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re: The Dark Ages (musical decade association)
Responding initially to Kim Flint's really fascinating analysis of the
differences between the perceptions of the
Baby Boomers and the GenXers about 50's, 60's,70'ss, 80's and 90's music
(much of which I agree with)
I wanted to talk a little bit about the difficulty inherent in talking
musical movements and their associated decades:
The revolutions that occurred from 75-82 in popular music (on many
fronts) also bring up a really interesting point about the perceptions of
past decades in popular culture.
We talk about the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and some day about the
Naughties as if they are monolithic time periods that define popular
culture when in fact those associations are frequently innaccurate..
As an example, what we think of as 50's music did not really begin at
until around 1955 (the origins or rock occured but the mass popularity
came with the advent of television. I read the other day that when
Davis put out the Birth of the Cool that a very small percentage of
families had a television set in their homes. By the time he release Kind
of Blue (and had a very, very successful half hour television special
featuring that wonderful band) a mere four years later, 90% of the homes
the US had television sets.
The 60's as we know it, musically, arguably didn't start until the
Invasion stirred things up with the arrival of the Beatles in 1963.
Think of that classic 1950's car culture film, American Graffiti with it's
slicked back pompadour hairstyles, pony tales and cigarette packs rolled
into the shirtsleeves of white wife beater t-shirts.
It was set in 1962 in California..................not 1955.
Similarly, the late 60's psychedelic era really began in 67' but wasn't
really felt strongly until 68' in the US (and please forgive me for
my Ameri-centric descriptions----it's just where I grew up and what I
lasted until around '71 or early 72'
The revolutions that we think of in the 70's with punk and disco didn't
really start until the mid 70's.
Disco began in '72 but really influenced mass culture in '75.
Punk began in 76 (arguably with the Ramones concert in London where
members of the bands that would become the Sex Pistols and the Clash
atteneded) ' but didn't really reach it's mass zenith until 77'
(when the first rash of copy cat American bands started). So how do
describe the music of the 70's? Was it the Eagles
in 72 or the Sex Pistols in late 76 (who hated everything that the Eagles
and California coporate rock represented)?
New Wave started in 76' and 77' but didn't really hit the mainstream until
78'-82'. What decade do we attribute it to?
Hip Hop really began to go in 78' (it's immediate innovators go all the
back to 70's) but the 'golden age' of hip hop (according to
Wikipedia---it's gotta be true) was from 86-93) Again, what decade do
we attribute it to?
You see my point. It's a little hard to talk monolithically about the
music of the 80's, consequently because a lot happened (as pointed out