It 'was' better in my day...

It 'was' better in my day...
Authored By John Nicholson
I think the ‘it was better in my day’ is a deeply unpleasant characteristic, best avoided. But when it comes to rock music, I genuinely think that the artform was pushed to its outer limit between 1965 and 1977. As a youngster I totally took for granted that something new and original would be released every week. In little more than a decade we saw the rise of prog rock, heavy rock, the birth of soul, jazz-fusion, disco, folk rock, blues rock, psychedelics, heavy metal, Motown and funk. That is objectively incredible. The whole industry continues, one way or another, to recycle those years with re-releases and imitations of the original. I don't think that’s even up for debate. It’s objectively true.

It’s not that there hasn’t been great music since 1976, but it tends to be a new version of old music. There are exceptions of course, but they are not typical. The territory, whatever aspect of rock music you want to name, went through such exponential growth from the Beatles, Dylan and the Byrds to the Ramones and Motorhead, nothing was left in the rock universe unexplored to the extent that even now, a 12-string melody is still referred to as a Byrds-type song.

Bands invented a whole new artform. No one had blended classical music with rock’s amplification before the Nice, similarly had anyone amped up the blues like Johnny Winter? You can do this for every genre. It means that if you’re a teenager today and like new bands, you have to appreciate that the music is not a new departure the way it was once. You can’t appreciate a new vision or expression the way we all did listening to Jethro Tull, for example.

Even rap has its roots in the late 70s. Pop music owes a debt to the likes of Carol King and the Beatles and even Three Dog Night. We used to take for granted, the music of Motown, as just common or garden pop music. It was a golden era. You can’t call it anything else. It was special and was so deep and wide that I’m still exploring it, one discography at a time.

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