For a very long time now, I have been wondering about what is it about the times today that nothing and nobody holds conviction, and if they do, it doesn’t last for a very long period of time. I saw the Hindi movie Rockstar a month back and the song Sadda Haq, stood for so much, it was a classic way of the music that i believe in , the music that says something we all know but don’t have the courage to shout out loud. It was bold and clear and appealed to the very heart of an issue. And it made me think, and as the movie progressed, it went on from Sadda Haq to the eminent love story and to the tragedy in the end, and you come out of the movie feeling so much! But what happened to that particular fire started by the song? Did the plot kill douse it? where did it go? did we forget? And if we didn’t, why is it that we all stand up for issues everyday, and we all raise some or the other problem but that’s just it. We put out a question and no answer to it. we start a rebellion and then back out ourselves from it.
And this has been hitting me for a very long time. the question of why is it that we can’t follow through something we start? We live in a generation where movies come and go, ideas come and go. Attempts to make a change too, come and go. so what is it, what can bring forth something permanent?
But today I found the answer. Its a classic case of revelation in your own beliefs. Its not about answers it about standing up. its about putting forward a viewpoint that is so uniquely your own. And that the revolution hasn’t ended. It is still going on. It has been going on for decades, half a century. The Rock and roll phenomena started off as a form of entertainment, says Mark Paytress, the author of A History of Rock and Roll. Which i agree to but what started off as mainly entertainment in the early 50’s very slowly and steadily turned in to a form of protest and rebellion and a medium to put out your opinion and it hasn’t stopped. It didn’t end and it is still going on . Music is what still holds the power to put it forward.
I’d call Rock as the most potent cultural force in the recent decades that has not stopped trying and not stopped making a difference. From Lennon’s “personal is political” beliefs, while he promoted peace by rejecting fame and turning old domestic order on its head by restyling himself house husband, to Nirvana’s mini rock revolution showing joy, rage a perfectly weighted riff-hook, ominous verses followed by an oblivion chasing chorus; it was as if rock’s essence had been distilled into notes and put forward as ideas and issues. Rock has always had the essence of extreme forms of attempts to reinvent itself to present forward an idea.
Lyrically explicit,morbid, sonically abrasive yet artful are some traits I identify Rock with. Whether it is the grunge slacker or the cocky swagger of the Brit pop, there always was something the music stood for. Like Chuck Barry in America; The music provided a metaphor for society: two things kept apart and thought so different could, in fact, be joined. When joined, something better resulted. It was a kind of an integration. It gained popularity as a youth culture, a generation that perceived itself as misunderstood, misled, and in need of something, some tradition they could call their own.Rock and Roll not only existed as a musical element, but also made the youth find a medium for expression and exchange of ideas and emotions. The popularity and sensationalism of Rock and Roll not only made it the carrier of the rebellious youth culture, but also become a symbol of social rebellion. Rock and Roll in the United States, like a bloodless revolution, influenced the process of the society and changed a whole generation.
True, that today taking action has become a bit of a over drive, and people just don’t want to do it. when faced with social drama and crisis, Absolutely everything was superficial. We didn’t get a new Hendrix. We didn’t get a new John Lennon style figure for the public to rally behind. There were no “Fortunate Son”-like anthems to be found. Instead, we got bands like Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback. This toxic combination of political uncertainty and cultural excess should have bred some sort of a rock music counter culture to topple BOTH the hippie and grunge movements… yet, nothing really happened. But that does not mean Rock is dead. It just means what we have to say is not as poignant or not as revolutionary anymore I guess.
Over the past decade, many of rock’s success stories came from supergroups like Velvet Revolver and Audioslave that featured our favorite musicians put together in new and different ways.These bands essentially fill the quota for our rock music needs without really having to go out of our way to look for younger bands in today’s musical climate. Not to say there is anything wrong with these bands continuing to operate; however, the torch needs to eventually be passed in the public eye.
Whether you like Rock and Roll or not, you have to admit that it’s take-over of popular music in the fifties was one of the most unique phenomenon in the cultural history of man. Forget what your parents told you about the coming of the swing era and what baby-boomers say about the psychedelic and hard-rock eras. All of those styles, at their most popular, accounted for no more than half of the top hits at any time. History has shown us that a rock revolution will inevitably take place; at this point, its only a question of “when”. There may be many factors slowing down the progress of this revolution, but in the end, rock and roll always triumphs. And thus the cycle repeats itself.
Only Rock and Roll managed to take complete control of the charts. It has grown from its surpize, sometimes shocking post war beginnings into a multi million dollar industry that caters to all manner of tastes. I mean there are over 70 sub genres which you can divide the music into and my guess is, atleast few of those would have something we can gain from. Rock isn’t dead. Fifty years later, it’s still a dominant influence and is likely to be so forever.
PS : I’m going to be adding a small playlist along with every post i write. They are just the songs that kind of enhance the theme I would be talking about.
These are some of the songs that changed the world, in my opinion
- Beatles : I wanna hold your hand
- John Lennon : Imagine
- Edwin Starr : War
- Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert : Same Love
- U2 : Sunday Bloody Sunday
- Sex Pistols : God Save the Queen
- Elvis Presley : That’s all right
- Public Enemy : Fight the Power
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