tell me paul, why this fetishism with the western canon? if you look across other cultures in the world, south american, east asian, indian subcontinental or whatever it is, people are usually wary and reluctant of the idea of canonising things. yet music is lifeblood to them just as it is to us, or any other member of the human race. i think there's a fault on our part here.
I never mentioned a "western" canon, but maybe you're right and the concept of canonizing certain musical works and recordings as we know it is
a strictly western concept (apart from sacred music where you definitely have canonized music or musical structures).
not really, because this implies that there is always that one album or only one artist undertaking those developments or evolving the sounds. which very rarely is the case, mostly rock journo myth. delve into other contemporary artists of the era and you'll often see ideas forming and evolving steadily over a course of time, label, zeitgest and place, just like any other artform.
Actually it doesn't imply that. It only implies that there are certain artists who spearhead certain musical developments. It certainly takes more than one album to trace down the roots of a musical idea. Musical works are usually canonized for a reason. They may have introduced new concepts to the musical discourse, or may have defined a certain style by being particularly popular or widely considered to be excellent. The bulk of canonized music certainly includes a larger percentage of good or interesting music than uncanonized music does. The canon makes discussion about music much easier and can help you to get introduced to uncanonized music that is similar to your favorites from the canon. Of course the canon is not all there is, and as soon as you've got a good overview, you should definitely start exploring uncanonized works as well, but in the beginning the canon can be a very helpful tool.
But generally you may be right. The canon probably is not essential for understanding music and even less so for appreciating it.
besides, i don't have a problem discussing the beatles, stones zep, who and pink floyd once in a while, all legendary bands and very popular. but really - you're going to tell me that music ancestry, evolution, development and stylistic variance was at its apex with these acts or all of the above was the most significant in the 60's/70's? fuck that. no one needs to hear any of these bands unless they have a genuine interest in them. it's by conforming to these standards that we have near identical music fans in taste and character. same top 10 lists, same favourite artists and what not. again, not a bad thing, but at some point - when you really love music - the sounds, the making of the sounds, the stories, people involved, the cultural significance of things, the counter culture - you realise that you are lost in terms of treading new ground and no amount of friends and music buddies can really help you out now. you're on your own, and that's where the journey gets really interesting. we would be mostly lost, but you know, the internet. these are the best of times.
I completely agree and nowhere in my posts did I ever try to suggest that the music of the 1960's and '70's was superior in any way to the music of other decades/eras, which is a pretty ridiculous idea. I don't know where you got that from.