Thursday, 4 August 2011

About Influences - Part 1

It all started with She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand.  Ever since The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, they have been at the centre of my musical universe.  It's a lot more crowded now, but for a long time the only stars in the sky were John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Sure, there were a lot of other bands I enjoyed:  The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five (well, for a while).  But all of them just seemed second best when compared with The Beatles.

I even understood that The Beatles had influences, and that they did a lot of cover songs on their early records:  Rockabilly, Motown, even show tunes.  But they made it all sound like, well, The Beatles.

Eventually, their relentless experimentation expanded the universe to the size where there was room for others.  By the time they had taken us through Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's and Mystery Tour, there were no longer any boundaries.  And by constantly searching and experimenting themselves, they taught me that I should do the same. 

And the world was ready for me.  Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, James Tayor, Donovan.  They were fearless, bold, astonishing.

What an exciting time the late 60's was!  As the British Invasion gave way to folk rock and then west coast psychedelia, whole new genres and styles seem to burst onto the scene.  Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, a new breed of folk  ...  oh, and this not-so-new thing called the blues.

What was so wonderful was that everyone crossed over.  Pop met classical met folk met jazz met country met eastern met blues.  And even though many great artists managed to create their own distinctive sound by crafting their own unique blend, even though there were so many styles and genres, it was all one.  Things had not yet splintered into competing sub-cultures and descended into formula.

That was very cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment