Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"The History of Rock: 1967" by Uncut Magazine

"The History of Rock/1967" by Uncut Magazine

How can anyone who is not touched by pop music, can possibly avoid the publications edited by Uncut, that focuses on one year in rock, via the original articles from Melody Maker and New Musical Express.   The issue I have just read, "1967," is simply fascinating.   It was the year of "Smiley Smile," "Sgt. Pepper" and "Magical Mystery Tour," along with the dark psych sounds of the Stones' "Their Santanic Majesties Request."   On one level, it is like traveling back in time, but for me, it is being in the 'now, ' and looking back to the past.   The two previous issues "1965" and "1966" one sees a progression of the old style of pop writing, which is basically a PR for the music business.   "1966" you start getting more journalistic approach to the music world, as it got more serious and baroque like.   "1967" is the first year of Technocolor for the pop world.  The previous years were very much like a black and white film.  

Jimi Hendrix, who is the cover figure for "1967" is the perfect example of color (not only skin) becoming prominent in that culture.   A lot of clothing from that period looks like left-over designs from the turn of the century, but now in living color.   The Stones were always either in muted or dark colors or black and white, but "Santanic" album is one of bright colors.   Scott Walker with the Walker Brothers featured greatly in '65 and '66, but one would think of them as black and white as well.    So overall, pop in the 60's became one of color, when before, it was dark shades of gray or stark black and white.   Also one notice that the major Dylan presence in '65 and '66 is non-existent in 1967.   Yet, his sense of adventure is everywhere in pop music at the time.

And singles are still important, but albums are making a strong aesthetic stand in 1967.  "Pepper" is like a novel, and so is the Stones "Santanic" album, and if one reads carefully, the death of Brian Epstein sort of brings in the end of the manager superstar.  "1965" was sort of a new world, and '66 was a time of exploring, but 1967 was a year of spiritual awareness or curiosity (especially for the Fab Four), and one gets the impression by reading this publication that everything was about to end.  In what way, no one knew.   One thing that is interesting, is that questioning in the interviews with the many artists are in a serious vein.    Some on war, but a lot of chatting among the press and the artist on the subject matter of drugs (mostly due to the Stones being busted that year) as well as God.

In "1967" we are introduced to The Monkees, Bee Gees, Cream, Traffic, The Who, The Move, Syd's Pink Floyd and the first pop festival, Monterey. .    A touch of flower power as well.  Everything was peaking, but then, it dimmed quickly.

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