Friday, 24 January 2014

Born To Be Wild: The Golden Age Of American Rock

Born To Be Wild: The Golden Age Of American Rock - Tonight on BBC4
The 80's was the decade of poodle rock. The likes of Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, and Poison sported heavy make-up, flashy clothes and huge hair. The song's featured sex, hard partying, plus the obligatory drink and drugs in excess.
Born to be Wild - 80's Rock!

The final part of this fascinating documentary series covers the the 1980's and the eventual demise of what had been a golden era of rock.
The 80's saw the birth of MTV, which changed the music industry for good and created superstars like Billy Idol.
In LA a new scene emerged, party pop-metal anthems perfect for the MTV generation was its forte. However, the other side of the American rock mainstream was still rebelling. John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen produced music tackling social and political issues, whilst still appealing to America's working and middle classes.
As the decade went on, the industry realised that its artists getting MTV exposure could produce massive profits for the labels. Pop-Metal began to dominate and saturate the market. Power ballads, big choruses, and even more ridiculous hair were the order of the day, with Bon Jovi a perfect example.
The rot had set in, and it was time someone brought about a change. It was Guns N' Roses who stepped up as the antithesis to what they considered fake rebellion, soft-rock drivel. Even they, though, in the end, would become neutralised by the commercialisation of the rock industry.

Of course American rock music didn't die with the end of the 1980s,  However, it is arguably the last era when singers were gods, guitarists were axe-men and songs were anthems. Once Grunge came along in the early 1990s it ridiculed this traditional rock star image overnight. This is where the series ends.

Tom Petty summed up this end of an era perfectly: "I think the seismic eruption in rock was the Nirvana period. Kurt Cobain came and mowed them down like wheat before the sickle. And you saw what was left of those hair guys, trying to get into plaid shirts and looking a little less sprayed up because they were done for. And if that can happen to you then you're doing the wrong thing.

He concludes by saying, "Right after that, rock slips from the music of the day into the background. Hip-hop is in the foreground now. Young people identify with that music, and rightfully so."

Thursday, 16 January 2014

5 of the Greatest Rock n Roll Movie Moments

Since there has been sound in movies there has been music, some of the most iconic scenes in movie history would not be the same without the perfect soundtrack for that moment. 

Over the year Rock has played a big part in some of the biggest and best movies of all time. There are many classic Rock moments, but we've focused on some of the funniest and most iconic. 

1. Queen, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in 'Wayne's World' (1992)

A simple scene that shows the power of music to effect those who love it. A standard Saturday night for these suburban losers cruising the desolate streets of Illinois. Then once they hit play on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" cassette they are transformed into a choir of rock gods and to they suddenly become some of the coolest guys on earth. This scene shows perfectly you how music functions in the day-to-day lives of those of us who truly love it and there are few funnier examples of how to incorporate music into a film.

2. Creedence Clearwater Revival, 'Lookin' Out My Back Door' in 'The Big Lebowski' (1999)

One of the ultimate air guitar scenes in cinema history, the dude finally gets his car back and his music. Much celebratory smoking, drinking and drumming ensues. This Creedance backed scene is not only brilliantly funny, but shows how music can be so much fun and the best release.

3. Chuck Berry, 'You Never Can Tell' in 'Pulp Fiction' (1994)

Quentin Tarantino uses music masterfully throughout his films, managing to perfectly match events with appropriate yet often unexpected music. There are so many different examples we could use throughout his back catalogue, such as the Reservoir Dogs "Stuck In the Middle With You" torture scene. One of the most memorable is this Chuck Berry sound tracked scene in Pulp Fiction, where John Travolta and Uma Thurman do the twist and dance around their sexual attraction. A hit man lured into doing the twist is not only funny, but you know its destined for a bloody result. 

4. Spinal Tap, 'Stonehenge' in 'This Is Spinal Tap' (1984)

The Spinal Tap film is one of the funniest there is associated with Rock'N'Roll. In this scene the parody metal band perform their ode to the Druids of Stonehenge. A perfectly pitched satire on the music of the era and also a comedy musical delight. The video below only contains the song, but do seek out the original film if you haven't seen it a perfect combination of music and comedy.

5. Alice Cooper, 'School's Out' in 'Dazed and Confused' (1993)

This portrait of small-town Texas in the summer of '76 has the music of the era at its centre and is a constant presence in the life of these kids. The musical highlight and one of the best uses of Rock'N'Roll in a film is the righteous use of the Alice Coopers classic. The scene shows the kids finishing school, breaking off their shackles and captures the mood of youthful exuberance perfectly.