inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #76 of 143: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 8 Oct 09 10:27
    
I'm trying to find the adolescent rebellion in the '70s music of the
Eagles, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Little Feat, the prog-rock bands,
all of which dominated the rock landscape back then, and coming up
empty. Even early Springsteen contained more adult angst than teenage
rebellion (e.g. "The River"). 

As it happened, I was in college in the mid-late '70s, and the
big-selling albums of the era -- "Rumours," "Fly Like An Eagle,"
whatever Blue Oyster Cult released, etc. -- very much appealed to the
audience at the school I attended and at the other schools my friends
attended. In fact, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" tour stopped at our campus
and the show sold out in about four seconds. 

Sure, punk in NYC and the UK had that old-fashioned rebellion
religion. But I didn't see any punks in college, not in 1976 or '77.
But then, I wasn't at an artsy NYC school. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #77 of 143: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 8 Oct 09 10:54
    
Yeah, that spirit was so lacking in the rock of that era that kids who
had never known earlier rock greeted the amusing but (let's be fair)
only modestly talented Ramones as if they were something utterly
extraordinary.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #78 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Thu 8 Oct 09 11:10
    
Actually, the spirit was there, but it was dispersed so that it was
spread over a whole lot of performers. It had its chapel meetings,
however, in Creem magazine, for which I was honored to be West Coast
Editor from '71 to about '77. Alice Cooper, early Kiss, Black Sabbath,
a lot of Detroit acts, but most of them didn't get on AM -- or even a
lot of FM -- stations, in favor of the more respectable acts Steve
mentions. 

Creem, for the record, was first published in 1969, although it took a
hiatus in 1970 and came back in January '71, if memory serves, in
magazine instead of tabloid format.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #79 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 8 Oct 09 12:40
    
Just as a plug for my book, I mention the rise of Creem in my chapter
on Detroit, one of the crucial locales of 1969, along with San
Francisco, where the riot squad closed down Berkeley, New York, where
the riot squad closed down Christopher Street, and Los Angeles, where
Charlie Manson was running amok.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #80 of 143: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually (rik) Thu 8 Oct 09 13:22
    
"Even early Springsteen contained more adult angst than teenage
 rebellion (e.g. "The River")."

"Born to Run", and "Thunder Road" were total teenage fantasies, giving an
almost Wagnerian lift to the sentiments of "We've Got To Get Out Of This
Place."

I'm hearing a background sentiment here that seems like a resentment of
growing up, which all of our heros had to do, and of dealing with adult
themes.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #81 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 8 Oct 09 13:40
    
Speaking of "We've Got to Get Out of This Place," did you ever hear
Springsteen's on stage introduction to this classic? I still remember
Springsteen from Max's Kansas City, circa 1973. But of course that's
past the time frame for my book.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #82 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 8 Oct 09 13:40
    
Or maybe it was "It's My Life" I'm thinking of.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #83 of 143: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 8 Oct 09 14:28
    
You're right, <rik>, about "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road," of
course. Both are great anthems of teenage rebellion. Yet they appealed
to college students just as much, if not more, than teenagers at the
time of their release. How many teens in '75 even knew what a
"hemi-powered drone" was? But people in their 20s knew. "Born to Run"
is indeed about teenage rebellion -- but it describes a period when
Springsteen himself was a teenager rebelling, the mid-'60s, about 10
years before the song was recorded. 

Of the late 1960s, Bruce writes in #71 above: "I believe it was a time
when the 'elite' taste, that is, the taste of the generation then in
college, briefly became the mass taste." I don't agree; college kids
were still determining mass taste in music, at least for the
generations younger than 30, into the '70s.  
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #84 of 143: David Julian Gray (djg) Thu 8 Oct 09 14:53
    
> college kids
 were still determining mass taste in music...

Yes... these college kids were part of a vast international
conspiracy ... either Zionist or Masonic... I can't remember now...

No ... in the run up to our Annus Glorius, 1969 ... I was but
a wee kid, barely even an adolescent and college kids were not
much influencing my taste in music - My parents, my school
choir director (a buddy of Malvina Reynolds and Pete Seeger)
Scott Muni and Murry the K were influencing my musical tastes
I was sharing a mass adolescent taste for a rock and roll
whose growing sophistication was holding on to its kiddie
audience for longer and pulling in others - was even becoming
intellectual chic ... after all, when asked at that famous
1965(?) SF news conference who his favorite poet was - 
bad boy Bob Dylan responded: "Smokey Robinson"

We should not forget that in 1969 FM based "underground"
radio was barely out of its infancy and "Top 40" was still
common ground for all fans of "popular" music - and Jefferson
Airplane shared half hour sets with Glenn Campbell and
Sammy Davis Jr, BJ Thomas, Elvis Presley, and Tom Jones...
and, of course, The Beatles, Stones, Creedence...

College students were not determining adolescent taste - 
they were sharing it - 
Not to deny that social thought leadership often comes from
academia ... but rarely stays there ... 

The Grand Illusion that was mostly shattered by Manson/Altamont/
Kent State, etc. was not childhood dreams put assunder by
inevitable maturity ... but the dream that *true maturity*
ideal adulthood would be to cherish and preserve joy and
wonder while and still keeping the toilet paper dry ... 

That ended up being far more difficult than we at first believed.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #85 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Thu 8 Oct 09 14:56
    
And '80s. 

And yes, Bruce was describing teeenage rebellion through the lens of
nostalgia, and it's this very use of nostalgia that's one of the things
that makes him impossible for me to listen to. (Just one.) 

>>I'm hearing a background sentiment here that seems like a resentment
of growing up, which all of our heros had to do, and of dealing with
adult themes. 

And of ignoring the next generation of teenagers because they bought
into a media-generated parody of "authentic" Boomer music.

Slippage, the content of which I'll have to meditate on and post about
tomorrow. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #86 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Thu 8 Oct 09 15:26
    
 I think a "media generated parody of authentic music" is the nature
of the music business, with the authentic acts usually underground
barely making a living and the MGPs riding the charts.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #87 of 143: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 8 Oct 09 16:42
    
The Fleetwood Macs of the mid 1970s sold an incredible number of
records -- and I know, because I was working in a record store at that
time.  I don't think their success was due to any conspiracy.  The
really big acts were really talented, like 'em or not (and I liked some
and not others).  Some of the lesser acts who sold mere millions of
records instead of 10s of millions were just mediocre products pushed
by a great promotion and publicity machine.

I was very happy when punk/new wave showed up, although I never had
any interest whatsoever in punk.  I did enjoy the new wave folks
(itself a dubious marketing label) who could actually sing, play their
instruments, and write songs.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #88 of 143: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 9 Oct 09 00:51
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #89 of 143: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 9 Oct 09 00:54
    
<"the "great rock and roll revolution" that started
around 1965 (you might even say 1955) was all but over by the end of
1969">

<with the end of 1969 and the Music as Counterculture era, the
music was then set free to be just music, not chained down by the
hopes and dreams, politics and mythology of a generation.>

I agree with so much of what you say about 1969 being in the thick of
a pivotal shift, musically/culturally/politically.  Where the mileage
differs may come from a sense that you've established a thesis, and
then set out to prove your point.  If it's 1969, then why let yourself
slop over into 1970 and Kent State, or begin in 1968.  Why not start
with "Sergeant Pepper's" and end with "Harvest"?  And it really sucks
that Dylan won't help you prove your thesis.  He peaked too far ahead
of the curve to help prove your point, (and then he had that
phenomenal resurrection in 1975 with one of his all-time finest LPs,
the allegorical "Blood on the Tracks").  

It's apt that you've chosen a phrase from Joni Mitchell's brilliant
micro-narrative of her generation for the title of your book. 
However, the story of that child of god off to set his soul free,
despite all the surrounding disaffection, does not come off as a
journey/revolution ended, but as a hopeful one that was just beginning.

There was simply too much still sizzling, musically, in 1970, '71, and
'72 to accept that the revolutionary cauldron had cooled in 1969.  My
concern is that your distillation risks oversimplifying this great and
vibrant era (of several years). 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #90 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 9 Oct 09 06:44
    
Scott,
   I had the year way before I had the thesis. But 1969 includes stuff
from 1968 still popular in 1969 and stuff from 1970 written and
recorded in 1969. I think some of the political repression of the Nixon
regime was specifically aimed at the counter culture and rock music.
And I think Kent State was a crushing blow, paving the way to the Nixon
landslide in '72.
   As I say in the book, every year produces great and enduring music.
I actually started working as a music writer in 1972, enabling me to
keep up with much of it (at least through 2005).
   But, with the breakup of the Beatles and Dylan's move to country
music, my feeling is 1969 was in the middle of a revolutionary shift
back to (music) business as usual, removed from any sort of counter
cultural trappings. It started to become the establishment.
   In some weird way this could explain Dylan's return to form in '75;
he was no longer afraid of being nominated to lead a cultural
revolution. He could just be a songwriter.
   Of course, for the average music fan, not making a living writing
about it, the older you got, the more music became an escape and
thoughts of revolution dwindled to misty nostalgia.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #91 of 143: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Fri 9 Oct 09 07:23
    
You may want to re-think the gigantic generalization that concludes
the post above, Bruce. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #92 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Fri 9 Oct 09 07:33
    
The only thoughts of revolution I ever had were thoughts of a cultural
revolution, particularly in the field of classical music. Of course, I
was 21 years old and didn't know shit, but that didn't stop me from
writing about it, and next thing I knew, some of that revolution was
coming true, thanks to Terry Riley and Steve Reich (and, later, Phil
Glass). I also supported some regrettably prog stuff until I woke up to
how shallow it was. But, again, that didn't stop me making a fool of
myself by writing about it. Making a fool of oneself is a constant
danger when one writes about oneself and one's reactions to things,
after all.

And maybe it was the sort of music fans I hung out with, but most of
them to this very day are fairly immune to nostalgia. Like me, they
realize how destructive it is, both of your ability to remember your
own past, and of appreciating what's good about the present. I've got a
friend who's just turned 70 who's on my case constantly about new
musicians he's discovered that he thinks I should listen to, and not
because they sound like younger versions of people he dug when he was
25, either. 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #93 of 143: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually (rik) Fri 9 Oct 09 07:55
    
A man after my own heart.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #94 of 143: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Fri 9 Oct 09 07:57
    
I've given up on new music not because I'm nostalgic or think it's all
tripe, but because for a given level of effort, I find it much easier
to learn about great music made before I was born, or music I simply
never heard about as a kid.  So my explorations have been backwards in
time - the jazz of the 1950s and early 60s and jazz, country and
popular music of the 20s, 30s and 40s.

But all that said, I do listen to plenty of rock music from the late
60s and early 70s for the same reason I listened to it then -- it's
good!  There are a few things I burned myself out on (much of the
Stones catalog, for example), but for the most part, I still enjoy all
my favorite records from middle school and high school.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #95 of 143: Bruce Pollock (bruce-pollock) Fri 9 Oct 09 08:02
    
Steve,
   Ok, maybe not the average music fan. Just the average person.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #96 of 143: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 9 Oct 09 08:15
    
Thanks for your clarification, Bruce.  

When you say "stuff still popular", you bring up the point of shelf
life.  Certain music resonated over time.  Just because Highway 61
Revisited or Sgt Peppers came out in 1965 and 1967, doesn't limit them
to a short window of influence.  

The huge garage band phenomenon beginning in 1966 especially, where
adolescents wanted to be the next Beatles and Stones, yielded many new
groups. 

I would also suggest that Dylan set the stage for the ascendence of
the more folk-based singer-songwriter model that included work that
peaked in 1971, 1972 with Sweet Baby James/ Tapestry/ Blue/ After the
Gold Rush/ Harvest/ Deja Vu. One might even suggest that Marvin Gaye's
social maturation within the Motown model peaked in 1971/72 with
"What's Going On?"

When Joni Mitchell wrote "Big Yellow Taxi", the Beatles "Sgt Peppers",
or Gaye "Mercy Mercy Me," their respective "commerical" success was
solidified to the point where they could write whatever they damn well
pleased.  Few artists could break into the market featuring music
infused with strong social commentary.  

When using music as a lens, it's dangerous to point to Nixon's
re-election as proof of anything with regard to the counterculture,
since the countercultural phenomenon of youth was never the dominant
societal force in America at ANY time.  In fact, the conservative
'revolution' of 1994 can be viewed as a response, in part, to the
perceived "demons" of the counterculture.   

"Ohio" in 1970 was anthemic, but to a minority (of disaffected youth).
 As an artist, NY peeked in 1971 and 1972 with "After the Goldrush"
and "Harvest".  He said, specfically, that he wanted to combine the
best of Dylan and Hendrix.  His successful fusion was, arguably, part
of a still ascending musical revolution. That is my point here.  You
make many great observations, but are truncating things too soon, IMO. 


"Tapestry", with one foot in the rock n roll early Sixties ("Will You
Still Love Me Tomorrow) and another at the apex of this
singer-songwriter boom of the early 70's, was revolutionary in a more
subtle way.   Carole King's I-am-a-natural-woman reflected the rise of
second wave feminism as much as any album of the era.  

("Oh, Baby I'm Reddy for Love" has just entered my mind as the
testosterone-laden answer to "I Am Woman")?  

And what if my Western Washington was the media center of the world,
and not NYC:

I came upon a soggy sod
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And he this told me
Im going on down to Betty's farm
Im going to join in a grungy cry
Im going to camp out on the Sky
going to try an get my drugs free
We are all wet
We are molding
And we've got to get ourselves
Under the bramble

Then can I slog beside you
I have come here to lose the fog
And I'll share just like a dog, my herb's burning
Well maybe it'll the micro beer
Or maybe the coffee, man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for reverting
We are all wet
We are molding
And we've got to get ourselves
Under the bramble

By the time we got to Sky River
We were twenty-five thousand strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the Grateful Dead
Riding their bus into the bog
And they were turning to 'the other one'
Just for our nation
We are buzzed
Billion year old mud
We are molding
Caught in the Boeing bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Some high tech jargon... 
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #97 of 143: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 9 Oct 09 08:33
    
my apologies to Joni... (but if Jimi had come back home for that '68
Sky River Rock Fest and Lighter Than Air Fair, there would have been
breakfast in bed for more like 40,000)
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #98 of 143: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually (rik) Fri 9 Oct 09 09:17
    
"Certain music resonated over time.  Just because Highway 61 Revisited or
 Sgt Peppers came out in 1965 and 1967, doesn't limit them to a short
 window of influence."

Not so sure about those two.   While I loved "Highway 61 Revisited" when it
came out, it no longer has the power to reach me.  For me, it was a point
in time, and now sounds like a very bright guy with a typewriter and a lot
of methedrine.   Dylan inspired a lot of songwriters to go non-linear, and
he made people like Robbie Robertson, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, and
Donald Fagen possible, but he also gave a lot of songwriters, including the
Beatles, to toss out word salad and unfinished songs.  To me, "Highway 61"
was a lot of fun when I was a kid, but nothing on it actually moves me.
When Fagen sang, "I cried when I wrote this song..." I already had tears in
my eyes.

Ditto "Sgt Pepper.   When it was new, I found it amazing.   I used to lie
with my head between my two stereo speakers trying to hear every detail.
But in retrospect, it's simply a document showing what you could do with
unlimited cash and the best studios of its day.   And yet, much of their
earlier stuff still interests me, and "Eleanor Rigby" holds up even today.
Of course, there's not one damned guitar on it.

Do you really think those albums have legs and would sell today without thr
repackaging?
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #99 of 143: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Fri 9 Oct 09 09:35
    
I agree with both of those judgments.  Plenty of Beatles songs and
Dylan songs have the power to move me, but those two albums with some
exceptions ("A Day in the Life") are mostly amusing historical
artifacts.
  
inkwell.vue.366 : Bruce Pollock, By The Time We Got to Woodstock
permalink #100 of 143: Ed Ward (captward) Fri 9 Oct 09 09:37
    
But he said "influence," and I think that influence was in full swing,
from both of those albums, for better or worse, in '69.
  

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