Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Ok .. I am in possession of 224 printed pages of deliciousness which is the Rock Yearbook Volume V, thanks to the still rockin'  PO at work.
Apart from the obvious nostalgia factor (this was published in 1984), its interesting how caustic mag crit used to be, and it also shows how conservative we have become!! 

Here are some choice examples:

Genesis - Genesis
"'Duke' was bad but this is appalling. Kill it now, Phil, put it out of its misery."

Robin Gibb - How Old Are You
"Middle-aged Gibb trembles through his pile of sickly tunes in what is a pretty disgusting album."

10CC - Windows in the Jungle
"Their music is virtually indistinguishable from the hum of the Xerox machine."

Things have certainly changed since then, most glaringly where "genres" are concerned.

In the 80s, electro was certainly different to electronic .... in fact ... its like saying that rock n roll is different to R & B, both rooted in the same foundations, but diverging along (unfortunately) colour lines ... In the 80s, Electro was distnctly black (and American) and Electronic was obtrusively white (and European)!!

So in 1984, who did make up the genre Electro. Well most importantly, Afrika Bambaata:
Anyone worth their electro-salt would know about Planet Rock's Kraftwerk sampling fabulousness. And of course how it shaped and informed the early techno-house sound and Hip Hop of the period.
And of course there's the genre hopping-grammy winning brilliance of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit".
But my pick would be Shannon's "Let the Music Play". Those electric cowbells do it to me all the time!!
And over in the electronic corner ... we have the pale pubescent things with the asymmetrical haircuts, triangular tops and pencil skirts:

The Human League
and their last stab at credibility (in my opinion) the supremely addictive (Keep Feelin') Fascination: 
There was also the early World music stylings of Blancmange:
In many ways experimentors in rhythmic pop, and perhaps a little too brash on the ear, but again strangely addictive:
And of course one of the early "anthems" from the otherwise exceedingly irritating Bronski Beat:
Electronic music back in its pop hey-day (and please note pop denotes mainstream popularity here) was distinctly male and distinctly white. Teutonic was the descriptive de jour and the music was seen as cold, robotic and obsessed by the cold war in all its variant iconography. In 1984, Electronic music was on its final teeter into high nrg as spearheaded by New Order's seminal Blue Monday and its melding of Electro and Electronic music ... less about the head, more about the feet.
It was also the last shout for traditionally electronic bands before the plunge into "serious rock" territory ... good example ... Eurythmics:

More importantly 1984 saw the creep of Industrial Rock from underground caverns into the shiny glare of the pop world ... industrial lite ... frowned upon by the indie cognoscenti ... but you can't deny its influence empounded by the wider exposure being in the charts afforded it ..
In the early 80s, groups like Test Department, SPK, Shriekback et al had their brief and early stabs at fame before Depeche Mode and The Cure and their ilk took up the mantel of indie goth in popular culture.
These days its all one big -tronic blur ... you may tack on whatever pre-fix you like ... technotronic, folktronic, thrashtronic, dubtronic, gintronic ... on that note ...
(ps obviously this is not comprehensive ... it was all triggered by boredom and the hallowed pages of the Rock Yearbook)

dan cope wrote:  
Eighties hair.. love it.
12 Nov


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