Tuesday, October 24, 2017

George Young | Lefsetz Letter

George Young – Spotify


Walking down the street
Kicking cans

New wave was the hip-hop of its day, something new to wipe out everything that came before it, new wave grew out of punk, which didn’t fully break through until the nineties with Nirvana, but new wave triumphed in the late seventies and blew up in the early eighties and then was decimated by the English sound of Culture Club and Duran Duran, which triumphed on MTV.

But in the late seventies, when new wave burgeoned, it was not up front and center, there was no MTV, needless to say no Spotify, you read about it in “Rolling Stone” and other rags and if you were lucky…your community had a station that played it.

Now Los Angeles was a rock town. Which was ultimately decimated by the MTV sound, KMET ruled, but it refused to play “Tainted Love” and “Don’t You Want Me” and then it died, kinda like pop is thrashing these days, did you read the “Wall Street Journal” article? First they came for our rock, then they came for our pop, what will replace hip-hop?

One can argue hip-hop is like punk, as in its first incarnation it was big, but decades later it was HUGE! That’s what streaming has wrought. Once the public was in control, it hungered for something deeper, more authentic, more meaningful, the same way Nirvana usurped the throne from hair band music, which has never been resuscitated.

So, if you were a hipster in the late seventies living in Los Angeles you lived by KROQ, not the ROQ of the 80s, but a free format station steered by deejays who have disappeared, foisting shenanigans upon their audience whilst playing cutting edge music like Flash and the Pan.

You only had to hear “Walking In The Rain” once.

This is what the wankers don’t understand. Now, more than ever, it’s about one listen. Which is why “Despacito” is huge and your project had desultory results. There’s nothing wrong with being accessible. And that does not mean the sound must be hackneyed, just something that reaches out and grabs you.

Now ultimately Grace Jones had a hit with “Walking In The Rain,” proving a great song is a great song and can be covered by anybody, but as insistent and intriguing as her rendition is, the original is far superior, it’s TRANSCENDENT!

It was the groove, the atmosphere, it felt like a walk down a rain-soaked street after midnight, when you were inside your head and anything could happen.

Summing up the people
Checking out the race
Doing what I’m doing
Feeling out of place

Alienation. That was the essence of music back when. It was the other. The acts were iconic outsiders who spoke their truth which turned out to be our truth and we were drawn to them.

Walking in the rain

But this was when being an individual was treasured.


Monday mornin’ feels so bad

By time ’66 was bleeding into ’67 the wheel had turned, the old sound was wiped from the map, Perry Como was in the rearview mirror and the British Invasion ruled. This was truly like hip-hop, as in the other sounds didn’t survive, rock wiped the slate clean.

And we were all addicted to our transistors. This was just before the advent of FM underground radio, before Hendrix and Cream and so many more, our little radios run by 9 volt batteries didn’t even include the FM band, but we knew exactly where our stations were, and that’s where we heard the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind.”

Some records you never forget.

Used to be work was a drag, before the highly educated prized it and the lower class was completely screwed. The key was personal development, being your all, before life became about cash and cash only.

Gonna have fun in the city
Be with my girl she’s so pretty

We were ALL young. And if you look back at the photographs you’ll be stunned how pretty we were. That’s right, the baby boomers ruled, certainly in numbers, there was no competition from Generation X or Y or Z, we completely crushed it.

And so did our music.


Gettin’ robbed
Gettin’ stoned
Gettin’ beat-up
Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took

It’s certainly a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.

Make you wanna cry

No one wants to pay their dues anymore. They expect instant success.

But if you were living in godforsaken Australia, the land of few people, you honed your chops on the road, so by the time you hit the boards in America you were PHENOMENAL!

This was nearly half a decade before “You Shook Me All Night Long.” AC/DC was just as fantastic but they were seen as a curio, coming along at the time loud guitars were fading, being eclipsed by corporate rock and disco, but when “It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)” emanated from the speaker you were immediately hooked.

But what makes a great record legendary is the bagpipes, coming out of left field, evidencing that everything, including the kitchen sink, was being thrown in to make this glorious sound that made you forget about your problems and nod your head and thrust your arm in the air.

The bagpipes were George Young’s idea.

Young was the brother of Malcolm and Angus, he’d been a member of the Easybeats, he was one half of production team Vanda and Young, who also made up Flash and the Pan.

George Young died yesterday.

He made it to the top, he established his place in the firmament, it wouldn’t be the same rock ‘n’ roll without him.

Gettin’ old
Gettin’ grey
Gettin’ ripped-off
Gettin’ sold
Second hand
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band

We all wanted to, we all picked up instruments, but it was too long a road for most of us, too rough and mean, but George made it, all the way from Down Under.

It wasn’t an avocation, it was everything.

And it’s everything to us too.

I know you know what I mean.

It’s harder than it looks. It took us off the defined path. Now we’re old and grey and all we’re left with are these records.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The Pop Diva Identity Crisis-With the rise of hip-hop, a string of A-list pop stars like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry have stumbled. ‘There’s a changing of the guard.'”

[from http://ift.tt/2k9aO1A]

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