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PaulEdwardWagemann

13 essential Rockism albums:

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~Hendrix came extremely close to making the list--actually the soundtrack to Woodstock was highly considered.

~The Stones werent included because I dont find them to be very creative and they did not create any albums that define Rockism. They simply globbed onto the latest fad and copied it, whether it was blues rock, psychedelia, country, or even disco. By the 80s they had settled into actually copying themselves--or rather the 'idea' of themselves. Terribly pathetic IMO. And although I admit there are examples where they did pretty good copycat material, it cannot be considered good enough to be definitive in terms of Rockism.

Maybe if there was a list made in 1984, then would have been on it, but by today's nu-Rockims standards they're pretty stale.

Edited by Guest

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And nu-Rockism...

So how come you say the Stones followed all the trends like psychedelia and Blues rock, but the Beatles and the Who didn't? I can't say anything about the other bands because while I am familiar with them, I don't think I'm familiar enough.

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And nu-Rockism...

So how come you say the Stones followed all the trends like psychedelia and Blues rock, but the Beatles and the Who didn't? I can't say anything about the other bands because while I am familiar with them, I don't think I'm familiar enough.

Admittedly the WHo and the Beatles followed trends, Pete Towsend for instance admitted to being inspired by the Kinks. But the Beatles and Who were also innovative. And they both made great music. The Stones made good music, but there was nothing innovative about them.

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Paul: I'm interested in your choice of The Clash's "Combat Rock". Personally, having been a fan of The Clash, I wouldn't choose it as my favourite of their albums, but I can recognise that it may have represented the first time the band moved away from music that consciously referenced the past and transcended the sum of their influences, with the result that the whole is more cohesive than some of their earlier efforts, (without necessarily being a more pleasurable listening experience). Does this go some way to explaining its greater appeal to the Rockist than "The Clash" or "London Calling" (which might be more commonly cited as the pinnacle of their achievement)?

*In passing though, I'd have to say that, relatively speaking, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" sucks, and only became a hit single on the back of its use to promote Levis Jeans.

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Personally I dont remember 'should I stay or should I go' being in a Levi's commercial (but i dont really watch Tv).

Most Rock Critics that I've read site London Calling as the Clash's masterpiece/most important album. But Combat Rock is the one that reaches Rockists--at least in America. I really cant speak for Rockists in the UK, for I dont know any very well.

All the albums on this list must create, define or advance some tenet of Rockism. Combat Rock was many years ahead of its time in this regard. 1982--when the album was released in the US--was a year that seemed like the music industry was on the verge of something big. Hair Metal was getting big, New Wave was huge, Punk was dead, but Hardcore was at its peak, Rap was starting to happen, meanwhile Trad Rockers were frantically circling the wagons. In the UK, this thing called Post-Punk was going on, which for the most part means little to an American Rockist. Yet Post-Punk did leave its mark on Rockism, and the Clash's Combat Rock illustrates this better than any other album.

The mark it left?

I like to say that combat Rock is post-punk's Sgt Peppers. It Rocks, but at the same time it uses untraditional 'Rock' instruments, everything from jazz saxaphone to drum machines. It also engages all kinds of innovations, like a sample (the toilet bowl clearner commercial in 'Inoculated City') and the idea of a vocal foil--a good example is in 'Red Angel Dragnet' (Foils btw became a big part of Rap--think Favor Flav)...

What this album did was give liscence or at least set a precedent for future American Indie bands. They showed it was possible to sound rough and tough while also sounding accomplished and experimental. I think the influence of Combat Rock can be heard on some of the later Butthole Surfers albums like Electric Larryland and on albums by Beck, the Beastie Boys and the Flaming Lips.

Another point I want to make about this album is the sound and tone of the guitars. Alot of Post-punk guitars sound wimpy to me. ALot of post-punk bands seemed to follow the Talking Heads lead of having the 'thin' sounding guitar which natuarally brought the bass guitar more to the forefront. The Clash didnt do this. They still have plenty of that raunchy guitar sound of their punk days--its just that now its interspersed with all these other instruments and devises.

Last of all, I want to mention the songs. I think every song on this disc is brilliantly written, brilliantly executed and brilliantly produced (except for 'overpowered by funk' which is the token dud that nearly every great album has). Each song is unique, yet they are all held together by some aspect of the Clash's signature sound. It is an album that was somehow accessible to mainstream middle-america thanks to a rather bizarre pop climate at the time. Its influence on Rockism may be so strongly felt because it came at sort of a Middle Ages in Rockism history, and because of that it can bridge some of the gaps between Old School and new School. In otherwords, it is an album that can introduce the old timers to some new direction that Rockism began taking in the 80s and it can also be a touchstone that allows the new schoolers to appreciate some of the exciting things that were happening in the 80s. In this, it is similar to the Talking Heads 'Remain In Light', 'Fear of Music' and 'The Name of this band is Talking Heads' (to be honest it was almost a coin toss as whether to include Combat Rock or The Name of This band Is Talking Heads).

Edited by Guest

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Thanks, Paul. I get what you're saying. :thumbsup:

"The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads" is also an excellent album. It was through picking this up cheap in a bargain bin that got me back into the habit of listening to Talking Heads, and buying up their back catalogue. Well, the earlier stuff anyway..."Remain In Light" is a great album too, mind you.

Re: "Should I Stay....": the Levis ad was probably only used in the UK. It brought the band their only No.1 in the UK "hit-parade"; this was some 7 or 8 years after it was originally released as a double A side single, b/w the infinitely superior "Straight To Hell", if memory serves.....This was all pretty ironic, given that the band had always hindered their chances of really "populist" success, by refusing "as a matter of principle" to appear on the Top Of The Pops show , the single most influential factor upon singles sales /chart positions at the time. Resulting from the chart-success generated by the Levis ad, "Should I Stay...?" became a sort of "Come On Eileen" for the 90s......

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Earlier on in the thread you stressed the importance of creativity and innovation, yet of those bands you name.... well I'm pretty familiar with the first three at least and I would contend that none are distinguished by those characteristics. In fact, whilst these bands are vital and exciting in different ways, they are actually quite conservative. Is it a pre-requisite of rockism to achieve that fine balance between the essentially conservative and the progressive?

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Earlier on in the thread you stressed the importance of creativity and innovation, yet of those bands you name.... well I'm pretty familiar with the first three at least and I would contend that none are distinguished by those characteristics. In fact, whilst these bands are vital and exciting in different ways, they are actually quite conservative. Is it a pre-requisite of rockism to achieve that fine balance between the essentially conservative and the progressive?

Name an album and I'll tell you why its on the list. Each one is on for different reasons, but in general they all have either created a foundation or erected a pillar for Rock to evolve so that it continues to be a relevent vehicle of expression...

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I don't see how Pink Floyd tried to keep the spirit of rock alive with Piper. I mean, it's a great album, but it was a very important record in the creation of progressive rock, which many people think nearly killed rock.

(Nothing against prog, it's one of my favorite genres).

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Blind-fitter, I admire your tenacity in trying to get a straight answer out of Mr. PEW on this subject. More power to you, brother.

Tenacious; I am nothing, if not tenacious.

However, on reflection, I would like to point out that on this occasion I am merely pursuing a polite line of enquiry borne of a genuine interest.

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I don't see how Pink Floyd tried to keep the spirit of rock alive with Piper. I mean, it's a great album, but it was a very important record in the creation of progressive rock, which many people think nearly killed rock.

(Nothing against prog, it's one of my favorite genres).

Its really not a matter of 'trying' to keep the spirit of Rock alive--in fact if they were intentionally trying to do that, they would probablly fail. But it is a matter of putting a new twist on Rock, or expanding the boundaries of Rock, or even fusing Rock with something else (maybe fusing it with rap, or maybe fusing it with film/video, etc.) Piper and Pepper both have alot in common, and it might now seem very wise to have two albums on the list that were recorded at the same time (1967), in the same place (abbey road studios) and in a similar genre (psychedelic rock), for that reeks of giving too much importance to that particular scene/genre/style or what have you.

Sgt Peppers has to be on the lsit because of the impact it had on society, the music industry, art, culture, etc.

But Piper is on the list because its just that damn good and original. Plus even though its impact was not felt as immediatley as Pepper, it has been an influence not only on Prog ROck, but on post-Punk, Art Rock and 80s/90s indie rock. Also, whereas Pepper shifted the focus of Rock from a singles-based music to an album oriented one, Piper basically said to Rock Acts, "Hey, lets forget about singles altogether and just make good music--good albums."

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1. Can anyone name an album that sounded like Japan's Quiet Life that came before 1979?

2. How about a band that sounded like Metallica before Metallica ever made its debut?

3. Is there an artist that came before Prince who was a musical virtuoso AND had the same cross-over appeal?

4. Madonna gets little respect from the entire music spectrum of critics, but is there an album that matches Madonna's debut that came before it?

5. Name an artist that came before Laurie Anderson whose opus was built around multi-media performances.

6. Is there a composer who did a score for a Western film that came before Ennio Morricone's "Man With Name"/"Magnificent Stranger" trilogy - and sounded like it?

7. How about the use of theremins for a sci-fi movie before Bernard Herrmann's score for The Day The Earth Stood Still?

8. Is there a band that came prior to Front 242 which was EBM?

9. Better yet, who made Industrial music records before Throbbing Gristle (unless you wanna go as far back as Italian Futurists and John Cage)?

10. What other band sounded like The New York Dolls before The New York Dolls arrived on the scene? Maybe The Stooges?

11. Who else was making ambient soundscapes the way Brian Eno was?

12. Is there any other Neo-Folk album out there that was being pressed before Death In June's Nada!?

13. Agreed on Pink Floyd. Anything with Syd Barrett, that is. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was a few years ahead of its time - ahead of even those who were at the forefront of such music. The only other band whom I'd think could have rivaled this album are Can (and they debuted two years later: http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:n7rvad7kv8w8 ).

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Anything from Stevie's mid 70's period could be considered Pop. There are straight r&b songs, pop songs, funk songs, latin-flavoured things - even Jeff Beck plays on "Lookin' For Another Pure Love". So there's the rock. :) All the grammys and #1 songs are a pretty good sign of crossover appeal. I love, love "Purple Rain", and I will agree that it's much more of a pure pop album than any of Stevie's, but I don't like to think of Stevie as "an r&b singer". Not that you were suggesting that, of course...

Tons was the group that put out the original versions of 7 songs from Madonna's debut back when she was still a drummer. You should check them out.

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Ah! I need to get that album. I do have that - how you say? - misconception that a lot of Stevie Wonder's music is Soul and Motown oriented, but that's because I only have a couple of his songs in Soul compilations(!). If you're referring to Talking Book, then that's the one I was just reading right now at Amazon. That's it. Next paycheck I'm gettin' dat.

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