Let’s take Elvis for instance.
If Elvis didn’t have…
a.) a guy, Sam Phillips, who had the ability to spot a unique talent that could gain mass acceptance
b.) the same guy who, also understood the way to push a record in a region
c.) after creating a regional buzz, outlets to reach every person in the country..
..would Elvis have happened?
See, that’s not even taking in to account, the power of the Colonel. Or, the major label later on or, Hollywood.
Sure, Elvis would have happened. Elvis was great. But, he wouldn’t have been the cultural “icon” that he is without marketing.
This morning, I made a comment at our semi-regular cracker barrel, where I used the phrase “market to a consensus”.
That’s how cultural icons came to be; they were marketed to a consensus. You don’t have a king of rock and roll or a king of pop without there being a consensus and you can’t get that if you can’t reach the masses as a unit. Now, you can’t and, in the future you won’t be able too.
There is no Ed Sullivan Show, there is no cover of the Rolling Stone, there is no Saturday Night Live that can put a performer in front of enough of the culture to parlay in to a consensus.
There are cultural icons that remain but, they came out of the old system.
The consensual huge, ginormous, next big thing is over.
If I’m right…is that a bad thing?
If I’m wrong, tell me why you think so.
It was out in Texola, Oklahoma which is on the border of the Texas panhandle. It was a cinder block building. The bar was in the front room and there was a single door leading to the room where the band played which had a lower ceiling. It had the effect of walking in to a cave.
In an effort to improve the acoustics, the club owner attached burlap bags all around the “stage” area; on the walls and ceiling. The thing was though, these were cotton seed sacks.
It was a three piece rock and roll band; real loud affair (power trios are always the loudest).
Anyway, we got to thumping pretty good and, all of the sudden a boll weevil dropped on my shoulder. You ever look at a boll weevil eye to eye?
The cotton seed sacks were infested with boll weevils!
All night long boll weevils came falling down like hail.
It’s been unseasonably cool in the Ozarks but the heat is returning today. “You can really feel the HumaDITTies out there today” is how the old hillbilly used to put it.
I read an interesting piece by Christopher Borrelli the other day, about the evolution of “Freebird”…
Lynyrd Skynyrd released the song 35 years ago. Since then, it has been an anthem, a demand, an ode to personal independence and the lamest heckle in the history of rock.
It occurs to me that so much of the rock and roll that I listened to in the 70s, stuff that was so important to me then, has somehow become tarnished.
Is that something that happens with every generation or was there just too much baggage attached to the music?
I mean, do you ever see “Freebird”, “Riders On The Storm”, “Dream On”…anything like that becoming part of the “Great American Songbook”?