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David Porter » Entries tagged with "Music"

Why Hair, the Tribal Rock Musical, Just Keeps on Grooving

After a 2009 US hit run, Hair in 2010 is rocking London’s West End. This revival says a lot about both cultural history and political performance. The New York Times called it: “Thrilling! Intense, unadulterated joy”. The UK’s Daily Mail said, “Enough mega wattage to light up London”. How can a 1967 hippie-fest be a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in the hard-bitten, austere early years of the 21st century? Hair: the Tribal Love-Rock Musical is about The Summer of Love (1966, USA, 1967, UK) and a hippie community of both sexes and all races protesting about drafting into the US army, singing songs that chimed with the spirit of a new era, the dawning of the age of Aquarius, with flowers in the hair and much Eastern religion thrown … Read entire article »

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The Merseybeat Sound and Poetry Rocked the 1960s

Liverpool, on the banks of the Mersey, made an artistic contribution to the 1960s’ ethos, unmatched by any other UK city. It’s still the home of culture. Over 200 miles from UK capital, London, Liverpool was relatively isolated as it grew into what was known as The Port of a Thousand Ships, with vital industrial and commercial lifeblood supporting a huge labour force of rich cultural diversity. From across the waters US influence was enormous, especially in music. As the 1960s got under way, new technologies plus youngsters’ changing attitudes to cultural values, authority, drugs, entertainment, self-expression and equal rights caught on. Liverpool had a distinctiveness that set it apart. There was a buzzing nightlife and a vibrant club and music scene. The Beatles The … Read entire article »

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Aliens and Strange Creatures in Movies, Songs and Literature

Nobody knows what extra-terrestrials from other planets look like, but the earthly creative arts world is happy to speculate wildly and profitably. On April Fools Day 2010, a Jordanian newspaper, Al Ghad, carried a front page story of 10-foot aliens from a flying saucer landing near the desert town of Jafr. The Mayor sent out security services. It was a deliberate hoax from enterprising journalists. The War of the Worlds 1938 incident was unplanned, but had a similar effect. It was broadcast on CBS radio on 30 October as a Halloween episode of Theatre-of-the-Air, adapted from the HG Wells’ 1898 novel, War of the Worlds, directed and narrated by Orson Welles. This kick-started his career. It ran without commercial breaks, opening with simulated live news reports, leading listeners to believe an alien invasion … Read entire article »

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60s’ Pirate Radio Revolutionised British Popular Broadcasting

Ship-based pirate radio was so successful in the Swinging Sixties, it forced the BBC to create Radio 1 & Parliament to legalise commercial radio in Britain. Offshore radio was part of the burgeoning 50s/60s pop industry. It satisfied a thirst for music from increasingly affluent, independent teenagers, who wanted to buy singles and albums, and carry music around as transistor radios caught on. The BBC provided a mere hour a week for new music on the Light Programme, but only from established artists; record companies tightly controlled music performance. Teenagers relied on Radio Luxembourg, only available at night and often crackly. From 1960 they had Radio Veronica, a ship off Holland that provided pop music with Dutch DJs. Radio Caroline, 199 in the Medium … Read entire article »

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Good as New Covers of Hit Songs

Pop Music Industry Recycles Top Tunes from the Past There’s little that’s new in the pop music industry – just like most performing arts – and covering other people’s songs has always been a route to success or derision. If a song has done well and sold a million a few years ago, most pop moguls think it will sell again. Or a movie might suddenly need that very song, and it’s rehashed, re-recorded and released to a wide-eyed generation of youngsters or nostalgic oldies. Dolly Parton’s rendition of old-time rockers Led Zeppelin’s 1970s classic, Stairway to Heaven, is a far cry from the original. Sacrilege in the eyes of many diehard fans. Equally, Britney Spears’ recycling The Arrows old hit I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll … Read entire article »

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