29 September 2010

Only rock 'n' roll

Back in the early 60s, I watched TV coverage of a show by Little Richard during his last (?) tour of Britain, which started off with a panning shot of an audience sitting in their seats, then turned to Mr Pompadour as he came on banging a tambourine singing a gospel song (he was coming back from being born again).

Anyway, as the gig warmed up, LR took off his tie and jacket and got to shrieking and pounding on the piano, culminating in a long, rip-snorting rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis's "Whole lotta shakin".

Only then did camera pan back to the audience - which had gone ape-shit. The ordered ranks had been transformed into a seething mass of primal stomping and spastic upper body convulsions.

What brought that old memory to the surface was sitting in the Hyde Park Hard Rock Café yesterday and watching several videos of bands doing their thing in large open-air venues, with enthusiastic but pretty static and well-behaved audiences.

Then a video of an AC/DC gig came on and there they were, men my age - probably also grandfathers - blasting out "Spoiling for a fight". Pan to the audience and it's mostly young people going ape-shit.

Now, I pretty much gave up following rock music after Cobain blew his brains out, so cannot judge if there are any young acts out there doing basic rock 'n' roll. But if there are not, there's been a market failure.

If geezer bands like AC/DC and the Stones are raking in the money doing the same old same very old, then there's a pot of money sitting out there waiting for some enterprising band to establish itself doing the basics and ready to fill the void when the rock stars of my generation totter offstage on their zimmer frames. 


  1. Even the seventies bands had something musical to offer: the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Airplane, The Grateful Dead, lots of others. I remember in the late eighties going on a school trip for five days in Kashmir. The Paki kids I was chaperoning were playing eighties bands on their boom boxes and I recognized none of the bands' names, but I did recognize most of the arrangements which were lifted from the decade before. There's a lot of Rockabilly that's much more listenable than the various poor excuses in the metal bands.

  2. Hey,the Stones were part of the 60s white R&B phenomenon, which developed -during that decade - into the bands you mention and many others. AC/DC are a pure rock 'n' roll band from the 70s! I think heavy metal is way louder and shoutier, faster and more driving than any of the above.