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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Dylan has huge influence and musical impact but his commercial impact will almost certainly be the lowest, especially in singles, of any Top Ten artist.


The way I figure popularity, he beats Chuck Berry, but maybe you were figuring Berry wouldn't make the top 10. Most of the candidates for the top 10 also beat James Brown in popularity.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Eric Wood wrote:
Brian wrote:
I added the artists that I talked about to the top 100 and moved Madonna to #15. She might perhaps end up a position or 2 higher, but I think her relative lack of musical impact keeps her out of the top 10. She has some, but she might be last of the 36 artists who are currently ahead of Black Sabbath. Who has less? Maybe Elton John or Queen, maybe 1 or 2 others, but the margin by which Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin beat her in musical impact looks enormous to me.


If that's the case, Bob Dylan should probably drop at least towards the bottom of the top 10, and possibly out of the top 10 altogether. Similar to Madonna, he is one of the top 5-6 artists in two areas of the criteria. For Madonna, it is cultural and commercial impact. For Dylan it is musical impact and influence. In cultural impact I think Dylan is generally overrated with all the "voice of a generation" stuff, but still very strong, similar to Madonna in influence where despite always seeming to be on the cutting edge, she was actually just popularizing/ripping off things from the deep underground and therefore just gets lots of secondary influence. Finally for Dylan you have his weakness in popularity and for Madonna weakness in musical impact. Dylan definitely does more in cultural impact and popularity (due to his sizable album chart success) than Madonna does in influence and musical impact, but it's not so overwhelming that it makes sense for Dylan to be 4th and Madonna to be 15th unless that whole group is just extremely tightly bunched in the criteria.

Let's not pretend Madonna doesn't register at all in musical impact. Of course Ray Charles is off the charts in comparison, but one way or another Madonna ended up as a demi-god among certain (somewhat limited) blocks of artists, and this status started to be developed at the end of her peak period in the late 80s/early 90s.


I wouldn't say that she has no musical impact. I said she might beat Queen and Elton John there, and I think these 2 also aren't completely without it. I'm about to run out of time, but either later today or tomorrow I'll try to put together a list of artists that I think have more than she does. I expect it will include more than half of the top 100.

I do think the artists here are pretty tightly bunched. I think we'll find that the artists in the 9-14 range are pretty close to equal.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
I wouldn't say that Dylan made the music grow up rather than the Beatles,


I don't buy the "grown up" thing.

There's nothing juvenile about songs like "Blue Monday" by Fats Domino or "Annie Had A Baby" by the Midnighters or "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis or "It's Too Soon To Know" by the Orioles or "Fools Fall In Love" by the Drifters or most other rock and roll from before the white teen idols got in on the bandwagon.

I mean, what's so grown up about "Back Off Boogaloo" and "Uncle Albert" and "Helter Skelter" and even "The Mighty Quinn?"


Well, there are a few things that we mean by saying the music "grew up". Among them:

1. The lyrics. I know you don't care about this, Bruce, but a lot of people do. In the early days of rock, serious social commentary was pretty much out of the question. Chuck Berry came the closest, but he understandably felt the need to censor himself. Politics was the realm of folk music. Which meant Dylan did it. When Dylan heard The Beatles, he realized he could do it in a rock context. And at the same time artists starting with the Byrds began combining the songs of Dylan and other folkies with the musical influence of the Beatles.

2. The transisition from the individual single/song as the primary means of expression to the album. Not that there weren't great albums before, of course, but the Beatles and Dylan, along with the Beach Boys, made the album front and center, an event unto itself.

3. Broader respectability. Neg says that Elvis has been praised by opera artists, jazz artists, and such--but how much of this happened before the mid-sixties? In the early days, rock was derided by "serious" music commentators and such. Then the Beatles came along and suddenly you had the Times of London naming them the best British composers of 1963, Leonard Bernstein singing their praises, and you mentioned, Arthur Fiedler recording their songs. That was a huge sea change. That was followed by the development of things like serious rock commentary. The role of rock in culture was *massively* different in 1968 than it had been in 1962. Of course Dylan and the Beatles weren't the only parties responsible for that, but it wouldn't have happened without them.

I'm sure these aren't the only ways they made the music "grow up", but it's a good start.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:29 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
I wouldn't say that Dylan made the music grow up rather than the Beatles,


I don't buy the "grown up" thing.

There's nothing juvenile about songs like "Blue Monday" by Fats Domino or "Annie Had A Baby" by the Midnighters or "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis or "It's Too Soon To Know" by the Orioles or "Fools Fall In Love" by the Drifters or most other rock and roll from before the white teen idols got in on the bandwagon.

I mean, what's so grown up about "Back Off Boogaloo" and "Uncle Albert" and "Helter Skelter" and even "The Mighty Quinn?"


Well, there are a few things that we mean by saying the music "grew up". Among them:

1. The lyrics. I know you don't care about this, Bruce, but a lot of people do. In the early days of rock, serious social commentary was pretty much out of the question. Chuck Berry came the closest, but he understandably felt the need to censor himself. Politics was the realm of folk music. Which meant Dylan did it. When Dylan heard The Beatles, he realized he could do it in a rock context. And at the same time artists starting with the Byrds began combining the songs of Dylan and other folkies with the musical influence of the Beatles.

2. The transisition from the individual single/song as the primary means of expression to the album. Not that there weren't great albums before, of course, but the Beatles and Dylan, along with the Beach Boys, made the album front and center, an event unto itself.

3. Broader respectability. Neg says that Elvis has been praised by opera artists, jazz artists, and such--but how much of this happened before the mid-sixties? In the early days, rock was derided by "serious" music commentators and such. Then the Beatles came along and suddenly you had the Times of London naming them the best British composers of 1963, Leonard Bernstein singing their praises, and you mentioned, Arthur Fiedler recording their songs. That was a huge sea change. That was followed by the development of things like serious rock commentary. The role of rock in culture was *massively* different in 1968 than it had been in 1962. Of course Dylan and the Beatles weren't the only parties responsible for that, but it wouldn't have happened without them.

I'm sure these aren't the only ways they made the music "grow up", but it's a good start.


I still don't buy that it "grew up."

I don't buy that moving from singles to albums represents an advancement, or something more adult as opposed to singles being childlike.

It was grown up in 1951 already, when early rock and roll had mainly an adult black fan base.

As far as I'm concerned, rock and roll should not be about serious subjects. It should be asbout fun, good times, girls, guys, cars. etc.....

One of the things that ruined it was this misconception that people had to start writing songs about serious subjects.

As I see it, the greatest songs of the 60s were all about less serious subjects (Louie, Louie, My Girl, Respect, She Loves You, Satisfaction, In The Midnight Hour, Good Vibrations, etc....)

Most of the stuff about serious subjects is hopelessly dated now (Eve Of Destruction, In The Year 2525).


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Sampson wrote:
Dylan has huge influence and musical impact but his commercial impact will almost certainly be the lowest, especially in singles, of any Top Ten artist.


The way I figure popularity, he beats Chuck Berry, but maybe you were figuring Berry wouldn't make the top 10. Most of the candidates for the top 10 also beat James Brown in popularity.


HUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

Only two artists in rock history have charted over 100 songs on the U.S. Pop Charts. Elvis Presley and James Brown. Nobody else comes close.

That is a far bigger deal commercially than almost anything you can name for a simple reason - each single has to stand on its own. They're purchased individually, each consumer must therefore make a conscious choice to buy a new song every time they come out, which during is heyday was about every two or three months and he did this for more than two decades, staying important enough for each cycle of new listeners that came along to lay down their cash for whatever music he was laying down. Add in the hit records, like "Doing It To Death" or "Mashed Potatoes" which were entirely his records that were simply released under band members names and commercially James Brown can stand with any artist in history.

Now I realize he's already a lock for #3, and you weren't trying to discredit him to drag him further down the list, but that statement above is just wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
]Neg says that Elvis has been praised by opera artists, jazz artists, and such--but how much of this happened before the mid-sixties?


Not sure how that really matters? There's a wiki page with quotes on Elvis from other artists, I've posted it several times on other threads (I even used it to get Elvis to #2 on the Greatest Male Rock Vocalists).
The plethora of different artists that praise him is out of this world.

Brett Alan wrote:
In the early days of rock, serious social commentary was pretty much out of the question.


I dont think the 50's rock artists should be penalized for something they had no control over.
The social commentary became more pervasive because by the mid-60's, younger people were more in control of the market. Hence, more freedom.

Brett Alan wrote:
In the early days, rock was derided by "serious" music commentators and such. Then the Beatles came along and suddenly you had the Times of London naming them the best British composers of 1963, Leonard Bernstein singing their praises, and you mentioned, Arthur Fiedler recording their songs.


Careful there. Being called the "Best British composers" wasn't exactly that huge of a deal in 1963, as there were VERY few popular British rock artists at that time (the Invasion was still in embryonic form). I think, if anything, this was merely a surprised reaction to a British rock band becoming "all the rage".
As for rock being derided by serious music commentators, I kinda have mixed feelings on that one. Are we really taking into account what "music commentators" have to say? I thought musical impact was simply praise from other artists in the industry.
The kind of people that you refer to (journalists, critics, etc.) don't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to credibility.

Bruce wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, rock and roll should not be about serious subjects. It should be asbout fun, good times, girls, guys, cars. etc.....


That's a primitive attitude. Rock would be boring as hell if it never matured lyrically and musically.


Last edited by Negative Creep on Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Eric Wood wrote:
Brian wrote:
I added the artists that I talked about to the top 100 and moved Madonna to #15. She might perhaps end up a position or 2 higher, but I think her relative lack of musical impact keeps her out of the top 10. She has some, but she might be last of the 36 artists who are currently ahead of Black Sabbath. Who has less? Maybe Elton John or Queen, maybe 1 or 2 others, but the margin by which Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin beat her in musical impact looks enormous to me.


If that's the case, Bob Dylan should probably drop at least towards the bottom of the top 10, and possibly out of the top 10 altogether. Similar to Madonna, he is one of the top 5-6 artists in two areas of the criteria. For Madonna, it is cultural and commercial impact. For Dylan it is musical impact and influence. In cultural impact I think Dylan is generally overrated with all the "voice of a generation" stuff, but still very strong, similar to Madonna in influence where despite always seeming to be on the cutting edge, she was actually just popularizing/ripping off things from the deep underground and therefore just gets lots of secondary influence. Finally for Dylan you have his weakness in popularity and for Madonna weakness in musical impact. Dylan definitely does more in cultural impact and popularity (due to his sizable album chart success) than Madonna does in influence and musical impact, but it's not so overwhelming that it makes sense for Dylan to be 4th and Madonna to be 15th unless that whole group is just extremely tightly bunched in the criteria.

Let's not pretend Madonna doesn't register at all in musical impact. Of course Ray Charles is off the charts in comparison, but one way or another Madonna ended up as a demi-god among certain (somewhat limited) blocks of artists, and this status started to be developed at the end of her peak period in the late 80s/early 90s.


I wouldn't say that she has no musical impact. I said she might beat Queen and Elton John there, and I think these 2 also aren't completely without it. I'm about to run out of time, but either later today or tomorrow I'll try to put together a list of artists that I think have more than she does. I expect it will include more than half of the top 100.

I do think the artists here are pretty tightly bunched. I think we'll find that the artists in the 9-14 range are pretty close to equal.


Madonna's musical impact is being severely underrated here. It's not surprising considering who people are most impressed by musically and whose praise they give the most creedence to are generally the polar opposite of Madonna, but during her 83-94 run especially Madonna's stuff was highly regarded by most everyone in music. Think about all the female acts who get called shallow or eye candy or whatever derogatory term implying that no woman can possibly be releasing anything with any weight to it, and then remember that imagewise Madonna was ripe for this kind of criticism since she was such a manipulator, but then try and find critics of her actual musical content... it's not easy. Things like "Papa Don't Preach" were as socially conscious as anything that ever became that popular and "Live To Tell" was hailed by everyone. "Like A Prayer" was ultra-controversial at the time, but the music was widely praised.

The thing about Madonna was the duality of what you expected and what she accomplished. By all rights she SHOULD'VE been just a flash in the pan, a headline grabbing sideshow with a few hits, some provoctive statements and meglomaniacal self-importance who quickly faded out. If you were taking bets on that outcome around the "Like A Virgin" release you would've gotten a million to one odds that she'd still be relevant even five years later, let alone decades later. But she beat those odds easily and the reason she stayed so relevant was because the music always lived up to, and often surpassed, the hype she created for herself. Within the rock field of the era, which is where musical impact is felt, she was always held in the highest regard. Her image and the lengths she went to promote herself weren't always appreciated by other artists, but the music was.

Now that I've just defended Madonna like that excuse me while I go jump off a bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Brian wrote:
Sampson wrote:
Dylan has huge influence and musical impact but his commercial impact will almost certainly be the lowest, especially in singles, of any Top Ten artist.


The way I figure popularity, he beats Chuck Berry, but maybe you were figuring Berry wouldn't make the top 10. Most of the candidates for the top 10 also beat James Brown in popularity.


HUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

Only two artists in rock history have charted over 100 songs on the U.S. Pop Charts. Elvis Presley and James Brown. Nobody else comes close.

That is a far bigger deal commercially than almost anything you can name for a simple reason - each single has to stand on its own. They're purchased individually, each consumer must therefore make a conscious choice to buy a new song every time they come out, which during is heyday was about every two or three months and he did this for more than two decades, staying important enough for each cycle of new listeners that came along to lay down their cash for whatever music he was laying down. Add in the hit records, like "Doing It To Death" or "Mashed Potatoes" which were entirely his records that were simply released under band members names and commercially James Brown can stand with any artist in history.

Now I realize he's already a lock for #3, and you weren't trying to discredit him to drag him further down the list, but that statement above is just wrong.


Brown is only 6th in top 40 hits and has only had 7 top ten hits, which is not even among the top 50 in that category.

Whitburn ranks him 9th all time on the singles chart and 14th all time on the LP chart (as of 1996). Same strory on the LP chart. Lots of charted albums but not many that got very high on that chart.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Brown is only 6th in top 40 hits


Only? :freak:


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Negative Creep wrote:
Bruce wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, rock and roll should not be about serious subjects. It should be asbout fun, good times, girls, guys, cars. etc.....


That's a primitive attitude. Rock would be boring as hell if it never matured lyrically and musically.



Opposite for me. I've always been totally bored with lyrics from neurotic white schmucks who are examing the meaning of life.

I don't see later years as being more "mature." Certainly not musically. I see it as more complex and different than it was in the 50s, but not more "mature."

Primitive is not a synonym for immature.

I much prefer minimilist music.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:49 pm 
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ClashWho wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Brown is only 6th in top 40 hits


Only? :freak:


He's second in top 100 hits but there are 4 artists who have less top 100 hits them him, but more top 40 hits than him.

The point is, despite all the top 100 chart hits, he was not as well known as a mainstream hitmaker as dozens of other artists were. Generally a record has to make the top 20 to be a real mainstream hit.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Negative Creep wrote:
Bruce wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, rock and roll should not be about serious subjects. It should be asbout fun, good times, girls, guys, cars. etc.....


That's a primitive attitude. Rock would be boring as hell if it never matured lyrically and musically.



Opposite for me. I've always been totally bored with lyrics from neurotic white schmucks who are examing the meaning of life.

I don't see later years as being more "mature." Certainly not musically. I see it as more complex and different than it was in the 50s, but not more "mature."

Primitive is not a synonym for immature.

I much prefer minimilist music.


"White schmucks"? Do you expect anyone to take you seriously with comments like that?
Regardless of your opinion, many of these dumb honkies have had an ENORMOUS effect on rock music as a whole.
Whether or not you approve of that is irrelevant to this list.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Brett Alan wrote:
Well, there are a few things that we mean by saying the music "grew up". Among them:

1. The lyrics. I know you don't care about this, Bruce, but a lot of people do. In the early days of rock, serious social commentary was pretty much out of the question. Chuck Berry came the closest, but he understandably felt the need to censor himself. Politics was the realm of folk music. Which meant Dylan did it. When Dylan heard The Beatles, he realized he could do it in a rock context. And at the same time artists starting with the Byrds began combining the songs of Dylan and other folkies with the musical influence of the Beatles.

2. The transisition from the individual single/song as the primary means of expression to the album. Not that there weren't great albums before, of course, but the Beatles and Dylan, along with the Beach Boys, made the album front and center, an event unto itself.

3. Broader respectability. Neg says that Elvis has been praised by opera artists, jazz artists, and such--but how much of this happened before the mid-sixties? In the early days, rock was derided by "serious" music commentators and such. Then the Beatles came along and suddenly you had the Times of London naming them the best British composers of 1963, Leonard Bernstein singing their praises, and you mentioned, Arthur Fiedler recording their songs. That was a huge sea change. That was followed by the development of things like serious rock commentary. The role of rock in culture was *massively* different in 1968 than it had been in 1962. Of course Dylan and the Beatles weren't the only parties responsible for that, but it wouldn't have happened without them.

I'm sure these aren't the only ways they made the music "grow up", but it's a good start.


REPLIES:
1. There actually was serious social commentary but it wasn't PRESENTED as serious social commentary, largely because that wouldn't have sold and because artists in the 50's had absolutely no outlets, let alone sympathetic outlets (such as later rock mags) to discuss their intent as they would later on, nor did they have intellectual music fans who parsed every lyric and found (mostly mistakenly) insignificant things for which they then attributed great insight and meaning. There's a fairly well known story from a few years back about some blog or something online discussing what certain Dylan lyrics meant and all these weighty ideas were being thrown around. Dylan himself then logged on and told them they were full of shit, it wasn't about ANY of that stuff, it just flowed well and sounded good at the time. Nobody believed it was him and they challenged him to prove it by opening his next show with a song he hadn't done in decades. He did, shocking the hell out of these nitwits who couldn't believe they'd actually been talking to Bob Freaking Dylan. Once they got over it of course they then went on to discuss what they felt the rest of his lyrics "really meant", ignoring the actual writer's own explanations. The moral - the introspection everyone often credits is only found by those looking for it because they WANT to find it and have it mean something more than lyrics like ' You look good, let's get wasted and fuck in the backseat".

But songs like Chuck Berry's "Downbound Train" about alcoholism, or Leiber & Stoller's "Run Red Run", or Dave Bartholomew's "The Monkey" were blatant social protests, none of which of course became hits because the era's listeners were interested in that. The next generation were. It was the AUDIENCE that grew up, the artists simply followed the money.

2. The first album to be unquestionably "an event unto itself" (artistically, creatively, socially, etc.) was James Brown's Live at The Apollo. I thought this has already been definitively shown. It was an album for which you had to hear the entire thing to appreciate, it wasn't singles and filler, it was a full-length "expression" over two sides, even the fade at the end of side one in the midst of the epic 11 minute "Lost Someone" before it fades back in on side two shows how this was consciously crafted. When that album went to #2 on the charts, by a still largely unknown artist on a small label, with no singles from the LP to sell it, that was what showed the album market was viable for more than just the few big names in rock that previously sold LP's in big numbers. Dylan and the Beatles and the Beach Boys all recorded for major labels that had extensive experience in albums and knew the value of them financially and when they saw that rock LP's could sell, they gave them the means to do it. But Brown, the Ventures (who were really the FIRST album-oriented rock artists) and Ray Charles had already proven this was possible.

3. Respectiblity. Rock began as something detested by adult society because it did not come from them. It came from black culture (the critics and social commentators were all white and of a generation that far pre-dated all civil rights struggles) and the music, which was earthy and uninhibited, was aimed at their kids, who by liking it showed that the younger generation were actively rejecting their parents and teachers ideals. Of course there was no respect given for it. So society tried to mock it, ban it and eventually accuse it of bribary to try and stop it. When that failed and it entered into the second and third youth generation (say every four years a new cycle of kids come along) those attacks became less frequent because a) the music was no longer seen as a "new" threat but rather a steady nusiance at best, and there's always "new" threats to rail against when the old crusades lead nowhere, and b) it just wasn't effective any longer. Radio still played it, kids still bought it and just as importantly the industry still made money off it as a whole, more than ever in fact.

Furthermore by the mid-60's you had the first wave of adults who had grown up with rock 'n' roll as a steady presence in their lives entering into the media. The obvious examples are Paul Williams founding Crawdaddy and Jann Wenner former Rolling Stone, but just in general you had an influx of now-grown up rock fans contributing to the national dialogue on the subject and so postions softened. This is absolutely no different than any other form of popular music that begins as disrespectable (jazz in the 20's, rock in the 50's, rap in the 80's) but once it proves it's not going anywhere and enough time passes the views on it change and jazz by the 50's became "serious" music, while rock by the late 60's became "serious" music and rap by the 90's became "serious" music. The same people that were ripping Public Enemy when they were new and controversial were writing essays a decade later on how "important" their social outlook had been. Nothing changes in that regard. The ones who were writing the praise about rock by the 60's and claiming it "grew up" were simply trying to justify their placing so much importance on it.

There's a great line in the movie Chinatown that goes - "Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough". Same with rock 'n' roll. It had been around damn near twenty years by then, of course it got respectable.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Negative Creep wrote:
["White schmucks"? Do you expect anyone to take you seriously with comments like that?


You have to admit that geeky white guys seem to like to "examine their feelings" while the black guys were writing songs about getting laid and making money.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:32 pm 
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...which gets incredibly old and predictable after a while...


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