Ten albums that had a dodgy influence on pop and rock music

Ten albums that had a dodgy influence on pop/rock music.
1- Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
After this album, John Peel said that the majority of the tapes sent by bands were gloomy copycat music, inspired by these kings of the gothic spires. They effectively ruined alternative music for years. Well maybe two until Orange Juice showed bands they could make music to dance to and be cool with a floppy fringe.
2- The Beatles – With the Beatles
The Fab Fours happy clappy jolly ditties led to a whole plague of copycats that also included the excruciatingly awful Herman’s Hermits.
3- David Bowie – The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Glam rock, although initiated by Marc Bolan, took on a new theatrical dimension with Bowie’s epoch defining album. It also spawned monstrosities like Jobriath – pretentious rubbish that a misguided Morrissey seems to think was good. Need I mention the whole parade of bricklayers in Boots make-up who pretended to be fey and gay? Top of the Fops.
4- Cream – Fresh Cream
The kings of guitar noodling pre-dated Hendrix with their musical prowess. Cue a thousand and one pub bands that still exist today playing their extended riffs – and also bands like Led Zeppelin who took the ‘riff’ and heralded an era of heavy rock – real man music where women were either easy to lay, hard to lay or angels who will be dirty just for them.
5- The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club band
Suddenly everyone in pop went a bit strange and whimsical and it almost ruined the Rolling Stones who released their god-awful ‘Satanic Majesties Request’ album heavily under the acid Fab influence. Plus men in bands started to grow moustaches. On the peripheries of pop, a whole load of paisley bands with names like ‘Mrs.Crompton’s Sweet Shop’ tried to get on the LSD pop bandwagon – one that passed by very quickly, leaving a whole load of bands stranded at the daisy chain love-in.
6- The Stooges – The Stooges
There was primal poetry in Iggy and his motley crew’s back to the swamp riffing and howling. But it also inspired Punk – which, although had its great moments, also had a million and one bands playing ‘I wanna be your dog’ in a bid for Iggy cred. And they were just rubbish.
7- The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Suddenly, every provincial band had a wah-wah pedal, pretended they liked James Brown beats and were merely aping the slouchy cool of this Manc band. And that was just U2 who made a bid for indie-dance cred with their godawful ‘Achtung Baby’ album – the sound of aging men nicking the riffs of a younger, cooler band. Time to own up Bono.
8. Nirvana – Nevermind
An album that spawned a whole generation of angst ridden misery merchants without a tune. Kurt Cobain was a confused man in an arrested adolescent state who, if only he had grown up, might have gone on to make some great music. Instead, he copped out and shot himself. Well so would you if you were married to gobby indie-slut, chronic attention seeking Courtney Love.
9. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
An album that spawned a whole load of laddish cloddy bands. With obvious influences that could not possibly lead to music that was original, challenging or stimulating: the new conservatism that was Brit Pop.
10. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico (Banana sleeve)
On the other hand, a band so revolutionary that they took ten years to filter through to the pop culture. Unfortunately, for every art-rock inspired band, there was a plethora of backs to the audience, moody in shades racketeers with not a tune in sight. The Velvet Underground may have been radical but they also had great songs – a factor often overlooked by arty dress in black types.

So there you have it – albums that had an influence that was the best and the worst of things.

Bubbling under:

John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
Honest John’s ‘brave’ post Beatles album in which he takes his favourite subject: himself, and feels extremely sorry for the fact he is a multi-millionaire pop star. Inspired a whole misguided generation of ‘soul baring confessional’ songwriters whose pain was their bank balance gain. The poor little fallen angels, eh?
Spandau Ballet/Visage – First albums
Do you remember a time when singers sang in ‘heroic’ voices, bands looked daft in their mum’s blouses, had make up applied in an arty way with squiggly lines and hair that looked like it was styled by hairdressers with wonky scissors? Yes: New Romantics, who were led by the Princes of Piffle: Spandau Ballet and King Prat Steve Strange (or was it the dodgy influence of Bowie again?)

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I don’t believe in 1967

An alternative view on the halcyon pop year of 1967…

1967 – The Year it all went wrong
Commonly upheld as a high watermark of Pop culture, the year 1967 can also be viewed as a year when pop went into a self indulgent phase that ultimately distanced the artist from the audience – a malaise that would stretch into the next decade.
To understand 1967, we need to look at the musical advances made the previous year: The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’, The Beatles ‘Revolver’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Blonde on Blonde’ being three examples of how far pop – now entering the rock phase – had come since its early conventional love song in the pop form of only a few years before. Dylan of course is the exception here; but the Beach Boys and The Beatles wrote mostly uncomplicated love songs with a typical boy/girl subject matter.
By 1967, the drug culture had become more insidious in the music business. A relatively new drug experience was influencing the minds and music of artists and bands: LSD.
The Beatles’ drug use was harder to detect: even their own ‘pop on LSD’ album Sgt Pepper had a conventional songwriting core at its heart: they still wrote hummable tunes and showed signs of wanting to address their audience in a direct, if increasingly lyrically oblique way at times.
London’s Pink Floyd took it all further – much further – than the Beatles. Their musical experimentation made the Beatles sound positively conventional. Listen to the opening track of their debut album ‘Piper at the gates of dawn’: ‘Astronomy Domine’ – this was generation splitting music.
Your Mum and Dad certainly would not like it. And if they did, maybe somebody spiked their drinks.

The Psychedelic phase in music had started and the culture shock waves went out, affecting almost every band around at the time. Even the down to earth, no nonsense Small Faces started to sound a lysergically enhanced.
The drugs themselves influenced the pop culture and the music in turn, turned inwards…
The major characteristic of LSD is that it is not a communal drug. It is by the nature of the experience it provides, an introspective drug: the artist reaches inward, then delivers the ‘revelations’ to the audience. It had a ‘messianic life altering’ quality about it and this seeped into the music.
What started out as playful whimsy : ‘Arnold Layne’…’Lucy in the sky with diamonds’….soon became a gateway to self indulgence and to be quite frank, a lot of boring music.
Pink Floyd, under the leadership of Syd Barrett, maintained their radical focus and made some exciting and genuinely innovative music that owed as much to free jazz as to pop and blues. But we all know what happened to Syd.
However, for every exciting pioneer, there was a pompous ‘here is our message’ approach that diseased a lot of pop – or more accurately, rock – for the next ten years or so. Hence, the lineage from Sgt Pepper and Pink Floyds’ ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ albums also gave rise to the stench of pretension and over-long musical passages with delusions of being profound and classical.
Throw into this malaise, a new type of rock journalism – the intellectual cultural and political appraisal of pop music as first found in the American magazine ‘Rolling Stone’ and you get the picture emerging of a generation who were starting to take themselves very seriously indeed. And the musicians responded accordingly – now ‘artists’.

The Moody Blues – a band who first came into the scene as a beat group, were among the first to fully exploit the classical possibilities of pop music. (influenced by the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ no doubt: the Beatles are to blame for a lot of musical follies that followed them)
The Moody Blues’ music was symphonic in texture (thanks to the Mellotron, an instrument that could mimic the sounds of strings and flutes for example) and extended the boundaries of the two minute-odd pop song – actually broken by Dylan’s ‘Like a rolling stone’ and the Animals’ ‘House of the rising sun’ in 1965- into passages that included spoken narrative. Very serious indeed they were. A whole generation of ‘serious music fans’ bought their albums by the million, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Indeed, the album was now the thing: singles were for ‘silly teenyboppers’ as one hairy person said at the time whose name was John Peel.
Albums became thematic; tracks lasted for as long as ten minutes and more: improvisation and virtuosity became the modus operandi of any band worth its worthier-than-thou salt.
Pop was seen as a lesser art form. The age of rock was here: and by God, did it have a huge superiority complex, sneering at the people who just wanted good old fashioned catchy tunes and economical songs that were instantly gratifying and – heaven forbid – might have served some vacuous purpose as to dance to at the weekend. The older smart pop fan was soon to grow up into Soul, realising its unpretentious emotional connection and responding to its directness. Soul, although of course, had its ‘psychedelic moments’ was mostly unaffected by silly white middle class boys on LSD. It remained the preferred music form of the white and black working classes. 1967 was a great year for Soul music, but this is seldom reported when appraising the era.

So the lines were drawn: even the Beatles nearly lost their collective heads up their bottoms with their 1967 premiere of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – a film that took mindless and directionless pretention to new depths. Fortunately, it had some great songs: which cannot be said for other bands that fell under the LSD spell of 1967.
The Rolling Stones delivered a stinker of an album in ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ – an album so desperate to be strange and deranged, it merely sounded contrived and misguided. The only decent track was a bad LSD nightmare trip through the cosmos (Pink Floyd influence here): ‘2000 Light Year From Home’.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Doors were making some cool blues and jazz influenced music but unfortunately had a lyricist with bad poetic pretentions that passed with the stoned crowd as being somehow meaningful. Jim Morrison, a genuinely charismatic and compelling singer, at least started to strip back the pretentions on their last and best album ‘LA Woman’ – but by then he was dead and his legacy, a ‘roman wilderness of pain’ as that immortal awful line from ‘The End’ said. Pity he didn’t live as I am sure he would have seen the era as the pile of deluded crap that it was.
At least Dylan did the sensible thing in 1967, and lay low, preferring to not be associated with the acid pranks of the head up the bum generation.
One of the earliest debunkers of the ‘stench of 1967’ was the Who’s Pete Townsend. He quickly made an about turn, maybe fired on by drummer Keith Moon’s famous opinion that ‘flower power and psychedelia was a load of crap’.
But Townsend must be charged with guilty as he went on to make the concept album ‘Tommy’. Except it wasn’t an album, it was a rock opera.

Even Townshend was a pompous twit. Still, at least it had some great songs on it to make up for the pseudo-spiritual plot of the story line.
And there is a word: ‘pseudo’…it became the zeitgeist defining buzzword for the era 1967-1976.
Suddenly, rock stars were indulged in their every whim and thought, like they were delivering the sermon from the mount. The trouble was, both them and the audience believed it: the mass delusion fallout from 1967 very much in evidence well into the 1970s.
John Lennon, encouraged by Yoko Ono, suddenly decided he wanted to be the avant garde Beatle (it was actually Paul, who first made himself familiar with outré composers such as John Cage). This resulted in the artistic decline of one of the sixties most innovative, honest and passionate songwriters. His songs were now his ‘art statements’. Yoko encouraged him and Lennon – probably so bombed out by drugs, gladly fell prey to the ‘me me me’ of obsessional self exploratory crap, the apex or nadir of which was the song ‘Imagine’ – a lyric so inane and naïve it should be banned for appealing too much to simple minded idiots everywhere, who believe it to be a ‘hymn for peace’ rather than the ‘message from Jesus John’ that it is. But at least it had a good tune and didn’t last too long.
The seventies saw the evil seed of 1967 sowed even bigger, more stupid, more indulgent and…more pompous: need I name the bands such as Yes and ELP who took the 1967 curse into ridiculously even more pretentious territories?
1967 then: the year it all went wrong. The Velvet Underground could have rescued rock, given it a new perspective, but the trouble was, people didn’t listen until ten years later. Until then, pop music was stolen away from its audience and replaced with your older serious brother’s record collection. No pop allowed. Rock n roll was far too simple.
1967 is to blame – the year it all went wrong.

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