Steve Chapple and Reebee Garofalo's Rock 'n' Roll Is Here To Pay, together with Geoffrey Stokes' equally outstanding Star Making Machinery, should be considered required reading for anyone with a serious interest in either popular music or American methods of merchandising culture. It contains an incredible amount of information pertaining to the rise of pop music as the dominant force in the entertainment industry, far too much to even attempt to describe here. But this look back on the origins of marketing in the music industry is a relevant lesson for those interested in navigating a world where Spotify has usurped the power of big labels.
For a while, at the beginning of his journey especially, some thought he was another Elvis Presley rip-off. That was, of course, before they heard him. He had his name long before the King died. Elvis Costello initially broke out in England, and remained a mystery in America for the first few years of his success.
It's an image we all know: thousands of people holding lighters in the air, in flickering tribute to their favorite musicians. No concert is complete without it; it's a way of bringing people together during the most emotional parts of a concert, and also used by fans to request an encore or show their overall appreciation.
“Sometimes I feel like reaching down from the stage and grabbing people and slamming them against the wall with my voice. Ι want to make ‘em wake up and listen. I love those people." – Etta James
A friend recently asked me to suggest some jazz recordings that might propel his newly developed interest, so I made him an Introduction to Jazz list with these essential artists. There are obvious omissions. No Lester Young? No Sonny Rollins? I know, I blew it - there are just too many greats and not enough time. But I did one thing right: this list contains no Kenny G.
The rise of feminist punk was a pivotal moment in the history of rock music and a pivotal movement for women in general. Before the 1970s, the list of greatest rock bands and artists read like this: Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. Along with other seminal music from that era, it was mostly dominated by male artists.