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History of Rock and Roll Chapter 8 Punk and Disco The Poles of Pop

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					History of Rock and Roll: Chapter 8 Punk and Disco: The Poles of Pop

music industry assumed continued growth. Doubled in sales from 1973 ($2 bil) to 1978
($4 bil)

popular music was becoming safe instead of r&r rebellion of earlier periods:
       The Carpenters - 20 top 40 hits
       Barry Manilow - 25 top 40 hits
       Neil Diamond - 36 top 40 hits and 20 gold and platinum albums
       Barbara Streisand
       Captain and Tenille
       Paul McCartney and Wings
       Peter Frampton as a solo artist became a teen idol and softened his show.

Pop Rockers were only a little more adventurous:
       Fleetwood Mac - album Rumours had No. 1 single Dreams
       Eagles - Hotel California
       Boston - Boston
       Elton John - (Liberace of rock) - Rocket Man, Crockadile Rock, Goodbye Yellow
Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets
       Billy Joel - The Stranger No. 2 in 1977 and 52nd Street No. 1 in 1978
       Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic 1974, Aja 1977 and Gaucho 1980 all were top 10 hits

Center of rock took audiences for granted - they lost their creativity and soul. presented
uninspiring music by groups such as:
       Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
       Foghat
       Styx
       Supertramp
       Foreigner
       Journey
       Air Supply
       REO Speedwagon

all of the above had platinum record sales (more than 1 million copies sold) during
this time period
Record sales were so easy that almost any group, no matter how bad, could be
assured of packed audiences and good record sales.
Waiting in the wings were two opposite styles of r&r to be discovered by fans; Punk and
Disco

Punk Versus Disco

Disco - smooth, sleek, sensual - required sophisticated studio production techniques -
viewed as non-political
affirms the fantasies, frivolity and fun of an evasive era, disco became a mult-billion
dollar industry.

Punk - dense, discordant, defiant - 3 chords that could be played by any garage band -
viewed as a political
statement, all the original r&r stars had become boring old farts, punk barely registered
on the charts.

Even though they seem to be opposites, they did have some things in common:
       seen as contributing to the destruction of western civilization
       encouraged fanatical participation by audiences
       both arose as a reaction to the complacency of the preceding music styles

Punk: Rock as (White) Noise
took rock back to its roots by stripping away all of the glamour and sophisticated
production techniques.

Sex Pistols from U.K. are considered by some as the first punk band. US punkers started
several years earlier than sex pistols.

Malcolm McLaren managed the Sex Pistols. Created a club in London called Too Fast to
Live, Too Young to Die for leather rockers. Lead singer Johnny (Lydon) Rotten could
not sing and had no sense of rhythm.

Born in the USA
Central to the start of the US punk scene was a NY bar called Country Blue Grass and
Blues.
Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, the
Ramones, and the Talking Heads all came out of CBGB.

The Ramones played only original material because "the group couldn't figure out how to
play anybody else's songs."
I Don't Wanna Be learned, I Don't Wanna Be Tamed . pg. 287

Blondie formed by singer Deborah Harris and guitarist Chris Stein. Harris projected a
Marilyn Monroe image.

Talking Heads embraced r&b like no other punk group. Psycho Killer 1977

Patti Smith Group released the album Horses in 1976 and was the first and one of a very
few punk albums to make it into the top 50 albums on the charts.

Anarchy in the UK
CBGB showcased over 30 new bands at a 1975 Festival of Unsigned Bands months
before the Sex Pistols
played their first gig.
Sex Pistols released Anarchy in the UK in 1976 which gained them national attention and
a television appearance in the UK

Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon were inspired by Anarchy and formed the
band Clash. They brought social statements most clearly to the punk scene. I'm so Bored
with the USA. Their music commented on issues of
racism, unemployment and youth identity.

Punk Rock Festival in England at the 100 Club in 1976 featured Sex Pistols, Clash,
Buzzcocks, Damned, Vibrators and Siouxsie and the Banshees (with Sid Vicious who
later joined the Sex Pistols).

Because of the festival, Sex Pistols landed a contract with EMI, but were dropped after a
scandal involving swear words on live British TV.

The Roxy became the CBGB of London.

Sex Pistols finally got a contract with Virgin records and planned an album release titled
God Save the Queen for Queen Elizabeth's silver jubilee celebration. There were many
objections to the album and its production was held up for weeks with the controversy. It
was finally released just before the official celebration in England. The publicity the
controversies caused boosted sales to 200, 000 copies.

Many punk groups used fascist symbols to produce a strong reaction to their music
(swastika)
The Stooges used swastikas, iron crosses and jackboots on stage.
Pere Ubu released a song called The Final Solution
The Dead Boys wore Nazi uniforms
Most symbols were used for shock value or for satirical comment. Unfortunately, they
were ripe for
misinterpretation. (white power, racism, bigotry)
R&R aristocracy was more inflammatory than punk - David Bowie and Eric Clapton
followed Britains' National Front

Rock against Racism: The Progressive Rejoinder
RAR was organized to oppose the National Front movement. Staged concerts and major
events that featured
punk groups paired with reggae like Aswad with the Adverts, Cimarrons with Generation
X, Steel Pulse with Clash
Skinhead racists tended to like punk music and RAR tried to claim punk for the anti-
racist movement.

Reggae was born in Jamaica but quickly spread throughout Europe and the US.

Riding the New Wave
The second generation of punk groups was called The New Wave. Artists were less
reliant on shock value and were better musicians and more successful commercially.
Blondie, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Clash and the Police were all part of the new
wave

Elvis Costello had 1 US hit Every Day I Write the Book 1983

Police - Sting on bass and vocals, Andy Summers on guitar, Stewart Copeland on dr ums.
were viewed as too commercial in the punk scene. biggest hit was Every Breath You
Take 1983

Disco: The Rhythm Without the Blues
Disco was born out "party music" from Latin, 60's Funk, Afro-Cuban, early rock and roll.

Groups that came out of the Funk tradition were:
      Ohio Players - Funky Worm
      Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music
      Kool and the Gang - Jungle Boogie
      Earth Wind and Fire - cover of Got to Get You Into My Life
      George Clinton - Tear the Roof off the Sucker

Up From the Disco Underground
Van McCoy and the Soul City Orchestra - The Hustle most important dance craze since the Twist
Gloria Gaynor - Never Can Say Goodbye 1975 first song mixed especially for clubs
                  I Will Survive 1979 number 1 hit
Donna Summer - first diva of disco. Last Dance
Disco was initially shunned by media and critics, ignoring the fact that it was fast becoming a multi-
billion dollar industry

Johnny Taylor - Disco Lady
Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band - A Fifth of Beethoven
Silver Convention - Fly, Robin, Fly
Andrea True Connection - More, More, More
Sylvers - Boogie Fever
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
K.C. and the Sunshine Band - Shake Your Booty
Maxine Nightengale - Right Back Where We Started
Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing
Vicki Sue Robinson - Turn the Beat Around

Village People - Macho Man, Y.M.C.A., In the Navy Casablanca Records which also owned Kiss

Bee Gees started out as a Beatles cover band. Perfected their disco sound with the addition of Barry's
falsetto soprano sound. Hit it big with soundtrack for movie Saturday Night Fever which was
commissioned by Robert Stigwood. He paid $2500 for a 51% share of all Bee Gees future songs.
Soundtrack became best selling album of all time. Recordings were released on Stigwood's RSO
label.
After Saturday Night Fever, all types of artists took up disco, including Cher, Dolly Parton, Rolling
Stones, Rod Stewart. Disco went overboard and came to symbolize mindless overindulgence. The
McDonald's period of music, "where it's mass-marketd like junk food" Melba Moore (disco musician).

Stigwood was a master at Crossover Media - the practice of using one product to sell another
(albums sell movie-movie sells albums)

The Hard Rock Reaction
Rock and Heavy Metal lost market share because of disco's popularity. Started "anti-disco"
campaigns.
(read 319-320)

				
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