation but a Great Reset type New Money.
    Or: imagine if the morons behind Theranos could do math, like teaching at an Ivy or leading part of the SEC level math.

  158. @Tiny Duck

    Lawerence Welk? The Schmengis? Kraftwerk?

    And frankly for all this talk of African influence on American music, I don’t see much of it in Bluegrass, other than the adoption (and improvement beyond all recognition) of the banjo.

  159. @Anon

    Hotels don’t have a single HVAC system anymore. You’ll notice that all rooms have a small unit near the window. It’s known as a Unit Ventilator. There is rarely ductwork anymore and if there is, it is connected to the Unit Ventilator, for the room only. Schoolrooms are also designed this way.

    The units have their own gas or electric heater and the cooling is supplied by an individual evaporator and condenser unit, or a central chilled water system.

    No large ductwork systems, that allow Legionnaire’s to flourish.

    • Replies: @Anon
  160. jamie b. says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    I’d never even heard of [Elvis Costello] until I was well into adulthood…

    Hard to avoid hearing him on alternative radio back in the 80’s. Never understood his popularity.

    …I hardly remember [The Clash] being played on the radio when I was growing up…

    Same as above. Were you not listening to alternative rock radio?

    How the hell did they rate highly enough to be one of the first bands played on MTV but never get any play on FM radio?

    That was the great thing about early MTV: hardly anybody was making videos, so MTV was forced introduce people to a lot of strange new stuff.

  161. @Ebony Obelisk

    ‘People of Color especially Black Men create the best music…’

    Too obvious. If you want my ‘troll’ response, you have to make me feel it’s necessary to point it out.

    • Agree: René Fries
  162. You know what’s weird? The total neglect of Ragtime in discussions of US music history. I am just a bit too young, but my parents had ‘The Sting’ soundtrack and I know it had a brief resurgence in the early 1970s. And I’m not too young to remember the player piano at Farell’s. Ragtime has some seriously beautiful pieces.

    • Agree: Kylie
    • Replies: @Kylie
    , @James J. O'Meara
  163. @Shouting Thomas

    “He’s the most incredibly innovative musician nobody wants to listen to.”

    Then perhaps maybe he wasn’t all that innovative? Or, he just plain sucks. After all, people want to listen to a band/solo artist that they like, that they enjoy the music.

    But then naming offspring Dweezil and Moon Unit ought to tell one something about where the dude’s head space was (or wasn’t).

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  164. @G. Poulin

    Elvis as well. 45 yrs after his death, and still fans come to Graceland. Can’t say that about any other rock artist. John Lennon’s been dead almost as long as Elvis, and tens/hundreds of thousands of fans don’t gather outside his apt complex every single year to pay tribute. Every. Single. Year.

    Post-Beatles, perhaps he wasn’t as great on his own.

  165. jamie b. says:
    @Arclight

    I would say there are a handful of rap acts that produced interesting wordplay

    Which does not by itself count as music.

    …and/or beats that deliberately use samples of notable musicians…

    IOW, the small sampling of ‘good’ rap was only ‘good’ by virtue of stealing from other genres.

  166. pirelli says:
    @AnotherDad

    The Ramones are still being listened to—quite a bit—45 years after their heyday. What makes you think it will be so different in a few decades?

    And Pete Davidson’s movie about them hasn’t even come out yet…

  167. JimmyS says:

    We haven’t advanced

    The thought of five guys in their twenties doing something like this today would be inconceivable

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Brutusale
  168. MEH 0910 says:
    @anon

    Zappa’s late 70’s social parody songs were instantly popular among my college hang-out peers when we finally heard them (mostly via someone in the circle’s older brother/sister’s borrowed record or something).

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

    Sheik Yerbouti is Zappa’s biggest selling album with over 2 million units sold worldwide.[citation needed]

    […]
    The album has some of Zappa’s most satirical and controversial lyrics. “Bobby Brown” was banned from US airplay[citation needed] due to its sexually explicit lyrics. “I Have Been in You” pokes fun at Peter Frampton’s 1977 hit “I’m in You” while emphasizing an explicit meaning. “Dancin’ Fool”, a Grammy nominee, became a popular disco hit despite its obvious parodical reflection of disco music. “Flakes”, about lazy union workers in California, includes a parody of Bob Dylan. “Jewish Princess”, a humorous look at Jewish stereotyping, attracted attention from the Anti-Defamation League, to which Zappa denied an apology, arguing: “Unlike the unicorn, such creatures do exist—and deserve to be ‘commemorated’ with their own special opus”.[6]

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
  169. @Curle

    Reminds me of Maiden concerts that are (still) massively popular throughout the Empire formerly known as British.

    Same exuberantly martial spirit.

  170. @Brutusale

    I was only like ten or so at the time so I may be completely off about this but IIRC the local radio stations treated that song like Paris did The Rite of Spring when it first came out. For whatever reason it was considered very outre, so actually fits well with what’s going on in that scene.

    Sort of the musical version of Disco Demolition Night. Or Stripes.

  171. Buroaker says:

    David Bowie will come and go forever

  172. Steve Miller was more of a critics/fellow musicians type for the first five years – seven albums – of his career. None of them cracked the to 20. None of dozen or so single he released hit he top 40; few hit the top 100. Songs of his that you know from the period like Livin’ in the USA and Space Cowboy were not hits at the time.

    Then boom. The Joker was released in 1973, and both the single and the album shot to the top. Suddenly, he’s a”public” musician. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone else who’s had such a career track.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
    , @Jim Don Bob
  173. Jay Fink says:
    @Anonymous

    Demographic changes is one reason, although current rock isn’t popular among young whites either. Another reason is the rise of electronic music. So much of today’s music is made using computer programs but that doesn’t sound good with rock. Finally it seems everything that can be done with rock was done already. One of the few successful rock bands in recent years is Greta Van Fleet who sound exactly like Led Zeppelin. What’s funny is I forgot their name so I googled “group that sounds like Led Zeppelin” and Google put their name at the top of the page in bold letters.

    As far as it taking longer for trends in music to change I would say they hardly change at all anymore. Across all genres listen to popular music from 1962, 1992 and 2022. The 1962 and 1992 music will sound extremely different yet the 1992 and 2022 music will sound pretty similar despite the same amount of years having passed.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @Feryl
  174. @Curle

    I liked Zappa but really liked Beefheart.

    It would be fun to hear an unplugged, acoustic cover of his Electricity.

  175. @J.Ross

    That guy is a hiring. He eats whenever she rushes dkm he tie wefhhyhry89 :::: Phil cukytyre

    • LOL: MEH 0910
  176. Right_On says:
    @Anonymous

    Is anybody gonna talk about the fact that rock is dead?

    My two cents’ worth . . . Rock during the sixties and seventies was also the soundtrack to massive cultural shifts in the wider society. You didn’t actually have to be a member of the counter-culture, the New Left, a sex cult, an occult order or a hippie, but you were well aware that the times they were a-changin’.

    Today, we’re living under the soft totalitarianism of a PC managerial state which is stifling all genuine rebellion in thought, action, and the arts.

  177. AceDeuce says:
    @Mike Tre

    The guy wrote music like he hated the people who listened to it.

    He had a great quote regarding “rock journalism.”

    “People who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for the benefit of people who can’t read.”

    • Replies: @Feryl
    , @James J. O'Meara
  178. Ganderson says:
    @kpkinsunnyphiladelphia

    Doing this from memory, but I saw a clip one time of a very young Zappa playing some bizarre instrument on, maybe the Arthur Godfrey program.?

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
  179. @northeast

    Springsteen really likes doing what it takes to be as famous as he is. Seger didn’t, so he isn’t as famous as Springsteen. But on other measures, they’re pretty comparable guys. I like them both.

    • Replies: @northeast
  180. Jay Fink says:
    @MEH 0910

    I always got a kick of the opening line of “Dancin’ Fool” where Zappa sings “I don’t know much about Dancin’”. As if dancing is something where intellectual knowledge about it helps you be a good dancer. If anything I would guess there is a negative correlation between being an intellectual and having natural rhythm.

  181. @guest007

    Radiohead hated to play their biggest hit “Creep.” When I saw The Jam in 1980, they refused to play their first single “In the City.”

    Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That” was his first big mainstream radio hit, but it’s a lot like Springsteeen’s “Hungry Heart:” kind of lame compared to, say, “Even the Losers.”

    I actually like “Everyday I Write the Book” and wish Costello had written more songs like it with coherent lyrics rather than his usual Finnegans Wake lyrics that are clever but incomprehensible.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  182. Anonymous[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Muggles

    The Boomers can’t stand anyone questioning their “moonlanding”. Did you personally see the “non-Americano surface junk” per chance?

  183. Jay Fink says:

    One thing about Steve Miller (that I learned years ago on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40) is that he made it a point not to put his picture on album covers. He didn’t want people to have an image of him when they listened to his music and he liked that he could walk in public undetected most of the time.

    I don’t think anybody could get away with that today.In the YouTube/social media age people want to know what you look like. A female artist like Lizzo can get away with being outside the boundaries of conventional beauty but a male artist can’t stray too far from it so we must know what he looks like.

  184. Kylie says:
    @ganderson

    “Frank has a chance to be remembered- although that’s perhaps just the fanboy coming out in me.”

    Or in my case, fangirl.

    “I agree that in all likelyhood nobody’s going to revive “What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are”.”

    Why not? I was just singing this the other day. “We are NOT groupies!” 😂

    My brother and his buddies listened to Zappa starting in the early 70s. Zappa’s instrumental work was always too jazzy for me but I liked the humor; puerile though it was, much of it was also pretty funny.

    • Agree: Ganderson
    • Replies: @Curle
  185. JimDandy says:
    @guest007

    Patti Smith’s most-punk–and best punk–song only recently started getting disappeared from streaming services. I’m talking, of course, about… ugh, it pains me to say it this way, but… Rock n Roll N-Word.

  186. @ADL Pyramid of Hate

    Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

    • Agree: Desiderius
  187. JimDandy says:
    @Meretricious

    Yeah, I like The Saints, and you can really hear how influential they were in that song. These days, Australia is going through a sort of punk renaissance, it seems.

    • Thanks: Meretricious
  188. In the long run, us verbalists have a lot of influence.

    What do you mean by this?

    Are you a lyrics man?

    My mrs can understand the lyric to any song, and she’ll tell me exactly what it’s about while I’m waxing non-lyrical on the pedal manipulation of the guitar.

    I’m listening to the sound, and the lyrics are an articulation of the melody through the vocalists’ instrument, I don’t really listen to lyrics until much later, when listening to music I’m wired awake to whatever they had particularly to emphasise.

    For instance, listen to this and write down who it reminds you of.

    When my eldest played this to me yesterday on our way to the Clare Valley I immediately knew who the bass guitarist was. I couldn’t figure out the vocalist, so Lennon sounding.

    There’s a later track on this superb album which is pure Pink Floyd, the guitar solo as if played by Dave Gilmour in The Wall phase.

    I think music critics like journalists are a neccessary pest to help collate the dross from the best.

    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
  189. @Faraday's Bobcat

    The Cold War was extremely well funded, especially in Southern California. Everybody with a 3 digit IQ knows somebody who knows somebody connected to something secret. E.g., my mom’s best friend’s husband designed the SR-71 for the CIA.

    • Troll: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Mike Tre
  190. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    Lou Reed is famous today for one reason: He had the inspired idea to use the word “colored,” to refer to some singing girls.If he called them ‘ black women,’ no one cares.

    Why do you say stupid shit? I ask in the same spirit as this African:

    Why?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldlan
  191. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    But then naming offspring Dweezil and Moon Unit ought to tell one something about where the dude’s head space was (or wasn’t).

    “Dweezil” was merely a nickname at first. He was christened Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. When he got older, he formalized Dweezil. “Moon”, without the “Unit”, is just a little offbeat in English, but it has cognates in other languages– Luna, Selene, and of course Diana and Cynthia.

    Zowie Bowie was, and still is, Duncan Jones. Ringo’s son Zak goes by their original name, Starkey.

    For Veterans Day, the Did You Know? Facts calendar featured the 19th-century British military surgeon James Barry, named after the famous painter who was an uncle. Guess what the younger James’s original name was. Just guess.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Barry_(surgeon)

  192. “Moon”, without the “Unit”, is just a little offbeat in English, but it has cognates in other languages– Luna, Selene, and of course Diana and Cynthia.”

    Difference is that those other given names have caught on and are fairly represented in the Western world, while “Moon” never has. So again the point stands. But then, his music isn’t represented among the all time biggest selling musicians either.

    Once more for the point regarding which is better, to make money at one’s living or having the attention of the critics. Especially since like film, modern music is dependent on the capitalist system for an artist musician to make a living.

    You can charm the critics/and have nothing to eat.

    In the music world, one of the coolest names that’s become a classic remains of course Elvis. Could be of Celtic origin, or perhaps Scandinavian. But the point being, when one hears the name spoken in the West, most people immediately think of Elvis Presley.

    The commenter who gave the David Lee Roth quip regarding why critics like Elvis Costello so much is because many of them outwardly resemble him could contain more accuracy than one realizes.

  193. High musical pleasure / low mental effort artists tend toward the Familiarity pole of Rogers’ Familiarity-Novelty bell curve. I wonder if they have short arcs at the top?

    This needs to be fleshed out to be scientific.

    Like B52s vs Talking Heads, which is high musical pleasure/low mental effort vs whatever you’ve got going on?

    I think what you’re getting at is White music as a legitimate music genre. Artistry vs bulshitartistry.

    Like gilbert and sullivan vs gershiwin. Like mcartney vs simon. Like lennon vs dylan.

    The former set the scene, the latter were replicants.

  194. @Faraday's Bobcat

    The father of The Police’s Stewart Copeland was one of the founding members of the CIA. Stewart’s brother Miles also headed up his own record label, IRS Records, which signed such acts as the Go-Gos and REM.

  195. @Anonymous

    You Moon Landing Hoaxers are one step from the Flat Earthers. Guys who don’t understand science and politics and history who assume too much and study too little.

    Yes, we landed on the moon. Could some have been filmed beforehand to make sure the world saw it clearly? Sure. But we landed there. July 1969.

  196. @AceDeuce

    To this day I cannot fathom Genesis. They created not one, but two mega-successful spinoff pop stars consisting of:

    -A giant fat self-delusional “genius” (Peter Gabriel).

    -A balding drummer who looked like a filthy peasant in a crappy Robin Hood movie (Phil Collins).

    Both produced pablum 80s-stereotypical pop crap that somehow charted and made them famous.

    Still, “Solsbury Hill” and “In the Air Tonight” are likeable (but overly-serious) singable pop tunes for Messrs. Gabriel and Collins, respectively.

    • Replies: @Meretricious
  197. Jay Fink says:
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    I disagree about Lou Reed. Using “colored” in one song is a non (or very small) factor in his popularity. Speaking of that lyric, it’s fun to watch black music reactors on YouTube (which is a huge thing right now) react to “Walk On The Wild Side”. None of them get offended at the word colored (they usually smile) and they get into it when the colored girls chime in. I do however wonder if they would get offended at Reed’s song “I Wanna Be Black” or would they laugh at it? I am tempted to request it on one of those channels to find out.

  198. Kylie says:
    @Jay Fink

    “One thing about Steve Miller…is that he made it a point not to put his picture on album covers. He didn’t want people to have an image of him when they listened to his music and he liked that he could walk in public undetected most of the time.”

    I read the same about Pink Floyd.

    But that was in the days when the visuals/ image were still subordinate to the music. I noticed the shift toward the primacy of the image when MTV arrived. I was surprised that people would pay to watch what were basically commercials designed to get them to buy records. Not long after it seemed to me the music was just accompaniment to the videos.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Feryl
    , @Anonymous
  199. submitted without comment, and just for fun:

    “we only want what’s best for him!”

  200. @Fin of a Cobra

    Yes, I’d be very interested in more of the demographics.

    My guess is that type of IQ also matters for choices in music. STEM majors at Rice tended to like music that was objectively better than what I liked, but for a couple of years I could kind of see the future.

  201. @pirelli

    “I could see an alternate universe in which iSteve was a popular music critic.”

    I thought about it in college, but my complete lack of musical ability struck me as disabling.

  202. @Yancey Ward

    In classical music, the number of really good but forgotten composers is immense. Even famous composers have a lot of forgotten music, especially in opera. A few years ago I saw a highly enjoyable opera, “The Gazette,” by Donizetti, one of the top 10 or 12 most famous opera composers. And yet, it was only the 2nd time it had ever been produced in America in its 200 years of existence.

    • Thanks: Desiderius
  203. @Anon

    Sly & the Family Stone were extraordinary for a short period.

    • Replies: @Anon
  204. @Vlad III

    I wrote about Paul Pena’s lost album five years ago. Bob Dylan’s manager owned the rights and refused to release it. Pena was a blind guy so it’s not like he could get a day job. Fortunately, Steve Miller and company heard it and recorded Jet Airliner, so the royalties kept Pena solvent for the rest of his life. (Songwriting is well-rewarded.)

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/paul-pena-the-blind-composer-behind-steve-millers-jet-airliner/

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  205. @Brutusale

    How similar is Another One Bites the Dust to Good Times by Chic?

  206. Mark G. says:
    @Fin of a Cobra

    So it would be interesting to discover if there are correlations — or inverse correlations — between intelligence and the predilection for other types of music besides classical.

    I saw a study once where they did a correlation between SAT scores and musical tastes among, I believe, college students. The people with the lowest SAT scores liked Lil Wayne and Beyonce. The people with the highest SAT scores liked Beethoven. That didn’t surprise me. What surprised me, as a big Beatles fan, was that the Beatles were not the rock band considered the best by those with really high SAT scores. That turned out to be Radiohead.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  207. J.Ross says:
    @Jay Fink

    Side point but Lizzo’s body activism is half of-its-time decadence and half historically illiterate nonsense because fat black ladies with magnificent singing voices have always been a thing, even in segregation, even in slavery days. She’s not challenging an archetype, she’s well within an established archetype.

  208. @onetwothree

    Greatest rap ever recorded: “Trouble Comin’ Every Day”, by Frank Zappa. From his first album, “Freak Out”, 1966.

  209. J.Ross says:
    @Kylie

    After the first one; maybe they were embarassed.

    • LOL: Kylie
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  210. @Mark G.

    Radiohead upped the cognitive effort required after “Creep.”

  211. @Jay Fink

    I think the black reaction to that song would be one of bemusement that even a “f***ed-up, middle class college student” would rather “have a stable of foxy little ho’s,” not to mention, uh, increased sexual prowess…

    On the other hand, Lou had a history of this sort of thing: remember “I’m Waiting For The Man,” in which he effectively called out his dealer for running on C.P.T. (“He’s never early, he’s always late/first thing you learn is that you always gotta wait”).

    Verdict: stick with “Brown Sugar.” At least Mick has black children.

  212. @Steve Sailer

    To paraphrase Charles Mingus on Charlie Parker, if Nile Rodgers and Bernard Williams were gunslingers, there would be a whole lot of dead copycats. (See http://www.charlesmingus.com/mingus/mingus-explains-song-titles; entry for “Gunslinging Bird.”)

  213. Lurker says:
    @Anon

    Dunno. I saw one of their albums on eBay recently though.

    • LOL: Inverness
  214. Lurker says:
    @Erik L

    Yes. I was going to say – the three groups public/critics/musicians all overlap of course.

  215. Lurker says:
    @Ron Mexico

    The dongs are definitely getting played.

  216. Feryl says:
    @Jay Fink

    I would say that rock music calcified around 1997, though it had begun to stagnate around 1993 (when almost all rock bands absorbed at least some influence from grunge). Post-1997 rock music that isn’t a deliberate throwback to the 70’s or 80’s sounds very samey, flat, dirgey, lacking appealing ornamentation (like wide vocal range or guitar solos).

    Pop music was totally enslaved by various forms of digital manipulation by the early 2000’s. The “electronic” stuff isn’t the problem per se, since after all lots of bands used synthesizers to pleasing effect in the 70’s and 80’s. Rather, the problem is modern computer audio processing that drains the life from every aspect of the music, even the vocals. Everything is tampered with to insure that everything is in time and in tune. Thing is, our ears intuitively understand that we are listening to is “fake” music and it means it doesn’t resonate.

  217. Feryl says:
    @Kylie

    That’s a myth that image didn’t matter until MTV. Are you telling me that the physical appearance of Elvis or the Beatles (or even Robert Plant for that matter) made zero difference as to their popularity or marketability?

    WRT Steve Miller, I’m guessing he was insecure about his looks but doesn’t want to admit it.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  218. @Desiderius

    And Philip Sousa

    Steve Miller and John Philip Sousa – – –

    Steve linked to The Dixie Chick’s Travelling Soldier a few days ago – I listened to it and was moved to tears (very seldom that).

    I think they quoted or alluded – this one by John Philip Sousa in that song:

    (He is often looked upon as being Portuguese, and his father came indeed from Portugal, but his
    mother was from Fränkisch-Kulmbach, a nice little town in the Odenwald, north of Heidelberg).

  219. Feryl says:
    @AceDeuce

    A lot of rockers do range from socially awkward to painfully inarticulate. The nadir had to be the grungers, who looked like they’d rather be passing kidney stones than doing publicity (indeed, the grunge thing went passe really fast due in large part to the aloofness of the artists).

    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
  220. @Anonymous

    Wouldn’t the Soviets have called us out if the Moon Landing were bullshit?

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  221. RudyM says:

    This is an incredibly simplistic breakdown. “The public” also engages in criticism of its own, which can involve caring about who is the most “clever, creative, or virtuos[ic],” as well as all sorts of debates about authenticity, genre boundaries, etc.

  222. @JimmyS

    What’s funny is the stunned (not necessarily in a good way) reaction from the student-age audience.

    The BBC had a habit of doing that. There was (can’t find it now) a great Youtube recording of AC/DC, pre-fame, at a lovely BBC theatre in London around 1977. The audience of studenty boys and girls with free tickets to see this “new” band (punk hadn’t hit fashion that much then, men’s hair still longish) just don’t know what to make of them.

    “They stepped in at the last minute for this show. The Alex Harvey Band were originally playing. The audience had no idea who AC/DC were.”

    They absolutely rip it up, to be greeted by polite applause after each number. Found it.

    • Thanks: Desiderius, Dieter Kief
  223. Anon[102] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    E.g., my mom’s best friend’s husband designed the SR-71 for the CIA.

    Haha … but that version was the YF-12:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_YF-12

    And my actual dad worked on the (large) team that designed … the prototype fire control radar system for it at Hughes under contract to Lockheed:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/ASG-18

    LBJ revealed the existence of this hitherto top secret plane in 1963 in a sort of triple bank shot reverse psychology attempt to fool the Soviets about our air espionage capability. The next day I received a box full of YF-12 swag — SoCal aerospace companies made swag for top secret projects for their workers to place on their desks. I’ve always wondered if there was a Pentagon-approved classified swag contractor.

    • Replies: @Dmon
    , @Faraday's Bobcat
  224. @YetAnotherAnon

    On 30 minutes Angus goes for a tour of the balcony, still playing, and the audience look very worried – “what is this sweaty madman doing?”.

  225. @Feryl

    “…(indeed the grunge thing went passé really fast due in large part to the aloofness of the artists).”

    That, and their drug habits.

    • Replies: @Curle
  226. @YetAnotherAnon

    The audience appears alarmed by AC/DC.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  227. Feryl says:
    @Joe S.Walker

    There seems to be much less “crafting” of pop artists these days, the whole point of that was to typically hide the unflattering aspects of an artist in order to aid marketability. It used to be that we often had to wait many years before we heard speculation that an artist was a thin-skinned, irritable, possibly sexually deviant, raving narcissist. Nowadays all the nasty stuff is thrown right into the open almost immediately.

    It used to be “don’t meet your heroes”. Now it’s”don’t listen to your heroes”.

  228. Long before the Ramones, the Bonzo Dog Band asked the musical question, can blue men sing the whites? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the …youtube. There were many underground groups of the 1960s, like Steve Miller, that the straight world finally discovered in the Seventies – so bizarre to see them known for their compromises with commercial standards and not for the real music they once made. Poor Zappa lived long enough to become a parody of himself, too ultra-cool for the world of mere mortals.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  229. @Steve Sailer

    I think they, and especially Bon, had the air of someone who works with their hands rather than at a desk – those alarming boys from the council housing estate who would make you choose a different route home around the time when it was “chucking out time” at the council Youth Club.

    His tattoos, as well – they were pretty much non existent in (or on) the student body in 1977. Bikers, sailors or prisoners were the only tattooed males in those days.

    (And of course, they were running with sweat!)

  230. Feryl says:
    @JimDandy

    The Stooges were a genuinely frightening and Dionysian rock group, definitely a big influence on later iterations of hard rock but not as phony or pansy angst-ridden as many of the bands who cited the Stooges as an influence.

    Punk bands cited the Ramones as a big influence, the tone was (by admission) bubblegum but the primitive playing was thought to “prove” that one need not have developed musical skills in order to make rock music. As a social movement, Punk was a big thing in late 70’s Britain but in America it was much smaller and less cohesive with a fairly small number of angsty weirdos (chiefly Greg Ginn and Jello Biafra) inventing Hardcore Punk which became a pretty loathsome scene in the early 80’s, full of gruff and pretentious posturing from a “woe is me” contingent of brats. By the mid-80’s punk was increasingly supplanted by heavy metal (especially thrash) which was much more musically engaging and actually produced commercially successful artists.

    Punk in general is very over-rated, very musically undynamic and dated to a very specific time (roughly 1976-1984) and a very specific generation (those born from about 1958-1965). It was definitely a “you had to be there” sort of thing. These days normies are much bigger fans of both the classic stadium rock and New Wave that came out in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

    • Thanks: Curle
  231. Feryl says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Joey Ramone helps prove two things: Jewish people and very tall people are goofy and tend to be kind of ugly looking, so a tall Jew is quite a sight to behold.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
  232. @Colin Wright

    As with ballot-harvesting and Ds, they’re merely filling a vacuum the rest of us foolishly left open for them.

    Mind the vacuum.

  233. @Feryl

    Beastie Boys seem to be natural successors to the Ramones.

    Maybe the Ashkenazi are the natural inheritors of Rome.

  234. Kylie says:
    @Feryl

    “That’s a myth that image didn’t matter until MTV.”

    Right. Which is why I didn’t say it. What I did say was:
    ‘But that was in the days when the visuals/ image were still subordinate to the music. I noticed the shift toward the primacy of the image when MTV arrived.’

    “Are you telling me that the physical appearance of Elvis or the Beatles (or even Robert Plant for that matter) made zero difference as to their popularity or marketability?”

    No. I am telling you that visuals/image made less difference than the music in those days. Elvis’s voice, the Beatles’s musical innovations and Robert Plant’s sexually charged vocals were a big part of their popularity and marketability. They continued to be popular and marketable after Elvis got bloated and fat, the Beatles stopped being adorable moppets and Robert Plant aged badly. Because they still sounded good, even great. Elvis and Plant had truly astonishing voices. The Beatles did some impressive studio work before they disbanded.

    • Agree: Mike Tre
    • Replies: @Feryl
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  235. Arclight says:
    @Mike Tre

    Quite true. However, I would guess most of those white Gen-X kids were also listening music other than rap, whereas the majority of black rap fans listen to that genre almost exclusively. I will admit that I don’t mind rap being blasted in the gym when I am lifting, but if I’m sitting on my porch enjoying the day or going for a drive, it’s far too crude to enjoy.

    • Replies: @Anon
  236. Mike Tre says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I was in the military – literally every one with a rank over colonel had a famous son or daughter rock star. Completely normal.

  237. @Steve Sailer

    As Aussies will do. On some level Brits understand the Frankenstein’s monster they created there and are wary of what their ancestors wrought. Maybe if Bon had brought his bagpipes they’d have been more at ease. Worked for Bill Barr.

    Losing Bon was up there with losing Jimi.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @Pat Hannagan
  238. Anon[130] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dr. Krieger

    It sounds like you’re talking about “mini splits” or “split ductless” air conditioner/heating units.

  239. Mike Tre says:
    @JimDandy

    At the gym I see lots of the high school aged kids wearing tshirts with bands and rappers from long before they were born. I wouldn’t even call it retro. It’s just trendiness at its most cheap and shallow. None of these kids are listening to Kill ‘Em All or even Tupac for that matter.

    • Agree: JimDandy
  240. Brutusale says:
    @JimmyS

    Well, they DID have Jesus Christ singing!

  241. I think this guy us making a real statement about popular music. Would the critics get it?

    • Replies: @Kylie
    , @Jim Don Bob
  242. Feryl says:
    @Kylie

    There was greater tolerance of ugly things in the 70’s (when those Boomer icons started to age), I’ll give you that, whether it was the clothes, the cruddy color film stock of the era, or the acceptable level of attractiveness of celebrities. But the 70’s were exceptional. In other eras (not just the 80’s) aesthetic attractiveness is highly valued.

    • LOL: Kylie
    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  243. @Pat Hannagan

    Thanks for the Claypool Lennon Experience; I had no idea Sean Lennon sang, much less than that he sounds eerily like his father. In a blindfold test, I would have guessed Tame Impala — one of yours, right? Their singer absolutely nails the Lennon voice.

    When you get a chance, please ask your wife what “The Classical” (from the Fall’s awesome Hex Enduction Hour) is about. I’ve always been so wrapped up in Steve Hanley’s bass part that I could never figure out what M.E.S. was on about (other than “where are the obligatory n***ers?”).

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
  244. @Bardon Kaldlan

    There’s so much good music,why waste time with the off- brand stuff?

    It is entirely a matter of opinion as to what music is good and in what context.

    For example you may wish to listen to extended elaborations of a musical theme, rather than three minutes singles, or a collection of similar sounding music in the form of an album.

    The listening context also makes a difference. Do you want the music to wake you up and fill you with dancing energy while you are doing the housework in the morning or do you want music, to calm you down and relax you after a hard day at work?

    What kind of instruments do you like the best? The most popular instruments are those that mimic the sound frequencies of the human voice such as guitar, saxophone, piano, harmonica, but nothing is quite as ethereal as an organ.

    Businesses give a lot of thought as to what kind of music that customers would like to hear that would encourage them to spend more money. Probably this is why you don’t hear a lot of blues or rap played in supermarkets.

    Sun Ra might not be a well-known name today, but his big band version of “I could have danced all night” in cha-cha-cha time will live forever.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    , @Art Deco
  245. Anon[133] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Maybe my favorite song ever

  246. MGB says:
    @kpkinsunnyphiladelphia

    You gotta give Mike credit, given who his audience was. He had Patti Smith on and I don’t remember what song she played but I can still picture her turning her back to the camera shaking her ass. You could hear the blue hairs gasp.

  247. @Jonathan Mason

    Or this, which might be the most sublime train journey ever recorded.

  248. @jamie b.

    That’s not what the song says.

    • Replies: @jamie b.
  249. @AceDeuce

    Genesis is a good one.

    Fleetwood Mac? Well. The band that sold a trillion albums had evolved into a different band from the one that the critics loved.

  250. guest007 says:

    A cover of Creep by Scala & Kolacny Brothers became the soundtrack for the movie trailer of “The Social Network” which is considered a black sheep movie of director David Fincher.

    And the critical acclaim of the Social Network trailer lead to many other movies doing the same slow cover songs in other trailers.

    https://deadspin.com/i-fucking-live-for-haunting-covers-of-literally-any-son-1789737073

  251. slumber_j says:
    @Gary in Gramercy

    a certifiable nutcase, even in 1980, if not earlier

    In his 1964 piece on Phil Spector, “The First Tycoon of Teen” (anthologized in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby), Tom Wolfe portrays him as an already unstable genius at the age of I guess 25. By 1980 Spector was a veteran lunatic.

    • Replies: @Muggles
  252. JimDandy says:
    @Feryl

    And yet punk continues on as a youth culture, without much evolution. Teen trannies have become very proprietary about punk–I think all the rules and the us-vs-THEM dynamic appeals to them, as well as the ugly, militant, attention-getting aesthetic. 80’s hardcore was terrible, with a few exceptions. But Never Mind The Bollocks was a great album that epitomizes punk. I don’t care what anyone says.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  253. Somsel says:

    Seems like very few of my fellow commenters have read any of Dr. Rogers’ book which is the subject of Mr. Sailer’s post and his Taki article.

    I’m about half way done. Most of your comments are just reliving your youthful social posturing and positioning.

    The book is really about how a music marketing producer thinks about music. That is, how do you make money off recorded music? Maybe the more mercenary musicians also apply the same sophistication to their business/craft. It does offer some useful insights and research findings about the biology of music.

    Popular music is dead to me, barring the rare ditty with a happy attitude.

    Rap is music for the spinal cord with a big dose of social bitterness in the lyrics and a big tell of our social disintegration.

    I spend my musical budget and spare time on classical and jazz genres. Just dropped over $100 for tickets to hear the Royal Concertgebouw on tour. I’m also digging around “world music” looking for anything satisfying.

    How much money have you spent on music this year and on what genre?

  254. Curle says:
    @JimDandy

    “The Ramones were a novelty act. They remain “popular” (primarily in name only) as a symbol of something they never really represented–punk.”

    The Ramones took the energy and anger of punk and redirected it to good natured whimsy. This is not unlike the various light-hearted but very enjoyable whimsical Beatles songs (Drive My Car; Octopus Garden). Some people love whimsy. I think you do the Ramones an disservice by relegating them to a novelty act. But then, I like the 13th Floor Elevators.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  255. Richard B says:
    @Tiny Duck

    Name for me an original artist that was not influenced by those of African desecent?

    What’s with the question mark?

    Anyway.

    Name for me an original artist of African descent who didn’t start from something white.

    • Agree: Malcolm X-Lax
  256. @obwandiyag

    Zappa only made one good album, Hot Rats. On which he did not sing, thank god.

    Whereas Manfred Mann’s voice is only heard on one track in his entire career– on that annoying Springsteen cover, I think– when he served as a last-minute stand-in for a backup singer who called in sick.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  257. @Jay Fink

    One thing about Steve Miller (that I learned years ago on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40) is that he made it a point not to put his picture on album covers. He didn’t want people to have an image of him when they listened to his music and he liked that he could walk in public undetected most of the time.

    He may have been excessively cautious there, considering his heyday was pre-MTV. From what I remember, one of the big things when MTV started was that you could now see what all the singers looked like. Before that, only the very biggest stars were known by appearance. Even then, it was usually limited to the ones with some kind of visual interest, like Bowie or Rod Stewart. Then when MTV came out it was like, “Wow, Phil Collins is a little bald guy!”

  258. @R.G. Camara

    Gabriel’s work has fallen victim to the test of time

  259. @jamie b.

    Back in the ’80s, in my locale anyway, the only alt-rock station was on AM, which hardly anyone under 40 station-surfed, and the only people who listened to that station were gay or bisexual weirdos who looked like Edward scissor-hands.

    • Replies: @jamie b.
    , @Art Deco
  260. @Steve Sailer

    Same notes, (much) different tune, and intended to be.

  261. Art Deco says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Businesses give a lot of thought as to what kind of music that customers would like to hear that would encourage them to spend more money. Probably this is why you don’t hear a lot of blues or rap played in supermarkets.

    You heard Burt Bacharach. So often it kinda ruined the experience of listening to Burt Bacharach.

  262. Anon[295] • Disclaimer says:
    @Arclight

    The appeal of that album is the quality of its mix and mastering. It still sounds good today.

    In that period, hip-hop started to outshine rock’s ability in the studio. The technological arms race was in capturing better and more articulate low-end instrumentation that consumer products could finally and reliably handle. Even the rock bands of the time became more bass heavy; more baritone singers; drummers who used snares with what otherwise sounded like tom-heads.

    But the rock bands couldn’t really get louder (though they were trying with the infamous “loudness wars”) and it was already a headache fitting rock guitar and a singer and drums into a soundscape.

    Hip-hop with its total ability to curate its soundscape and tons of space for drums&bass and a much more manageable human voice could keep up all the intense energy and verve and loudness that attracts a teenage male audience.

    • Thanks: Arclight
  263. Art Deco says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Whereas Manfred Mann’s voice is only heard on one track in his entire career– on that annoying Springsteen cover, I think– when he served as a last-minute stand-in for a backup singer who called in sick.

    It was better than the original and got far more air play at the time.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob, Jay Fink
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  264. @Jay Fink

    “I disagree about Lou Reed. Using “colored” in one song is a non (or very small) factor in his popularity. ”

    Uh, what popularity? Lou Reed never had a #1 album, or song. His albums never went platinum during his lifetime, and he certainly isn’t among the top ten selling recording artists of his generation. Lou Reed, the B-52’s, Talking Heads, and all the other groups, if anything, were mere products of elitists who believed that rather than what the masses listened to and considered artistry, “True art” in music lies with artists whose lyrics are difficult to grasp at first few listens, who have no soul or, much less musical talents. Many music critics believe that they alone (or at least their profession alone) can decipher what is and what isn’t true artistry in music, and thus attempted to promote, in their own way, these no talents on the public. But guess what? For the most part, the public has never bought into what the critics were trying to sell. For the most part, their music sucks.

    It was the critics, after all, that missed the boat on the ’50’s rock and rollers/that rock and roll was here to stay, missed the British Invasion (initially), and missed the Rap phenomenon as well. Going 0 for 3 regarding three of the biggest musical trends in the 20th century is not a good batting average and kind of destroys credibility as to why critics should be taken seriously.

    • Replies: @James J. O'Meara
  265. Muggles says:
    @slumber_j

    My only semi connection to someone kinda famous (like others here brag about constantly) is that my late brother was good friends with Phil Spector’s adopted son.

    My brother always called him “Spector”.

    I met him only once, living in Colorado Springs. Driving an Uber I think. Spector had zero money (and never did) and was barely getting by.

    Nice guy my brother said. Though he didn’t mention “Dad” much if at all.

    My brother didn’t have many friends but Spector was one.

    I think Phil died not too long ago.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  266. @Kylie

    “Elvis’s voice, the Beatles’s musical innovations and Robert Plant’s sexually charged vocals were a big part of their popularity and marketability.”

    Of all the ’50’s rock and rollers (or at least the white ones), it was Elvis who depended upon visual cues as much as his musical content. If you observe the contemporary accounts written about him, it was always commenting on his mannerisms, or his visual appearance, and especially, what he did on stage that was deemed to be lewd and vulgar. The songs Elvis sang never really caused controversy compared to his visual appearance. Elvis wrote the blueprint for all future rock and rollers to follow: how to dress, how to appear on stage, how to move, etc. all visual cues. Frankly after watching youtube recordings of the Beatles live shows, I have to say, that for all their musical creative genius in the recording studio, they were one of the worst live bands ever. Dull, bland, no energy, no excitement, no movement. Even as solo acts, Paul’s shows were never on the visual level of say, a Mick Jagger. Regarding how to move visually on the stage, the Rolling Stones figured it out and followed Elvis’ lead, while the Beatles did not.

    “Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything – music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution – the 60’s comes from it.”–Leonard Bernstein

    One of his major monnikers was a visual cue, “Elvis the Pelvis.”

    It’s Elvis. Pure and Simple. Nothing in the 20th century comes close to the direct impact he made on society at large. Facts.

    • Agree: Curle
  267. Curle says:
    @Gary in Gramercy

    I don’t think woe is me meets punk/zeppelin/pixies was ever going to have an long lifespan. I don’t doubt that Cobain was unhappy but he also seemed to have no clue how to deal with it. I blame the absence of an father.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  268. Curle says:
    @Tiny Duck

    Your claim is foolish. You might as well say the South creates all popular music but that would be as overdeveloped as your initial claim.

  269. Curle says:
    @Meretricious

    I like the song but an critical element of the Ramones appeal was the humor in their lyrics and the fact they could perform an entire concert of such songs. I don’t sense that humor element in this cut from the saints. The Who and AC/DC had it.

    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
  270. @Fin of a Cobra

    The correlation is quite simple: the higher the I.Q., the most annoyed by music of any kind one is. An exception could be made for people who make music, because they don’t have to actually enjoy it in order to make it. And they don’t listen to music the way the others — the mere consumers — do. I may sound I a little presumptuous by saying these things, but in fact I am not implying that I am exceptionally smart. What I say on this comment happens to be correct, though, regardless. And it is very easy to see that it is correct, as smart people usually occupy themselves with activities more profitable than listening to music solely for pleasure.
    ————————————————-
    Off-Topic: Under Ron Unz’s piece “Breaking Two Million Views on Rumble” you made the erroneous assertion that Armínio Fraga is Jewish. His ancestry is gentile Portuguese on his father’s side (with some aristocratic stock in it) and Irish-American on his mother’s side. He is Catholic.

    • Replies: @Curle
  271. @Ron Mexico

    Wouldn’t the Soviets have called us out if the Moon Landing were bullshit?

    Well – that is strong evidence, that the Soviets were part of the conspiracy to send all of us into deception territory – see? – They too had a strong interst to claim, that they too hd been on the moon, right?!
    Always think first – then become a proponent of whatever thesis there might be…

    (ok – I’m in a rather palyful mode (I admit that)).

  272. Jay Fink says:
    @Feryl

    Of all the genres I listened to in my teens punk sounds the worst to me now, by far. I am amazed I ever liked it.

  273. Jay Fink says:
    @Feryl

    If Jewish people are kind of ugly looking (my female genetic line was an exception, my mom and grandma were considered beauties. They looked more anglo than Jewish) could it be due to only breeding with other Jews, a relatively small group? On some level that seems like inbreeding, like everyone mating with a distant cousin.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  274. @Feryl

    Does that explain Meat Loaf?

  275. northeast says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Seger has mentioned several times that he’s an introvert. Not the most favorable personal trait to have in that business. I agree that the two of them are very comparable. Seger did better on the radio in his prime. Bruce actually went to Bob asking how he could better compose hit songs.

    Seger’s audience is a lot more blue-collar than Springsteen’s people. Springsteen’s fans also skew very much more to the left politically than Seger’s crowd.

  276. jamie b. says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    the only people who listened to that station were gay or bisexual weirdos who looked like Edward scissor-hands.

    So, if you were repelled by (your perception of) the alternative rock scene, then it’s not too surprising that you’re unfamiliar with some of the artists. Believe me, in certain circles Elvis Costelo has been a big name for some time. (Why I don’t know.)

  277. JimDandy says:
    @Curle

    Ok, I think I’m following you, so… what was The Ramones’ “Don’t Let Me Down”? Their “I’m So Tired”?

    • Replies: @Curle
    , @Gary in Gramercy
  278. Dmon says:
    @Anon

    I don’t know if there was a Pentagon-approved swag contractor, but I worked with a guy who worked on the B-2. After it was acknowledged, they all got B-2 coffee mugs, with a perfectly rendered, fairly detailed image of the B-2 on them. He turned the cup over and the bottom said “Made in China”.

  279. Art Deco says:
    @Muggles

    I think Phil died not too long ago.

    In prison for murder, where he belonged. It took the California courts six years to process the case and the trials lasted for months. The courts in our time are entirely taken up with lawyers playing footsie with each other.

  280. jamie b. says:
    @I, Libertine

    So I guess that he once actually fell into a burning ring of fire as well.

  281. Mr. Grey says:
    @onetwothree

    Rap. It’s utter garbage and always has been, but for some reason no critic has ever stated this simple fact.

    It’s always funny to hear music critics on NPR praise gangsta rap, whether it’s reviewing a new album or memorializing the latest rapper to be taken by the streets.

  282. Art Deco says:
    @Curle

    I don’t doubt that Cobain was unhappy but he also seemed to have no clue how to deal with it. I blame the absence of an father.

    His parents were divorced. His father was not absent.

    He was in severe (though intermittent) pain from a gastrointestinal ailment that the doctors he consults cannot explain. (They could, with an endoscope, see that his stomach tissues were inflamed). So, his response was to use heroin as an analgesic. And of all the women in the world with whom he might have kept company, he lands on Courtney Love (who, among other things, turned him on to heroin). When you’re in a hole, it’s helpful to your well being to stop digging.

    • Agree: Curle
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  283. Art Deco says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Back in the ’80s, in my locale anyway, the only alt-rock station was on AM, which hardly anyone under 40 station-surfed, and the only people who listened to that station were gay or bisexual weirdos who looked like Edward scissor-hands.

    I’d be fascinated to know how you learned that.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  284. @Dennis Dale

    Piss off stupid people.😉

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
  285. Curle says:
    @JimDandy

    I don’t think they were seeking range anymore than most bands of their era not called Beatles. Was Buffalo Springfield seeking range? Pink Floyd? If not, does that make either an novelty act? If Beatles range is the dividing line between novelty acts and ‘other’ artists all punk acts were novelty acts, including the Clash.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  286. @Curle

    Apparently their creative breakthrough occurred when they wrote a song with a positive outlook. Their first songs were all negative: “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You,” “I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement,” “I Don’t Wanna Be Learned, I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed.”

    Of course, as the Yobs of Yellowstone Boulevard, their first positive song was “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”

    Your point is well taken, though: I can’t imagine the Clash, the Jam or virtually any other “punk” band with lyrics like, “First rule is: the laws of Germany/second rule is: be nice to Mommy/third rule is: don’t talk to Commies/fourth rule is: eat kosher salamis.” (Well, maybe the Dead Kennedys: “Zen fascists will control you/100% natural/You will jog for the master race/And always wear a happy face.”)

    • Agree: Curle
  287. @JimDandy

    “Questioningly,” from Road to Ruin.

    • Thanks: Curle
    • Replies: @JimDandy
  288. @J.Ross

    Trump endorsed hundreds of candidate, most all of whom were already popular, incumbents, unopposed, etc. Where Trump could have “made a difference” the results are meagre.

    Trump can predict the sun will rise tomorrow but that doesn’t make him the cause, now does it?

    If Trump predicts the sun will rise, and that monkeys will fly out of his ass, and the latter fails to happen, does that mean “he’s batting .500!”

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  289. @I, Libertine

    Living In The U.S.A.-Steve Miller Band-1968. Boz Scaggs was in the band.

    • Agree: I, Libertine
    • Replies: @I, Libertine
  290. Feryl says:
    @JimDandy

    Pop punk was quite popular in America, though of course it was hit with accusations that it wasn’t “real punk” (for some reason this is constantly debated within the genre, as to what is real punk and isn’t). Outside of maybe The Clash, and after many years, The Ramones, very few “true” punk albums have been commercially viable in America. While some semblance of youth punk subculture has existed in America since the 80’s, it’s never been that prevalent (if it was people would’ve actually bought the records). Metal/Grunge was huge with young Gen X-ers (much more so than punk ever was), but hard rock in any form saw swiftly declining cultural relevance around circa 2005 when Gen Z began to enter the target audience for popular music (Gen Z being of course much wimpier than even Millennials much less Gen X).

    Never could get into the Sex Pistols, young Johnny’s voice is beyond horrible even by the low standards of the genre, and it’s ironic that the music is actually much less aggressive and powerful than the Prog/metal bands that the punks spat upon (Symptom of the Universe by 70’s Black Sabbath blows away anything done by The Sex Pistols).

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  291. Kylie says:
    @stari_momak

    “You know what’s weird? The total neglect of Ragtime in discussions of US music history.”

    A couple of factors make ragtime a neglected genre. It declined in popularity around 1917, the year Joplin died and just before the end of WWI. So it lost its greatest proponent (actually years earlier due to Joplin’s tertiary syphilis) and people wanted something livelier and more boisterous after the war ended–enter jazz. (Something similar happened to swing post-WWII.)

    Also, Joplin insisted it was classical music in the European tradition. It wasn’t, really, but it had enough classical elements to put off people who liked popular music and not enough classical elements to satisfy classical music lovers.

    But you are right. A lot of ragtime is seriously beautiful.

    • Agree: stari_momak
  292. @Observator

    I remember vividly these lines from my school days:

    And further they assert
    That any show they’ll interrupt
    To bring you news if it comes up
    They say that if the place blows up
    They will be the first to tell,
    Because the boys they got downtown
    Are workin’ hard and doin’ swell,
    And if anybody gets the news
    Before it hits the street,
    They say that no one blabs it faster
    Their coverage can’t be beat

    And if another woman driver
    Gets machine-gunned from her seat
    They’ll send some joker with a brownie
    And you’ll see it all complete

  293. @Desiderius

    You gotta wonder what get into stars like him and Bonham who have everything and yet drink themselves to death.

    There was a kid in my freshman year who did the Jimi thing before Jimi by eating a bunch of hash and then choking on his on vomit while passed out.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  294. @stari_momak

    We need a theory as to why ragtime was overtaken and surpassed by “jizz” music (as it was originally called).

    The Usual Suspects?

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  295. Feryl says:
    @Jay Fink

    Joey was totally Jewish, Right? On the other hand many “Jewish” actors of recent vintage actually have one gentile parent. Mixed ethnicity relationships have become more and more common. Anyway, I would say Joey’s height was the biggest factor in his freakishness. Considering how very few people are 6’5″ inches or taller, it stands to reason that they are freakish in other ways besides their height.

  296. @AceDeuce

    I recall some critic around the time of Reuben and the Jets that Zappa loved doo-wop and played it well, but he felt it was “beneath him” as opposed to his “far out” rock and especially “classical” pieces.

  297. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Rolling Stone, despite its “reputation” was notoriously stone-eared. From trashing the MC5 and the Stooges to ignoring Nirvana. I don’t think they ever started or even recognized the start of a trend. Their critics were as out of it as the Grammies , who ignored the Beatles and when they decided to add Best Heavy Metal Band, their first choice went to Jethro Tull.

  298. @Art Deco

    “When you’re in a hole, it’s helpful to your well being to stop digging.”

    See what you just did. In more ways than one, Courtney Love was a literal hole, and her band was called Hole as well.

    At the same time, Cobain had to answer for his own actions. It’s not like he was the greatest single musician to come down the pike of the last 40 yrs. A bit overrated at times, musically.

    Grunge was atonal crapola. Perhaps it was a necessary response to the ’80’s corporate music at the time, but its as dated as disco now. Hopefully it won’t return in another version, 2.0. A pretty sorry state of affairs if that’s the best music that white folks could come up with in late 20th century. But the critics seemed to jump on board with it fairly early (as they had completely missed the ’50’s rock and roll explosion, British Invasion, guess they wanted to be first in line on the bus with something).

    Commercially, Grunge was killed by the late ’90’s popola boy bands, a nod to Phil Spector’s ’60’s girl bands popola.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  299. @James J. O'Meara

    Probably because rag time faded out just before any recording medium existed other than piano rolls, whereas Louis Armstrong (b. 1903) was one of the most popular recording artists in the late 20s, so jazz was able to reach a much wider audience.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  300. Curle says:
    @Kylie

    Was living in HI in the late ‘70s and had a buddy who’d moved from FLA was an guitarist and loved both Zappa and Atlanta Rhythm Section. He turned me on to both and though initially I liked Zappa most over time I came to prefer ARL, who were the former Classics IV. An enjoyable but mostly forgotten band.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  301. Kylie says:
    @Curle

    Omg, a genuine blast from the past. Thanks. Hadn’t thought of this band in decades.

    Which reminds me, this LP was highly esteemed by my brother and his buddies. I loved it instantly and think it’s held up well.

    • Replies: @Curle
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
  302. @jamie b.

    Elvis Costello is emblematic of the phrase “niche audience.”

    Hipster famous.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  303. Curle says:
    @Kylie

    You are right. It has held up well!

    • Thanks: Kylie
  304. @Jonathan Mason

    By the early 1910’s phonograph records were industry standard and outselling the rolls.

    Louis Armstrong was born in 1901, Bob Hope was born in 1903.

  305. @R.G. Camara

    But being a niche 1970s rock star is in absolute terms being fairly famous compared to most other forms of fame.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
  306. @Steve Sailer

    No doubt. But Costello seems to be kind of bitter/sour grapesy at not being bigger and at guys like Billy Joel for getting so much bigger.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  307. @R.G. Camara

    The market decided. All Costello had to do was write music that people were actually into buying. Fellow Brit Elton John didn’t have a problem with being superstar famous.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
  308. @jamie b.

    Elvis Costello’s first 3 albums are 3 of the best rock records ever made. Get Happy! and King Of America are pretty great, too. His second album, This Years Model, is one of my top five all-time faves. Give him another try. Or not.

  309. @Kylie

    My older brother turned me on to this record about 30 years ago. We were talking about it just a couple of days ago. Great record.

    • Thanks: Kylie
  310. Feryl says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    The funny thing about grunge is that it’s glory days were about 1992-1994, as an overall cultural phenomena. That’s pretty short-lived, whereas hair metal was big from 1984-1991 (GNR’s 1991 Illusion albums were successful). I would put that down to the early Grunge bands having difficulty sustaining their viability for many reasons (drugs, mental health issues, discomfort with fame, etc.) as well as the legions of crappy “alt-rock” bands that were desperately signed by the majors who flooded the airwaves and MTV with stuff which got stale fast. Whereas with hair metal even the lesser 2nd wave bands had decent musicianship and songwriting skills. It was the 3rd wave of hair metal (as in, their debut album was released in ’88-’91) that started to put the nails in the coffin of the genre as their was a calculated safeness to their sound, too much pop and not enough rock. Early 90’s alt-rock was an over-correction to that.

    WRT late 90’s, Nu-Metal, Pop-punk, and “post-grunge” (basically, generic 90’s rock music not heavy or weird enough to be true grunge) all quickly overshadowed grunge.

  311. @Desiderius

    I don’t have Unz Cred (I refuse cookies) to do a LOL or Respect or Handshake, so I wanted to say TOP SONG!

    You gotta wonder what get into stars like him and Bonham who have everything and yet drink themselves to death.

    What a way to go!

  312. @Gary in Gramercy

    Cheers, mate!

    Yeah, I was thinking Tame Impala too at first but my daughter said it was a yank so that threw me off. I saw Sean Lennon once on an episode of What’s in My Bag and he seemed like a pretty good bloke, clearly he’s more than just being a famous name, I’m more than impressed with this album.

    Check out the Pond song I posted above Man It Feels Like Space Again, I could hear immediately Tame Impala and turns out he produced the album!

    I’ve always been so wrapped up in Steve Hanley’s bass part that I could never figure out what M.E.S. was on about (other than “where are the obligatory n***ers?”).

    Never listened to this album, cheers again, mate! And yes, I’ll put my mrs to he ultimate test, working out wtf M.E.S is on about.

    At times I think I’m naturally an artist in the M.E.S mould.

    https://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_mark_e._smith_guide_to_writing_guide

    Hello I’m Mark E. Smith and this is The Mark E. Smith ‘Guide To Writing’ Guide.

    Day-by-day breakdown

    Day One: Hang around house all day writing bits of useless information on bits of paper

    Day Two: Decide lack of inspiration due to too much isolation and non-fraternisation. Go to pub. Have drinks.

    Day Three: Get up and go to pub. Hold on in there a style is on it’s way. Through sheer boredom and drunkenness, talk to people in pub.

    Day Four: By now, people in the pub should be continually getting on your nerves. Write things about them on backs of beer mats.

    Day Five: Go to pub. This is where true penmanship stamina comes into its own as by now, guilt, drunkenness, the people in the pub and the fact you’re one of them should combine to enable you to write out of sheer vexation. To write out of sheer vexation.

    Day Six: If possible stay home. And write. If not go to pub.

    I had to look up the lyrics to see that he wasn’t singing about Forrest Gump, as I heard it, but the song namesake, Boriska himself. Great lyrics, btw.

    Really wish Oz was facing the Poms in the League World Cup Final next week.

    Here’s to you:

  313. JimDandy says:
    @Curle

    You’re right–I’m sorry I brought The Beatles into a discussion about whether or not The Ramones were a novelty act. What kind of asshole does something like that?

  314. JimDandy says:
    @Gary in Gramercy

    It’s better than anything Sha Na Na did, I’ll give you that.

  315. JimDandy says:
    @Feryl

    Like I said, I don’t care what anyone says. Bollocks was a, nay, the masterpiece of genuine punk. Hardcore outfit, Social Distortion found some mainstream success with a couple country-tinged albums. Some hardcore purists said they sold out, because they got better. I loved those albums.

    • Replies: @Jay Fink
    , @YetAnotherAnon
  316. @Curle

    Einstein was a POSEUR. Sweet Jesus, how I hate that guy’s public persona. I’m not saying he was a fraud. His work is valuable. (Of course I’m taking the word from people more knowledgeable than me for it). Still, he was as phony as one can get when Physics was not concerned.
    There’s also Feynman and his bongo playing. Feynman was the bizarro version of Einstein. He made it a point to be as down-to-earth as possible, to the point where that became sort of a pose too.

  317. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Costello was probably underrated on account of being Irish by way of surname.

    You have no idea the hatred yanks have for big mouthed micks who put them in their place.

    Most yanks have this sense of destiny like they were born into freedom as the embodiment of the superlative of western democracy, on account of their height divided by liberty, without understanding how they’re manipulated into situations they strive to beat each other up to represent the monarchy of London.

    • LOL: R.G. Camara
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  318. @Anonymous

    My wife and I saw the massive sturm und drang spectacle of Rammstein at Soldier Field in September and Ghost at a packed United Center.

  319. Jay Fink says:
    @JimDandy

    I saw Social Distortion in 1982 at Bob Stupak’s Vegas World (now the Stratosphere) in Las Vegas. My teenage friends and I loved their song “Telling Them” Yet it was that concert that made me start losing interest in punk. The band was pretty good, it was still their early hardcore days. I didn’t like the crowd though…way too rough for me. I don’t know why I expected any different, it was punk rock after all.

    I kind of liked their major label “sellout” music of the 90s. “Story Of My Life” was a good song. Yeah they sounded a lot different and more commercial but more than a decade had passed, they should have evolved by then. I was actually surprised they were still together by that point.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @JimDandy
  320. @Jay Fink

    Social Distortion got really good in 1990 after they finally incorporated blues and country into their hardcore punk sound. Story of My Life and Ball and Chain are classic late contributions to American song:

    These songs sound like somebody should have gotten around to writing them by 1958.

    • Agree: Jay Fink
    • Thanks: JimDandy
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  321. J.Ross says:
    @James J. O'Meara

    Then neither is it a clear defeat, and at no time do the alternatives offered make any kind of sense.
    That said, it is now clear that brazen cheating is completely out of control, that Republicans are totally unwilling to deal with it and are dead as a party with or without Trump, and that we are running out of legal and political solutions.

    • Agree: BB753, Kylie
  322. @Steve Sailer

    OK, Social Distortion started incorporating country and blues in 1988 with “Prison Bound” after their leader got out of rehab and jail.

    Which peak 1990 Social Distortion song is better? 15 years ago I would have said “Story of My Life” but now I lean toward “Ball and Chain.”

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  323. @Kylie

    An interesting question is why “long-hair” has long been a synonym for a fine musician such as this blues guitarist you posted, Justin Johnson, who is superb musically and has shoulder-length hair.

    My impression is that the best musicians tend to be heterosexual guys who aren’t all that masculine.

    But I don’t know why.

  324. @Steve Sailer

    An interesting question is why “long-hair” has long been a synonym for a fine musician such as this blues guitarist you posted.

    They have a Jesus complex, and most people are familiar from childhood with pictures of the long-haired hippy Jesus, and the first music they know is Christmas carols or those Christmas songs you hear in department stores.

    Music and religious sentiment are inextricably mixed.

  325. @JimDandy

    A lot of it is, alas “the shock of the new” – nothing like punk had been heard before (until people rediscovered the Stooges “Raw Power” and maybe the MC5) so it probably seemed better than it was.

    I love the Kinks, who can lay claim to have invented riff-driven heavy metal, and who were exploring Eastern sounds a year before George Harrison picked up a sitar. But the guitar solo in, say, “You Really Got Me” just isn’t that good, though it’s otherwise great, and it was only 1964 – the frenetic guitar solo hadn’t really been invented then. Previous solos tended to be melodic.

    Always interesting to see what stands up from old stuff. At the time, say, “Tapestry” and “Mudslide Slim” were equally popular, yet I hardly ever listen to the former now.

    “Astral Weeks” didn’t sound at all contemporary when it came out, so it still sounds pretty good now.

    Some records really date themselves – reggae producers used to chuck in those annoying synthesised disco whistle and bell sounds all over early 80s records.

    Jonathan Mason – Ziggy was “like a leather Messiah” in the Bowie song..

    PS – am I the only Roy Buchanan fan on Unz?

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  326. @OilcanFloyd

    Here is Justin Johnson playing a real guitar. Sadly he is not on tour.

  327. JimDandy says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The consensus is that “Ball and Chain” is their classic, and I agree. But they had a lot of classics, in my opinion.

    Born to Lose

    When She Begins

    Mike Ness had a couple of great solo albums, one of which included a duet with Bruce Springsteen, who was a Social Distortion fanboy.

  328. JimDandy says:
    @Jay Fink

    Yeah, their shows attract roughnecks. I’m a Social D fan, not a Social D fan fan.

  329. @Steve Sailer

    Musicians/artistic types tend to be lazier and more absent-minded about their hygiene and lifestyle than others.

    E.g. Mick Jagger realized while in LSE that he could make a mint in rock music just if he and his band showed up to gigs on time and were reliable, because all the other musicians were so zonked on drugs and alcohol and generally irresponsible that they blew off gigs or showed up wasted and did crap sets or forgot to get paid at the end of the night.

    So long hair is part of that. The “Bohemian artist” guy is one who tries to stand out when with “normies” because he’s “different”, and also because he’s too lazy and absent-minded to get his hair cut regularly.

    For most guys, bad hygiene is a turn off to women, but with “artistic” types its an “ooh, I can fix him/take care of him/mother him” turn on. E.g. in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, the groupies are depicted as cleaning up for the band and doing the emotional work for them a mother might do.

  330. Anonymous[212] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kylie

    Well TV is a primarily visual medium, and humans are primarily visual creatures. Inevitably this reduces music to the status of accompaniment. It’s just how the human brain works.

    Cinema too. Ridley Scott, early in his moviemaking career, was criticized for making films that looked spectacular but which had little substance. His response was that cinema is a visual medium and therefore a film that doesn’t look good has failed in a fundamental way.

    Now a lot of people will disagree with this, arguing that plot, characters, acting, etc. are more important than visuals. But it’s certainly an interesting perspective.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  331. Gordo says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Allegedly ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ played backwards is ‘Is’s fun to smoke marijuana’

  332. @Jim Don Bob

    Alcohol is estrogenic. It takes the edge off of the tremendous rush of testosterone (and other chemicals) that inevitably overwhelm the brain when a man reaches the top of the world. The Constitutional Convention famously drowned in Port (and whatever else men drank then) for instance.

    Families habituated to such power over several generations develop a resistance to its deleterious effects (e.g. Churchill). The Icarus who rises too far too fast is left at its mercy.

  333. @Feryl

    Agreed, and also the pendulum swing back during the late ’90’s to the more extreme end, so instead of Grunge, the US got oversaturated with Boy Band bubble gum pop–which outsold almost all grunge bands by a factor of 3-1. Even today, in supermarkets, malls, any public places, there’s far more ’90’s Boy Band music played than grunge. Probably being because more women than men purchase music. As the largest consumer demographic, they tend to dictate the standards of musical trends.

    For the most part, women hated grunge. Yes, you find prominent examples, but for the most part, they hate grunge as a genre, hence that’s one reason the genre died out from the mainstream.

  334. @Pat Hannagan

    And in the words of Long John Silver from Treasure Island, Top of the morning, to ye!

    Let’s just get to it.

    There’s no way in f’ing hell that someone as putrid and ugly looking as Declan Patrick Aloysius Macmanus has any right of justice to be wearing a given name that signifies the greatest rock and roller of the 2oth century–in many global music fans minds. It’s totally disgusting, actually, that someone such as himself couldn’t have chosen a more original stage name. Totally disgusting. He certainly didn’t put the US in their place. There’s only one Elvis, and it sure ain’t Declan Patrick Aloysius Macmanus.

    Know what? Beginning to think that David Lee Roth was onto something a bit more profound than people realize. It’s always the music critics that love and enjoy such musicians as the likes of Costello, it’s not the public. And why? Because many of them outwardly resemble him.

    After all, it’s always the music critics that push the likes of Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, B-52’s, Talking Heads, and to an extent, the Ramones on the public. Those groups/recording artists and others in the same vein are never the publics first choice of what to listen and purchase.

    Roth was definitely onto something. Sometimes even Jeff Spicoli can make a Sienfeldian observation.

    • Replies: @Curle
  335. @Feryl

    What about Van Halen? They started in late ’70’s and the ’80’s was their glory years as well, they certainly have to be counted as hair metal, and music fans and critics alike acknowledge that Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest lead guitarists ever. GNR’s Slash is of course another. Sometimes the hair metal bands get looked down on by the elite critics, and yet they had their fair share of virtuosos.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  336. @Anon

    Haha … but that version was the YF-12:

    This thread has whiskers on it by now, but as long as we’re nitpicking, the CIA version was actually the A-12.

    • Replies: @Anon
  337. Jay Fink says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think it’s because music is an art and involves creativity. Masculine men aren’t very sensitive. Even with hard rock, especially the higher quality, you need some softer creative qualities to put together a good song.

    I remember reading an article in the 90s that said rock bands had to be muscular and audiences would laugh skinny guys off the stage, unlike previous decades. If that’s true could that be a reason rock started dying out around that time?

    Another possibility is that the best rock happened to come out when the norm for young men was long haired men who weren’t especially masculine. I remember in one of your articles there was a study that looked at high school yearbooks and that boys had the longest hair in 1979. I often hear my fellow conservatives claim young men are so much softer and more feminine today yet I actually think they are a lot more masculine than their 1979 counterparts. Sure it was more conventional back then, less open crossdressing etc., but the average ordinary young man, other than jocks, was not especially masculine.

  338. Anonymous[215] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    I would guess that a statistical majority of the world’s population are moon landing ‘deniers’.

    Try speaking to some smart educated young Russians or Chinese about this. You’ll be surprised. They have nothing but contempt for a nation so stupid that it believes such an obvious hoax.

  339. @Art Deco

    It was better than the original and got far more air play at the time.

    Damning with faint praise.

    It was the opening track on Springsteen’s debut album. No one had heard of him, and he would be merely a critic’s–and musicians and marketer’s– darling for the rest of the decade. It got no airplay at all.

    What caught people’s ear was the phrase cut loose like a deuce, which Mann or his (Scottish, I think) singer changed to revved up, and which in “air play” was taken as wrapped up like a douche.

    “Deuce was like a Little Deuce Coupe, as in a 2-seater Hot Rod. Douche is a feminine hygienic procedure. But what can I say, the public spoke,” [Springsteen] joked. (In 2005.)

    The Meaning of “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

    The secret sauce, and what to eat it with:

    “The real problem was how to get from the chorus to the verse smoothly. I just couldn’t figure out a way to do it,” [Mann] said. “And then – and this is why you need to be in a band – our drummer Chris Slade said, ‘Play Chopsticks over it.’”

    As a critic’s pet, Springsteen was marketed as a “new Dylan”. Mann covered a Dylan song, “Quinn the Eskimo”, a few years earlier, and Graham Nash left the Hollies over their decision to do an album of Dylan “tunes”. No surprise that both bands would rush to cover Springsteen. The Hollies did just one song, “Sandy”, which Steve Simels of Stereo Review, a fan of both, and a Jersey native as well, nevertheless called “an ode to boardwalk sleaze”.

    I gave up on Bruce after “Born to Run” (before Mrs C was even born), but still preferred almost any of the “new Dylans” to the original, who is only palatable in covers. (Cover versions, that is!)

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  340. @Steve Sailer

    Fortunately, Steve Miller and company heard it and recorded “Jet Airliner”

    Pena’s producer had been in Miller’s band as recently as a year before his album was cut. When they met up again, he played the LP for Miller. If its release had already been held up, they may even have decided to cover the song to help Pena out.

  341. @Reg Cæsar

    “the original, who is only palatable in covers”

    Agreed – apart from maybe “Rainy Day Women”. Lots of classic Dylan songs are by other people, from “All Along The Watchtower” to “This Wheel’s On Fire”.

    This reggae version of “The Man In Me” was a staple in British Jamaican clubs in 1976.

  342. Kylie says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “An interesting question is why “long-hair” has long been a synonym for a fine musician such as this blues guitarist you posted, Justin Johnson, who is superb musically and has shoulder-length hair.”

    Yes and this is true in classical music as well as rock, country, etc. I think because earlier virtuosi had long hair (classical: Paganini and Liszt), (rock: Clapton, Gilmore). But why they did, I don’t know.

    In Justin Johnson’s case, the answer may be more prosaic. I love this guy, he really connects with his audiences. But he is extremely homely. The bone structure of his face is very misshapen. The long hair, hat etc. help conceal that.

    He has a very pretty wife and lots of fanboys so while not an alpha male, he’s attractive as a man and a musician.

    Even more puzzling is why extremely handsome male celebs grow longish hair, scruffy beards, wear sunglasses and hats, etc. Nowadays they all look like the homeless bums from my old neighborhood.

    Being neatly barbered, clean-shaven and bare-headed worked great for Cary Grant from late middle-age on up. Do Brad, Johnny et al really think only their talent propelled them to stardom? No, it was the gorgeous eyes and great bone structure. They still have it so why not show it off? Their fans will view them through the prism of nostalgia so lines and wrinkles wouldn’t matter much. Follow the example of Dave Gilmore, not Brahms!

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  343. Curle says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “it’s always the music critics that push the likes of Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, B-52’s, Talking Heads, and to an extent, the Ramones on the public. Those groups/recording artists and others in the same vein are never the publics first choice of what to listen and purchase.“

    The stuff that bores music critics is also the stuff that bores the people who respond to music critic advice. If bands like Foreigner bore some young guy looking for something more interesting he’s going to turn to an critic for advice and find The Ramones or Elvis Costello or Lou Reed. If the recommendation doesn’t achieve the desired result he quits following the advice. It isn’t all that complicated.

    The critics aren’t foisting they are filling a need. The last thing their readers want is ‘the publics first choice’ in most instances.

  344. Kylie says:
    @Anonymous

    “Well TV is a primarily visual medium, and humans are primarily visual creatures. Inevitably this reduces music to the status of accompaniment. It’s just how the human brain works.”

    I know that, maybe better than most because I’m a visual learner. Words are secondary to me, though I love the music in poetry and good prose.

    “Cinema too. Ridley Scott, early in his moviemaking career, was criticized for making films that looked spectacular but which had little substance. His response was that cinema is a visual medium and therefore a film that doesn’t look good has failed in a fundamental way.”

    As a film lover for many years, I agree with Scott. I can be transported by beautiful cinematic images, from any genre, any country.

    “Now a lot of people will disagree with this, arguing that plot, characters, acting, etc. are more important than visuals.”

    Yeah but they don’t understand the power of the image.

    I still rue the fact that visuals reign over music, though. I once fell in love with a man when he said, “I love movies but music is my passion.” It’s the same for me.

    Thanks for your reply.

  345. @Jim Don Bob

    Imagine if Scaggs and Ben Sidran had stayed in the band. It might not have taken an extra decade or so for the the Steve Miller Band to get admitted to The Hall Of Those Approved By Jann Wenner.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  346. @Curle

    If bands like Foreigner bore some young guy looking for something more interesting he’s going to turn to an critic for advice and find The Ramones or Elvis Costello or Lou Reed.

    An inspired pan review can give one immensely more pleasure than the work itself. I subscribed to Stereo Review for about a decade starting from about 1973. It beat just about everything on the radio at the time. Plus it alerted the reader to some really good acts he might not have encountered otherwise.

    • Thanks: Curle
  347. @Curle

    “The critics aren’t foisting they are filling a need. The last thing their readers want is ‘the publics first choice’ in most instances.”

    No, in the case of the music examples given, the critics were attempting to foist upon the public their personal choices of favorite types of music. And since very, very few read what the music critics write in the small readership magazines, these basically serve as elitist echo chambers for what the critics deign as what is and is not true artistic music.

    Always remember, in the Western world, music operates under the capitalist system, which means tat the public is usually correct in what it it wants.

    It was the public and NOT the critics who wanted the ’50’s Rock and Rollers, who were the vanguard of the most popular form of commercial music in the 20th century (rock and roll, which directly evolved into rock).

    In the US, it was the public and NOT the critics who crowned the British Invasion on February 9, 1964 (Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan).

    Missing two of the most significant trends in 20th century US music scene is not a good batting average, and shouldn’t be seen as any type of authoritative voice for anything considered to be culturally relevant.

    Sometimes its best to keep things simple and in perspective. If there’s a new trend that’s growing big time and has millions of fans, perhaps, just perhaps, one should consider letting the trend lead the way in the current musical year.

    “The Public is always right”–Legendary Hollywood founding producer executive Adolph Zukor

    • Replies: @Curle
  348. @I, Libertine

    Did I mention Space Cowboy?

    I told you ’bout living in the U.S. of A
    Don’t you know that I’m a gangster of love?
    Let me tell you people that I found a new way
    And I’m tired of all this talk about love
    And the same old story with a new set of words
    About the good and the bad and the poor
    And the times keep on changin’, so I’m keepin’ on top
    Of every bat cat who walks through my door.

    I’m a space cowboy
    Bet you weren’t ready for that
    I’m a space cowboy
    I’m sure you know where it’s at
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    I was born on this rock
    And I’ve been travelin’ through space
    Since the moment I first realized
    What all you fast-talkin’ cats would do if you could
    You know I’m ready for the final surprise
    There ain’t no way around it, ain’t nothing to say
    That’s gonna satisfy my soul deep inside
    All the prayers and surveyors
    Keep the whole place uptight
    While it keeps on gettin’ darker outside.

    I’m a space cowboy
    Bet you weren’t ready for that
    I’m a space cowboy
    I’m sure you know where it’s at
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    I see the showdowns, slow downs
    Lost and found, turn-arounds
    The boys in the military shirts
    I keep my eyes on the prize, on the long-fallen skies
    And I don’t let my friends get hurt
    All you back room schemers, small trip dreamers
    Better find something new to say
    ‘Cause you’re the same old story, it’s the same old crime
    And you got some heavy dues to pay.

  349. JimDandy says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I love The Kinks, too, and I’m willing to give up my personal theme song so it can become The Unz Commentariat’s theme song. (Sorry Alden.)

  350. Kylie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    He’s wonderful, thanks!

  351. People that like to listen to music; people that like to play music; and people that like to talk about music.

  352. @Steve Sailer

    Steve Sailler:

    “My impression is that the best musicians tend to be heterosexual guys who aren’t all that masculine.”

    You are assuming that long hair is not masculine. Miyamoto Musashi would like a word with you.

    But answering your question, because super-masculine men tend to be some of the “flattest” people there are in terms of both intelligence and creativity. Think of a Marine drill sargeant: not the most creative and imaginative types around.

    There is a reason why many expressions have been created to describe masculine types like jocks and the like: “mouth breathers”, “lunk heads”, “meat heads”, “ogers”, etc.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  353. Anon[426] • Disclaimer says:
    @Faraday's Bobcat

    the CIA version was actually the A-12.

    You’re right, thanks.

  354. @Zero Philosopher

    “You are assuming that long hair is not masculine. Miyamoto Musashi would like a word with you.”

    There’s nothing to say. Classical samurais wore wigs, a good portion of that wasn’t their real hair. In the modern West (for the last half millennium or so) long hair = feminine, not masculine.

    In the NFL, it’s becoming more and more common for black players to wear their hair in all sorts of feminine long hair, including weaves, dyed weaves, etc. The offspring of Snoop Dawg, Biggie, and Tupac are spending way too much time at the beauty parlor and less time in masculine persuits.

    In comparison, white NFL players, for the most part, are keeping their hair fairly short.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  355. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Watching the World Series (granted, you can only see the sides of a hairstyle under a baseball cap), there don’t appear to be any dominant hairstyles among white American ballplayers at present. The Phillies centerfielder had long hair and a very long beard, like an Old West prospector. Other guys had short hair.

    It’s different from when I was young when hairstyles were a generational marker.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    , @Feryl
  356. I was recently reading an article about Desert Island d
    Discs, a BBC radio show that has been running since 1946. Guests who are people distinguished in their field are asked to imagine that they are on a desert island and choose eight musical discs and one book that they would take with them.

    Up until the mid-1980’s classical music from the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart dominated.

    But since then, the Beatles have consistently been picked, along with other popular artists Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone.

    Overall, Mozart is the most-picked artist in the history of the show, followed by Beethoven, Bach, Schubert and Verdi.

    Meanwhile, the most chosen piece of music is Handel’s Messiah, selected by 119 of the show’s guests.

    So apparently not too much rap or hip-hop on the list.

    Kind of surprising, also considering that many of the guests on the show have been American visitors to Britain.

    However you have to take into account the delay factor. People who are successful and well-known in whatever field, be it acting or politics, are often in the second half of their life span.

    One also has to suspect that guests who cannot immediately name eight pieces of music are perhaps given a list of suggestions that they might use.

    As far as the book, I believe the Bible has been the most popular choice, with the reason usually being given as “I have never got around to reading it!”

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  357. @Jonathan Mason

    Louis Armstrong as a guest on Desert Island Discs in 1968 chose mostly his own recordings.

  358. Curle says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “No, in the case of the music examples given, the critics were attempting to foist upon the public their personal choices of favorite types of music.”

    Which corresponds to an percentage of the record buying public’s preferences as well.” People reading their reviews know this going in. Everyone else takes what the radio stations give them.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  359. @Curle

    “People reading their reviews know this going in.”

    The public doesn’t read the critics reviews in any significant readership.

    “Everyone else”

    ca.99%, that is to say, the masses, or the public…

    “takes what the radio stations give them.”

    And yet, in the mid. ’50’s, the mainstream radio stations were strongly hesitant to play a particular form of music (e.g. black music, or what was considered to be black music), particularly they hesitated to play a specific white artist from the Deep South, primarily because he “sounded black” to those white radio stations. The white performer was gaining notoriety thru his live concerts, touring through the deep south. This was beginning to cause controversy, as well as a racial angle to the music.

    After a while, the popularity of said performer was too big to ignore locally and regionally, and so that’s when the radio stations (local/regional) began to play said performer’s music, at the behest of the people, or the public (in the Deep South), which began to spread to the South as a whole, largely based on the performer’s live shows which then slowly but steadily began to give him radioplay.

    Said performer’s name was Elvis Presley.

    And the rest…is history.

    But during said performer’s meteoric rise to fame, still the mainstream majority of music critics, the so called experts refused to embrace said performer and his music.

    But, as they say…Rock and Roll is Here To Stay.

    • Replies: @Curle
  360. @Steve Sailer

    Actually, the beard is a generational marker among white people. There’s a certain way that the beard is worn (full beard, trimmed beard, etc) that tends to mark one as conservative or liberal. Also whites who bald their hair like Michael Jordan, for instance, while sporting a full beard (untrimmed) is also a marker of a certain type of white man.

    Bear in mind that whites in MLB, NFL, and the few remaining US born in the NBA, tend to be more politically to the right than many of their generation.

  361. Curle says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “The public doesn’t read the critics reviews in any significant readership.”

    Untrue. Many groups that were influential or became influential gained some degree of popular momentum through the critics and the word of mouth that resulted from those columns.

    • Agree: Jonathan Mason
    • Disagree: Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  362. Here is another cover of a Springsteen song that is much better than the original, which sounds like a funeral dirge.

  363. @Kylie

    I enjoy Johnson’s music, and I think playing improvised cans and garden tools has to be a commentary on pop musicians, at least on dome levrl. He plays a three-stringed spade far better than most play a custom instrument. At Least I take it that way.

    The piece you posted reminds me of this:

  364. @Curle

    “Untrue.”

    Very, very true, specifically in regards to the two biggest trends of the 20th century. Rock and Rollers of the ’50’s, which they completely missed and then refused to endorse early on, and the British Invasion of the ’60’s.

    Elvis’s popularity was ca.99% grassroots level, it began as a groundswell by the local populace, the public. The critics had nothing to do with his initial success. And, Elvis himself did not bother to read what the critics of the time (in 1954 and 55) were saying about him regarding his fame, how to improve his music, etc.

    The people that put Elvis on the map were ordinary lower class whites in the Deep Southern states that went to hear his live shows. The frenzy over time became a tumultuous growndswell, and then a juggernaut. The critics, the majority of whom resided in NY and LA at the time were not on his bandwagon by any stretch of the imagination.

    Keep in mind, 1954 and 1955 was when he was getting popular which lead to the superstardom all over the nation in 1956. The music critics had nothing to do with Elvis’ popularity or his growing bigger than anything previously in the history of US 20th century popular music. This was a natural grassroots level groundswell that made him famous. Had nothing to do with a few timely paragraphs in a NY magazine of a few thousand readers a la “This dude’s cool, daddy-oh! Grab him up, girls!”

    He’s only the most commercially successful recording artist of the entire 20th century both in US and a few major continents.

    To use an NFL analogy…

    Regarding recognizing that Elvis was at the vanguard of a totally new genre of popular music,

    The people get a W…(for being prescient in their judgement)

    And the critics take a big L (for missing the boat big time in their judgement)

  365. MEH 0910 says:

    Prince Engineer Susan Rogers: THE INTERVIEW. Live From Sunset Sound

    Oct 17, 2022

    Legendary Prince Recording Engineer Susan Rogers returns to studio 3 at Sunset Sound with friend Duane Tudahl to sit down with Drew Dempsey and tell her story.

    Susan was a pioneer for women in the recording industry and worked with Prince on his biggest albums.

    Susan would fulfill almost 5 years with Prince, before moving on to become a successful record producer as well as a Professor at Berkeley with a PHD in Psychology.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxAx1LOAy9YhvRdVfMq6pOw/videos

  366. For all fans here of Phil Spector’s alleged genius, here’s an early ’60’s example of producing songs for grown ups, and not teeny bob girl groups.

    Producer Robert Mersey, produced songs/albums for such luminary grownups as was responsible for records by singers such as Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Bobby Vinton, Dion, Johnny Mathis, Julie Andrews, Mel Tormé, Patti Page and Ray Peterson.

    Mersey also produced early Aretha Franklin album that was well received. Aretha would later go on to have some of her work produced by legendary and underrated by NY/LA crowd Chips Moman.

    Anway, Compared to Spector, THIS is an example of a grown up song during early ’60’s that was marketed to the youngsters.

  367. On another note, perhaps an ironic one.

    Late last month/early this month the Beatles’ Revolver received yet another new remix.

    The critics, of course, are all over it heaping generous amounts of praise, kudos, etc. It is a very excellent remix to be sure. How many times can great famous ’60’s albums be remixed to make the sound better than ever before? Perhaps there is a rule of diminishing returns over time.

    But Revolver did recently receive a new remix, and since that specific album, along with the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and a couple of other LPs that were released in 1966, it should be remarked upon here at this post devoted to music. And Revolver is considered to be a foundational album that lead the way to modern rock.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  368. Dennis Dale says: • Website
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    If the “colored girls” line created any controversy I’ve never heard about it. Meanwhile Reed’s Velvet Underground (love or hate them) was so influential a band someone joked that while hardly anyone bought their records all of them started their own bands.

    What you said was astoundingly stupid.

    Sometimes people say things that are so ridiculous you react reflexively. My comment was a textual spit-take.
    Should I call you mistah?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldlan
  369. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    They are probably remixing them with the worsening hearing of aged Beatles fans in mind?

  370. @Steve Sailer

    Touche.

    Still waiting for the long due remixing of another ’60’s album, the soundtrack to Blue Hawaii by Elvis Presley.

    Speaking of Elvis, very soon the Academy will be announcing its nominees for best actor. Austin Butler has been suggested for some months now for receiving a best actor nomination.

    If Butler does in fact receive a Best Actor nomination, it could be the first time here that you would actually comment directly on the legendary 20th century icon that helped change modern music. After all, if you could write a review about the film that focused on CA’s own Brian Wilson, then certainly in sense of fairness, a film that’s focused on Elvis Presley should merit a review as well.

    People can talk about the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and groups that have attained cult status like the Ramones. But the fact remains that Elvis is the single most commercially successful selling recording artist of the 20th century. 45 yrs post 1977, and his estate continues to turn a profit and his fans are still making pilgrimages to Graceland, no mean feat indeed. Certainly can’t imagine Paul MacCartney being world famous to this extent decades after his death.

  371. Feryl says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Long hair among guys went fully mainstream around 1989. Heck, even when short in the front a lot of guys had mullets in the early 90’s. Among guys born after about 1975, there’s no taboo regarding long hair, they never had a football coach threaten to cut them from the team if they didn’t cut their hair (I’ve worked with guys born in the late 70’s who told me that they used to have longer hair, back in the 90’s).

    • Replies: @dcite
  372. Feryl says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Van Halen was grandfathered in as a “classic rock” band since they debuted in the late 70’s. So they stayed popular and weren’t mocked/ridiculed by grunge bros. Also, Hagar was the vocalist for Montrose in the early 70’s so Van Halen had even more classic rock credibility once they lost DLR (Hagar could even play guitar proficiently, while DLR sucked as a live performer by the mid-80’s).

    As a general rule (not that I agree with it) critics and rock snobs tend to rate 70’s musicians highly while being more dismissive of 80’s bands (even when they played objectively complex music). And Eddie VH was fortunate to emerge in the late 70’s on that count.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  373. @Feryl

    Yes, but when pushed, the critics have to give the respect to GNR. Slash is an iconic legiend. with the guitar. And GNR started in the ’80’s. So just bring up GNR and suddenly the critics go “Yea well of COURSE GNR is great, BUT…” Another great group that the critics initially missed.

    Eddie Van Halen, during his lifetime and now, ranks as one of the greatest ever lead guitarists. Perhaps in the top five greatest ever. There are of course two groups of loyal Van Halen fans, post DLR and DLR era. Hate him, like him, still have to respect what DLR brought to the table. David helped give the swagger, a playful attitude tempered with an edge. Supposedly DLR’s singles outsold Haggar’s time with the band 2-1.

    DLR does have his fans while he was a part of Van Halen, it would be a shame if the respect isn’t there any more simply because of his so-so solo career. David helped make Van Halen the group that it became as much as Eddie’s guitar solos, let’s not completely write David out of the picture.

    Haggar was an amazing guitarist, although I still think that Eddie was greater, just an opinion. But as far as a live performer (which isn’t limited to playing an instrument), I think DLR was way better than Sammy.

    Like, Van Halen’s hits that you hear on classic radio, the bulk of them are with DLR. David’s vocals to me are way better than Sammy’s. Van Halen should’ve let David stay in the band.

    Jump, for instance is so mainstream (one of Van Halen’s all time commercially successful singles), that’s it’s everywhere from the malls to the supermarkets. David’s vocals made that song especially since its mostly keyboard and left little for Eddie to do otherwise. But these kinds of debates are fun. It shows that people are passionate about the music they grew up with.

  374. Feryl says:

    On record DLR was capable enough, but as I said above, regardless of on stage charisma his vocals live got steadily worse due to a combination of vocal fatigue/success induced complacency. And EVH was gradually putting more melody in the songs which meant that he needed a more reliable singer, and Sammy has to this day an astoundingly resilient throat. If you listen to various untouched live recordings on YouTube, in the comments people tend to debate whether DLR was ever any good as a live singer, and many say that he could be quite good on the early tours but by 1984 (uh, the album and the actual year) his voice seemed shot.

    And keep in mind that some say that DLR sucked even on the studio stuff. I wouldn’t go that far, at his best he could project a good amount of of power though admittedly his vocal control could be shaky (though no worse than plenty of rock frontmen who would never be mistaken for Pavarotti).

  375. @Feryl

    “regardless of on stage charisma”

    Granted, but don’t be so quick to poo-poo live charisma. It’s what made VH’s tours successful and in turn generated more radio play, which led of course to selling more albums, etc. It all goes together. By the ’70’s, a band’s successful tours generally meant that their albums would sell accordingly even more. I guess it’s hard to explain to younger generations the feeling of excitement of seeing Van Halen in the late ’70’s with Eddie’s amazing guitar solos and David’s power (at that time) vocals that helped to “sell” the songs. David definitely contributed more than his share to VH’s fame while they were going on the way up in the ’70’s and early ’80’s.

    I like to think of David’s role on stage much the same role that Ringo played in the Beatles. Ringo brought an indescribable something, an intangible quality that translated to a larger sum of the total parts. In other words on stage and certainly in front of the camera (Hard Day’s Night and Help!, both films centered around Ringo), he contributed to Beatlemania’s overwhelming fame. Like David Lee Roth, Ringo Starr wasn’t the most talented musician in the Beatles, but then again, he really didn’t have to be. He replaced Pete Best and gave a well appreciated charisma to the allure of the Beatles.

    In that sense, that’s what David Lee Roth contributed to Van Halen. David was with the Band before it became the huge global smash that it became–he helped make it into the band that it now is fondly remembered for being. The qualities of VH, the intangible things such as badassery, rebellion, wildness, and overall having a good time while delivering amazing songs owes no small part to DLR’s presence.

    David did more than just deliver on the vocals, he sold them and millions of fans believed in his delivery. Let’s not so quickly kick him to the curb.

    “his vocals live got steadily worse due to a combination of vocal fatigue/success induced complacency.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment, but, with this stated caveat: to be fair, to suggest that Van Halen were all a bunch of angelic choir boys on their tours is a bit naive. However, since he was the lead singer on most of VH’s songs, he should have taken better care of his voice. On that point there’s no question that you’re right.

    Fane and success can be the twin killers of artistry for some bands/solo artists and it is a temptation that needs to be harnessed toward the music and the art itself, otherwise the music gets squandered
    and complacency sets in which in turn only kills the art. I don’t believe that David set out to not give his best vocals possible, but over time, the success definitely took away the edge and he lost what the catch phrase from early ’80’s film Rocky 3 “The Eye of the Tiger”. Did David ever regain the magic he gave to Van Halen’s songs when he first joined them into the early ’80’s when he was in full control of his talent? Obviously not, and that’s a cautionary tale for any band member, particularly the vocalist. Save your talent for the studio and the stage, and don’t overindulge in drugs, alcohol, etc. The quiet part was finally said aloud. For Sammy Haggar, he didn’t overindulge to the point where it affected his vocals.

    “by 1984 (uh, the album and the actual year) his voice seemed shot.”

    Up to a point it was, and yet, what is the song most identified with 1984? Jump. And Jump remains Van Halen’s biggest selling all time song. David’s vocals are what most fans remember. Eddie has little to do on the song, especially when compared to other VH singles. Again, let’s not be so quick to kick David to the curb and call him a skid row bum creampuff. That’s totally unfair and a bit revisionist of VH history. For rock vocalists, there’s more than just pitch, timbre, and sound. There’s also swagger, attitude, and an overall baddassery that defines a hard rock band. In that sense, that’s what David brought to the songs he did. The attitude, the style. Admittedly these qualities are intangible but they’re nonetheless real and they are there. David brought the style to the band, and helped define it with a delivery that was all his own. Unfortunately, DLR thought he could do the same thing on his own. That was his tragic mistake. Without a great band and great guitarist behind him, David lost the luster, the qualities of great rock and slowly descended into parody of what he was and should have been. And that is a tragedy.

    Am I a huge, (YUGE) David Lee Roth fan? No. Do I believe in being fair and having an honest assessment of DLR’s role, contribution to VH’s iconic success as it first occurred? Absolutely. When Sammy joined the band Van Halen was already a superstar global band and its legacy was well assured. If VH never did anything post 1984, they STILL would be remembered as a great hard rock band.

    David Lee Roth played more than a walk on part in helping to push VH into iconic status. It is time that VH fans honor his contributions fairly, honestly, and with total respect for what he he did while lead singer of one of the most iconic and amazing bands of the last few decades of the 20th century.

    PS: In 2007 (I believe, without googling) Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF. BOTH Sammy Haggar AND David Lee Roth were inducted as members of Van Halen, meaning there’s room for both members in the band, but I am glad that DLR’s contributions were publicly recognized at the time for his contributions to the badass, most awesome juggernaut that is simply Van Halen.

  376. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I was riding around an ultra-respectable part of Pasadena today where the WASPier celebrities like Meryl Streep and Bruce Dern live. We went past David Lee Roth’s house. Apparently he calls the Pasadena PD so much over get-off-my-lawn incidents that when he really did have a crazy man trying to break into his house, they shined him on in a boy-who-cried-wolf manner.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  377. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Yo Jimbo, you’re right about DLR being the best frontman for Van Halen. The switch to Sammy Hagar was a dorky comedown from the swagger and attitude of the DLR years.

    • Agree: Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  378. @Steve Sailer

    It’s good to keep in mind that not all great stars are great men, or rather not all famous men are big men when it comes down to it. Perhaps in Hollywood, pettiness on steroids is the norm rather than the exception.

    “It’s not what people say behind your back, but what they whisper”–Errol Flynn

  379. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Then as now, but especially in the late ’70’s thru the ’90’s for a rock band (and hard/heavy metal in particular) having a sense of rebellion, masculine badassery and swagger were/are everything. DLR helped set the style of VH for decades to come. I’m just saying that its time that his contributions were more publicly recognized. VH fans shouldn’t be like, “David WHO?”

    Yet, when they listen to Running With the Devil, Panama, Jump, Hot for the Teacher, Dance the Night Away, and Ice Cream Man who’s the vocalist? Who’s the singer that helped put VH on the map with these and other amazing great songs?

    Can’t have it both ways, VH fans. Stop kicking David to the curb already.

  380. MEH 0910 says:
    @Feryl

    https://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/van-halen-ted-templeman/
    https://archive.ph/pHqt0


    [MORE]

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

    Ted Templeman (born Edward John Templeman, October 24, 1942)[1] is an American record producer.[2] Among the acts he has a long relationship with are the bands Van Halen and the Doobie Brothers and the singer Van Morrison; he produced multiple critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums by each of them.

    • Agree: Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  381. @MEH 0910

    The fact that he helped discover and produce Van Halen’s music puts him heads and shoulders above Phil Spector, they’re not even to be used in the same sentence as creative equals.

  382. heads and shoulders above Phil Spector

    that’s to say, not quite up to the ankles of Martha Argerich

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  383. @René Fries

    To the ankles, no. To the armpits, perhaps. But so much music over the last few decades is in the pits.

  384. @Steve Sailer

    If it’s a matter of hearing, then all they have to do is crank up the songs to 11.

  385. dcite says:
    @anonymous

    Thank god somebody else knows where these people came from. Who knows if they even wrote their own stuff. They were part of the Laurel Canyon (U.S.) and Tavistock (U.K.) agenda. Public mind control experiments. Zappa grew up in bio-weapons territory.

  386. dcite says:
    @Feryl

    Long hair was mainstream in the early 70s, as a lot of photos and ads from the era will show. It was cooler to be shorter haired by the late-70s. By the 90s nobody cared much one way or the other..

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  387. @dcite

    But since the mid. ’90’s and right now into today 2022, most white men have shorter hair. There is a trend among younger black men to have multi-colored extensions, much as if they were girls at the beauty parlor–just observe rappers and NFLers without their helmets on. Not just dreadlocks, but actual extensions as if they’re women.

    White men during the ’70’s never wore extensions as if they were women. Long hair, yes, extensions, no.

  388. Comment #405, as in the 405, in SoCal. How about that? Beach Boys had a song, 409, but don’t know if they ever drove a 409 on the 405.

  389. As this is comment #406, this is to commemorate HOF BOS OF Ted Williams’ .406 BA in 1941. Technically, Williams didn’t set an MLB or AL record, as there had been MLBers with .400 BA’s higher than his. Ted was the last player to hit over .400, but he didn’t actually set a new (at the time) record, in the sense that HOF NY OF Joe DiMaggio did the same year by hitting safely in 56 consecutive games.

  390. @Dennis Dale

    Let me tell you a little story:
    Long ago,I was in the Marines,( you’re welcome😉) I went to the base library to look at some albums.
    I was looking at some blues,like Mississippi John Hurt,for example.
    A fellow Marine,white,glanced over and seeing my records,broke into a heartwarming smile.
    ” It is the best music,isn’t it,” he said.
    “Well,” I replied,” my favorite music is rock n roll…but I like some of this,too.”
    His smile vanished and his face became a cold,cruel mask. He was done with me.
    Does he sound familiar?
    So,yes WOTWS is a good song. Everyone needs to listen to it. Lou Reed is amazing. Not to me,but among the Good People.
    But when Lou sang ” colored girls,” he knew what he was doing.

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