The Who continue to perform “My Generation” in their 2016 tour dates, even with that line about hoping to die before they get old. And with Mick Jagger becoming a great-grandfather in 2014, rock culture really is thumbing its nose at the idea of growing old gracefully.
So if grandpas these days can be rockers, maybe our associations of rock = rebelliousness = youth have collapsed altogether. Or perhaps we have actually become accustomed to the idea that “youth” is an attitude, not a chronological stage in the human life cycle. From that point of view, a rock & roll pose of “sticking it to the man” is available to anyone, even “the man” himself.
While the spirit of rock & roll lives on in lots of teen subcultures and inspires many new bands, it’s also true that kids who grow up rocking out alongside their parents think of this music as … well, old.
If you play Metallica to your baby in the cradle, he might grow up thinking of “Enter Sandman” as a nostalgic song that brings back sweet memories of bedtime.
The recent rise in child stars who rock out note-perfect versions of Van Halen guitar solos and Keith Moon drum ...
The January 29, 1976 Rolling Stone headline read "Indonesian Nightmare Strikes Deep Purple." Journalist Peter Crescenti wrote in the opening paragraph: "Tragedy and mayhem struck the Deep Purple tour December 4th in Jakarta, Indonesia, when one of the group's road crew, Patsy Collins, a well-loved celebrity of the British rock scene and guitarist Tommy Bolin's bodyguard, was killed in a six-story fall down a service elevator shaft at the band's hotel."
It's a story steeped in Rock Hall lore and a Deep Purple story that's horrific and fascinating. The news report caught my eye as I was pulling items for the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee exhibit, rare items from the Rock Hall's Library & Archives that tell the story of this year's inductees. But as I poured over Crescenti's original drafts (complete with edit notes) for the article that later ran in Rolling Stone, the story increasingly piqued my curiosity.
Was Collins' death was part of a set-up that included scamming the band out of the concert proceeds? Who were the eyewitnesses, and how much did they actually see? What happened to Collins' body, especially considering the fact that the ...
Photo: Glenn Frey, ca. 1994, photographer unknown. From the Jeff Gold Collection at the Rock Hall's Library & Archives.
It's been a rough start to 2016 for rock fans mourning the loss of two Hall of Fame Inductees: David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Tributes have poured in from around the globe, a testament to the lasting impact and widespread influence of the music each created. Last week, we looked back on some of the David Bowie songs that shaped rock and roll, and this week it's only fitting we rewind to one of the Eagles' most enduring hits: "Take It Easy."
Guitarist Glenn Frey was a rocker from Detroit who headed to Los Angeles, where he befriended fellow musicians Jackson Browne and John David Souther. Drummer Don Henley and Frey met while backing Linda Ronstadt. Guitarist Bernie Leadon had previously done time with Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman in the Flying Burrito Brothers; bassist Randy Meisner was a founding member of Poco with Richie Furay and had played in Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band. And they had all played together on Ronstadt's Silk Purse. No wonder they sounded accomplished from the get-go.
Decades later, in 2014 ...
Pictured: Jane Scott with David Bowie in the late 70s during one of his Isolar tour stops. Did you see him perform on the Isolar or Isolar II tours?
I’m an archivist at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives. I'm also a diehard music fan and collector. Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite – I've seen him in concert 60 times – but David Bowie was the first artist that I collected on vinyl. I believe that Bowie is one of those artists whose work should be owned in its original format, if only because of the cover art and sense that you're holding a piece of history. Unfortunately, I never saw Bowie in concert and didn't dive into his entire catalog as so many fans did, and yet, now that he is gone, I realize just how much he was a presence in my life. And this week, it just so happened that my job created a collision of Bowie, Cleveland, and women in rock journalism.
My days involve a fair amount of detective work, such as forming connections between documents to describe a moment in rock history. One collection that will provide endless opportunities ...
It's rare to talk of an artist truly being without equal, but that's exactly who David Bowie was. A remarkable visionary, Bowie was a font of wild creativity, a transformative presence constantly evolving to address and help define our times. His art entertained, challenged and enlightened us all - and that will be an enduring legacy celebrated for many generations to come.
With tributes to the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee powering in from around the world, we take a look at the stories behind four classic David Bowie songs and fan favorites: "Fame," "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Ziggy Stardust."
David Bowie and John Lennon Break into "Fame" ... and Lennon Forgets It
Two weeks after finishing the mix on a David Bowie album called The Gouster, one of the producers, Tony Visconti, got a call from the artist: "David phoned to say that he and John Lennon had got together one night and recorded this song called "Fame." I hope you don't mind, Tony, but it was so spontaneous and spur of the moment... He was very apologetic and nice about it, and he said he hoped I wouldn't mind...I said that it ...
Before I saw David Bowie live, I was just your normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest, and he has truly changed my life.
I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to David Bowie, not just because I grew up with his music, but it’s because it was the first rock concert that I ever saw, and it was a major event in my life. I planned for months to go and see it. I was 15 years old, it was the end of the school year, and leading up to the week of the show, I begged my father and he said, “I absolutely refuse, over my dead body, you’re not going there, that’s where horrible people hang out,” so of course I had to go. So my best friend spent the night at my house and when we thought everyone was asleep, we snuck out of my window, which was no mean feat, as I was wearing my highest platform shoes and a long black-silk cape. Don’t ask.
We couldn’t drive, so we hitch-hiked into Detroit and I don’t know who was scarier ... the drivers that picked us up, or us in ...
When David Bowie came along, well, rock and roll needed a shot in the arm and when I first saw him it was a shock, and yet it was very familiar. It was very necessary. It was something that was needed. It was essential. And like all rock and roll, it was tasteless, it was glamorous, it was perverse, it was fun, it was crass, it was sexy, it was confusing. And like all rock and roll, it was freedom, it was pain, it was liberation, it was genocide, it was hope, it was dread, it was a dream and it was a nightmare.
It was about sex and drugs, it was about combining literature with rock and roll, with art, with anything you could name. It was about sex as an idea, and sex as a reality, and sex as a liberating force. It was about rebellion, it was about rebellion as a cliché, it was rebellion as an idea. It was about rebellion as a billboard, as an advertisement. It was about the joy of reckless prophecy. It was ironic when rock and roll became self-reverential. It was about joy and terror and confusion in our lives. It ...
Who was Ziggy Stardust, anyway? According to Bowie: "''Ziggy' was my Martian messiah who twanged a guitar. He was a simplistic character...someone who dropped down here, got brought down to our way of thinking and ended up destroying his own self. Which is a pretty archetypal story line."
As Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bowie prepared to record the song for an album provisionally called Round And Round, he motivated his musicians by telling them, basically, to think Jimi Hendrix. With lyrics about a star with a "screwed-down hair-do" who "played it left hand," "jiving us that we were voodoo," who took it all too far "but boy could he play guitar," how could anyone not have thought of Jimi?
But the song suggested a whole new concept. When the album now titled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released in June 1972, RCA promoted it with the slogan "David Bowie Is Ziggy Stardust." Not the catchiest slogan, though it did much to up the intrigue.
A month later, when DJ Kenny Everett attempted to introduce Bowie at a London concert, the androgynous figure at center-stage corrected him: "I'm ...