Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Gone to Pop!


BBC Four have spent, virtually, the entire month of January trying to decide which was the best decade for pop music, beginning with the Fifties and ending with the Nineties. In the end, the choice came down to the one in which you were a teenager! I was a teenager in the Seventies and, surprise, surprise, the Seventies won. Looking at it in a more detached way, although my favourite decade of pop is the Seventies, I believe the Sixties was actually the most creative… if only because of The Beatles. I don’t mention them in the gooey-eyed nostalgic sense but when you listen to the records themselves, while they do contain terrific melodies and harmonies, they are simultaneously very experimental. And, it’s not just their later songs but also those released at the very beginning of their career. The Beatles were adventurous right from the off. Many people tend to choose “Sgt. Pepper”, from 1967, as the definitive album by the Fab Four but my preference is for the release that followed later the same year, namely “Magical Mystery Tour”. Certainly, many people cite the double A-sided single “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” as the best seven inch of the Sixties and both tracks appear on the album. Also included is the seminal anthem “All You Need is Love”. But, for me, the two songs that mark the record apart are Paul McCartney’s “The Fool on the Hill”, with its deliberately out of tune recorders, and especially John Lennon’s richly orchestrated “I am the Walrus”. How bizarre is the end of this song? Ringo chants “Oompa, oompa, stick it up your joompa” while a transistor radio is tuned and retuned over the strident strings. It sounds haphazard but, whether by luck or design, the song works. Chance played an important part in classical music of the time so, with producer George Martin’s guidance, this may be an influential factor worth taking into consideration.

So, in the face of The Beatles, why did the Seventies triumph? Put succinctly, Glam Rock and Punk! It was a decade of two halves. As The Beatles went their separate ways, Marc Bolan took centre stage with his glam band T-Rex and a succession of number one hit singles. He laid the foundations for David Bowie and Bryan Ferry to develop the genre further. These days Ferry is mistaken for a crooner but, like Lennon before him, he was an experimentalist. England had heard nothing like the sonorities to be found on Roxy Music’s debut single “Virginia Plain”. It certainly changed my life in 1972. I ended up composing and studying modern classical music at university for seven years because of it! Early Bowie seemed space obsessed and in the same year as the aforementioned Roxy record he penned and sang backing vocals on my all-time favourite single, “All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople. In the latter half of the decade, the very foundations of society trembled as Johnny Rotten spat out his rebellious lyrics with such vehemence and raw energy that no one could escape the onslaught. The Sex Pistols were over almost as quickly as they began with one proper album to their name lasting not much over thirty minutes in duration! But what an album with no less than four blinding singles. My preference, at the time, was for The Stranglers but there can be no denying the lasting influence, on the world of rock ‘n’ roll, of “Never Mind the Bollocks”! It’s not the easiest thing, to condense two decades of pop music into two paragraphs. I could’ve chosen different music entirely and talked about the impact of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones or “Lola” by The Kinks. I might’ve discussed “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” by the underrated Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel or any number of bitter-sweet love songs by The Buzzcocks, such was the diversity of these two decades!

5 comments:

marsha said...

I don't remember the 60s but I do remember the songs of the 70s. I think the 70s is my favorite decade. I know lots of 70 songs. I used to sing a few to my children when they were small.

TimeWarden said...

Hi Marsha. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

I'm growing to love the '60s more and more as time passes. My Mother took me to see The Beatles' movies when I was very young which might well have something to do with it!

Like you, though, the '70s remain my favourite decade, particularly the years '72 to '75. Which are your favourite '70s songs and which did you use to sing to your children?

Steve said...

Re: the Beatles - I personally rate Paperback Writer and Eleanor Rigby - the lyrics to which are superb. Like you I always preferred The Stranglers... I look back at the Pistols now and they see so "poppy"!

Steve said...

Sorry - "seem so poppy"!

TimeWarden said...

"Eleanor Rigby" is a favourite of mine too, Steve, along with numerous other Beatles' songs. The quantity and quality of their catalogue is something to which all other bands can only aspire!

The Stranglers were always my favourite punk band even if they were regarded as being too old for that particular label! "No More Heroes" is their finest single, in my opinion, a song which I had fun covering in my band at Uni!!