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Emerging Bands In The 1970's And Critic's Responses To Them

1472 words - 6 pages

The world’s interest in rock and roll was growing, and by 1970, it had become an object of much commentary and criticism. Some of this criticism was favorable and some was not. If one thing was for sure, it was that critics did not hold back when giving their opinion about an artist.In an article from esquire magazine, Robert Christgau discusses his thoughts on the Monkees. The Monkees were a pop singing foursome assembled to star in the television series also entitled “The Monkees” from 1965-1968. The primary members were Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork. Christgau described the Monkees as a “wholesome American substitute for the Beatles.” (p. 215) He believed that serious fans of rock and roll didn’t like them not because they disliked the music but because they were brought together to make a television show. However, Christgau thinks they are pretty good; “better than what makes up much of the top ten.” (p.215) He thinks they have potential to improve, but will be nothing neat what their look-alikes, the Beatles, are. Six months later, Christgau released a follow up article on the Monkees. He writes about how the Monkees “…took a big gamble by releasing an album and a single at about the same time as the big fellas from England.” Headquarters, the Monkees’ new album, released at around the same time as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, does not sell well at all. Christgau believes that the band has somewhat improved musicians, but then goes on to talk about how he saw their set at Forest Hills and it was awful. “…the act was unbelievably corny. The kids screamed, of course, but the stadium was far from full, and the one lonely rush at the stage quickly stymied by a bored and overstaffed security force. Good signs.” (p. 215)Lester Bangs was a music critic who wrote for both “Creem” and “Rolling Stone” magazines. He was a man who enjoyed the simplistic and non-pretentious side of music. He was a big fan of the Stooges, whose music he described as monotonous and simplistic on purpose,” and thought that they “work deftly with musical ideas that may not be highly sophisticated but are certainly advanced.” (p.232) Bangs wrote that the ominous and mindless pulsations that arose from simple two-chord guitar lines were an “effective hypnotic counterpoint to the sullen plaint of Iggy Pop’s words.” (p. 232) He thought that Iggy, who was the Stooges front man, wrote some of the best lines in rock and roll.Bangs made a very interesting observation about rock in the 70’s. He stated that, “…a decided majority of the rising bands were composed of ex-folkies, as opposed to previous waves whose roots had lain in 50s rock and R&B but never crossed paths with the college mobs of coffee house banjo-pickers who almost unanimously, from Kingston Trio frat sweaters to hip...

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