Neil Young’s 1979 proto-grunge rock tune “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)” says that rock ‘n’ roll will never die. It makes me very sad to say Neil Young was wrong.
Rest in peace, Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Rock music persisted for 50 to 60 years as the soundtrack to every subsequent generation after World War II. Rock was birthed by the blues, raised in America, then migrated overseas and perfected in Britain. The names, the albums, the tunes are just too lengthy to list. We fell in love with rock. And then, one day, it was gone.
It couldn’t subsist on diet soda. It needed sustenance.
The climate that gave us rock ‘n’ roll was over. The music was always in opposition to something – be it racial segregation, war, government deceit, or just the taxpaying squares down the street who drive a station wagon and go to bed at 9pm.
And then rock music found nothing to be against. No counterculture. No fast-paced, loud, edgy movements to involve itself with. In fact, kids didn’t want to bang their heads and jump up and down on the auditorium’s bleachers anymore. They want to dance, in step with each other, in unison and uniforms in the auditorium. Rock lost its audience, and so it died.
But there is a solution for everyone mourning the loss of our old friend. Even before rock ‘n’ roll, there was another idea that was always anti-establishment and down with the status quo. It was always countercultural. The idea was literacy. It brought down some of the biggest and most corrupt leaders and governments the world has ever known.
Now that rock is dead, we should all go and read a book.
But don’t throw your albums away. Your grandkids may want to hear about the old days, when people actually made loud, analog music on stringed instruments.
Keep on reading in the free world.