The coming of the age of Rock & Roll in the late 60s and early 70s
The economic, social & political aspects of a musical age.
  by Uncle Ernie

BartCop got to thinking about how bad the music is now and how good it was in our youth and the whys and wherefores thereof. Why did it suddenly get so good from the mediocre music that proceeded it and what happened to cause us to
slide into Kid Rock and Eminem? Also, to relive those moments and that music.

Many have said there is only two kinds of music - Rock, and Roll.
This is incorrect. There is only two kinds of music, Good & Bad.
When itís good there is nothing in life that is better, not drugs, not sex, not food or anything.
The only thing that comes close perhaps is holding your new born child in your arms for the first time,
however after raising it for a while that feeling will soon wear off but the music remains.

When musicís bad there are few things worse in life. Bad music ranks right up there with child molestation
and politicians as the scum of the earth. Music is the universal language. Everybody on the planet has his
own little tune in the back of his mind. If aliens landed tomorrow and ask us why they shouldnít do the human race
in for all the trouble and agony we cause one another the only thing we could say is listen to this, Da da da daaaa!

For all our genius the best thing we do is music. To the lucky few it comes easily, most have to sweat blood to achieve it.
So where did all this great music come from and in such a short time? How did we go from boom chick to hard rock
and metal over night? Did the Gods bless us or what? Yes and no.

I have heard several learned supposedly intelligent people say it came from the Kinks, but Bob Seger and my own band
The Bounty Hunters were playing it well before them and no I didnít invent it. Go back a hundred years and listen to Tchaikovsky and you can hear it. Go back another 75 years to Beethoven and you can hear it. Go back 150 years to
Bach and that heavy music is being played. Donít believe me? Give a listen to Fugue and Toccata in D minor.
Can you hear it? So the boomers didnít invent it but reinvented it.

Why in that time and place? Simple the largest generation in history was coming of age.
We had been brought up on primitive rock. A music that came to be with the blending of Boogie Woogie,
Blues and Country Swing. And why did they come together? World War II. People had seen too much,
had done too much and their souls were crying out for something more. Suddenly after they knew the truth
about life Glenn Miller wasnít cutting it anymore. The sparks  were lit but they wouldnít for the most part
be brought to fruition by that generation but by their children.

Rock and Roll isnít an upper class sound. It comes from the working class.
A good example of this might be President Clinton who blows a pretty mean sax for a white boy
and Emperor Smirk who couldnít play a C chord if his life depended on it. Heíd just have daddy hire a band
and then ignore it to talk about himself. Think about all those great bands and they are almost to a man from
working class backgrounds. The Beatles, The Stones, Zeppelin, Mountain, Hendrix, Joplin, Creedence,
Deep Purple, Aerosmith, the list goes on and on.

So what you have in the late 60s & early 70ís is a generation raised on Rock & Roll, from working class backgrounds,
coming of age while the world had gone mad. Did we mention a little thing called Viet Nam that preyed on everybodyís
mind for most of the day? An era when the government went out of its way to kill itís citizens and try and make the rest
into itís willing slaves not to mention the Civil Rights marches, which were a revolt of the slaves.

It was a time when the old polite music wasnít cutting it.
The old music that hinted  at the truth, rather than coming out and saying it.
No longer would you have to read between the lines.
If youíre about to die you might as well scream out the truth for all to hear!

When I was a kid there was a garage band on every block. Had things worked out we would have been a nation
of musicians, instead of what weíve all become. The reason I became a DJ was I finally realized I would never play
the guitar like Eric Clapton or Leslie West or Pete Townshend. The career plans to teach Political Science went
down the drain as I thought if I couldnít play it on the guitar I could certainly play it on the radio. I got hooked on music
as an infant and by the time I reached adulthood I just had to have my daily fix. The reason "Groupies" got to be so
popular, other than the fact that night after night beautiful women were throwing themselves at you and variety is the
spice of life is that women couldnít understand that although their man loved them dearly he loved his music even more.
As soon as the lady figured that out the marriage was over. Music is a very powerful force.

I had planned to present a top 25 list of the best albums of that day and age but any list is to a point subjective.
As I watched VH-1 give their Top 100 albums of Rock & Roll the first thing I noticed was that 30 or 40%
werenít even Rock albums to begin with. They were Pop and had really nothing to do with Rock.

Itís like Kid Rock, he wouldnít know a Rock song if it jumped up and bit him on the ass!
The second thing I noticed was that they didnít have a clue about the correct order.
Sure I could say that these albums sold X amount but what does that mean. It means that generally
those songs were the most commercial and that is often just another word for garbage.

There is a saying in the music "Business" that if you throw enough shit up against the wall some of it is bound to stick,
(see Disco). So you canít really use Billboard as a guide. And I certainly could give you my thoughts as to the top
25 or 50 albums of that period but my opinion would be just that, even though Iíve spent my life involved with music.
So instead Iíll give you the best albums of that day and age and you can put them in your favorite order.
For the youngsters who werenít raised on this, as your Mama didnít dance and your Daddy didnít Rock and Roll,
get a paper and pencil and write these down and then run, do not walk to the store and buy them if you can.
For you ĎOld Fogiesí the same thing may apply, it could easily lower your blood pressure a few dozen points.

The bands were an easy choice, the albums however were not when all of these bands with a couple exceptions
put out a lot of great music. I limited my choices to albums that made a difference and were produced in this time
frame. For the most part these are hard rock albums with a few important exceptions. They all had a major effect
on the music and the soul of that generation so without further ado and in alphabetical order here are my choices.

Aerosmith                                                Get Your Wings
The Beatles                                              Abbey Road
Black Sabbath                                         Paranoid
Joe Cocker                                              Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Chicago                                                   Chicago II
Alice Cooper                                            Love It To Death
Cream                                                     Goodbye
Creedence Clearwater Revival                 Cosmoís Factory
Crosy, Stiils, Nash & Young                     Four Way Street
Deep Purple                                             Machine Head
The Doobie Brothers                               Toulouse Street
The Doors                                               The Doors
Bob Dylan                                               Highway 61 Revisited
Emerson, Lake & Palmer                        Brain Salad Surgery
Firesign Theatre                                      I Think Weíre All Bozoís On This Bus**
Eagles                                                     The Eagles
Foghat                                                     Foghat
Grand Funk Railroad                               Live Album
The Grateful Dead                                  Working Manís Dead
Uriah Heap                                              Demon & Wizards
Jimi Hendrix                                             Electric Ladyland
Humble Pie                                              Smokiní
Iron Butterfly                                          In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida *
Janis Joplin/BBHC                                  Cheap Thrills
Jefferson Airplane                                   Surrealistic Pillow
King Crimson                                         Court Of The Crimson King
Led Zeppelin                                          Led Zeppelin
Moody Blues                                          Days Of Future Passed
Mountain                                                 Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Pink Floyd                                               Meddle
The Rolling Stones                                  Sticky Fingers
Bob Seger                                               Smokiní O.Pís
Steely Dan                                              Canít Buy A Thrill
Steppenwolf                                            16 Greatest Hits
Ten Years After                                     Recorded Live
Jethro Tull                                               Aqualung
Various                                                   Easy Rider
The Who                                                Tommy
Yes                                                        Fragile
Frank Zappa                                          200 Motels

*Translation : Ainíta Gotta No Weeda
**Non-music: But my generations answer to Shakespeare

Iím absolutely; positively sure I left out your favorite album. Thatís the
trouble with making lists. The point of this whole exercise was to show that
in a short period of time the musical world spawned a huge number of
geniuses and some of the most memorable music of the century, music that is
all but gone today. Sure you got a new Aerosmith, you get the occasional new
Ozzie, hell we even got a new Steely Dan last year but they are few and far
between and where are the youngsters? When this generation is dead will the
music die as well? If it does that will be a major loss to mankind, as would
the loss of Beethoven or Bach.

"Rock Is Dead, Long Live Rock!" Ö The Who

©2001 Uncle Ernie *

 * Nice web page, Ernie.

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