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Media Sociology M U S I C

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Prog Rock PPP (Media Sociology)

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Media Sociology M U S I C

  1. 1. media sociology M U S I C
  2. 2. the sociology of music <ul><li>some areas of concern and analysis… </li></ul><ul><li>the organisation of the music ‘industry’ </li></ul><ul><li>music as big business </li></ul><ul><li>the “teenager” </li></ul><ul><li>aesthetics... </li></ul>
  3. 3. some form of cultural rebellion? <ul><li>statements of identity and resistance to dominant norms and values? </li></ul><ul><li>“ hippies” and their music </li></ul><ul><li>“ mods” – “rockers” </li></ul><ul><li>the “punk” era </li></ul>
  4. 4. Peter Wicke Rock Music [1990] <ul><li>The consideration of rock from a sociological standpoint makes it possible to regard its development as part of the fans’ everyday lives and leisure and to understand it as such (Wicke 1990: xi). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Peter Wicke <ul><li>rock’s ‘social roots’. </li></ul><ul><li>rock has many different ‘levels’ under its ‘musical surface’. </li></ul><ul><li>music and songs are not isolated objects... </li></ul>
  6. 6. from this sketchy - and undoubtedly incomplete – account… what of today? <ul><li>the notion of music as ‘rebellion’ or ‘challenge’ </li></ul><ul><li>and the ‘banning’ of popular music from the public and commercial airways... </li></ul>
  7. 7. music as expression of subcultural or countercultural values? <ul><li>so…. </li></ul><ul><li>punk? </li></ul><ul><li>hippies? </li></ul><ul><li>rap? </li></ul><ul><li>what about ‘New Romantics’? </li></ul><ul><li>or so-called ‘glam’ rock? </li></ul><ul><li>1970s “cock rock”? </li></ul>
  8. 8. no… following Edward Macan’s (a ‘mallet percussionist’ and pianist) 1997 Rocking the Classics: <ul><li>English ‘progressive rock’ </li></ul>
  9. 9. Yes
  10. 10. Genesis
  11. 11. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  12. 12. The Pink Floyd
  13. 13. King Crimson
  14. 14. Jethro Tull
  15. 15. Gong
  16. 16. Camel
  17. 17. Caravan
  18. 18. Gentle Giant
  19. 19. Van der Graaf Generator
  20. 20. a challenge? <ul><li>To think that progressive rockers represent any challenge to the system means moving beyond regarding them and their style as elitist and self-indulgent. </li></ul><ul><li>massive stage shows with dry ice and flying pigs apparently has nothing to do with ‘challenging’ anything. </li></ul><ul><li>to utilise the complexity and length of classical music is even to betray rock’s ‘three-minute heritage’. </li></ul><ul><li>themes drawn from science fiction, fantasy and mythological literature: going to translate into social revolt? </li></ul>
  21. 21. the ‘Left’ regard ‘new social movements’ made up of the comfortable middle classes as inauthentic expressions of social discontent at best <ul><li>similarly… </li></ul><ul><li>how can these middle-class bands </li></ul><ul><li>with their middle-class fans </li></ul><ul><li>and their influences that include classical music, romantic poetry, wishy-washy Eastern religious themes and the avant-garde in general </li></ul><ul><li>be any challenge to the status quo? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Edward Macan notes… <ul><li>that we might find ‘hippie’ elements of progressive rock quite appealing:- </li></ul><ul><li>critiques of materialism; </li></ul><ul><li>the spiritual complacency of mainstream society; </li></ul><ul><li>the sense of ‘rootlessness’ and ‘alienation’ </li></ul><ul><li>But as for their ‘solutions’.... </li></ul><ul><li>recreational drug use </li></ul><ul><li>‘ free love’ </li></ul><ul><li>might be seen as further problems rather than ‘remedies’ for societal ills. </li></ul>
  23. 23. These ‘solutions’, for critics, are marked by the aspiration of the self-indulgent middle class pseudo-radicals with nothing to really complain about... <ul><li>these relatively privileged people cannot be seen in the same light as genuinely disaffected working class punks or discriminated-against reggae artists and their fans. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Macan looks at the social location of the prog rockers… <ul><li>He notes that they have never been likely to present themselves as “working class heroes”… </li></ul><ul><li>English progressive rock emerged from the South of England in the main... </li></ul><ul><li>universities & the Anglican church… </li></ul><ul><li>… constitutive of the M/C reality of the bands and their fans. </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>The UFO Club </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Earth </li></ul><ul><li>The Marquee </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Albert Hall </li></ul><ul><li>The Rainbow Theatre </li></ul><ul><li>Lyceum </li></ul>
  26. 26. cultural factors at work in southern England ‘which made it a logical birthplace of progressive rock’ (Macan 1997: 147). <ul><li>Anglican aspect of this region…. </li></ul><ul><li>… Peter Gabriel, Chris Squire, Patrick Moraz, Robert Fripp, Keith Emerson - were choir boys or musicians in their churches. </li></ul><ul><li>not “art school” (Beatles, Stones, Who) – but university </li></ul><ul><li>familiarity with the European classical repertoire </li></ul>
  27. 27. Prog Rock’s fans. <ul><li>before the commercial explosion of prog rock onto the arena circuit (eg 1966-1970/1), both PR musicians and audiences were in a general sense alike. </li></ul><ul><li>a regionally distinct musical subculture with an homogeneity with regards to age and social class. </li></ul>
  28. 28. At clubs and other venues, both band members and audience mixed together - no distant ‘stars’ and their fans <ul><li>audience members knew band members from contact at university and college as much as at gigs and concerts. </li></ul>
  29. 29. When not at gigs, fans found together listening closely to the latest albums. They sit quietly, listening and smoking dope. <ul><li>English hippies, then, may be seen as a genuine subculture.... </li></ul><ul><li>audiences would make the listening to the music, even at gigs, their primary aim. </li></ul><ul><li>Gigs were not places you go to encounter music to dance to. </li></ul><ul><li>In this sense, the audience influenced the musicians as much as the other way around. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Robert Wyatt - Soft Machine <ul><li>audience - recreational drugs </li></ul><ul><li>would simply sit down cross-legged during gigs </li></ul><ul><li>music could ‘expand’ and ‘take its time’. </li></ul><ul><li>audience created the atmosphere for the music.... </li></ul><ul><li>a gently drone to slowly introduce a track... </li></ul><ul><li>a song’s INTRO may last 30 minutes. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Martin Cloonan (1996) Banned!: Censorship of popular music in Britain: 1967-92. <ul><li>For my purposes censorship is: the attempt to interfere, either pre- or post-publication, with the artistic expressions of popular musicians, with the view to stifling, or significantly altering that express-ion. This includes procedures of marginalisation, as well as the overt banning, of such expressions. Note that this includes market, as well as moral, censor-ship (Cloonan 1996: 23). </li></ul>
  32. 32. the polarisation of the “censorship debate”… <ul><li>Liberals and Conservatives </li></ul>
  33. 33. Cloonan… <ul><li>suggests that the history of censorship in Britain predicated on notions of ‘protecting’ children... </li></ul><ul><li>‘ protecting’ them from some forms of music </li></ul><ul><li>certain record sleeves </li></ul><ul><li>wandering innocently into some concerts </li></ul><ul><li>from TV </li></ul><ul><li>hearing ‘it’ on radio </li></ul><ul><li>experiencing ‘it’ at ‘raves’. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Cloonan - first ‘notable instance’ of the censoring of music in the early 1400s (!) with an edict issued by Henry V. <ul><li>another instance from 1533... </li></ul><ul><li>attempts to ban music are based on the effects on the ‘youth of the realm’... </li></ul><ul><li>a fear that ‘ditties’, ‘ballads’ and ‘rimes’, (especially ‘lewd’ ones) might ‘craftily instruct’ the King’s people. </li></ul>
  35. 35. the censorial ages…. <ul><li>blasphemy banned in 1617; </li></ul><ul><li>swearing in 1623; </li></ul><ul><li>‘ obscenity’ a crime in 1727 </li></ul><ul><li>Lord Chamberlain censors plays from 1737 (until 1968); </li></ul><ul><li>an Act of 1847 (Town Clauses Act) forbids ‘profane or indecent literature’ and bans ‘the singing of obscene songs’ and using language that ‘may offend others’; </li></ul><ul><li>1857: Britain’s first Obscene Publications Act (OPA); </li></ul><ul><li>1876: Customs Consolidation Act allows the seizure of ‘obscene articles’; </li></ul><ul><li>1911: Official Secrets Act; </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>1912: introduction of ‘D-notices’, used to silence the press; </li></ul><ul><li>1913: BBFC (changed from ‘Censors’ to ‘Classification’ in 1985); </li></ul><ul><li>W.W.I: music hall songs carefully vetted. </li></ul><ul><li>W.W.II: BBC checked to see that it played only the ‘right’ type of music. (Forces’ networks careful not to play anything that might make soldiers homesick); </li></ul><ul><li>1941: music of Alan Bush banned because he was a Marxist; </li></ul><ul><li>1950s: fears about the Americanisation of British culture; </li></ul><ul><li>1954: fears about the consequences of the introduction of commercial TV; </li></ul><ul><li>1955: British panic over the content of N. American comics for children (passing of Children’s and Young Persons Harmful Publications Act); </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>1959: Obscene Publications Act (this Act used to prosecute DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The prosecution failed, but not that of Frederick Snow who published A Ladies’ Directory of Prostitutes. The results in these two cases were interpreted as preserving ‘art’ while punishing ‘filth’); </li></ul><ul><li>1964: OPA extended; </li></ul><ul><li>1970s: ‘Underground’ magazines ( IT and Oz ) were targeted - the prosecutor in the Oz trial said the mag stood for ‘dope, rock ‘n’ roll and fucking in the street’; </li></ul><ul><li>1977: Gay News found guilty of blasphemous libel for publishing a poem, The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name by James Kirkup; </li></ul><ul><li>1977: plans to make a film about the sex life of Christ stopped. Director prevented from entering the country by Home Sec. Merlyn Rees on the grounds that his presence not ‘conducive to the public good’; </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>1980s: Obscene Publications Act used frequently against pop records and TV progs; various panics over ‘video nasties’; </li></ul><ul><li>1982: various forms of censorship connected to ‘Falklands’ War, including vetting of journalists allowed to travel with the British ‘task force’; </li></ul><ul><li>1984: drugs-related literature targeted; </li></ul><ul><li>1986: Peter Wright’s Spycatcher ; </li></ul><ul><li>1987: BBC film on Zircon missiles banned; Channel 4 prog on Birmingham 6 banned; government stop radio programme feature national security staff; another attempt (by Tory MP Gerald Howard) to extend the 1959 OPA; </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>1988: homophobic Claus 28 included in Local Gov. Act; ban on making statements that support terrorism; Sinn Fein banned from airways until 1994; </li></ul><ul><li>1990: moves against ‘raves’ in the Entertainments (Increased Penalties) Act; </li></ul><ul><li>1991: journalist John Simpson complains about restrictions on information relating to the Gulf War; BBC ‘decide not to’ show The Last Temptation of Christ. </li></ul>
  40. 40. back to music… <ul><li>Olivia Newton John’s ‘Physical’ </li></ul><ul><li>John Denver’s ‘Rocky Mountain High’ attacked for promoting sex and drugs </li></ul><ul><li>Ozzy Osbourne </li></ul>
  41. 41. “ban” – difficult for the BBC… <ul><li>prefer notion that there were simple some songs that they ‘didn’t play’.... </li></ul><ul><li>& some songs were only played after 9pm as a way of avoiding ‘offending’ certain listeners. </li></ul><ul><li>One means of control devise by the BBC was their R1 daytime ‘playlist’ </li></ul>
  42. 42. Radio 1 playlist…. <ul><li>A list : 20 records - about 15 plays per week; </li></ul><ul><li>B list : 20 records - about 10 plays; </li></ul><ul><li>C list : up to 10 records - a ‘few’ plays </li></ul>
  43. 43. Cloonan - ‘bans’ in context... <ul><li>Banning A Day In The Life might now seem absurd </li></ul><ul><li>but in 1967 there were frequent moral panics about drug culture and ‘youth culture’ in general. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1972 the non-playing of Wings’ Give Ireland Back to the Irish (which coincided with Lennon & Ono doing a song about Ireland) released at a particularly sensitive time (‘Bloody Sunday’). </li></ul><ul><li>Not surprisingly ‘Auntie’ carefully monitored the sexual content of songs.... </li></ul><ul><li>....although often got it wrong - Walk On the Wild Side. </li></ul>
  44. 44. “banned”… <ul><li>1967: Scott Walker’s Jacky because it was ‘bawdy’ and referred to ‘authentic queers’ and ‘phoney virgins’ (Marc Almond covered the song in 1991 when R1 played it with no problems); </li></ul><ul><li>1969: Max Romeo - Wet Dream - contained the line, ‘Lie down girl let me push it up...’; </li></ul><ul><li>1969: Peter Sarstedt - Take Your Clothes Off ; </li></ul><ul><li>1969: (famously) - Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je T’Aime ; </li></ul><ul><li>1972: All of Judge Dread’s ‘Big’ series - 6-10. </li></ul><ul><li>1972: Wings - Hi, Hi, Hi – (rabbit, grab it, body gun); </li></ul><ul><li>1973: Procol Harum - Souvenir of London (about VD); </li></ul><ul><li>1975: Donna Summer - Love To Love You Baby (heavy breathing); </li></ul><ul><li>1977: Stranglers - Peaches; Buzzcocks - Orgasm; X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage! Up Yours!; </li></ul><ul><li>1978: Ivor Biggun - Winkers Song. </li></ul>
  45. 45. <ul><li>The Tom Robinson Band’s 1978 EP featuring Glad To Be Gay caused concern in the BBC - they did not want to appear homophobic - playing other tracks, even those GtbG was the main A-side cut. </li></ul><ul><li>most infamous ban of the 1980s was Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax. </li></ul><ul><li>1987: George Michael - I Want Your Sex played only after 9pm. </li></ul><ul><li>1987: Tams’ There Ain’t Nothing Like Shaggin’. </li></ul>
  46. 46. bans on music for political reasons… <ul><li>Before R1 (1965) BBC banned Eve of Destruction. </li></ul><ul><li>1972: Give Ireland Back to the Irish . </li></ul><ul><li>The BBC also banned McGuinness Flint’s record in 1972, Let the People Go, because it was a protest against internment. [1] </li></ul><ul><li>1976: Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK - banned during the day. This followed the infamous Grundy interview; </li></ul><ul><li>Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen - ‘gross bad taste’ as the record’s release tied in with the Jubilee celebrations. Evidence that the sales figures were falsified in order that the record did not feature at number one on jubilee week. </li></ul><ul><li>[1] At the same time Allan Taylor’s Belfast ‘71 was played by the BBC. Spokesperson explained that, ‘The McCartney and McGuinness Flint records take a definite political standpoint. Belfast ‘71 merely comments on the sadness of the situation’ (Melody Maker, 1972, cited in Cloonan 1996: 115). </li></ul>
  47. 47. <ul><li>1978: Steel Pulse - KKK; </li></ul><ul><li>1981: Heaven 17 - We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing - the BBC thought the record libelled Ronald Reagan (‘Reagan, fascist guard’), so banned it - Heaven 17 recorded a special radio version with new words: ‘Stateside cowboy guard’. </li></ul><ul><li>1983: words changed in the Icicle Works’ Gun Boys due to ‘Falklands’ ref. </li></ul><ul><li>1984: Paul - Soul Deep - about the Miners’ strike. </li></ul><ul><li>1987: Baby A - No Respect; </li></ul><ul><li>[1990s - Gulf War ‘list’]. </li></ul><ul><li>1991: The Rolling Stones - High Wire - selling arms to Iraq; </li></ul><ul><li>1991: Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Bloodsports For All - about racism in the army. </li></ul>
  48. 48. “and finally”… <ul><li>some got through the BBC net... </li></ul><ul><li>Walk on the Wild Side; </li></ul><ul><li>Pillow Talk by Sylvia; </li></ul><ul><li>I Touch Myself by The Divinyls (about female masturbation); </li></ul><ul><li>Purple Haze; </li></ul><ul><li>Cold Turkey; </li></ul><ul><li>Cocaine. </li></ul>

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