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Rock is Dead They Say . . .

Stacy McCain contends that, “All great rock music was recorded by the time John Bonham died.” Craig Henry can’t think of any counterexamples and proclaims, “25 September 1980. The real day the music died.”

But that’s surely not right?

To be sure, there’s merit to this assertion.  Van Halen, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger and even REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Billy Joel, and Tom Petty released their seminal albums in 1979 or 1980 and never matched their peak after that point. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crash came in 1977.  The Eagles broke up in 1980.  Styx jumped the shark in 1981.

I hate rap, the pop form that has dominated the last quarter century or so and, in any case, it’s not rock and roll.

But REM, for example, put out some great music throughout the 1980s.  Journey’s best album, “Escape,” came out in 1982.  ZZ Top had some solid albums in the 1980s, although their best, “Deguello,” was released in 1979. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which I personally think dreadful, usually makes the upper reaches of the “best rock song ever” lists.  It was released in 1991. There have been plenty of great ballads throughout the years, of course.   Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” (2001) is a relatively recent example.

That’s some pretty weak tea, though, compared to the best music from 1956-1980.

Then again, this is almost certainly old fogeyism.  Most of us form our strongest attachments to music during the period from, say, junior high to college graduation.  After that, we tend to like new songs that remind us of stuff from those days.

What’s long fascinated me, with the passage of time, is comparative distances.  For example, when I was seriously forming my musical tastes, the Beatles were already “classic rock” and the earliest British Invasion stuff, from 1964 or so, was considered old.  The rock and roll of the mid- and late-1950s was already spawning nostalgia like Buddy Holly movies and the “Happy Days” television series.   The music I was listening to then is now much, much older than even Buddy Holly was then.

UPDATE: Bernard Finel suggests several possibilities:

Aside from the amazing groups/acts already active from before 1980 — such as the Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, X, Rush, and the Clash — that continued to make superb music… you have dozens of brilliant bands since, including unambiguously great rock groups like U2, REM, Green Day, etc. etc. etc.

I’d say most of the mentioned old bands did their best work before Bonham’s death but the Stones’ “Tatoo You” (1982) indeed had numerous great hits.  I don’t know that Queen had anything great after 1980.  Ditto Bowie or Rush.  The Clash had one significant hit, “Rock the Casbah,” after 1980.  I’m only vaguely aware that X existed as something other than a minor letter of the alphabet.

REM, as previously acknowledged, was the one truly great post-1980 band that sprung to mind. U2 is almost universally thought a great band; I respectfully dissent.  Green Day doesn’t much appeal to me either, except for the ballad “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”

Scott Swank lists several examples of post-1980 artists he thinks were great but inadvertently makes my point; most of them are hip hop, funk, Latin or otherwise non-rock.   Stevie Ray Vaughan, who is arguably R&B rather than rock, is one that I would have listed had he occurred to me.  I’m not sure I’d put Elvis Costello into the same league as, say, Elvis Presley but I very much enjoyed his work.

I hasten to add that I like quite a bit of music from the post-Bonham era, including material right up to the present day.  But I’ve long grown tired of music radio, including the satellite variety (my wife has XM and I have Sirius) so tend to get exposure to the new stuff haphazardly.

In addition to the age issue noted previously, it’s also a function of the blurring of lines that started with the mega-popularity of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”   While undeniably a great album (albeit not my cup of tea even though I was in high school at the time) it wasn’t “rock” in any meaningful sense of the word.   “Thriller” killed rock radio and MTV.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Then again, this is almost certainly old fogeyism.

    Most definitely. There is TONS of great tuneage. Haven’t you heard the Arcade Fire? And with the internets, you can get it all free.

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  2. Stacy McCain contends that, “All great rock music was recorded by the time John Bonham died.” Craig Henry can’t think of any counterexamples and proclaims, “25 September 1980. The real day the music died.”

    I think this is probably the single dumbest thing ever posted anywhere in the history of the internet — and here I include even usenet groups.

    Aside from the amazing groups/acts already active from before 1980 — such as the Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, X, Rush, and the Clash — that continued to make superb music… you have dozens of brilliant bands since, including unambiguously great rock groups like U2, REM, Green Day, etc. etc. etc.

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  3. just me says:

    While some of my all time favorite bands and songs were produced before 1980, there is a lot of good stuff still out there. I do think in general the music style/bands/songs a person listens to in their teens if often the music they prefer when they are middle aged, I don’t think that means there hasn’t been good music produced.

    I pretty much agree with you in regards to rap/hip hop music. While I can tolerate other genres of music when I have to, rap generally makes my ears bleed.

    I am just glad my kids and I have similar tastes in music-while they aren’t exactly right together, we don’t fight over the radio dial.

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  4. sam says:

    Then again, this is almost certainly old fogeyism.

    Sigh. Where I live now there is the best oldies station I’ve ever listened to. I do mean oldies: These guys play stuff from as early as 1953. I’ve heard songs that I hav’nt heard in almost 60 years–and, God save me, I remember all the lyrics.

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  5. Jay C. says:

    Stacy is always so cute when he writes stuff that reveals his personal anachronisms. Remember his post about the state of the educated youth? Yeah.

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  6. I’ve heard songs that I hav’nt heard in almost 60 years–and, God save me, I remember all the lyrics.

    Shouldn’t you be standing on your front porch yelling at the kids to get off your lawn? 😉

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  7. odograph says:

    It seems like people face this great decision, by about 40. Either you loop back and listen to the music of your youth (again, and again, and again) or you stay open to new things.

    The repetition of 70-80 stuff kills me, so I listen for newer rock-like things. They’r there. No Doubt springs to mind as a 90’s example.

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  8. My first thought is: what’s the definition of “rock”?

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  9. just me says:

    It seems like people face this great decision, by about 40. Either you loop back and listen to the music of your youth (again, and again, and again) or you stay open to new things.

    Or you do both. I love listening to the classics, but there are a lot of bands that are from the 90’s and current that I enjoy as well. And sometimes a good song is just good because it is fun to listen to, not necessarily because it pushes some kind of line musically.

    I still hate rap though, and am thankful every day that my kids don’t like it either. Long car trips would be hell.

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  10. There is tons of great new music that comes out all the time. In fact there is a great new lo-fi rock scene that has sprouted up in the music blogosphere. (Deer Tick, Dead Confederate, Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band, King Khan and the Shrines). Its just that none of that stuff gets played on FM radio.

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  11. Michael says:

    My first thought is: what’s the definition of “rock”?

    A very good question. Generally I consider “rock” a different genre than “rock and roll”, just like “punk rock” and “grunge rock” are different.

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  12. PD Shaw says:

    I agree old fogeyism is part of it, but I think pop music as a form disintegrated during the 1970s. The Beatles, particularly the White Album, were the last group that could put out an album that popularly entwined hard rock, folk, psychedelia, blues, world (eastern) music and sea shanties. The 1970s was a process of breaking pop music into genres and by 1980 a consensus on what is great rock music is irretrievably lost.

    And the genre we’re really talking about here is AOR/classic rock, a genre that’s pretty much defined by about four bands: the (late) Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Led Zeppelin. All the other rock bands receive praise for toiling these fields.

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  13. UlyssesUnbound says:

    My first thought is: what’s the definition of “rock”?

    I think that’s an important point. While rock music has continued to split into new subgenres since its formation in the ’50s, after the mid to late 80s, and into the 90s, there was a great splintering of rock (I’m trying to find a Rolling Stones article from the early 90s that tried to define all the various subgenres–they came up with about 200). The bands listed in the article, while often from different subgenres, like glam rock, hair bands, etc., all were still considered mainstream, and were played on the same radio stations.

    Now radio is no longer the indicator of what is good, or perhaps more importantly, influential music. Music has once again become a regional idea, with many cities forming their own ‘sounds’ and the internet acting as a bridge and a means of communication between those regions. As noted, King Kahn and Dead Confederates are pretty good examples of new rock. I would also include the Ike Reilly Assassination, and Stereophonics. As far the rap-haters…I too hated rap until a friend introduced me to alternative rap–artists who care more about politics and culture than money and women. Check out the duo Common Market for a good example.

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  14. Billy says:

    I have never seen a post that highlights the irrelevance of the writer on the given topic so succinctly.

    It is impossible to know where to start, but if Train, REM, and ZZ Top are your “go to” bands for “Rock” post-1980, it is clear that universes of truly incredible music lie hidden from your view.

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  15. PD Shaw says:

    IIRC, Keith Richards described “rock” as what happens when you take the sex out of “rock ‘n roll” and distill its aggressive components. I’m probably not getting that exactly right, but it was in an interview in which he was asked about the band’s influence on rock, which he hoped the band had had none, since they play rock ‘n roll.

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  16. PD Shaw says:

    UlyssesUnbound, great minds think a like and sometimes within seconds of each other.

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  17. HiItsNino says:

    Rocks not dead! Lots of great bands out today, just nobaody notices them for some reason. For example, +Live+ who were huge in the 90’s (and made truely classic post Bonham quality music) is still making great music but nobody plays it or buys it. I think Live, Green Day, Josh Ritter, U2, Keen, etc have all made post-Bonham classicly great music that is up there with Queen, Pink Floyd, Zep, and all the others…

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  18. Rock ‘n’ Roll has a significant component of teen angst and rebellion in it, which is why almost all of us have an attachment to the music that was popular when we were that age and evolve into old fogeys about the music that gets produced as our youthfullness and rebelliousness fade.

    Nonetheless, most of the music produced today is just crap, with vocalists that couldn’t make it in any decent high school choir. Now, get off my lawn.

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  19. odograph says:

    I listen to Punk, now that some of it is Classic 😉

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  20. anjin-san says:

    Good music is still being made, but not, I think, of the quality or in the quantity that we saw 1955-80.

    A more important question might be is anyone doing anything truly new and original? When I listen to the work of the better bands of the post 1980 era, perhaps the Wallflowers or No Doubt, I don’t hear anything really original, just old ideas re distilled by some talented people. I do think Tori Amos is a original musical voice, and perhaps Ray Lamontagne.

    Grunge gets credit for being a new musical movement, but to my ears it was just a rework of things that had been around for some time. Punk and hip hop were the last things that really had much going in the way of originality.

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  21. Scott Swank says:

    Where were you?

    X
    Elvis Costello
    Gang of Four
    The Specials
    Richard Thompson
    George Clinton/P-Funk All Stars/Parliament
    Husker Du
    Black Flag
    Fugazi
    The Replacements
    Bruce Springsteen
    Ramones
    Wire
    Mekons
    Pogues
    Talking Heads
    Beastie Boys
    New Order
    Sonic Youth
    REM
    Grand Master Flash
    Sugar Hill Gang
    Run DMC
    Public Enemy
    NWA
    Yo La Tengo
    Lou Reed (NY was his best solo)
    Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Pixies
    David Bowie

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  22. jabby says:

    Where were you?

    Listening to the Beatles and the Stones! 😉

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  23. Wayne says:

    I think the junior high to College theory is the main reason. When I was that age the “old” timers was saying the same B.S. about our music. My girlfriend says the same B.S. now. I tell her go back and listen to some of the top 20 hits list when we went to high school and listen to some of the top 20 hit list today and she will find beyond her personal fondness for the music that they are not that different, same cheesy lyrics with same young idealistic band members. Never the less I like all eras but take them into context. There some cheesy fun bands today but we had Devo and Flock of Seagulls in my day to. I would say technically the FOB and Fu Fighters are just as good as ZZ top or AC\DC it is more about memories about with them than the actual music.

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  24. anjin-san says:

    Where were you?

    Seeing Springsteen on the “Born to Run” tour, not in a stadiums. Catching Elvis Costello doing “The Spinning Songbook”. Backstage with Bowie at the Supper Club in NYC :)

    One amazing rock & roll album that is not TOO old: The Pretenders – Last of the Independents.

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  25. C Stanley says:

    I just saw Springsteen again, 24 years (I think?) after I last saw him in the Born in the USA tour.

    He’s still an incredible performer. I gotta say though it was amusing and bizarre to see 30+ thousand mostly middle aged people (most of whom looked like they could be your accountant or your kids’ schoolteacher) going ape shit crazy yelling “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run!”

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  26. Rachel says:

    I would add to the “where were you list” Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, and Live… to name a few.

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  27. anjin-san says:

    Pearl jam. Good band. But listen to s pearl jam record, then put led zeppli III on…

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  28. roger says:

    Some more post-1980 good stuff: Ryan Adams, Collective Soul, Melissa Etheridge, Cracker, Peter Gabriel and more.

    Ryan Adams isn’t rock per se but really all over the map. I’ve never seen such output from one musician before.

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  29. Is that concrete all around or is it in my head?

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  30. Drew says:

    I was certainly having more fun reading this thread than, say, reading about swine flu, until I saw a refernce to Flock of Seagulls.

    Then I felt like I had the swine flu.

    Time to warm up those tubes…………

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  31. Roger, look at Elvis Costello’s oeuvre.

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  32. William d'Inger says:

    Rock may be dead as far as contemporary pop radio stations go, but they have never stopped writing, performing, recording and broadcasting traditional R&B in New Orleans. Of course, the songs are about Katrina these days.

    Where I live now there is the best oldies station I’ve ever listened to. I do mean oldies: These guys play stuff from as early as 1953.

    Sam, I would like to recommend WWOZ to you. If you’re outside the New Orleans metro area, you can stream it at http://www.wwoz.org on your PC. The oldies shows are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights 7-10 p.m. (central time). Last night, for instance, I heard “Run, Red, Run” by the Coasters, “Forty Miles of Bad Road” by Duane Eddy and the original “It’s Alright, Mama” by Arthur Cruddup. In recent weeks, I’ve heard “C.C. Rider” by Chuck Willis, “Hey, Senorita” by the Penguins (that’s the flip side of “Earth Angel” and dozens more like that. In fact, the Monday night DJ goes as far back as 1920 for some of his stuff.

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  33. Drew says:

    PS –

    Although I am more of a Stones and Zeppelin guy myself, I thought it odd that I saw no references to The Who.

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  34. Rick Almeida says:

    Guns & Roses? Appetite for Destruction?

    Def Leppard, Pyromania?

    Ozzy Ozbourne, Blizzard of Ozz?

    Metallica, And Justice for All…

    These are not great rock albums? The 80s spawned classics by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, so many more. It hasn’t been my cup of tea since around 1986, but the 80s were the golden age of metal for sure.

    I guess if “rock” = AOR from the mid-late 70s, it died in the early 80s.

    And including Train as a “great ballad,” wow. Just wow.

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  35. Let’s not forget Kajagoogoo, The Knack, The Style Council, Georgia Satellites, Jon Secada, and Bananarama!

    But seriously, you might also want to include Dire Straits, Tom Waits, Living Colour, the BoDeans, and one of my personal favorites The Squirrel Nut Zippers, though some might well argue that’s not rock ‘n’ roll as they know it.

    Oh, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Southern Accents (1985) was probably their best album, but YMMV.

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  36. Bithead says:

    We seem to be confusing what sells with what’s popular. Certainly, there are acts out there that kick some serious ass in the realm of Rock and Roll that aren’t getting the airplay (or sales) they deserve.

    Just as certainly there’s stuff out there getting all kinds of play that isn’t Rock and Roll, though it’s being billed like it, as the music business tries to find it’s feet.

    Speaking of that, I wonder how much the demise of the music industry is to blame for R&R being under-represented. Remember that the music business is measuring relevancy of music by means of units sold. At least, that filter distorts not only the buying habits of the taste mongers at what passes for record shops these days, but airplay as well.

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  37. OT – Drew, so you’re a tube man rather than solid state? Mine’s Linn from source to speaker. Bet you got a killer vinyl collection.

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  38. Michael says:

    Remember that the music business is measuring relevancy of music by means of units sold. At least, that filter distorts not only the buying habits of the taste mongers at what passes for record shops these days, but airplay as well.

    I sometimes think I can listen to any of the rock or pop stations in my area for a full 24 hours and never hear more than a half dozen bands played. It’s not unusual to find the same song being played on two or more stations at any given time. If variety is the spice of life, we’ve got a supreme collection of rice cakes.

    Lately I’ve been listening online from places like Magnatune and Jamendo (via Rhythmbox), hoping to find something better. Sadly, most of the are lacking in polish. It seems that’s what the recording industry is buying us these days.

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  39. William d'Inger says:

    … and proclaims, “25 September 1980. The real day the music died.”

    It’s a generational thing. The “Rock” music mentioned herein is as alien to me as “Rap” is to the rest of you. For me, the music died the first time I heard the Beach Boys and their whimpy surf crap. I was a hard line Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry fan. As for the Beatles, Stones and the rest, I never heard them on the radio. I hear them now in elevator music, but that’s my only exposure as I stopped listening to contemporary radio in 1960.

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  40. anjin-san says:

    I have a unison unico with a 1957 mullard in place of stock tube…

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  41. Bithead says:

    I sometimes think I can listen to any of the rock or pop stations in my area for a full 24 hours and never hear more than a half dozen bands played. It’s not unusual to find the same song being played on two or more stations at any given time. If variety is the spice of life, we’ve got a supreme collection of rice cakes.

    I understand your objection, but answer me this; How is this description substantially different from the heyday of AM Rock and Roll/T40, when most of the groups James mentions were making their best stuff,a nd seeing a lot of it played on those stations?

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  42. James Joyner says:

    But seriously, you might also want to include Dire Straits, Tom Waits, Living Colour, the BoDeans, and one of my personal favorites The Squirrel Nut Zippers, though some might well argue that’s not rock ‘n’ roll as they know it.

    Oh, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Southern Accents (1985) was probably their best album, but YMMV.

    I like Dire Straits and Waits. Petty’s heyday was probably “Damn the Torpedos” but “Southern Accents” was quite good.

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  43. Michael says:

    How is this description substantially different from the heyday of AM Rock and Roll/T40, when most of the groups James mentions were making their best stuff,a nd seeing a lot of it played on those stations?

    I wasn’t born yet. Which makes is a pretty substantial difference to me.

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  44. sam says:

    Well, I might as well put this up and get the shit beat out of me. But here goes. IMO, modern pop, aka, white music, sucks because black music, aka rap and hip hop, sucks. All great white popular music from the 50s to say, the early 80s, keyed off black music. Rock and Roll is, essentially, country and western music melded with rythym and blues. (“The blues had a baby, and they called it ‘rock and roll'” and “If I could find a white man that could sing like a black man….”) But there is very little in rap etc that white musicians can key on. When black folks lost their musical voice, so did white folks.

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  45. Or to paraphrase sam, white men can’t compose.

    None dare call it racism.

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  46. PD Shaw says:

    I was in a variation of this discussion a few months ago that keyed off the number of recent Superbowl half-time shows (Springsteen, Prince, Petty, U2, Aerosmith) from acts that had at least tasted critical success in the 1979-80 period.

    Why is that? What can we expect next?

    I still think the period was the capstone for bands that can both rock and have crossover appeal for large audiences. Some of the bands/musicians mentioned above might be great, but they don’t rock. (Sorry Tori Amos) Some of them rock, but fall into the category of specialized taste. (Sorry Rush)

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  47. Wayne says:

    Sam
    I don’t think you articulated your position very well but from what took from you statement, I have to disagree somewhat. Yes there was “black music” influence in music but there are many influences in music. Some Rock musicians such as Gun and Roses have been influence by classical music. Not sure how much black music influence AC\DC music. There are many white rappers and most Rap is bought by whites. If you think all music today suck, I suspect it has more to do with you than the music but everyone has right to their personal taste. However one should realize that the fault may lay with them and not today’s musicians.

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  48. Wayne says:

    Which goes back to a previous question, what is the definition of “Rock “?

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  49. PD Shaw says:

    Bithead:

    We seem to be confusing what sells with what’s popular.

    I also think there is a difference between favorite artists and great artists. The first is entirely subjective, but if we are going to ask who the great artists are/were, some of the communal wisdom of crowds has to come into play.

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  50. Drew says:

    Charles –

    Although I am one of those who absolutely believe that vinyl sounds better (and have the equipment to prove it) I’m not really a tube Nazi. I have a tubed line stage, but both tubed and SS amps. Also, I’ve only recently been collecting good vinyl. (180 gram stuff etc)

    Here’s the roster:

    Line stage: Hovland HP-200, w/Hovland phono stage
    Amps: Hovland Radia (SS) and VTL Siegfried (Tube)
    Platter spinner: SME 20/2 w/ Lyra Titan i and cartridge and stock Vi tone arm
    Digital Source: Esoteric UX-1 (But on the hunt. Digital may be getting close to vinyl, especially Esoteric and Meridian)
    Loudspeakers: Sonus Faber Stratavari’s
    All cables: Kubala Sosna Emotion, except when connecting the two Hovlands: Hovland GS300

    Keeps me sane. Bernard’s inquiries notwithstanding…. 😉

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  51. Bithead says:

    Why is that?

    Population trends. The NFL knows where it’s core audience is, and also knows what’s not going to totally turn off younger viewers. Seems to me those picks had that in mind.

    The first is entirely subjective, but if we are going to ask who the great artists are/were, some of the communal wisdom of crowds has to come into play.

    Which makes it also subjective.

    There’s this, too; What sells tends to affect what gets recorded. As a result we end up with a massive case of sound-alike. (Rice cakes? Cute.)

    Since such things tend to sell to the people that are already buying music, you get the picture. It becomes a self-feeder.

    THe more classic rockers among us end up finding other forms of music to latch onto, or end up spending out time and money on revamping our aging collections.

    Me, I have a rather large music colllection …around 20,000 or so LP’s and about twice that many singles (45’s, anyone?) around half of which I’ve cut down to MP3’s for simplicity’s sake, along with a large number of CD’s tapes and whatnot, also cut to MP3’s in some measure. So far, the MP3 player (Winamp, with database extensions) has around 350 gigs on file. I’m likely the only guy you know has a whole server dedicated to music.

    As you can imgine, the collection is fairly heavy on the esoteric (a fair amount of electronica, for example, at the moment b happy chance, I’m listening to an album I’ve written about at my own place some time ago, Gert Emmens, an album called “Wanderer of Time”) along with a fair dose of Country…(I spent a few years doing Country radio) and a small mountain of smoother jazz stuff. (Did morning drive on a Jazz station for a number of years)

    I describe all of that to you by way of admitting that my own musical experience isn’t typical, but having seen it from (More or less) the inside of one of it’s aspects, I have a fair idea whats happening now.

    That said, let me turn you on to a band I found recently called Ernie and the Automatics.

    You think rock is dead? You ain’t heard these guys.

    The site should flash play a single off their most recent, all by itself.

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  52. LCB says:

    The difference, I think, is that good “new” music is no longer brought to us by the industry. All we get on radio now is the same, tiring rotation over and over and over and over. If a band does come out with something new, it gets a week of airplay, and then its back to old standards. Example: the local rock stations here play Working Man by Rush so much that I’ve come to hate it. Rush comes out with a new CD (Snakes and Arrows) that I personally think is their best since Moving Pictures…and nada…nothing…no airplay. Rush continues to draw big numbers when they tour so the audience is there. But playing them doesn’t fit the computer programed play list of Clear Channel, etc.

    There is good rock out there, both from long established bands and new bands. Yah just gotta make the effort to find it.

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  53. C Stanley says:

    Wow, thanks for the wwoz.org link, William. Got it streaming right now.

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  54. Michael says:

    I’m likely the only guy you know has a whole server dedicated to music.

    No, you’re not the only one I know. But then again, the circles I run in, people tend to have multiple servers dedicated to all kinds of things.

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  55. sam says:

    That said, let me turn you on to a band I found recently called Ernie and the Automatics.

    You think rock is dead? You ain’t heard these guys.

    Or this, Ernie and the Automatics – The Good Times (Never Last)

    I do notice, though, that these guys are a little long in the tooth, which, no doubt, explains their musical proficiency (and reinforces my point). Good tip, Bit (which only strenghtens my desire for you to give up political blogging and start up a musical blog :) :) )

    Copy that on the wwoz.org link, William. Thanks.

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  56. anjin-san says:

    A vital, thriving art form produces masterpieces. If there is an album cut in the last 28 years that rivals Layla or Sticky Fingers, I would dearly love to have a copy. The last rock album that sounded truly great to my ears was U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire”.

    There was quite a bit of good stuff in the 80s. Great, not so much. Was Dire Straits a great band? Not in my book. Solid, but not great. The trend has been downward since 1980 (and how much of this is related to the rise of the video?)

    Who was the last breakthrough, game changing player? Eddie Van Halen really upset the apple cart, as did to a lesser extent Malmsteen and Satraini. How about drummers or bassists? Someone who fundamentally changed the way people thought about those instruments…

    It’s not just loving what you grew up on. I did not get interested in jazz until I was in my mid 30s. Yet clearly, the amazing jazz records that were being recorded right around the time I was born are far more significant by just about any standard than those being made today.

    There is good new music out there for people who are willing to look for it. But it ain’t rock & roll, it is some form of post rock, whatever you wish to call it.

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  57. Moonage says:

    Is that concrete all around or is it in my head?

    Too early, just proves his point. I’m thinking more along the lines of “insanity laughs, under pressure we’re cracking…”

    Bowie’s biggest selling albums were after 1980. Albeit probably not his best stuff. But, Cat People, China Girl, and Let’s Dance were pretty much up there with anything he did pre-1980.

    U2 just cranks out one monster album after another. All of them post-1980.

    I think the big difference was pre-1980, the only venue to make it big was through the very narrow confines of recording companies. Post 1980, which just happened to mirror the birth of MTV, allowed different venues as MTV realized they could pretty much promote whatever they liked. They made The Police big. Granted they had some good music, but it was their constant rotation on MTV that made them huge, and eventually killed them with over-saturation. Led Zeppelin would never have survived in the MTV era. MTV, through natural selection, made big stars out of what would sell on tv instead of vinyl. No longer was the music the only thing that people judged a performer by. As the record companies packaged acts for MTV, the music became rather predictable. There was some great stuff coming out, but rather than the record companies promoting tried-and-true acts for ten years at a time, they were cranking out “the newest sensation” every six months as over-saturation via MTV was a constant threat to any career. As the internet developed and MTV decided the third largest minority in the US was the only one they would market to, the influence of both MTV ( television ) and the traditional record companies has waned. Now, indie acts are easy to find and not constrained by record companies defining their image. I expect great things to come once young artists once again realize they don’t have to be exactly like their father’s idols.

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  58. anjin-san says:

    We also need to think about what sort of people are behind the scenes in the music industry today. Anybody with the stature & vision of Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd? Doubt it.

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  59. anjin-san says:

    I’m likely the only guy you know has a whole server dedicated to music.

    Please.

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  60. PD Shaw says:

    Bithead, I would describe a “greatest” musician discussion as one that mixes subjective and objective qualities.

    Robyn Hitchcock is subjectively my favorite musical artist, but I wouldn’t describe him as the greatest. I would argue that the Beatles, the Rollings Stones, the Who and Led Zeppelin belong on any top ten list of “greatest rock bands.” I think I can make this claim based upon quality, originality, influence, popularity and technical virtuosity. None of them would I describe as my personal favorites.

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  61. sam says:

    BTW, anyone else experiencing funky behavior with the preview function in the comment thingy? On second preview, I get this:

    Your Comment Preview:
    by $author”; else: echo “$author_new”; endif; ?>

    yada yada

    on repeat, I get this:

    <?php
    /* Don’t remove these lines. */
    $blog = 1;
    $single = 1;
    require (‘../../../wp-config.php’);

    etc, etc, etc

    And have to recur to the start or fire up OTB again.

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  62. anjin-san says:

    Moonage’s comments are insightful, MTV and video in general have contributed to the decline in quality of popular music. How many successful country artists today don’t look like they could earn a decent living as a model?

    The rise of studio technology also plays a part. Most of the stuff I hear now sounds homogenized, like it was mixed by the same guy on the same board. (where are you now, Bob Clearmountain??)

    Why does pop music from the mid 60’s still sound so fresh? One reason was the recording technology was very simple, and another is that they did not spend much time in the studio, budgets and schedules did not allow it. The brilliant use of the studio we hear on Sgt. Pepper started a trend that has been detrimental in the long run…

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  63. sam says:

    The brilliant use of the studio we hear on Sgt. Pepper Pet Sounds started a trend that has been detrimental in the long run…

    Just to give credit where the Fab Four would give credit, I think.

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  64. William d'Inger says:

    Wow, thanks for the wwoz.org link, William. Got it streaming right now.

    C Stanley, WWOZ is a multi-genre station. You have to know what days and time slots to listen. They have a Celtic music show, a Cajun music show, a Brazillian music show, an African music show, etc. They feature Cuban music, dixieland jazz, modern jazz, gospel, blues and rhythm & blues. Ironically, they don’t have a rock show that I know of.

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  65. Michael says:

    BTW, anyone else experiencing funky behavior with the preview function in the comment thingy?

    Yeah, Firefox keeps asking me to save a file when I hit “preview again”. Looks like something is failing to execute the wp-comment-review.php code. And why is the form posting to cachefly.net?

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  66. anjin-san says:

    Sgt. Pepper Pet Sounds

    In my view, Pet Sounds was the precursor and Pepper the critical mass. Not taking anything away from the Beach Boys, who clearly influenced Pepper.

    To some extent, everything is derivative. The Beach Boys borrowed their famous striped shirts (and Sloop John B) from the Kingston Trio.

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  67. sam says:

    To some extent, everything is derivative. The Beach Boys borrowed their famous striped shirts (and Sloop John B) from the Kingston Trio.

    Jesus Christ but this discussion is making me feel ollllld. I remember listening to The Kingston Trio’s Live from the Hungry i album the first time and being stoked.

    Re The Beatles and the Beachboys. More shit-beating-out-of-me coming, but I’ve always thought that they were the two most musically creative groups of that era. Certainly the Beatles thought very highly of the Beachboys. Back in the USSR is a kind of neat backhanded (lefthanded?) compliment.

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  68. anjin-san says:

    Back in the USSR is a kind of neat backhanded (lefthanded?) compliment

    I believe members of the Beach Boys contributed to the vocal track…

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  69. sam says:

    I believe members of the Beach Boys contributed to the vocal track…

    Only Mike Love, I think, but yeah.

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  70. anjin-san says:

    My love of music started with teaching myself to use the record player when I was 4 years old so that I could listen to “MTA” over and over. 46 years later, I have Bob Shane on speed dial. Life is strange :)

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  71. Matt says:

    Tool produces very not dead rock 😛

    Most of the mainstream stuff sucks but if you’re willing to look around and waste quite a bit of your time you’ll find some real gems hidden amongst the nameless..

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  72. Drew says:

    All Blues

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  73. anjin-san says:

    Drew what do you think of Siltech cables?

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  74. PD Shaw says:

    I’m a big fan of the blues and the jazz too, but you can ask the same questions. When was the last great blues or jazz album recorded?

    That’s not to say there aren’t great musicians today, but I just don’t think you can put them in the same category as Miles Davis, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Son House, Skip James, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, etc. etc. Some of the greats died before I was born, so it’s not simply nostalgia.

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  75. Drew says:

    I’ve never done a “shootoff” with Siltech. I’ve focused more on the MIT, Nordost and Kubala Sosna brands, which won my shoot off. (That was before cables like Nordost Oden and Zero came out.)

    The reviewing class however uniformly like Siltech, especially some of their mid-line offerings, which, if I recall are named after cities (Paris New York etc)

    The Absolute Sound is a good rag to find reviews.
    There are a number of good brands to investigate. Kimber, audioquest, Shunyata in addition to those I mentioned.

    The best thing here is that you are in the camp that thinks cables matter. I pity the Monster cable or lamp cord guys….

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  76. PD Shaw says:

    Now I recall that anjin-san already made the point about a lot of great jazz being made before he was born.

    Yep, sometimes somebody comes up with a great idea first. The guy who comes along second with it is just a point of trivia. Unless of course its the Jim Crow era . . .

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  77. anjin-san says:

    I’m a big fan of the blues and the jazz too, but you can ask the same questions. When was the last great blues or jazz album recorded?

    I would argue that there is still some jazz being recorded in Europe that is what I would call great. All time immortal, Davis or Coltrane great? No. But still great. Check out “Suspended Night” by Tomasz Stanko or the Trio work of his pianist, Marcin Wasilewski.

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  78. Drew says:

    I realized that last part wasn’t clear.

    KS Emotions won…..before Nordost’s Oden and the Taralabs Zero’s came out. (But they are obscenly expensive)

    Also look at Cardas.

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  79. anjin-san says:

    I recently upgraded speaker & interconnects to Siltech Paris, at a nice discount from the Cable Company. Major upgrade, very good bang for the buck. Without quality cables, even the finest equipment will only sound so good.

    Things to check out:

    http://www.6moons.com

    http://www.isocleanpower.com

    IsoClean is insane. Better than Shunyata even (I have Shunyata Diamondback for digital front-end power). For $200 their wall socket is a a no-brainer. Their isolation transformer is a thing of beauty…

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  80. anjin-san says:

    Tomasz Stanko website:

    http://www.tomaszstanko.com

    Think “Sketches of Krakow”

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  81. I used to look forward to moving beyond the low end of high end audio. Now, I think that’s going to be a little more difficult.

    More name dropping, George Benson, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Steely Dan — especially Steely Dan.

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  82. anjin-san says:

    especially Steely Dan.

    The Beatles of the 70’s. Was just listening to Rick Derringers killer slide guitar on “Show Business Kids”.

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  83. anjin-san says:

    Charles – Think about pairing AKG 701 headphones with a Musical Fidelity v12 headphone amp. Serious high end sound for under a grand. Throw in one of the new MF X-DACs for $299 and you will have many happy late night listening sessions…

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  84. Drew says:

    I have not yet ventured into the world of cleaning up power except for a Richard Gray unit.

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  85. Thanks anjin-san. I think I’ll get it for my wife for her fiftieth birthday. She’ll be so pleased.

    Also, I like Fagen’s Nightfly quite a bit as well if you aren’t familiar with it. One reviewer wondered what Becker had been doing all those years as Fagen seemed to carry on so well without him.

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  86. Bithead says:

    I believe members of the Beach Boys contributed to the vocal track…

    No. THere was a rumor about that, but I’ve never seen any evidence of it. Apparently, there was a connection with the Beach Boys, however… apparently the BB type vocals were added based on a conversation between Mike Love and Paul McCartney over breakfast.

    On the B-side of that one was the idea that the thing was designed as a spoof of the Beach Boys.

    Also, I like Fagen’s Nightfly quite a bit as well if you aren’t familiar with it.

    You’d like “Kamakiriad”, then, as well.

    Low end of High end Audio

    Funny you should put it quite that way. That’s how I explained my rather odd system to my wife when I set it up in my office, years ago.

    My system here includes a lot of mid-grade broadcast stuff from the middle 80’s… a Collins control board, two SP10 TT’s, TEAC Cassette deck, an old Otari R/R (Replaced the Revox A77, which lost a power supply) a few EQ’s, comp/limiters, Notably an old Orban.. for monitoring, a Crown D150 I’ve modified myself… runs around 400wpc, into (Currently) a pair of Sansui SP7800’s. Not current broadcast quality, but I get by. Got most of it from a buddy’s radio station I helped to rebuild years ago, as payment. Took me most of a month to build it back up once I get the stuff here. The computers in my office are all on the board of course. Gives playing DOOM a whole new dimension, as an added bonus. (Grin)

    ut I’ve always thought that they were the two most musically creative groups of that era.

    Eh, I’ll grant you that, with the stipulation there was a lot of runners up to that crown.

    Please.

    Oh, come, Anjin, even you have to admit it’s a little… unusual.

    Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd?

    Or, Mutt, for that matter. Or, since the subject of MJ already came up, Da Q.

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  87. anjin-san says:

    Oh, come, Anjin, even you have to admit it’s a little… unusual.

    Not out my way, at least if you travel in IT circles…

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  88. anjin-san says:

    Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd

    btw, if you love music, and are not familiar with the work of these two geniuses, google away. Check out “Tom Dowd and the Language of Music”.

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  89. Bithead says:

    Not out my way, at least if you travel in IT circles…

    Well there it is…Anjin, look at my nickname and recalculate.

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  90. anjin-san says:

    recalculate

    Not necessary. We are early implementers in the Bay Area, I encountered my first dedicated music server in 2000. I am glad that you have a cool music setup, and I think it is great that we have a subject here that we can discuss without rancor and name calling, but music servers are hardly a rare commodity….

    Speaking of cool, do you have a Small Faces “Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake” LP? Had that once upon a time…

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  91. Drew says:

    Charles A – re: affordability

    It absolutely is not true that an expensive component is necessarily a musically good component. However, it has been my experience that with good quality producers the more you pay the better it sounds.

    However, fine sounding systems (within their inherent limits) can be constructed at almost any reasonable price point. (If you run into an audio snob, who is proud of their system just because of expense, immediately discount them. You’ve run into an equipment jerk, not an audiophile.)

    About once a year The Absolute Sound does an article titled something like “5 great affordable systems.” I went and found the 2007 issue. (You can search on line for the 2008) They had systems at the following price points: $850, $1500, $2200, $3300, and $5000. I’m familiar with some of the components they listed. If the components are uniformly as good as the ones I am familiar with you would have a very enjoyable and musically satisfying system.

    I hate to say it, but my system runs about six figures. But that is because each component I have would fall into gold or silver medal class. I put it together and (over)paid for it because of my passion for music and because I needed a system capable of doing everything from make me believe I was live in the hall listening to La Traviata, to believably reproducing the spooky sounds of Miles Davis’ horn on “All Blues” on Kind of Blue, to correctly getting the specificity of massed choristers in Beethoven’s 9th or reproducing nasty, thick guitar chords laid down by Jimmy Page with the proper dynamism. That’s hard. If you ever get super serious about it, this is the kind of thing you can put together, and its wonderful.

    But for a sane person with less interest in allocating resources into audio, here are just a couple basic things to note in assembling an affordable system:

    1. Good, and low (less mthan 40-50 hz) bass is the most expensive thing. Whether its the speaker (box and big/multiple drivers) or the “fast” and powerful amp characteristics needed, it costs alot. And yet, so much of music is in the mid-range. Many a less expensive two way would fit the bill, especially if you are opera, jazz, chamber music or voice oriented.

    2. The best bargain in speakers is Magnapan. But read up on their basic ribbon design and your needs. (As opposed to dynamic or electrostat speakers.)

    3. There are some fine integrated amps out there. And it saves on interconnects!!

    4. Balance in component quality is important, but overweight (just a bit) speakers and digital or analog sources. Find a way to budget for reasonable wires. Just do it. Don’t fall into the “wires don’t matter” trap.

    5. Get familiar with the “musical” vs “analytical” design philosophy and sound early on. Decide what’s right for you. You’ll make some mistakes if you don’t.

    6. Find a guru, a high end audio store you trust. I’ve never, ever been pressured in a real high end store. If you are, leave. Real guys know that serious people might take 6 months to a year to make a component decision….and that it is proper to do so……and that you will come back.

    James probably thinks we turned OTB into AudioFreaks. But that’s my story. If I can help, let me know.

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  92. Michael says:

    Well there it is…Anjin, look at my nickname and recalculate.

    You must not have much of an IT circle if you still think a dedicated music server is unusual. Or maybe it’s just unusual that you don’t do anything more useful with it than stream audio.

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  93. Bithead says:

    “Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake”

    Not anymore. I got a promo (White Label!) copy of it, but gave it to a girl I was dating at the time. (By that time it was a few years old, and I was more interested in cutting down my overlarge collection) Sad, really. I’d have been better keeping the LP, in the end.

    If I recall right, that one came in two covers. One a usual three layer fold out, and one a round thing. I can’t recall if it looked like a can or WAS a can. I think it was paper, though. Never got much play, here. IN fact if I recall right the round cover was only available in the UK, where it did better.

    I hear it’s available on CD in the UK, these days, or was a few years ago. Bet you can still get it used on some of the UK sites, like Amazon UK for example….and that IS in the tin cover. remstered, too, if I’m not mistaken.

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  94. Bithead says:

    You must not have much of an IT circle if you still think a dedicated music server is unusual. Or maybe it’s just unusual that you don’t do anything more useful with it than stream audio.

    Well, no. See, here at the house I tend to use old desktops for the purpose. there’s only 5 actual desktops in the house, plus my Treo and the desktop in the garage to serve, so the servers need not be very fast, they just have to be big in the disk department. I run three, at the moment. One (the most disk space) for music the other two for regular file and print type stuff. (One for Donna & myself, one for the kids.)

    I do have a real server here, an old four proc IBM 7000, running NT, if you’re ready for that (heh… all of 200mhz with four Pentium pros) but I don’t use it much during the warmer months; it takes 220v, and we need that circuit for the A/C, ya see. Been thinking about selling that one on Ebay.

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  95. Michael says:

    Well, no. See, here at the house I tend to use old desktops for the purpose.

    Old desktops can still do way more than that. Maybe not your 4x50MHz dinosaur, but you can still get a lot of work out of a 400MHz P2. They actually make pretty decent desktops with something like XFCE.

    I’ve ditched desktops for daily use, I have a laptop, so does my wife, and a netbook for travel. The kids have a desktop (which doubles as a network file server and testing web server) with their games on it, and more recently an OLPC. My real server is co-located somewhere with better bandwidth. Wouldn’t even consider NT for a server though, get yourself a Debian CD.

    But now we’re getting into a topic I can actually discuss with some kind of authority, as opposed to music.

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  96. anjin-san says:

    gave it to a girl I was dating at the time.

    The things we do for women. I believe the “cutout” version was an import, we were buying tons of British stuff back then.

    My best friend from Jr. High school recently sent me a promo copy of Born to Run. If I could find a promo poster for it, I would be a happy guy, it was a very cool poster.

    Charles – Buy this tonight, its not being produced any more and they only have one left. $50 tweak sounds like an extra $500 in your system.

    http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=QUAELEC1B220

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  97. anjin-san says:

    James… I highly recommend making music/audio a more hefty part of your output. It’s nice being able to have a friendly discussion with guys you are typically trading gunfire with…

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  98. anjin-san says:

    Following that though further James, how about a thread for “Your Top Ten All Time Rock & Roll Records”?

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  99. anjin-san says:

    but the Stones’ “Tatoo You” (1982) indeed had numerous great hits

    Tatoo You was a good album, but it should be noted that “Waiting on a Friend” was an unused track from the “Goat’s Head Soup” sessions, with Sonny Rollins contributing the sax solo.

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  100. jghedge says:

    My personal theory is that LZ’s Physical Graffitti album killed rock and roll, thereby spawning punk. Everyone realized there was never going to be anything to top Physical Graffitti – it was the crowing achievement of british blues rock, which was the dominant paradigm at the time. From the release of that album you can see all LZ’s peers in popularity and artistic ability either selling out (ala Tatoo You and Who Are You), or the new blood simply starting over from square one with punk. Bonzo knew it too…

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  101. sam says:

    with Sonny Rollins contributing the sax solo

    Really? Didn’t know that. Speaking of things jazz, anyone familiar with the work of Lee Morgan?
    If not, listen. Guy’s career was cut short when his girlfriend shot him to death at Suggs’ in NY in 1972. Great trumpet.

    Steely Dan…the great AJA cover by Phil Hartman, whom most people only know of as a comedian, but who was also a world-class graphic artist.

    Phil and Lee had something in common. Sad

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  102. Bithead says:

    Old desktops can still do way more than that. Maybe not your 4x50MHz dinosaur, but you can still get a lot of work out of a 400MHz P2. They actually make pretty decent desktops with something like XFCE.

    I’m running W2K on them since I got the licenses a number of years ago. Running an old style Windows domain soles a few complications for me. And you’re right, they will do rather a lot, given the chance. I won’t bore you with the details, but the servers each have other duties as well, most of them involving automated maint and backup of the desktops; essentially using @ commands to fire off batches I’ve written over the years. The bigger of the F&P’s also has a DLT drive.

    Heh. I have a copy of Born to Run (LP) around here somewhere. Trouble is some station yahoo wrote all over it. And I think “10th Avenue” Skips. Not worth much I suppose. I don’t listen much to him anymore anyway.

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  103. sam says:

    Wouldn’t even consider NT for a server though, get yourself a Debian CD.

    Why Debian over Suse or even Solaris? … Just asking. Hell, if I could afford a small Sunfire, I’d run Solaris meownself.

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  104. Michael says:

    I’m running W2K on them since I got the licenses a number of years ago. Running an old style Windows domain soles a few complications for me.

    Well, that’s better than NT 3 or 4. You’d still probably get better performance out of Linux and Samba though, especially if it has some memory to spare.

    Why Debian over Suse or even Solaris? … Just asking. Hell, if I could afford a small Sunfire, I’d run Solaris meownself.

    Mostly personal preference. I find Apt a better package manager than RPM, and light years ahead of SysV packages. I generally use Ubuntu these days, but there’s not much difference between that and Debian on a server install.

    I’d recommend Linux over Solaris on any non-Sparc architecture just because it has better hardware support, but if you have a Sparc then Solaris is definitely a good option. The GNU userland is generally better supported than Sun’s also.

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  105. Bithead says:

    Wouldn’t even consider NT for a server though, get yourself a Debian CD.

    Didn’t notice this before.

    The reason that 7000 is on NT is a complex one, involving the RAID array. It’ll support 12 spindles on one array, (Meaning with today’s SCSI drives you can make absolutely HUGE physical arrays, well beyond the limit of NT, in fact) but the drivers only work under Windows, and the thing simply won’t go to 2000. I know, I tried to sneak the NT driver in under 2000, as I have for other things. It won’t go. And their support for Linux variations on the thing was always a little limited. Officially IBM approved versions of lin/unis would work, but I never got around to it. Much easier to hack up an old desktop for the purpose. Heh… cheaper too, since they come free, except for the bigger drives I use.

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  106. anjin-san says:

    with Sonny Rollins contributing the sax solo

    Theres more to the story. Rollins was suffering from something of a creative block, with no idea of what he wanted to play and time to come up with something running out. (I suspect the unfamiliar environment of a rock & roll recording messed with his head a bit).

    Jagger was dancing around the studio during a playback of his vocal track. Suddenly inspired, Rollins grabbed his sax and asked Mick to keep dancing. The solo is Rollins’ interpretation of “The Mick dance”.

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  107. Drew, I passed $10K some years ago when I went to active amplification, but I haven’t changed anything for over ten years. I put some stock into the Linn theory about spending the most on source, but opinions are as varied here as anywhere. I’ve found the imaging to be outstanding with my Linn equipment. Anyway, I’ll probably have to move to have a room to justify an upgrade now. Well, that and getting the kids through college.

    Philosophically speaking, and this is true of most things and not just audiophile equipment, it isn’t always true that you get what you pay for but it is almost universally true that you won’t get what you don’t pay for. When I spent more time on it in the past, finding the best value in audio equipment was a friendly challenge, just like finding really good wines for under $20.

    I had a good friend who had Magnapans and they were very nice for some music, though seemingly a little light on the low end, and really cool to see the first time. I’ve always liked the warm tube sound, but never owned any myself.

    Thanks to you and anjin-san for the tips. I appreciate it.

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  108. Drew says:

    Charles –

    A couple last points. Yes, both type of planar speakers, Maggies and Stats, are beautiful for transparency and sound staging because of the basic physics…..you are only moving thin films.

    However, if you want what the reviewers call “dynamics” which really means moving alot of air to create that gut sense of weight and excitement (symphonic crecendos, rock) you need dynamic (cone) speakers.

    High end cone speakers will give you all the things that stats or magnetic planars can, but its expensive. Eg. The Maggie 20.1’s are appx $20K. Good, say, Martin Logan stats might be $15K. My dynamic Strads are $45K.

    That all said, if you want to dream, the best speakers in the world today…..I think there can be no doubt: Magico. The M5 is a home version, and a cool $90K. I’ve heard them. They make you wilt.

    Studio version (or extreme home) is the Ultimate II. So heavy they assemble on site. Think $300K.

    Having fun yet?

    Just for fun you should have a listen in a high end St. Louis shop (St Louis, right??)

    If you can’t find them, then in Chicago: Quintessence Audio. They are on the web. Ask for Mick.

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  109. Drew, it is St. Louis. There are a couple dealers here. I’ll have to see what they have.

    I have family near Chicago and find myself there a few times a year. Love to buy you a drink sometime.

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  110. Joe R. says:

    Not sure how much black music influence AC\DC music.

    You might want to research who Angus Young’s guitar influences are. The influence is all over his solos.

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  111. Drew says:

    Charles –

    Well, you know how to contact me. I’m in Naperville, BTW. You could listen to the system first hand…….and we could raid the wine cellar.

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  112. Drew says:

    This will be my last for this thread.

    James has probably concluded he has created a monster.

    But I just cranked up the system. References have been made in the thread “where were you?”

    Well, so where were you when you first heard at full throated, maximum energy and emotion (and yes, in vinyl)?:

    “Hey, hey momma said the way you move
    Gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove….”

    (freight train…)

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  113. anjin-san says:

    “Hey, hey momma said the way you move
    Gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove….”

    Going back a bit earlier, In the 9th grade, I would play both sides of “Led Zepplin II” every night upon getting in bed. Fell asleep with “Thank You” floating thru my head.

    That was a pretty good year…

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  114. Drew, hmm… you’ve got me stumped on how I know how to get a hold of you. My father-in-law lives in Plainfield and I know I’ll be up there in early July. Hope to shoot up 59 and see you then. I grew up not far from Fox Valley Mall way back when. Say, do you golf?

    I was more partial to “Been a long time since I rock and rolled…”. I burned through three copies of Dark Side of the Moon before I got to college. Ah, the good old days.

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  115. Drew, it was all vinyl back then. Or eight track.

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  116. […] James Joyner links to McCain and wonders: […]

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  117. Michael says:

    I hate to revive an old thread, especially one as long as this, but I was discussing it with my wife over the weekend and she made an interesting observation: there is no longer a “B” side.

    Her specific point was that musicians often used the “B” side for introducing new, experimental ideas to their audience. Without it, the only thing that gets sold is the formulaic songs that they know people will buy.

    I seem to recall, and certainly Bithead can clarify this, that radio stations only play what’s been released on a single, which means that adding experimental tracks to a full album doesn’t accomplish the same thing.

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  118. […] the discussion on my post about whether rock and roll died with John Bonham, commenter Michael makes an interesting point: I was discussing it with my wife over the weekend […]

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