This Carbon Based Music

The purpose of this here page isn’t to preach or proselytize. It’s not to say our music is better than your music in a generational rock throwing contest. Music is a river it’s important to know where it comes from. I once gave a teenage nephew the first Black Sabbath CD. He listened to it and said, “This explains so much.”

Before it was Classic Rock, it was Rock. Before it was Rock, it was Rock and Roll. A fusion of blues, gospel, and Appalachian folk music. A musical melting pot of America, the voice of the rising, the voice of youth. Kicking in doors and breaking down barriers changing the way music was made. A producer would buy a song from a song writer. He would arrange it and hire musicians to play the music. The singer would sing, and the cash register would ring, you dig?

But suddenly there was a kid from Texas who wrote his own songs that he produced himself. A power trio, guitar drums and bass. The line from Buddy Holly and the Crickets to Green Day is straight and unchained.

Buddy had twenty top forty hits in his short career. Most of us remember Buddy but who remembers Eddie Cochran? He died young as well, almost a metaphor now, plane crashes, auto accidents and rock stars dying young.

The raw enthusiasm, wild in the streets. Jerry Lee Lewis was The Killer. Why did Sam Phillips sell Elvis’s contract? Because he still had Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash on his Sun label. Carl Perkins was injured in an auto accident and Jerry Lee’s career faded after he married his fourteen-year old second cousin.

Jerry Lee was radical; this music was considered improper and immoral. Preachers preached and politicians made speeches over the evils of demon Rock and Roll. But behind most of the falderal was race. Inter-racial dancing was verboten.

White America had the answer! White girls dancing in front of black men? No, the cure…Pat Boone!

Over the years Pat Boone’s version of Tutti Frutti if played loud enough will empty out a house party in seconds and can also be used to remove owls from a barn. It was simple, racist white America could not tolerate their daughters adoring black artists then came this guy.

Jailed in 1962 for crossing state lines with an underage girl. He served a year but the damage was done, his career continued but failed to reach his previous heights. His attitude and his stage performances set the bar for Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone rated him number five in all-time Rock and Roll greats.

Let’s add some perspective to the picture. You’re listening to this classic Rock and Roll with 21st Century ears. This was the competition, this was mainstream.  You could find this music everywhere you had to seek out the Rock and Roll.

Think about it like this, a 1957 version of Justin Bieber. This was pop music vapid and empty with all the enthusiasm of a parked car. Little girl music but this was the mainstream.