Friday, June 18, 2010

Does Music Evolve In A Vaccuum?

by Dick Mac

I love to hear the evolution of sounds and song in pop music.

Listen to "This Door Swings Both Ways" by Herman's Hermits [1966], then listen to "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel [1977]. Although I make no accusations of copy-catting, there is a real similarity between these two songs.

Many artists proudly discuss the derivative nature of their creative process. I believe it is impossible for an artist to avoid influences of other artists that have come before them. America's penchant for dismissing derivative work is misguided.

Could Elvis have existed without Little Richard? Could James Brown have existed without Little Richard or Elvis? Could Michael Jackson have existed without Little Richard, Elvis and James Brown?

I don't see these as artists stealing from each other, I see them as natural progressions of the art form.

Recently, Grace Jones was dismissive of Lady Gaga and she accused the younger star of being derivative. HELLO? If Iggy Pop and Andy Warhol had never been born, Grace Jones would have been a CEO or some other dullard, not a performer. Methinks that Ms. Jones accuses Gaga of that she is herself most guilty!

That said, I have no problem with music deriving from previous music.

Here are some songs. I think they flow rather well in a historical perspective.

Brian Eno: Sky Saw [1975]

Iggy Pop: Sister Midnight [1977]

David Bowie: Red Money [1979]

And here's an added treat: Iggy Pop and his band, including David Bowie on keyboards, performing Sister Midnight live:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i see a similar evolution between The Beatles' 'Don't Let Me Down', Hendrix's 'May This Be Love?' and King Crimson's 'Walking On Air'. Three really brilliant, original bands, three gorgeous songs, with very similar threads running through them.