24
Apr 09

CULTURE CLUB – “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?”

FT + Popular104 comments • 5,173 views

#509, 23rd October 1982

Another of pop’s remarkable acts of self-creation: in the video for “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”, Boy George presents himself less as star, more as a kind of pop spirit, a dancing force of nature swaying through time and place, singular and uncageable. The metaphor the visuals ask you to reach for is straight society’s repression of the queer – but “Hurt Me” is far from a defiant song. “Give me time to realise my crime”: it’s not really freedom George is pleading for, more space for him and his other to understand their situation.

George’s disappearing acts in the video are reflected in the song’s uncanny lightness: it’s a paper-thin, gorgeously flimsy shuffle, the heft of reggae melted into air and breeze, which leaves George’s voice terribly vulnerable. That’s an asset to the record – Boy George didn’t have a weak voice, but he never sounded like a world-beater either, and exposing his singing to strain played up the sadness in his song (check “that boy loves without a REASON”). The only thing very wrong with “Hurt Me” is that after engineering a lovely, drifting fade it decides to pop back for a wholly unnecessary encore.

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Comments

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  1. 61

    also to the point, in the other direction: these various blues and r&b and jazz records were emerging on small labels (known at the time as “mongrels”), and being played and categorised from the outset as being outside the mainstream: niched by the industry away from the “proper” charts

    so there’s a sense in which waving these around as counter-examples (to something or other, i’ve lost track of the argument rather!) is misleading: or rather, it’s misleading to assume they ever came out of a single big giant bag called “pop of ages past” — some of them came (pretty consciously, in the 60s) out as a bag called “should have been the pop of ages past but wasn’t)

    mod — i would venture — has never* been terribly interested in refighting the injustices of the past, so much as niftily sidestepping the injustices of the immediate future

    *or at least, not until relatively recetly

  2. 62

    ^^^”the industry” in #61 meaning the US industry

  3. 63
    wichita lineman on 28 Apr 2009 #

    Re 60: Just to add two cents to this decades old pub argument: Roy Brown’s Good Rocking Tonight was ’47 according to Wikipedia, and Wynonie Harris’s version from ’48. Both GRT and Rocket 88 seem like straight up R&B records to me – Rocket 88 is very black, certainly “niche”, and kind of unexciting, really. Bill Haley & The Comets, desperately uncool as they were, really were the first to fuse the R&B/country/amplification combo.

    They covered Rocket 88 in ’51 and added an intro with a car starting up because Haley understood Pop – ie most songs will be improved by the sound of a car revving out of your radio.

    He told Melody Maker that “the real turning point for me came with a record called Icy Heart. This song broke into the country charts, and I was on the road to Nashville promoting that song and with an introduction to get me onto the Grand Ole Opry. Then, suddenly I had a call from Dave Miller (his manager). Somebody had started to play the other side, which was a fast boogie thing, Rock The Joint, and it was selling to blacks and to white teenagers. So he said, get back here, take off the cowboy hat and those boots and get yourself a tuxedo. You’re going into the northern club circuit. It happened just like that, literally.”

    Next, Haley picked up the title Crazy Man Crazy from teenage jive speak and used the title for a US number 12 hit in 1953; in the Pennsylvania/New England region it was a number one, and sold 100,000 copies. Again to Melody Maker: “We were booked into jazz clubs often, because there was no precedent for us. There was no rock’n’roll then. So, with a number one hit on the chart in Chicago in 1953, we found ourselves booked on a double bill with Dizzy Gillespie. The club owner hated us and he threw us out on the street.”

    And a year after THAT came Rock Around The Clock which took this mix of Hillbilly and Race stuff into mainstream.

    Re 61: Very neat summary of the mod problem. If they still called themselves modernists, maybe they could help to invent the future as well as re-inventing the past.

  4. 64

    leroi jones explicitly argues that very early r&b — the sax screamer stuff — comes in a direct line, performer-wise and venue-wise, from bebop: players like illinois jacquet are the link

    indeed he goes further and says that the distinction comes from whitey*

    (sadly i can’t cite any of this properly, or back it up, as it was on a record-sleeve i seem to have long since lost: but let’s just say while may have misstated LJ’s argt, i think my version of it has some truth)**

    *miles davis might also be a factor, but the direction “cool” went in didn’t please him…
    **elvis was known as the king of the western bop — where western bop inflects a little against western swing; i don’t think what elvis did WAS bebop but i think it fell into a similarly poorly defined territory, which (see above) has been separated out a lot more SINCE than it physically or socially was at the time, our more recent assumptions about category being projected backwards too strongly

    i think there’s a lot of tricky things going on in the haley thing: the labels i mentioned above were called mongrel bcz they feature black AND white artists, which was still very much a no-no in more respectable pop circles, so there’s that, and how GOOD was haley, actually — so there’s that

  5. 65
    wichita lineman on 28 Apr 2009 #

    So the labels were known as “mongrels”? Was any of the music they released by black AND white artists? I dunno about any of this and I’m intreeged.

    Taking this back to the mod>soulboy angle, Stax is more of a mongrel label than Motown, which had the audacity (according to Peter Guralnick and Gerri Hershey) to court white sales once it had broken into the mainstream but was initially niche (Mary Wells’ Bye Bye Baby, Barrett Strong’s Money, the Miracles’ Shop Around, quite unwhite). Stax started off cutting rockabilly, R&B, and straight pop, but happened to hit first with Carla Thomas’s Gee Whizz and the Mar Keys’ Last Night, so developed that sound into a formula. But Stax is somehow seen as untouchable, honest, southern (therefore more REAL than Chicago, New York, Detroit soul): a lazy overview that gets my goat.

    Yep, strong backwards projection is a problem, again a largely mod/soul snob issue. As well as King of Western Bop, Elvis was also the Hillbilly Cat, in case we forget this stuff was as marginalised (or outright ridiculed) as R&B/”race” music.

    Illinois Jacquet? Anything you can recommend?

  6. 66
    Jonathan Bogart on 28 Apr 2009 #

    For Jacquet, his cover of Benny Goodman (and Charlie Christian!)’s “Flying Home” is one of the canonical “first rock & roll records,” i.e. an early r&b growler. His “Tuxedo Junction” is also pretty hardassed compared to the supper-club moves of its composer (whose name escaped me just now … Erskine Hawkins?)

  7. 67
    AndyPandy on 28 Apr 2009 #

    I’ve read quite a bit over the years especially around the time of the Mod revival when outraged former (original) mods let off steam about real mod being all about soul singles and The Who/High Numbers and any other similar band although obviously having mod connotatins/connections not being what “real” mods would be into. And with Mods being about detail etc back then it probably sounds like it could have been the truth.

    I don’t know but is there some similarity to the possibility that a present day teenager who therefore wasn’t born at the time of the Acid house scene of the late 80s and who’s only ‘knowledge’ of that scene has been derived from a few ill informed articles would think that they’d have heard the Happy Mondays at a Acid house party in 1988/1989…maybe there was slightly more chance of the Who (possibly the High Numbers single maybe?) being played at certain Mod places than there ever was of the Happy Mondays being played at Sunrise etc but maybe similarities?

    Jimmy Saville was the first dj to use two decks in his club in Leeds although they also still had live music…is it really true about the bands being sent home I’m sure on articles in the local (yorkshire)press I’ve never heard that. I believe the first club that played records only with no bands booked at all was La Discotheque in 1962.

  8. 68
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 28 Apr 2009 #

    i’m at my dad’s house in shropshire and don’t have any of my books or records w/me, so can’t easily chase up this early r&b stuff till next week, unfortunately — “flying home” is certainly key though

    jacquet is someone who will be listed in jazz encyclopedias w/o the nerd-police lookin askance: a honker-screamer like big jay mcneely likely gets stopped at that door (possibly bcz as well as honkin and squealin — which dizzy gillespie is not exactly averse to, after all — mcneely would all the while be lyin on his back all covered in fairylights)

  9. 69
    wildheartedoutsider on 29 Apr 2009 #

    I’ve never had much time for the ‘official’ suggestions of the “first rock ‘n’ roll record”. The problem with attempting to draw a line in the sand at a particular point in what was a very long journey is that it seems too arbitrary to me. Very little music comes out of nowhere – almost every song has a precursor – and as soon as you start thinking about one contender for this title, it’s all too easy to look backwards a year or so and see an almost identical recording which pre-dates it. It’s especially difficult with a subject like “Rock n Roll” because it is such a broad ‘umbrella term’ that different people will have different views as to the qualities which define it and therefore the first examples of songs containing them.

    I spent a lot of time attempting to research this a few years back and I concluded that Pinetop Smith’s “Pinetop’s Boogie” from 1928 was probably about 90% Rock n Roll. Of course it probably also had its pecursors but they have either not survived or weren’t committed to record. Beyond that there are several recordings which seem to make a mockery of the history books… Big Bill Broonzy’s “How You Want It Done” from 1932, Cripple Clarence Lofton’s “Strut That Thing” from ’35… AND perhaps most of all, Buddy Jones’ “ROCKIN’ ROLLIN’ MAMA” from 1939! For anyone that’s interested, the track-listing for my own attempts at tracing the early evolution of this form can be found here:

    http://www.artofthemix.org/FindAMix/getcontents.asp?strMixID=93736

  10. 70
    pink champale on 29 Apr 2009 #

    i see this is now a bit of an x-post, but anyway

    where (if anywhere) do the beats and bebop fit in? this isn’t at all my area but it’s always seemed to me the beats were a pop audience waiting for someone to go and invent pop music. they seem to have been after the kind of a-contextual thrills that pop music – and particularly post ‘i feel love’ dance music – exists specifically to provide, but which no one was particularly thinking about before*.

    what this ignores of course (and this is where my ignorance is supreme) is all the non-beats else who were into bebop. who were they (and how many of them were there? was bebop the mainstream of jazz at that time or a tiny cult? and was jazz itself at all mainstream?) and what were they getting out of bebop? naturally the beats themselves are big on portraying the rest of the audience as naturally cool crazy black hepcats, but i’m not totally sure i trust this…

    *or perhaps only some people were at only some times – thrill power seems to be a big part of the point of wagner

  11. 71
    wichitalineman on 29 Apr 2009 #

    Re 69: A line in the sand still has sand either sand of it; I don’t think anyone would say R&R came out of nowhere, but the instrumentation and amplification issue marks a major change, in the same way crooners couldn’t have existed before 1926/27 when microphone technology enabled softer voices to be audible on 78s, leading to Bing Crosby rapidly becoming a superstar.

    I can’t open yr playlist, WHO, but I’m most intrigued to see it.

    As an example of mod/soul/R&R liquidity (had to scratch my head but eventually…) Otis Redding was a Little Richard clone (vocally, of course) when he first turned up at Stax, and only found his own voice when he sang ballads. There must be other examples.

    Re 70: My understanding is that jazz was absolutely the mainstream before WW2, and the Pre Rock ’45-’54 sound of largely ex-band members, largely crooning, was the line the mainstream followed – Bebop proved too hard (and unpop) for most performers and listeners to swallow. Not sure how mainstream it was within jazz circles… Lord S, help!

  12. 72
    wildheartedoutsider on 29 Apr 2009 #

    That site does seem to have a few problems these days so here’s the listing (I do take your point about there being sand either side of the line and as with any journey there are other routes you could take from A to B but this route made sense to me!):

    1 Pinetop Smith Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie (1928)
    2 Will Ezell Pitchin’ Boogie (1929)
    3 Cannon’s Jug Stompers Walk Right In (1929)
    4 Speckled Red The Dirty Dozen (1930)
    5 Tampa Red Boogie Woogie Dance (1931)
    6 Big Bill Broonzy How You Want It Done (1932)
    7 Jabo Williams Fat Mama Blues (1932)
    8 Leroy Carr Barrelhouse Woman (1934)
    9 The Delmore Brothers Brown’s Ferry Blues (1934)
    10 Leadbelly Midnight Special (1934)
    11 Cripple Clarence Lofton & Red Nelson Strut That Thing (I Don’t Know) (1935)
    12 Roosevelt Sykes The Honeydripper (1936)
    13 Casey Bill Weldon Back Door Blues (1936)
    14 Big Joe Turner & Pete Johnson Roll ‘Em Pete (1938)
    15 Claude Casey & His Pine State Playboys Pine State Honky Tonk (1938)
    16 Buddy Jones Rockin’ Rollin’ Mama (1939)
    17 Big Bill Broonzy Trucking Little Woman (1939)
    18 Harry James & Albert Ammons Woo Woo (1939)
    19 Tampa Red Don’t You Lie To Me (1940)
    20 Blind Boy Fuller Set It Up And Go (1940)
    21 Ted Daffan’s Texans Blue Steel Blues (1941)
    22 Big Bill Broonzy All By Myself (1941)
    23 Tampa Red & Big Maceo Let Me Play With Your Poodle (1942)
    24 Sister Rosetta Tharpe Strange Things Happening Everyday (1944)
    25 Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup Who’s Been Fooling You (1944)
    26 Arthur Smith Guitar Boogie (1945)
    27 T-Bone Walker T-Bone Boogie (1945)
    28 Helen Humes Be Baba Leba (1945)

  13. 73
    wildheartedoutsider on 29 Apr 2009 #

    RE: “As an example of mod/soul/R&R liquidity…” Of course in the early days there was no boundary at all… you have one of the earliest “Soul groups”, The Dominoes (which started the careers of Clyde McPhatter AND Jackie Wilson) whose “Sixty Minute Man” (1950) is often credited as containing the first usage of the phrase “rock n roll” on a record!

    It also strikes me that quite a few of the New Orleans acts slipped seamlessly from Rock n Roll to (quite funky) Soul – Ernie K Doe being a classic example – just compare “Mother-In-Law” with “Here Come The Girls”!

  14. 74
    Conrad on 29 Apr 2009 #

    Also in the chart while Culture Club were at Number 1, those New Pop luminaries The Animals, The Who and the Beatles

    “Which year did Derek and the Dominoes, Bing Crosby, The Animals, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Beatles all crop up in the UK chart?” good quiz question huh?… the answer, 1982 of course

  15. 75
    wildheartedoutsider on 29 Apr 2009 #

    OK – that was wierd – I wrote the above message, posted it, my PC crashed, the message wasnt there, I wrote it again and the original message suddenly appeared too!

  16. 76
    wichitalineman on 29 Apr 2009 #

    Thanks WHO. I love that version of Walk Right In, only knew the Rooftop Singers’ version before. You should make a cd of this playlist with yr thesis in tow (well, I’d buy one).

    A tip of the hat to We’re Gonna Rock We’re Gonna Roll, a four disc set on Proper which has country, R&B and blues proto-rock sets along with a fourth disc of mulching the genres, Rocket 88, Bill Haley’s Rock The Joint et al. There’s no one answer to the absolute roots of R&R. Just as well, really, otherwise less fun for us.

    Another hideous way of marking the passing time: the Beatles’ Love Me Do peaked (highest ever UK chart placing) at no.4 behind Culture Club, Kid Creole and the Kids From Fame. The ad campaign on London buses was “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! It was 20 years ago”. Add your own grisly punchline.

    1982 was the year I bought Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel – though I loved it, I thought My Death was literal and more than a little morbid. Wasted on the young et cet.

    “Let’s drink to that, and the passing time.”

  17. 77
    Jonathan Bogart on 29 Apr 2009 #

    I want to make it clear that I don’t at all disagree with wildheartedoutsider@69 as to the utility of the “first rock & roll record” concept. My use of the phrase was meant to be lightly mocking. And thanks for that list! I’m familiar with much of it, but I’m always ready to fill in gaps.

    And to pink champale@70, my understanding of the pop impulse is that it was fulfilled exactly by jazz in the teens and twenties. (In fact, if you listen to actual historians rather than to r&r boosters, the concept of the teenager was invented in the early twentieth century — to do with the expansion of the middle class and compulsory education — and ragtime and early jazz were their music of choice to rebel against stuffy old mum and dad, who usually did like Wagner.) Early jazz was dance music, not head music, and functioned pretty much exactly like raves, even to the consumption of controlled substances. The difference between the Jazz Age and the so-called Pop Era being mass media and the music industry’s tighter control over how people experienced music: the shift from live to records is a major part of it, but the thrillseekers were always there when it was live.

  18. 78
    Jonathan Bogart on 29 Apr 2009 #

    I am of course speaking from an American context: by comparison, in Britain a taste for jazz was confined to the decadent upper classes for many years. The sort of light classical which jazz killed in America stuck around there, no?

  19. 79
    AndyPandy on 29 Apr 2009 #

    And i ‘d like to add how ridiculous it seems that the orthodox view is that rock n roll started in the early-mid 50s and this view is quite happy to include vaguely rhythmic very tame stuff like the Everly Brothers or some of Buddy Hollys more tame stuff whilst excluding bangin, hard rhythm stuff (eg some of the stuff mentioned here) from the 30s and 40s…

    Jonathan at 78: I wouldn’t say that jazz was confined in Britain to the decadent upper classes I’d think that at least post 1920s the majority of its audience in the UK would be educated/aspirational upper working class and lower middle class…

  20. 80
    wichitalineman on 29 Apr 2009 #

    I Wanna Be Your Dog is more Punk than the Lurkers… I think you have to take contemporary attitudes into account when labeling music, because back projection and hindsight can make things very messy. Most people my parents age would be able to tell you what’s rock’n’roll and what isn’t because they lived through it; I don’t think we can say that’s “ridiculous”.

    “Bangin hard rhythm 30s stuff” is presumably R&B, though even that term didn’t exist until Jerry Wexler coined it while working for Billboard in the late 40s.

    I’d say it’s all ‘POP’ but that wasn’t a label til 46/47 and not a common term til the 50s.

    Enthusiasts have argued over just how R&R Buddy Holly is forevs, but the hyperventilating Rock Around With Ollie Vee is enough evidence for me. Or Rave On.

    The Everly Brothers’ toughest records were made in the mid 60s: The Price Of Love is one of the ‘missing’ no.1s (NME but not Guinness); the Love Is Strange/Man With Money single from ’65 is off the scale, and cut so loud the needle jumps out of the grooves on some record players.

    Both Holly and the Everlys are a lot more R&R to me than any amount of turgid rock that abuses the name like It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It)* or anything by AC/DC.

    *and what’s with the ‘only’? It Will Stand by the Showmen makes it seem like a life and death devotional cause, which is much more, errm, rock’n’roll.

  21. 81
    lonepilgrim on 29 Apr 2009 #

    what I’ve sometimes wondered is why there was such a revival of the phrase ‘rock and roll’ in songs in the 70s from ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It)’ to ‘Rock n Roll suicide’ to Gary Glitter and John Lennon, etc.
    Was there a dissatisfaction with the idea of ‘rock’?

  22. 82
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    re the beats: as a (public) movement, they don’t really begin till c.1956 (publication of howl), so they post-date the core wave of bebop, which had fragmented by then (charlie parker died in 1955), into various recognisably different streams — cool via miles, the honkers via jacquet etc, hard bop a little later

    the thing that’s unusual about bop — making it quite unlike most other music-waves — is that it was developed and played by people who were playing other kinds of jazz at the same time (literally earlier in the evening) and were bored and frustrated by its limitations: swing and big band required ferocious skills and was very competitive, but you only got to stand up and do yr thing now and then, and the rest of the time it was riff work or comping behind the singer or whatever

    the boppers came off the swing stand at 10-ish (or whenever) and convened at late night clubs to vent their frustration and play to their limits

    i don’t quite understand jonathan’s point about mass media: without records and radio, jazz would have remained a very small, very local new orleans/chicago sound, and very quaint indeed to modern ears* — its speed of outreach and its speed of evolution are both intimately linked to its arrival, first on record, then on radio — from the late 20s onwards, the imporant “big” bands (rarely more than 10-pieces) played club dates with radio hook-ups

    the first radioshow to play all-records is generally said to be martin block’s rather awesomely named “make-believe ballroom”, which began broadcast in 1935 (i doubt it was the first: there were an astonishing number of little radio stations, and i can’t believe someone else hadn’t tried this)

    even if you accept that “jazz” names a single type of music, jazz wasn’t at all the only pop stream that appealed to the young before ww2 (country is clearly another): the problem really is that the history of all the various streams, and their fan-bases, and their relationship to the various intertwined media, is (a) complicated anyway, and (b) coloured by any number of people trying to pitch for all kinds of ideological stuff in ref their subsequent tastes or beliefs or requirements (there are people who will argue that no proper jazz was made after 1922, when king oliver first introduced the saxophone!) (i might have got that date wrong as my books are all in london, but the claim is made — you may think it silly but you will need yr dialectical chops in order to best the people makin it, i promise you!)

    in ref latterday rock and roll fanatics: in my experience, the default position is trying to get back to the earliest possible date for its appearance, rather than insisting on poor old bill haley!

    as wichita has repeatedly pointed out, the lines in the sand you really CAN draw are technological — there really is a date before which kit-drums weren’t used; there really is a first time the voice was close-miked; electric bass isn’t used before 195-something… and so on… there are also records which first use phrases in lyrics, but this almost always means the phrase is already a popular codeword somehow

    *this claim is a bit of a cheat, of course, since “modern ears” derive their idea of quaintness and otherwise by their acute and extensive training in mass mediation

  23. 83
    wichitalineman on 29 Apr 2009 #

    Thanks for the Bop breakdown, Lord S. Would it be right to say smaller but equally loud bands like Louis Jordan’s started to put the 30s/40s style big bands out of business, allowing those former big band jazzers to concentrate on Bop while the new small-group generation were more involved in creating a repetitive groove/beat (and so becoming proto-R&R)?

    Also, re jazz as mainstream… would the likes of Paul Whiteman, the Dorseys and Benny Goodman be thought of as jazz-influenced dance bands, rather than jazz bands? That’s the 20s/30s/40s mainstream I was thinking of (and leaning on the charts of the period to define ‘mainstream’). Not the only stream, just the main one.

    (Soz for repeatedly mentioning technological barriers being jumped, I thought the point may have got lost upstream).

  24. 84
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    i think the bigger problem for the big bands was the war, actually — musicians (and audiences) being drafted and so on — and it simply not being economic as a reslt

    “would the likes of… be thought of”: difft answers for the difft ppl you cite, i think — and even then it depends who yr askin… whiteman is probably the most controversial (partly bcz he styled himself “king of jazz”, which rankles w/a lot of foax), but he consistently hired players no one denies were of high jazz caliber, such as bix beiderbecke; goodman few i think would deny was an excellent jazzman himself, and he very regularly played in small groups — though always led by him (i’m reasonably sure); his big band’s college tour (which i mentioned on a recent thread) was the moment that swing massively crossed over to a new college-age generation

    once again, a lot of the more heated argument was retrospective — with bebop and after, musicians themselves became keen to make claims about what the rights and wrongs of the music were; some of this was racial and political (claiming back the music from encroachers) and some of it was (as ever) people defending their own style against rival attractions

    also after bop, i think there was a down on the “pop” side of the music as opposed to the “art” side: its defenders so defensive about a supposed non-seriousness etc… all kinds of people were fighting back against this at different times in different ways, almost invariably rather conflictedly: someone like louis armstrong — who was still huge and very active until the 70s, and revered by all successive generations of jazzplayer however radical and spiky — would have been (in fact was) baffled by the line drawn against “pop”; meanwhile someone like louis prima — whose shtick is derived very closely from armstrong’s — is barely listed as a footnote in most jazz encyclopedias

    fundamentally, there’s isn’t a reason for making genre distinctions that isn’t ideological in some sense, and ditto “it started here” claims… you make the claim (about what kind of music a given song is) because you’re going on to make some other claim, about why it’s better or worse than some other song, or this genre is good but that is bad, or this kind of listening is the future and that kind is passé…

  25. 85
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    (incidentally i’m feeling some of these responses on specifics are more handwavy than i’d like them — thing is, not only are my books all elsewhere, but my internet connection has been TERRIBLE today, often disconnecting two or three times during a post, so i’m not able to hunt round google at speed for proper back-up information as well as post)

  26. 86
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    (i’m feeling some of these responses on specifics are more handwavy than i’d like them — not only are my books all elsewhere, but my internet connection has been TERRIBLE today, often disconnecting two or three times during a post, so i’m not able to hunt round google at speed for proper back-up information as well as post)

  27. 87
    Jonathan Bogart on 29 Apr 2009 #

    The mass media comment was meant to point more towards the consoldiation of media that happened (in the US) postwar (esp. given the rise of television) than to suggest that mass media played no role in the earlier waves. The recording industry’s increased control over how people heard music, linked to organizations like ASCAP, was the important difference, only changing within the current generation.

    AndyPandy@79: That’s what I get for believing Evelyn Waugh!

  28. 88
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    ah! i see — except i sort of don’t see: how did the recording industry have more control over how people heard music? obviously it was simply responsible for a bigger proportion of the music that was getting heard (though actually a huge amount more music was being heard also, simply in terms of ear-hours) — what is it you’re describing as “control” here? (control over what music gets recorded? absolutely — control over where and how it’s listened to? yes if you mean television, but no if you mean records, and one of the impulses of how listening changed in the 60s was a reaction against the narrowness of television — so control in one area drove loss of control in another…)

    (the consolidation of media is as you say enormously important, though i think i’d analyse the importance rather differently, unless i’m still misunderstanding you)

  29. 89
    Jonathan Bogart on 29 Apr 2009 #

    “Control” also seen as radio, via payola, was the other cornerstone of the idea. Also there is an emphasis on the pop charts that hadn’t existed before, a cultural emphasis reinforced by pop-music writers as much as by syndicated shows like American Top 40 (radio) and American Bandstand (TV). And because of the way Billboard compiles the charts, radio play matters to cultural perception in a way sales of actual records don’t.

  30. 90
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Apr 2009 #

    this is the phrase i don’t understand: “the music industry’s tighter control over how people experienced music”, especially when you also say “early jazz was dance music, not head music”

    records are what made it possible to become “head music” (if i understand what you mean by this), so rather than limiting the way people experienced jazz, they expanded it — and records and radio also allowed it to be heard by people who would never otherwise have heard it, so it expanded the way THEY heard it too

    i still don’t understand what you getting at re control and ascap and payola and etc: what’s the experience that’s being lost or limited or denied here? (that they could have been hearing other kinds of music if that had been recorded? or that they could have been listening to the same music in some other way?)

    (i’m sorry, it’s quite late over here — I think i’m going to go to bed and read this all again tomorrow, you’re probably making a terribly obvious point that i’m too sleepy to grasp)

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