“…you better free your mind instead.”

Speaking as someone who knows his own Baby Boomer generation reasonably well, not only am I not particularly impressed with or fazed by the so-called revolutionary rhetoric of a handful of Tea Party participants or so-called Christian Nationalists, etc., the last time I heard such rhetoric from my g-g-generation the music and, for that matter, the rhetoric was a hell of a lot better:

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67 Responses to “…you better free your mind instead.”

  1. tom van dyke says:

    Better free your mind instead.

    I was 12 yrs old in August 1968. Stuff was happening, America—the whole world—in turmoil. I didn’t understand it much, but I understood that much.

    I remember exactly where I was, standing up the street from my friend Ricky Primavera’s house, in front of the haunted Bolton Mansion in Holly Hill. Had the transistor radio on, and out came the Beatles’ “Revolution.”

    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

    I knew who Chairman Mao was, at least. Bad man, but some people in America liked him. That I really couldn’t understand.

    Then

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be
    Alright
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be
    Alright…

    And somehow, I knew that it was going to be all right. The Beatles said so. John cleared the whole thing up, put it all in perspective. And as it turned out, it was all right, as much as we could hope for anyway. We stepped back from the brink.

    I’ve thought about that moment many times since, and still see it as John’s greatest achievement, the man, the time, the one voice that broke through all the confusion.

    More here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_(song)

    Looking back now, it’s easy to see why the left wasn’t that happy with Lennon for “Revolution.” I didn’t understand any of that stuff. Probably my 12-yr-old mind was typical of the American electorate that chose Richard Nixon’s “law and order” over Hubert Humphrey’s whatever-it-is-ism. But Chairman Mao wasn’t the way either, and we found out later just what a bad man he was.

    So, in 2010, 60-odd congressional seats change hands and the protest is at the ballot box instead of creating mayhem outside a political convention [Chicago 1968] . It doesn’t even move the meter. Beck and his “religious right,” too. These guys clean up after themselves when they hold a demonstration. It’ll be all alright. You couldn’t even write a decent song for or against the Tea Party thing. Ho-hum.

    And God bless you, John Lennon, wherever you are. I hope it’s alright.

  2. AMW says:

    For my money, Chuck Brodsky’s “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” is one of the great seditious songs. You can listen to it here (song starts about 1 minute in). It was written regarding Bush & Co., but it could be aimed at just about anybody in a position of political power.

  3. Mark Boggs says:

    “Ohio”, CSN&Y

  4. Jon Rowe says:

    It is true as TVD alludes, not every hippy anthem was all pro-the movement. The song Revolution seemed to express its reservations and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is totally skeptical of hippie counter culture utopia. That so many counter culture leaders (in part because many were in some way associated with ELITE colleges) ended up in prominent positions of power, many in corporate America, illustrates the point.

  5. James Hanley says:

    With all due respect for the musicians of DAR’s generation, my favorite protest song is “Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine. The boomers may have been angry, but they didn’t know how to sound angry. Rage Against the Machine sounds like they’re going to kick down your door, grab you by the throat, and shake you until you “wake up!” (Listen to the song, then you’ll get the reference.)

    In fact I think the reason the Tea Party doesn’t have any good music is because their generation wore out musically so quickly. Jefferson Airplane cum Starship is the great symbol of boomer decline. Or Clapton shifting from great bluesy rock to ballad after ballad (although he can’t even approach Sting in the competition for most pathetically maudlin award).

    If Rage Against the Machine starts composing ballads and morphs into my generations version of Starship, you’re all free to laugh at me (and them).

  6. D.A. Ridgely says:

    It’s cute when younger people think their generation had decent music.

  7. Mark Boggs says:

    James,

    Sting is not in the same galaxy as Rod Stewart in terms of delving new depths of pathetic.

  8. Jon Rowe says:

    “Jefferson Airplane cum Starship is the great symbol of boomer decline.”

    Sad thing there is Mickey Thomas was (and still is) an awesome singer; but so many Starship songs are crap.

    I think Jane rocks.

  9. Jon Rowe says:

    DA:

    Honestly I think the 70s rock saw better music than the 60s. But that might be a matter of taste. I like Prog rock, which some folks think epitomizes what NOT to do in rock.

  10. Jon Rowe says:

    This is by far the best Gil Scott Heron tune or whatever you want to call it.

  11. Anna says:

    It’s cute when younger people think their generation had decent music.
    It is cuter when those older hippie generation people think their music is smarter or better than generations following. There is smart challenging music in every generation, it is not the popular stuff we hear on the radio. As we get older, we often don’t have time or energy to keep up with those artists. Up until I started having kids, music was pretty important – then there is a big hole in my musical knowledge which was temporarily replaced by the demands of motherhood. I am just now hearing some of that stuff and realize the time I missed while not as meaningful to me personally has its share of groundbreaking music. I am happy to have grown up with The Clash, Sex Pistols, U2, Pink Floyd, the Ramones, Dead Kennedys and Public Enemy….I’ll stop now but you get the picture. I’m sure Green Day’s American Idiot has its die-hard fans who would poo poo your collection. I admit I love much of the 60’s music but I’m too young to relate to it, as my daughter feels the same about my favorites. Apples to oranges (sorry I couldn’t help myself).

  12. D.A. Ridgely says:

    It’s cuter still when those younger people don’t get the joke.

  13. Jon Rowe says:

    Me: I’m still stuck in the 70s, music wise, the decade I was born.

  14. I guess that Billy Joel from the 1970s and early 1980s doesn’t have the same revolutionary elan as some of the others mentioned here, but “Captain Jack,” “Until the Night,” and “Allentown” cured us of the post-Watergate malaise and brought us out of the Volcker Recession.

  15. D.A. Ridgely says:

    We all are stuck somewhere in terms of taste, Jon, including in popular music.

    Whatever success we may have at establishing an objective justification for normative statements of the ethical variety, attempting to do so with aesthetic judgments is pointless. I’m a thoroughgoing prescriptivist in such matters, meaning my claims about the value of this or that art, music, etc. amount to nothing more than I like it and think you should, too. And, of course, I believe your aesthetic judgments reduce to the same.

    (Oh, and by the way, my musical library includes The Clash, Sex Pistols, (especially) Pink Floyd, the Ramones, Dead Kennedys and Public Enemy. Not U2, though. U2 sucks. *grin*)

  16. Jon Rowe says:

    This is from 1975 and it doesn’t get much better than this.

  17. Anna says:

    D.A. – actually I only listen to real early U2(I can’t deny their influence the 80s) but now my best friend and I have a phrase for any actor/musician who goes off the deep end as “Going Bono”. As for getting the joke, I used to work at music stores in the Los Angeles burbs and San Francisco and the worst music customers were the local hippies and people of a certain age *grin*. I guess I never really quite got over listening to their righteous pining over how their music was so much better telling us who we should listen to, but rarely interested in any of our suggestions (especially in San Francisco). As a side note I still have a few hundred albums so I may not be as old as you, but alas my music is also considered retro.

  18. tom van dyke says:

    Oldie but goodie:

    Bono, lead singer of the rock band U2, is famous throughout the entertainment industry for being more than just a little self-righteous.

    At a recent U2 concert in Glasgow, Scotland, he asked the audience for total quiet.

    Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds. Holding the audience in total silence, he said into the microphone, “Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.”

    From the front of the crowd a voice with a broad Scottish accent pierced the quiet …

    “Well, fuckin stop doin it then, ya evil bastard!”

  19. Jon Rowe says:

    Heh. Clinton also played Bono much better than HW Bush.

  20. Jon Rowe says:

    “Whatever success we may have at establishing an objective justification for normative statements of the ethical variety, attempting to do so with aesthetic judgments is pointless. I’m a thoroughgoing prescriptivist in such matters, meaning my claims about the value of this or that art, music, etc. amount to nothing more than I like it and think you should, too. And, of course, I believe your aesthetic judgments reduce to the same.”

    I would say yes and no. Art is something that is both at once objective and subjective and the line separating the two is impossible to draw. But, as Allan Bloom once noted, there is a difference between Raphael and a fingerpainter. And the “it’s all subjective” school of thought blurs the distinction between them.

    Everything that’s valuable about art lies in that distinction.

  21. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Subjectively.

  22. James Hanley says:

    It’s so cute when old people complain about all culture being in decline from it’s peak in their own adolescence. *grin*

    Admittedly, I sort of fall into that, too, because, yes, I’m old enough to do so. But having children who have hit music listening age is causing a temporary recession of my creeping music senescence. I’ve been delighted to discover that Pink makes great songs, and Lady Gaga, despite an astounding propensity to irritate me, is actually a fine musician worth listening to. Fortunately my kids don’t like Justin Bieber. Even more fortunately, my youngest loves John Mellencamp, and the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.”

    There’s also a lot of good newer stuff in the alt country genre, if you’re cool enough to like that stuff. And no discussion of how much good music there is right now would be complete without a mention of the psycho-surf band Nekromantix (which is definitely not something I learned from my kids–I’ll tell them about in another ten years or so).

  23. Heidegger says:

    Jon, am in complete agreement–great music is not just a matter subjective taste, “beauty if is in the eye of the beholder” kind of thing. There really exists awful music and there really exists great, out of this world beautiful music. Kurt Cobain is not Bach. Nor is anyone else for that matter. Bach, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Mahler, Handel, etc.—it must be understood, these people are not human beings–they are Gods. They are light-years above and beyond we mere mortals. And they gave every second of their precious short lives to give us a glimpse of the heavenly, sublime beauty that they experienced so we could also experience it as well. This is music that has endured for 300+ years and will endure forever. It transcends language, culture–Iraq even has a national orchestra that will perform in the US this summer. There is absolute divinity within this music, a divinity that speaks every language spoken by mankind.

  24. Jon Rowe says:

    H: I agree that Kurt Cobain is not Bach, but I also think Cobain was loaded with talent in an objective sense.

    I haven’t done or even looked into “studies” on this; but with pop music it has something to do with the ability (something I don’t have) to write good melodies. Melodies that stick in your head. It’s hard to get away from the subjective taste thing though. Both Cobain AND Barry Manilow have this talent. Yet, Manilow is much less my cup of tea.

  25. Mark Boggs says:

    With all due respect Jon, Manilow writes the songs that make the whole world sing. It says so right in the song. You can’t even understand Cobain’s lyrics. Maybe he wrote the songs that made the whole world mumble? : )

  26. Jon Rowe says:

    Maybe he did. But I think he, too, was a genius with melodies. Or at least my ears tell me that.

  27. James Hanley says:

    Heidegger,

    And there are folk ballads that have lasted longer than Bach, Mozart, etc. They have a wonderful ability to endure and gain from translation and rearrangement by a wide variety of artists. Not to knock Bach, etc., but the fact is that your adoration of them is in fact subjective, and they were mere mortals. They made one type of music, and were indeed geniuses at it. But transforming your love for them into a claim of objective perfection is a very arrogant claim, not so much about them as about yourself. You, too, must be lightyears ahead of mere mortals who are unable to recognize the brilliance of their music, and pathetically think that Paul Simon wrote some pretty good songs, or that Parliament made some music worth listening and re-listening to.

    Your inability to hear the greatness in other music only shows your own limitations. I well remember thinking heavy metal was just noise, and then one amazing evening a friend sat me down and made me really listen, and suddenly I heard more than just sound, I heard music. I heard the different parts the instruments were playing, and the way they fit together. I’m still not a fan of the genre, but I get it now. And one of my absolute favorite contemporary performers is Lucinda Williams, who can make incredibly deep music out of great simplicity. The old saw about “it’s the space between the notes” is 100% true about her.

    And I’m sure there are great composers in contemporary classical, too. Or so some friends have assured me. I just don’t have an ear for it, but that’s me, not the composers.

    To take it to another level, I think your need to set a certain group apart–especially a group that’s long gone and dead, and now frozen in time and incapable of violating your expectations, incapable of producing something that’s not now very familiar to you–is perfectly in keeping with your innate conservatism. Not only is it certain and invariable, but it allows for hero worship; it allows you to set apart a group of men who are, in your own words, gods. There’s a distinct authoritarian element in that.

  28. Heidegger says:

    Jon, no doubt about it, there is great talent out there, objective talent, in the world of pop music–I’m using the word “pop” to cover the whole spectrum–blues, R&B, rock, country, punk, grunge, alternative, etc. and yeah, personally, I’m stuck in 60s mode myself–I doubt I could name more than a handful of songs from 1990 to today–it just doesn’t particularly interest me. By the way–you posted some Dire Straits song a while ago–have friends who are fanatical DS fans and are constantly bugging me to get on the bus with this group but for some reason, their music just hasn’t clicked for me. I’ll have to work on that. Sometimes these kinds of things just happen for no logical reason whatsoever, at least no discernible reason. It will be interesting to see how pop music stands up to the ultimate judge, the test of time. Just love Motown, Pink Floyd, and Procol Harum–many, many others, too. And yes, Keith Emerson is a very, very talented pianist–has so many gifts. Was very saddened to hear he suffers from focal dystonia (same neurological disorder I have) which causes some fingers to involuntarily curl into the palm) because that can bring an abrupt and immediate end to any music making. It’s pretty much a musical death sentence (may you NEVER have to hear the words, “focal dystonia” coming from the mouth of a neurologist)–mercifully and thankfully, he seems to have found a way around it and is still able perform. Bravo Keith! Interestingly, FD seems to affect primarily classical musicians–string players and pianists in particular. The brain literally breaks down, gets Bached-out, and loses its ability to recognize the sensory input from the fingers–a literal “smearing” of the entire sensorimotor cortex takes place which causes co contraction of flexors and extensors. It ain’t a pretty sight to see a dystonic hand trying to play a simple scale much less, a Bach 5-part fugue. When I was a student at New England Conservatory, I had never even heard of focal dystonia–now, they had a special department that deals entirely with that and other performing arts medicine issues. Thank God.

  29. Jon Rowe says:

    Heidegger: I may be wrong here. But after 5 minutes of looking up “focal dystonia,” I strongly suspect this is psychosomatic — a form of an anxiety disorder of which obsessive complusive disorder is one.

    This relates to my “theory” about which I blogged and hope slowly unfolds as the years go by.

    I don’t doubt that “focal dystonia” can be proven to exist in the brian via chemistry analysis.

    This is something where I worry about getting into trouble with some of my skeptic friends: There is a difference between mind and brain. And I believe it’s possible for mind to change brain chemistry.

    Dr. John Sarno has done ground breaking work in this field that we are just starting to understand. What I like about him is he has credibility with hard nosed skeptics because his methods have worked for them.

    Much of middle aged back pain can be proven to have a physiological effect; yet he shows it’s all in the head nonetheless for the overwhelming MAJORITY of folks who suffer from chronic back pain. He shows this by curing folks of it. Howard Stern was cured not only of back pain but used Sarno’s method to cure his OCD.

    I think much of modern psychiatry is BS. (Though I appreciate what the meds they offer do for people.) Though I think Sarno is on to something.

  30. Heidegger says:

    Needless to say, James, an overlap of comments just occurred. And I just knew, you would chime in to say I was being arrogant. I’m sorry for giving the impression that
    I didn’t see or hear greatness in other forms of music–that couldn’t be further from the truth. Or if I came off as a musical elitist snob. I’m not. I just think they, the “longhairs” (Bach, Gibbons, Mozart, Beethoven etc.) deserve a very special and lofty place among all composers. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this matter, but just as sure as Copernicus saying the earth revolves around the sun, placing these musical “immortals” at the center our musical galaxy is simply the way cosmos is ordered.

  31. D.A. Ridgely says:

    By way of perspective, this thread was originally about the supposedly geriatric (i.e., Boomer) majority of the contemporary Tea Party gatherers and how their rhetoric and music now compares to their (read: my) youth. Not about musical tastes even though, when all is said and done, mine are vastly better than yours.

    In all deference to Mr. Rowe and passing deference to Heidegger, there are no good arguments supporting the objectivity of aesthetics. I enjoy Harold Bloom, but the guy frequently strikes me as being incapable of seeing beyond his own particular prejudices. (Many of which, by the way, I share, but at least I know they’re mere prejudices.) Yes, one can empirically note a cluster of mostly but not strictly common characteristics among those works of art, broadly construed, that are deemed praiseworthy. But in the final analysis, judging those traits to be important aesthetically is, itself, a normative judgment. Moreover, it’s absurdly simple to find counterexamples to any supposedly essential aesthetic quality (excluding, of course, tautological qualities). Desiring objectivity in aesthetics is as understandable as desiring objectivity in ethics but finding it is, if anything, even more difficult.

    No doubt, those of us who know the difference between the circle of fifths and a fifth of Old Circular Saw can wax theoretical about the sonata allegro form, modal music, the difference between monophonic, polyphonic and homophonic music, why A = 440 Hz and why 90% of all pop music is based on some fairly simple version of a I-IV-V chord progression. I, however, know nothing about music theory and therefore have no idea what I was just writing about.

    Personally, I have nothing against Bach, Mozart or Beethoven and have actually been known to stay awake while listening to their music in concert halls or churches. Brahms has never moved me and, no, Mahler’s music really isn’t better than it sounds. Who cares? They ain’t writing that stuff any more, classical music more or less died with Stravinsky and Shostakovitch (the first person to try to make a case for Schoenberg or Philip Glass will probable get banned) and, besides, being a fan of Velázquez does not mean one cannot also appreciate Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, etc.

    To each his own. *shrug*

  32. Jon Rowe says:

    “classical music more or less died”

    Technically the classical period ended with Beethoven, who was the transitional figure from the “classical” to “romantic” period.

  33. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Phooey. You know precisely what I mean.

  34. Heidegger says:

    Jon, I’ll have to check this guy, Sarno, out. Has he ever had any experience dealing with FD? When I first started manifesting FD symptoms, my doctor sent to see a shrink, convinced I was in the beginning stages of a (19th) nervous”breakdown”! What an experience that turned out to be. This Harvard trained psychiatrist was utterly clueless about this disorder but that didn’t stop him from saying I suffered from some kind of a perfectionist hyperactive obsessive thought disorder and this was likely to be a strong contributing factor. Okay James—I just heard that loud chuckle–“that’s what I’ve been saying all along!” Well, that was the beginning and end of psychiatry for me. Jon, I’ve tried everything. You name it–hypnosis, biofeedback, yoga, a variety of oral medications, Alexander Technique, and botox–lots and lots of botox–enough to fell an elephant. This, administered into the flexors of my left hand–they’re actually located in the forearm not the hand.

    What really interests me is his work on back pain. I’ve had lower back issues for the last two years so even if the dystonia problem is not something within his field of expertise, he might be helpful in treating that problem. Thanks a million for the suggestion.

    How happy I would be if this was just a “psychosomatic” disorder! It is well documented that this disorder is not an “all in the head” type of problem–there is clearly (numerous fMRI studies of which I was also a participant) an organic problem in the brain which spawns the dystonic beast: from a study in Konstanz–another stop for me on the fruitless road to recovery–
    “Researchers at the University of Konstanz report “overlap or smearing of the homuncular organization of the representation of the digits in the primary somatosensory cortex” (3). Given that functions such as motor control cross over from the right side of the body to be represented in the left hemisphere, they found that the distance between the representations of individual fingers was smaller in the somatosensory cortex side corresponding to the hand that had undergone continued repetitious training (the left hand in case of violin players for example).” At the UCSF, they have even been able to replicate focal dystonia in monkeys–no, not by making them practice Chopin etudes for 10 hours a day, but training them for 20 weeks to repetively open and close a handpiece. Results, ” The monkey using the articulated hand-squeezing strategy showed motor deterioration and dedifferentiation of the normally sharply segregated areas of the hand representation in area 3b. Mild degradation of the hand representation was measured in the monkey using the proximal arm-pulling strategy, but there was no motor dysfunction.”

    It might not be a total waste of time for me to also bring along a focal dystonic monkey when seeing Dr. Sarno.

    Sorry for going on and on with this subject. Suffice it to say, if Sarno can have me playing Chopsticks in a year, I’ll buy you the guitar of your choice! And thanks for the feedback.

  35. Heidegger says:

    DAR–I’ll keep you in my prayers. Alas, an epiphany of immeasurable ecstasy awaits you, you lucky dog!

  36. Heidegger says:

    Uh-oh–am I pulling an OFT, but instead of injecting religious Scripture, injecting musical Scripture? The gallows surely awaits….

  37. Jon Rowe says:

    Here is the Sarno website: http://www.healingbackpain.com/

    I don’t know how meditation works, but I think there is something in it, the various kinds, that helps medicate or “unlearn” the obsessive compulsive anxiety disorders that can lead to these other psychosomatic issues.

    Note: I don’t consider myself a perfected human being; I am a work in progress. But I certainly see these kinds of meditations and changes in thought perspective, from my own personal experiences, as helping greatly.

    The biggest problems I have with meditation so far is the expositors thereof add along with it what I see as religious dogma (in a bad mood I would say religious crap) that seemingly poisons the well. Like, that guy Deepack Chopra has also said “woo woo crap” so why should I listen to him in this regard.

    For instance, when I took TM lessons, I was told I couldn’t tell anyone my mantra. Well why the Hell not? I’ll tell you what it is right now. Phonetically, it’s EYE-ENG-AH.

    Likewise this guy Roy Masters (someone who says his meditation is not Eastern or New Age, but rather “Judeo-Christian”) has an exercise which I think is very valuable, but his personal religious/political philosophy adds all sorts of crap in which I don’t believe or think can be proven.

  38. Mark Boggs says:

    DAR: What do you call what John Williams does? I was kind of hoping to keep my children enjoying classical music (or maybe more accurately, orchestral or symphonic music) through his film scores. We beat the hell out of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter around here.

  39. Michael Heath says:

    As younger baby-boomer I remain in awe of classic rock, including the late-60s stuff I was too young to appreciate when it first came out, e.g., The Beatles, The Rolling Stones during Beggar’s Banquet through Exile on Main Street, The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin. My period was the period of Aerosmith, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, and the emerging outlaw scene, Waylon Jennings. The volume of great material, even five-, six-, or seven-songs deep in some albums is unmatched from the late-sixties through the 70s.

    However I agree with Hanley to the point Rage stands up in quality to anything done by classic rockers. I’d argue their energy matches that of The Who on their Live at Leeds album which I think defines hard rock. Perhaps the best merging of the two is Tom Morello (Rage’s lead guitar player) doing a duet with Springsteen and his band on Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad”: http://goo.gl/KqJ0F .

    This morning driving to breakfast I was serenaded by Grace Slick repeating “feed your head”. Man was she wrong.

  40. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Good question, Mr. Boggs. Obviously, movie scores are by definition program (or programmatic) music, often orchestrated and in some senses symphonic. Most of the “art music” crowd I know would relegate them to the “pops” repertoire, an implicitly pejorative categorization that would probably include jazz scores, let alone rock music using orchestration (e.g., the Moody Blues).

    What I meant, however, is that the repertory of most symphonic orchestras, at least insofar as the concert attending audiences are willing to buy tickets, pretty much ends with Stravinsky and Shostakovitch unless the program is labeled “pops.” I don’t know if such symphony orchestras can or will survive that much longer except for movie scores, nor do I care as long as their survival is not dependent on government support.

    I could, by the way, make more or less the same argument about the death of jazz in the late 1960s, notwithstanding its continued use in movies, etc.

  41. Jon Rowe says:

    Mark: If I can answer the question you posed to DA, film scoring is a version of so called “classical” music (I say so called because, “classical” refers to a period that began with Mozart and ended with Beethoven; we really mean concert/orchestral music).

    As I see it, when the “real” composers get too “out” the more “pop” oriented classical guys deliver more sellable melodies/music in the form of film scores or musical theater.

    John Williams, as far as I know, like Andrew Lloyd Webber is considered the Poison or Jonas Brothers of his genre. That is, someone who is capable of, at the superficial level, delivering the goods, but lacks profundity.

  42. Jon Rowe says:

    DA: Two words for you: Aaron Copland.

  43. D.A. Ridgely says:

    I stand corrected. Copland, too. (And maybe a few more. But in general I’m sticking to my basic premise.)

    Contrary to Mr. Rowe’s prescriptivism, however — and I’m well aware of how the term is used in music history and the conservatory — most people mean by “classical” the work of any and all of a procession of Western composers extending back to include the baroque and beyond Beethoven to include the romantics and even serialism, minimalism, etc.

  44. Jon Rowe says:

    If John Williams is a Jonas Brothers of film scoring, the question is who is a Bob Dylan or Neil Young? Admittedly, I’m speaking a bit armchair here (that is, there are plenty of folks I can’t name who could be named), but one of them is Wendy (formerly) Walter Carlos, who scored among others, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining (yes, Kubrick loved her) and Tron.

  45. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Little did we know back in 1968 (and I have the album) what Carlos would eventually mean by “switched.”

  46. Jon Rowe says:

    Heh heh. “Switched on Bach” is a classic. I’m sure Mr. Heidegger could so attest.

    Your “switched” adds a third meaning. I don’t think most folks are aware of the “switches” that the original Moog synth users had to understand was part of Carlos’ original pun in the title.

  47. Mark Boggs says:

    Wait, wait, wait…Walter and Wendy were not a duo? They are one in the same? I still remember the “Switched on Bach” album with the powdered wig guy standing in front of the Moog. Still have some on the iPod. Not sure how I feel about Walter and Wendy being the same…with one exception.

  48. Mark Boggs says:

    And I’m not sure I like Willimas being compared to the Jonas Brothers. It hurts my feelings.

  49. Jon Rowe says:

    Mark. Heh. If it makes you feel better, try to think of some kind of bubble gum pop person who is accused of being superficial but that you in some way like and perhaps that’s your analogy to Williams. Maybe Williams is the Neil Diamond or Barry Manilow of the film scoring world. Perhaps he is the Kenny G. of that world.

  50. Mark Boggs says:

    Jon,
    If you’re trying to make me feel better, you should stop hitting me with such painful comparisons.

  51. Jon Rowe says:

    Heh heh. Well. That’s what my learned friends tend to think of John Williams.

  52. Mark Boggs says:

    If that’s the case, we should debate your use of the term “learned”. : )

  53. Jon Rowe says:

    I know some old friends from Berklee, one of whom is now a professor at Berkley (yes, please pay attention to the spelling) who I think I might invite here.

  54. Mark Boggs says:

    Berklee is to music what Berkley is to radical liberalism?

  55. Jon Rowe says:

    I guess so. Though I see Berklee as a more modern 20th (and now 21st) Cen. utilitarian music college: That is, they’ll teach whatever they think makes $$ along with whatever they have to by accrediting standards.

  56. James Hanley says:

    Michael Heath wrote:

    This morning driving to breakfast I was serenaded by Grace Slick repeating “feed your head”. Man was she wrong.

    No kidding. My own personal hypothesis is that feeding their heads is the direct cause of Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s horrifying musical tumble from “White Rabbit” to “We Built this Shitty Music We Pretend to Call Rock and Roll” (I did get that latter title right, yes?). Every time I hear that I can only think, “We did too many drugs.” (Bonus points for getting that musical reference, but Anna doesn’t get to play.)

    Back to DAR’s original point, I respect his sanguinity on the issue, but I can’t share it. His generation didn’t really want to tear down democracy. The best comment I ever heard about that era was that they were actually fighting to force the country to live up to its ideals. And peace and love people don’t carry many guns. Sure, there were the violent radicals, but they were actually bit players, more noticeable for being outrageous than being influential. The folks I was discussing are right-wingers, not left-wingers. They’re Talibanish and they have guns, lots of guns. It’s actually democracy that they’re objecting to, because they don’t like its outcomes. I actually knew a couple of people (left-wingers) in grad school who took that approach to democracy (Bush II presidency, natch), but they could be talked to, especially when I pointed out that if it actually came to revolution, their side didn’t have many guns because they were pansy anti-gun peaceniks. But the point was that the other side did have guns, and its that side that’s yammering about revolution now.

    When I have time to post my thoughts, I’ll write what I see as possible (not necessarily plausible, but possible) outcome if things progress down that path. But to tell you the truth, I had a meeting with embassy officials today, and the chat I had about events in Lebanon and Syria just reaffirmed for me the importance of castrating the would-be right-wing revolutionaries now, while they’re still just talking. Shit can get ugly real fast, and at a minimum another Timothy McVeigh is just too damn possible. And does anyone have any idea how ridiculously easy it is to get your hands on weapons like rpgs these days? There’s a thriving black market out there, and our shipping security is really really lax (effin’ George W. actually cut funding for container inspections after 9/11). If these nuts go active, they won’t be writing any great songs, but we’ll be hearing Ave Maria a whole hell of a lot.

  57. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Meh. The political spectrum isn’t linear and many of the incoherent political attitudes of the 60s could as easily pass for some variety of conservativism as for some variety of liberalism despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that much of it was couched in usually misunderstood Marxist terms. Besides, I don’t think there’s much doubt that my cohort has gotten more conservative as we have grown older and, um, had more to conserve. (Not more ‘liberal’ in our sense of entitlement, though, because that’s always been acute.)

    The reality of my generation (and every generation), however, is that most of us just wanted and still want to get on with our lives and couldn’t give a rodent’s hindquarters about politics of any sort except insofar as it immediately affected us. And however unsettling the weekend revolutionaries may be to some people, they’re a minuscule and insignificant minority. Street criminals frighten me far more and they don’t frighten me much, either.

  58. James Hanley says:

    DAR,

    A good friend of mine likes to call your generation “the worst generation.” I think there’s some truth to that, although as you note, most people in your gen (or any other) just want to get on with their lives. This is probably without any real merit whatsoever, but I think the best artistic definition of the differences between our generations (if we dare speak of collectives in individual terms) is found in comparing the films The Big Chill and High Infidelity. Of course that particular comparison favors my group. *grin*

  59. D.A. Ridgely says:

    High Infidelity?

  60. Anna says:

    James is in Syria I think he has “infidel” on the mind. 😉

  61. Heidegger says:

    DAR—Oh my God, you have it, the Holy Grail???!!!!! Switched on Bach? I love that album SO much! I’ve been trying forever to get this–all, to no avail. Could you do me a HUGE, HUGE favor and post the Sinfonia from Cantata #29 on this site? Please, please, please??? Tell you what, I’ll gladly send you an Amazon gift card for $50 to compensate you. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this record and the sinfonia is the most deliriously joyful music ever written–it’s truly Bach Gone Mad, you can literally feel his spirit dancing with the Gods–he’s just so excitedly, madly, wildly overcome with cosmic felicity–cosmic consciousness(?)—do you think that
    Bach just HAD to happen once the Big Bang banged? Or for that matter, are we all riding a giant wave of irreversible inevitability?

  62. D.A. Ridgely says:

    I own the vinyl LP, not a CD. The album is available commercially in both formats.

  63. James Hanley says:

    Ugh, I always do that with the movie title because of the REO Speedwagon album, which I loved as a kid. I am not boosting REO as a contender for our pantheon of musical gods, however.

    Yes, infidels on the mind, that’s it. Certainly not infidelity, I swear.

  64. Michael Heath says:

    I feared the year Hi Infidelity rose to #1 would be the year we’d look back and say, “Rock died that year”. Wikipedia notes the top selling albums of 1981 (weeks at # 1 in parentheses). I was twenty and not a happy camper. It did motivate me to go reach back in time and fill-out my collection with older stuff:

    Double Fantasy – John Lennon and Yoko Ono (7)
    Hi Infidelity – REO Speedwagon (15)
    Paradise Theater – Styx (3)
    Mistaken Identity – Kim Carnes (4)
    Long Distance Voyager – The Moody Blues (3)
    Precious Time – Pat Benatar (1)
    4 – Foreigner (7)
    Bella Donna – Stevie Nicks (1)
    Escape – Journey (1)
    Tattoo You – The Rolling Stones (9)
    For Those About to Rock We Salute You – AC/DC (1)

    I still listen to Bella Donna. I have the Stones, Foreigner, and AC/DC albums but never listen to them. The AOR stations I listened to predominately focused on the Styx, REO, and Journey material when playing new music. That motivated me to start taping my LPs onto cassettes to listen to them in my vehicle rather than the radio.

    Cite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_in_music

  65. Heidegger says:

    My nomination for the greatest rock song of all time. Great singing and the drum work is absolutely fabulous. Love to hear everyone elses choices–please?!

    Okay, the “best” is very difficult–A Day In The Life is a masterpiece as well. So is , Sympathy For The Devil. Anxious to hear other readers and writers choices.

  66. Heidegger says:

    Might be necessary to go right to . I find the sound breaks up, often. Not so at the youtube website.

  67. Heidegger says:

    That’s youtube.com

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