Week 6 Lecture B materials: Post-punk or rip it up and start again

Screening

 

Playlist

Reading

David Hesmondhalgh (1997) ‘Post-Punk’s attempt to democratise the music industry: the success and failure of Rough Trade’ in Popular Music, Vol 16, Iss 3, pp 255-274, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/ S0261143000008400

Simon Reynolds (2006) Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, London: Penguin Books Ltd

Lucy O’ Brien (1995) She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop & Soul , London: Penguin.

Lucy O’Brien (2002), ‘The Woman Punk Made Me’, in Roger Sabin (ed) Punk Rock So What? London: Routledge

[[SOUND OFF]] The sensual world of Kate Bush

By Lewis Pringle 

Stepping out into the wiley, windy moors of Kate Bush’s sensual world. Is she really queen of the music industry mountain after 35 years?

Kate Bush is without doubt one of the most idolised artists in British music history. She catapulted to fame in 1978 at the tender age of 19 with her debut single and number one hit, ‘Wuthering Heights’. Since then she has released ground breaking music and has not been afraid to experiment with different genres and technologies. In 2014 she made a triumphant return to the stage after an absence of 35 years embarking on a 22 date sell out live residency at the Hammersmith Apollo in London titled Before the Dawn.[1] The live shows demonstrated her versatility within music and theatre but equally cemented her legendary status as a consummate performer. But why is Kate Bush so relevant and important to the music industry?

The image of a young and nubile Kate Bush performing cartwheels while singing in a high pitched voice about Heathcliff and Cathy is, unquestionably, forever etched into public consciousness. But there is much more to Kate than this. She has the ability to absorb and transcend influences and inspirations into her work which can be seen as innovative and completely original.

Take her 1989 song ‘The Sensual World’ for example. It combines elements of high culture and pop music. The intent was to include text from James Joyce’s novel Ulysses where the character Molly Bloom delivers a soliloquy and accepts a man into her bed. However, the Joyce estate refused permission to allow the text to be featured in the song and Kate begrudgingly wrote her own version (arguably for the better) in a similar style.[2]

There are frequent lyrics of ‘mmm yes’ establishing the song’s sensuous content, and ‘stepping out, off the page, into the sensual world’ inviting listeners to use their imagination rather than focussing on the text itself. The 1980s style of production of heavy drums, although dated today, proves that aspects (or influences) of high culture can be easily implemented into popular music.

Kate is not unknown to be innovative and use influences that surround her. Another example is a 42 minute conceptual song cycle from her 2005 album Aerial titled ‘A Sky of Honey’ which incorporates bird song and thunderstorms with frequent references to sunlight, sea and sky in every lyric. The cycle creates something of a tranquil experience. For example the track ‘Aerial Tal’ is pure birdsong complete with a light piano track in the background. This element of nature may seem odd but is nonetheless completely original and arguably is something only Kate Bush could compose and produce.

In regards to her impact within the British music industry it has to be noted that her entire career, spanning over 35 years, has been solely on her own terms and in some ways it can be said that Kate Bush offers a definition of feminism; independence and standing up to a male-dominated world, but most importantly acting as a voice for any artist(s) who refuse to back down from dominant forces. At the beginning of her career she pushed for the release of ‘Wuthering Heights’ as her first single when predominantly male bosses at EMI clamoured for the release of ‘James and the Cold Gun’. Kate won that hard-fought battle, pushing for her vision at a time when the industry was a predominantly male, and the rest is history.[3]

But is Kate Bush really a feminist? In Kate’s own words from a 1989 Greater London radio interview – ‘Yuck! God I hate that word… I think all women are offended by that term… what really has power is… women just getting on with it and doing it… really well’.[4] But yet Kate’s work, undeniably, has feminist undertones. For instance her 1980 hit single ‘Army Dreamers’ was written from the perspective of an Irish mother bringing her dead soldier home and lamenting over the futility of war.

Lyrics such as ‘mammy’s hero’ demonstrates a mother’s pride of her son being a soldier, but yet laments over the waste of a young life in which there’s a list of occupations and life roles that were never fulfilled, ‘but he never had a proper education… what a waste’ as young men were being sent to fight a pointless war. It is true however that Kate didn’t see herself as an overt feminist yet it is evident that within her lyrics she has maternal instincts and ultimately displays feminist traits by including political messages within her lyrics.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Kate Bush is as relevant to the music industry as she ever was. There has been chart resurgence due to her recent live comeback with eight of her albums simultaneously charting in the UK official albums chart top 40 in August 2014, becoming the first female in history to achieve the most entries on the chart.[5]

This begs the question why is Kate Bush still relevant?

In my opinion she is illusionary. We know very little about her private life as she shuns celebrity culture but quietly works on incredible pieces of music at her own pace. We expect a Kate Bush album to be exciting and adventurous and in an era of auto tune and fame obsessed artists it is refreshing to see an artist still unafraid to push boundaries and experiment with different musical styles.

Her most recent album from 2011 titled 50 Words for Snow is both experimental and conceptual with songs about snow and winter. A particular favourite of mine is her duet with Stephen Fry titled ’50 Words for Snow’ based on the myth that Eskimos supposedly have 50 words for snow.[6] Fry’s intelligent and authoritative voice is perfect for reciting the somewhat fantastical words.

As a Kate Bush obsessive I relish the chance to use my imagination whenever I listen to her music. This is exactly why Kate Bush is relevant, we can use our imagination and we also have the opportunity to escape into her world, her ‘sensual world’ of music, theatre and literature. She is without doubt queen of the music industry mountain. 

Notes

  1. http://www.katebush.com/news/dawn
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12970141
  3. http://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A3502568
  4. http://gaffa.org/cloud/subjects/feminism.html
  5. http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/kate-bush-sets-new-official-chart-record-3084/
  6. http://thequietus.com/articles/07364-kate-bush-interview-2

 

YouTube links

Wuthering Heights – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pMMIe4hb4

The Sensual World – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DDndY0FLI

A Sky of Honey – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTP6tEZ8yzM

Aerial Tal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4HbsYXHm_I

James and the Cold Gun – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c_2QlvdTFc

Army Dreamers – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOZDKlpybZE

50 Words for Snow – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Aytn3Fcu0

[[SOUND OFF]] is a series of student-written features on artists/albums/music worth checking out

[[SOUND OFF]] Unite the Kingdom: Burial and progressive patriotism

By Savannah Ramsdale

What google earth undoubtedly spent years and millions trying to document, William Bevan arguably captures in minutes by way of an outdated programme that can be attained for free. And that is: the UK.

The liberal stomach may churn upon seeing the creator of one of the Guardian-ranked ‘albums of the decade’  associated with the now sullied term ‘patriotism’. However, it only takes a glance at fan-made youtube videos and artwork  to ascertain that Burial’s music has inspired a somewhat prolific appreciation for urban UK existence – despite apparent concurrence that it’s a desolate and lonely one.

It would be all too easy to assume a wariness for contemporary UK life given Bevan’s much documented disdain for modern internet usage and seemingly insatiable yearning for the UK rave era that passed him by. Fragmented, drowned out vocal samples such as ‘I walk around, with my head hanging down’ paint the perfect, greyscale picture of technology-saturated postmodern alienation against a backdrop of societal decay. But something increasingly personal about his tracks, such as the inclusion of sounds from his favourite video games, or the clicking of his brother’s lighter, suggest a more complex, realist and ultimately more loving view of contemporary British experience, one in which the most supposedly trivial of working class endeavours can become special and meaningful. What less could be expected from a man deep enough to derive poignancy from Eastenders?

For instance, the tender glow of the ambient track entitled ‘In McDonalds’ shrouds the familiar act of visiting a fast food chain in the small hours with an almost cinematic, ethereal majesty. Similarly, the mournful ‘Nite Bus’ radiates a sense of imparted nostalgia that urges the listener to celebrate their current era, however humble and non-spectacular their activities, before it zips itself into the unreachable past.

Suppose we were granted national omniscience for a moment. It isn’t too difficult to imagine that after experiencing every instance of injustice, depravity and banality, alongside the countless instances of love and joy that somehow manage to endure in spite of it all, what we’d feel is something akin to the ‘downcast euphoria’ his music evokes. His use of the contrary motion technique can be heard as an audible expression of the UK’s duality at any given point – wherever something’s falling or decaying, something positive is rising. It’s an unnervingly uplifting, honest sort of melancholy that many other blooming future garage artists such as Late, Vacant, Nocow, or Volor Flex have (understandably) sought to replicate.

What this contrary sensation beckons is a type of observational patriotism that revels in the real. Patriotism that accepts and welcomes national impermanence; that celebrates the melting pot. Patriotism that looks fondly upon, and withholds judgement of, whatever may exist or be consumed within UK culture, as opposed to the rigid maintenance of some decrepit, exclusive, mythical notion of Britishness in which a sense of spurious superiority is inherent. Who but someone that wholly embraces the integration of the UK’s Indian population could construct a track like 2013’s December release, ‘Come Down To Us’, that falls snow-like into the ears as a euphoric, distinctly Christmassy UK anthem, yet whose core melody is carried by extensive sitar samples and vocals that are pitch-shifted as if to verge on Tarana singing?

Historically, pride in one’s country has been considered a particularly masculine endeavour. As has the creation of, and (though far less exclusively), the consuming of electronic music. But Burial is unafraid to cater to his female audience, acknowledging that ‘blokes might be like, “what the fuck is this?”, but hopefully their girlfriends will like it’. He creates a sound that transcends gender dichotomies, if not through an unashamed emphasis on emotion then through an embrace of gender ambiguity. As well as his recent and extensive sampling of transgender director Lana Wachowski’s HRC acceptance speech, he often employs the down-pitching of female vocals/pitching-up of male vocals (perhaps best exemplified in the Beyonce sample 00:28 into Untrue).

However, this does not necessarily situate his music is female-orientated, but rather egalitarian. Another of his vocal samples attempts to evoke compassion for a man who has presumably committed heinous crimes. The Southern Londoner woman’s seemingly defensive plea in Etched Headplate – ‘he’s not setting out to hurt people, he’s got a lot of love in him, for his friends, his family, his girlfriend…he actually often wants to do the right thing’ is nothing if not an empathetic recognition of moral dualism.

In light of the hopeful, ‘anti-bullying’ tone of his latest EP Rival Dealer it’s acceptable to presume that Bevan is becoming more open. In a brave bail on his much-hailed jungle beats, Come Down To Us’s more ballad like structure focuses not only on Lana Wachowski’s HRC acceptance speech but also subtly interlaces an interview from NASA scientist Melissa Dawson, and in doing so calmly raises a middle finger to any fallacious claim that dance music is unintelligent or nihilistic.

The album was also followed by an official denunciation of his anonymity as a means of thanking his audience, notably by way of a note and voluntarily internet-erected selfie. This could be considered a negative act in terms of his progressiveness, in that anonymity entails a displacement from notions of class, gender, race and age that permits anybody to identify with the artist based on their music alone.

However, for someone who previously displayed shyness and reluctance regarding internet exposure, the choice of a bog-standard ‘selfie’ is not only endearing but arguably shows a growing trust for his audience and a down-to-earthness (matched by his grammatically erroneous typing and casual talk of Dark Souls 2 [11]) that could easily have stunk of pretention had he instead opted to reveal himself via a moody photoshoot. It’s also in line with the themes of coming to terms with one’s identity that riddled Rival Dealer.

Though Bevan emphasises the ‘UK’ aspect of his garage/jungle/rave/techno influences, it’s of course absurd to infer that his music is solely influenced by, applicable to or enjoyed only by the UK. Indeed, his samples are derived from cultural artefacts (of various supposed calibres) from all around the globe, from Japanese composer Motoi Sakuraba’s Dark Souls soundtrack to Texan Terrence Malick’s critically acclaimed experimental drama. It’s only befitting of a time and place, particularly a small island, in which international culture is more accessible than ever. But there’s something that makes the cracked asphalt and dew-ridden wheely-bins twinkle with a majestic familiarity, and makes even my usually anti-nationalist chest swell with euphoric belonging when this pioneer of dark garage signs off with ‘Big shout out to the UK and everywhere else’. Though he doesn’t imply any superiority, and I take none from it – I think it’s pride I feel when this emotive beat-god mentions us first.

 

[[SOUND OFF]] is a series of student-written features on artists/albums/music worth checking out

[[SOUND OFF]] The Mother of the ‘Riot Grrrl’ Movement

By Beth Brown

Why Joan Jett proves that rock isn’t just for men

Often described as the ‘Original Riot Grrrl’, Joan Jett paved the way for the feminist ‘Riot Grrrl’ movement to emerge in the 90s and produce some of the most memorable female- fronted grunge-punk bands such as Bikini Kill, and Babes In Toyland. Her iconic grunge look and ‘F*ck the world, feminist attitude’ is what makes Jett so memorable, it also doesn’t hurt that she’s famous for her cover of The Arrows’ I Love Rock.

Flashback to Los Angeles, 1975 to the popular clubs on the Sunset Strip; the Whiskey A Go Go, and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. In the misty, smoke-filled clubs amongst the Bowie wannabees and 70s go-go girls; you’d find 15-year-old Joan Jett, and notorious record producer Kim Fowley (Thompson, 2011). Together, they would change the future of Rock and Roll by creating one of the first all-female bands The Runaways. (Thompson, 2011)

Fronted by the blond -Bowie fanatic Cherie Currie, and sporting the names of future stars such as Joan Jett (rhythm guitar), Lita Ford (lead guitar) and Sandy West (drummer). The Runaways gained attention in a world where Suzi Quatro was the only other female worth giving any thought too (Thompson, 2011). Not all of the attention was positive; in fact much of it was not, they were often branded as ‘Jokes’ and “the best parade of jailbait you could find” (Ron Asheton in Thompson 2011: 41). Despite the negativity, they continued to prosper and even opened for bands like The Ramones, and Cheap Trick. (Currie, 2010)

Whilst the success of The Runaways didn’t amount to as much as they had hoped at the time, although their legacy would be realized at a much later date; “they were still one of the most popular bands on the sunset strip. Because they were all teenage girls.” (Cogan, 2008: 281)However, the novelty of a teenage girl rock band soon wore off, and they didn’t last as long as any of them had hoped or expected. Yet the Rock and Roll bug had bitten Joan Jett square on the ass, and she wasn’t about to give up her dreams of being a Rock and Roll star.

Leaving the dreams of fronting a world famous all-girl rock band, Joan Jett went off in search of something else. She formed Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and proceeded to conquer the Rock and Roll world with her explicit lyrics and sexual provocativeness on stage. She got the ball rolling for the ‘Riot Grrrl’ movement, the 90s feminist music ‘agenda’. The rolling ball, so to speak, began with The Runaways who were playing venues like CBGB by 1977. Their dominating ‘sexual stage presence’ and ‘rebel-girl anthems’ like Cherry Bomb lay the foundations for young girls everywhere to grab their guitars and create the new generation of Riot Grrrl’s (Coogan, 2008). And withy lyrics like ‘Have you, grab you ‘til you’re sore’ who can blame the younger fans of the band for grasping Rock and Roll music and making it their own by adding their own ‘agenda’ and image to the genre.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, Jett’s music reached millions of fans. Her music, published on her own record label, reached millions. Her publicity and preaching that ‘rock wasn’t just for boys’ didn’t stop there. After the brutal rape and murder of Seattle punk band The Gits singer Mia Zapata, Jett collaborated with the remaining members of the band to create the song Go Home. They played a series of shows all along the west coast in order to raise money to keep Zapata’s case open. Joan preached the importance of safety to women, and good self-defense knowledge. The death of Mia Zapata brought the Riot Grrrl movement into the spotlight. It is described as the starting point to ‘third wave’ feminist movement and often focuses on combining music with the non-music themes of rape, sexual abuse and other violence against women, as well as sexual power and sexuality. These references can be found in many of Jett’s songs such as ‘Fetish’ as well as in her covers of ‘Do You wanna touch?’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ which emanate the sexual power of the singer. (Fere-Jones, 2012)

Joan Jett’s tough, rocker ensemble is really what emanated the ‘its not about the boys’ vibe. Leather jacket, dark hair and heavy makeup have been the staple look of Jett since the 70s (Oldham, 2010). And whilst she has experimented with her hair and looks, she has always returned back to these key features. Jett herself has said, “The tough image was put upon me. I don’t think I’ll ever shake it. But personally I don’t care, I just want to play rock and roll.” The image has certainly not been shaken, and now thanks to the 2010 film The Runaways starring Kristen Stewart, new generations of young girls have been introduced to the ‘rock is for girls’.

With thanks in large part to the commercial success of The Runaways movie, increasing the interest in the band, and in Joan Jett herself. New generations of female rock musicians such as ‘The Dollyrots’ and ‘Girl In A Coma’, female bands that are signed to Joan Jett’s record label, have been able to carry on the Riot Grrrl legacy. Joan Jett’s own commercial success has helped keep her music known and her messages as a feminist, and female Rock star in the know. The fact that Joan Jett is still so popular with numerous generations perhaps proves that she has helped to change the face of the previously male dominated world of Rock and Roll. Her induction into the Rock and Roll hall of fame does show that Rock and Roll is not just for boys.

 

Sources

Cogan, B (2008) The Encyclopedia Of Punk. Sterling Publishing Co. USA

Currie, C (2010) Neon Angel. IT Books, Harper Collins Publishing. New York.

Daly, S (1994) Joan Jett Lives Up to her Bad Reputation. Available at: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/joan-jett-lives-up-to-her-bad-reputation-19940324 Accessed on: [27/10/2014]

Fere-Jones, S (2012) Hanna And Her Sisters. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/11/26/hanna-and-her-sisters Accessed on: [27/10/2014]

Oldham, T (2010) Joan Jett. Lagunatic music and Film works. USA

Thompson, D (2011) The Unauthorized Biography of Joan Jett. Backbeat Books. Milwaukee.

[[SOUND OFF]] is a series of student-written features on artists/albums/music worth checking out

[[SOUND OFF]] The feminism of Peaches

By Abigail Jenkyns

Peaches, feminist superstar or gender-bending freak show? Is it all in the music or the performance?

With her brash, lycra clothing and ‘don’t give a crap’ lyrics, Merrill Beth Nesker, better known as Peaches, is a force to be reckoned with. The Canadian ex-teacher turned electronica queen has completely overthrown the dominant ideologies upon how women should behave and what they should sing about. Peaches’ lyrics, performances and videos are often grotesque and sexually suggestive and it has often been remarked that going to see the performer live on stage is more like watching a feral dominatrix performing a burlesque act. Peaches is, however, unapologetically herself in doing so which has further cemented her as a prominent figure in the Electroclash/Synthpunk genre and with five studio albums and twelve singles, Peaches has definitely made her mark.

Nesker took her stage name from Nina Simone’s song ‘four women’ and has cited the films Tron and Grease as influencing her showy performances. Similar feisty lyrics are often replicated in other artists from the electronica genre such as Robyn, Le Tigre, M.I.A and Gossip. The pumping beats and synthesised sounds provide the perfect backdrop for the politically/feminist charged lyrics that appear in the genre. Contrasted with the mellow tones of manufactured pop, electronica artists like Peaches are able to surpass the expected and express themselves in ways that shock and astonish. Katy Perry can cavort around the stage wearing a cupcake bra but Peaches takes it a step further, in one of her early 2011 performances, Peaches performed an entire set wearing a costume made out of material breasts and Barbie doll heads. Peaches doesn’t take her performances lightly, although she portrays herself as a woman who has fun at all costs, there is the undercurrent of sincerity within her acts and the idea that she is trying make a stand.

Peaches first album Teaches with Peaches from 2000 really secured her as a ‘two fingers up to society’ type of artist. The album’s most popular and opening track, ‘Fuck the pain away’ sounds electronic in sound but the bold and punchy lyrics suggests more punk/rock and roll undertones. The song opens with the lyrics: ‘Suckin’ on my titties like you wanted me, callin me, all the time’ which really confirms that Peaches is certainly not a warbling wallflower of a singer. The extreme introduction to Peaches and her music way back in the start of the millennium really set her up for subsequent years, in which her lyrics and performances only became more extreme and outrageous. In her video for ‘Diddle my Skittle’, Peaches appears in a brash, pink, lycra outfit and spends the first half of the performance crudely emulating the notion that she has male genitalia, whilst in the second half the singer daintily tiptoes up the street whilst the camera focuses on aspects of her female body. It often feels that Peaches’ performances and music videos detract from the lyrics she is trying to convey.

Peaches is celebrated for subverting traditional gender norms and caused mild controversy upon the release of her 2003 album ‘Fatherfucker’ after appearing on the album cover with a beard. The distortion of gender binaries really made listeners question whether Peaches was really serious about her music or whether her input into the industry was more centred on her obsession with sexual politics. The name of the album itself questions the typical connotations of feminine insults, playing on the typically used phrase ‘motherfucker’. In her 2006 album ‘Impeach my bush’, Peaches again pushes the boundaries of ‘socially acceptable’ and completely dispels any beauty standards we typically see in the videos of mainstream pop artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. Peaches’ track ‘Boys wanna be her’ challenges a patriarchal society by celebrating the notion of the androgynous male. In ‘two guys for every girl’, Peaches uses the lyrics ‘I wanna see you work it guy on guy’, which challenges the porn industries’ obsession with ‘girl on girl’ and how the act of lesbianism becomes a form of titillation for the male viewer. Through using the male body, Peaches aims to challenge the male gaze and ultimately turn it on its head.

It could be argued that Peaches’ apparent form of feminism is just a crass way to objectify men, further propagating the issue of inequality, rather than solving or helping the issue. However, Peaches also objectifies herself, her videos are overtly provocative, she performs on stage in her underwear and she is ‘willing to be as raunchy as a man.’  Peaches doesn’t play up to the sexually provocative female image, she dresses like a woman, sort of, but more importantly, to make her point, Peaches acts like a man. There is a feeling that Peaches’ performances and general personality takes precedence over her musical talent and it’s unusual to see a stripped back, acoustic version of her songs. Peaches is a performance artist and doesn’t make any apologies for that, stating “My work gets misunderstood all the time but I actually love that. I get everything from ‘angry man-hater’ to ‘porn-performer’.” It begs the question as to whether or not Peaches can be taken seriously as an artist, her music definitely isn’t something you would listen to if you were feeling melancholic, everything is too punchy and salacious for that. Although her music can be viewed as a breakthrough of female dominance, it also becomes distasteful and tacky in doing so. Whilst Peaches attempts to challenge the patriarchy, her hyper-sexualisation of her own body only further promulgates the issue.

Does Peaches fully empower women? Is she a pioneer of music? I’m not so sure, but she does make a stand. Peaches and other performers from the Electroclash genre have a certain edginess about their performances that unsettle the status quo of genres such as pop, where dainty, self-indulgent princesses sing about former lovers. Peaches successfully goes beyond that, she may not have impressive vocals or morals but at least she attempts to highlight issues so many other singers so very often fail to address.

[[SOUND OFF]] is a series of student-written features on artists/albums/music worth checking out

Week 6 Lecture A materials: Punk and art rock

Videos

Playlist

Reading

Albiez, Sean (2009) ‘Punk After ‘Punk’ In The UK: 1978-1984’, unpublished book chapter, https://www.scribd.com/doc/54282068/Punk-After-Punk-in-the-UK-1978-1984

Chambers, Ian (1985) Urban Rhythms: Pop Music and Popular Culture, Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Clark, D. (2003). “The Death and Life of Punk, the Last Subculture‟ in D. Muggleton and R. Weinzerl (eds.). The Post-Subcultures Reader. Oxford: Berg, p. 223-236

Hebdige, Dick (1979) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Routledge.

Marsh, D (1983) The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, New York: Plume/Penguin.

Savage, Jon (1991/2010) England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, London: Faber & Faber.

Tsitsos, William (1999) ‘Rules of Rebellion: Slamdancing, Moshing and the American Alternative Scene’, Popular Music, Vol 18, No 3: 397–414.

Week 5 Lecture B materials: Heavy metal thunder

Video

 Playlist

Reading

Philip Auslander (2006) Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music, University of Michigan Press

Andy Bennett (2000) Cultures of Popular Music, Open University Press, Chapter 3.

Tara Brabazon (2012) Popular Music: Topics, Trends & Trajectories, London: Sage (Chapter IV; Metal)

Marcus Breen (1991) ‘A Stairway To Heaven Or A Highway To Hell?: Heavy Metal Rock Music In The 1990s’, Cultural Studies, Vol 5, No 2, pp.191–203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502389100490161

Roy Shuker (2001) Understanding Popular Music – 2nd Edition, London: Routledge (Chapters  8 and 12)

Lisa J. Sloat (1998) ‘Incubus: Male Songwriters’ Portrayal of Women’s Sexuality in Pop Metal Music’ in Jonathan Epstein (ed) Youth Culture: Identity in a Postmodern World, Malden, MA, Blackwell Publishers

Robert Walser (1993) Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, Hanover: Wesleyan/University Press of New England.

You might like… Heavy Metal Britannia

The BBC produced this documentary in 2010.

Nigel Planer narrates a documentary which traces the origins and development of British heavy metal from its humble beginnings in the industrialised Midlands to its proud international triumph.

In the late 60s a number of British bands were forging a new kind of sound. Known as hard rock, it was loud, tough, energetic and sometimes dark in outlook. They didn’t know it, but Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and, most significantly, Black Sabbath were defining what first became heavy rock and then eventually heavy metal.

Inspired by blues rock, progressive rock, classical music and high energy American rock, they synthesised the sound that would inspire bands like Judas Priest to take metal even further during the 70s.

By the 80s its originators had fallen foul of punk rock, creative stasis or drug and alcohol abuse. But a new wave of British heavy metal was ready to take up the crusade. With the success of bands like Iron Maiden, it went global.

Contributors include Lemmy, Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Ian Gillan from Deep Purple, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Saxon’s Biff Byford.