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Why is 50s music dismissed easily?

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  • Why is 50s music dismissed easily?

    why is 50s music dismissed easily, but bands like the beatles etc still held as relevant?
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  • #2
    Is it? Never quite sure when the 60s kicks in, to be honest. Is it that bias for ROCK music?
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    • #3
      well, I suppose I should expand on my original idea.
      you don't get many bands playing rock around the clock, or rock n roll much anymore. well apart from the whole rockabilly movement....
      err

      ok, why is rock still relevant but not rock n roll?
      why isn't 60s music looked at like we look at rock n roll?
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      • #4
        I see what you mean. I don't know. I mean, think of the massive influence Buddy Holly had on pop music in his brief career - he help create a climate where a pop singer could also be an artist, he was moving into production, he influenced everybody, especially The Beatles - but when was the last time you heard one of his songs in public?

        I suppose the prevailing 50s influence on mainstream music has been that whole crooner thing that Michael fucking Bubbly and whatnot do now. And the immortal Bo Diddley beat, as heard on Taylor Swift's magnificent single 'SHAKE IT OFF'.
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        • #5
          My take on it is that the early rock n roll era was over very quickly - only lasted from 1954 ... it was all over by 1958/ 59 maybe.
          The Beatles were obviously seen as completely new after a few drab years when nothing much had happened.

          UK music journalists especially always saw the 50s as prehistoric.... the sound had dated very quickly for them. Consequently they never wrote about it, except in disparaging, jokey terms. The NME certainly never mentioned the 50s much at all.

          There was a brief rock n roll revival in the early 70s... and of course ppl like Shakin Stevens and Showaddywaddy didn't do a lot for the scene.
          The 80s had psychobilly which I suppose had a bit more cred.
          The 80s was good for compilations/resisues on Ace.... and the old Desperate Rock N Rolls, Dangerous Doo Wops, Sin Alley, Las Vegas Grind type things which I devoured at the time.

          In recent years rock n roll / rockabilly / jump blues has definitely become hipper championed by ppl like Keb Darge and Andrew Weatherall.
          Its funny - a lot of 50s rock sounds deadly now.... frantic and dangerous stuff made by wild men out of control. Its time has certainly come again.
          Whereas Beatles and their kin sound very tame (to me).

          I was in a record shop a couple of years ago and I bought a couple of rockin comps. The owner of the shop said he had a big box of 7"s up the stairs which he couldn't be bothered to put out. I had a good old rummage and ended up buying the whole lot..... 300 7"s in good nick. Some 50s originals but mostly 70s represses/ boots of original rockabilly 45s.
          That stuff is essential to me.... things like Love Me by the Phantom, I Want Some Of That by Kai Ray, Pretty Plaid Skirt by Mel Smith.... crucial records.

          So - I don't know if it is dismissed anymore. There's a good scene + a lot of rockin comps coming out alla the time.
          Last edited by bradx; 11-06-2015, 05:22 PM.
          galaxy of fallon to telepath 1

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bradx View Post
            things like Love My by the Phantom, I Want Some Of That by Kai Ray, Pretty Plaid Skirt by Mel Smith.... crucial records.
            A-fuckin'-men!!!!!
            Pretty Plaid Skirt is quite possibly my favourite EVER record.
            To infinity - and beyond!

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            • #7


              That ain't rubbish pal, that's Gene Vincent!!
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              • #8
                Maybe the thing is "the Sixties" as such has a wider cultural and deeper cachet? Rightly or wrongly. But innovation in film, art, music, fashion, drug use - all seemed to reach a high watermark in the 60s that wasn't really happening in the 50s.
                "As technology has advanced, vinyl records are outdated as they are music from the 19th Century so only hipsters and elderly people buy vinyl records".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tsundoku View Post
                  that wasn't really happening in the 50s.
                  The 50s was happening in its own way...

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                  • #10
                    The generation that came of age in the '50s were still expected to grow up and leave all that behind them, and mostly did. Whereas their '60s successors are still being unbearably special. All over place. That and the album, middle-class discovering rock and deciding what was going to count etc.

                    You're right though: it's a tragedy that Chuck Berry is nearly a forgotten artist
                    Those funny cars won't make the teardrops start/ but way up there is where she broke my heart

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                    • #11
                      I really agree with the thing about Buddy Holly. I grew up (in the 80s) with my Dad playing me, yes, the Beatles, but also Buddy Holly. It always seemed to me that his songs and sound were so innovative in moving country along through rock and roll to the more developed pop/rock of the 60s.

                      This is very well known, but I still say it's one of the more forward-sounding records of its time:

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paul-K View Post
                        why is 50s music dismissed easily, but bands like the beatles etc still held as relevant?
                        Firstly who is dismissing it? Secondly, the Beatles are canon now, but started by playing 50s style music, as did so many other recognisable 60s artistes.
                        I'd say the music industry's need to sell product to a new generation certainly was decisive.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bradx View Post
                          My take on it is that the early rock n roll era was over very quickly - only lasted from 1954 ... it was all over by 1958/ 59 maybe.
                          The Beatles were obviously seen as completely new after a few drab years when nothing much had happened.

                          UK music journalists especially always saw the 50s as prehistoric.... the sound had dated very quickly for them. Consequently they never wrote about it, except in disparaging, jokey terms. The NME certainly never mentioned the 50s much at all.
                          Paul, I think Bradx is shining a light in the right area here. Rock & roll in it's original form, it's agreed by many, was 'over' by the late fifties but the 'beat boom' that The Beatles were part of only really began to gather momentum in 63. It's those 'few drab years' in between that are the key here. I'd disagree with Bradx that these were years 'when nothing much had happened', although I do understand what he means by that.

                          For sure, nothing sensational happened on the surface of popular music, but beneath the grey facade, something of a cultural war was being fought out. It's not easy to explain this briefly because what took place was a rather complex and convoluted tactical struggle essentially between what the public wanted and what the entertainment establishment wanted to give them. The best summary of this 'difficult' period in pop history I've seen is in Iain Chambers' monstrously underrated book 'Urban Rhythms' which the author has generously put up for public reference here...

                          Chapter 2 is where the action is, but I'd recommend the entire book to all VGplussers. The book was written in 1980 and of course, as other posters have noted there have been other occurences in the intervening years that have coloured our view of fifties music, but for me it's this awkward gap of four or five years in the continuity of popular music's development that leaves the rock & roll years in a kind of isolated zone and vulnerable to fetishization. Not the whole story perhaps, but certainly a considered start to an answer to your question...
                          Last edited by giantchicken; 20-06-2015, 07:38 PM. Reason: Iain not Ian!...apologies...
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                          • #14
                            When I said "after a few drab years when nothing much had happened....." I meant as perceived by journos, and the general music-buying population. The initial threatening burst of rock n roll had died away and was being homogenised, commodified and watered down.
                            Commercial pop was pretty dire... what with all the Bobbys.
                            But the US had a massive regional scene during those 59 - 63 years which the Beatles effectively killed off in 1964. Instro surf music especially is one of my favourite scenes from that era.
                            galaxy of fallon to telepath 1

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                            • #15
                              Mr X, that's precisely what I understood you to mean - I was just making the point that the stuff that was happening was happening behind the scenes - which was indeed the homogenisation, commodification and watering down you describe. That typifies the British experience, but you're bang right about the US regional scene too....
                              you can hear colours when they rhyme...

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