“Clapton is God” was written all over the world on buildings reflecting the guitarist’s influence on rock, rhythm and blues and other genres of modern music. It’s ironic when each album was released, Clapton wasn’t necessarily recognized as a seminal force or a technical master. Even with the release of Layla- the greatest rock and roll record ever made- didn’t bring the adulation that his contemporaries enjoyed. Part of that had to do with the aspects of Clapton’s low keyed sensibilities as a human being first and a musician who just wanted to play guitar.
The documentary below gives a good hearing to the guitar virtuoso and his influence on the rock world.
This documentary touts the legacy of Apple Corporation to the music and counter culture of the 60s and beyond. At the time the idea of signing unknown musical talent to recording contracts was unheard of- the Beatles wanted to share their good fortune with others in the music business. Make no mistake that Apple was a result of them paying confiscatory personal taxes in Great Britain, who’s tax system favored corporations who created jobs. Among the artists they signed included James Taylor and Mary Hopkins.
This is a documentary on David Bowie’s early years. Has the usual interviews with folks who knew him or played in his early bands. Well worth the effort to see it even if Bowie wasn’t a favorite. David Bowie legacy was that you could do anything in the rock world and opened up other bands to many possibilities…
As many of you have noticed I’m a big fan of Eno. The appeal to me as having once been an artist, somewhat of a musician and numerous other pursuits in my life is that he represented along with Bowie and even Iggy Pop an artistic vision of entertainment and therefore self discovery that is multi-dimensional instead of a one trick pony. This is an important direction for mankind that bleeds over into other areas such as environment, economics and yes, even politics. I think it is important to strip away pre-conceived notions of what a profession and hence what an individual contributes to society. The joke about capitalism is that there is no room for thinkers, for dreamers unless you are making money for your masters. My vision of life is that we are here to enjoy ourselves, our family, our friends, and even others we don’t personally know, not cogs in some machine that grinds up bodies and spits out hamburger. That vision of life colors what I see, what I hear and what I say. In short, achievement is not a profit/debit world but one where the experience of life itself is to be celebrated not looked upon as drudgery…
As a straight male, I didn’t identify with David Bowie’s image but loved his music as he had much to say about the world we live in. Rock musicians before Bowie were pretty much a one dimensional persona and he was an artist in the true sense of the word. His contemporary musicians rarely wrote their own songs with the exception of the truly big acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and a few others.
Bowie was different too as he was more than just a front man for a band- smooth singer, songwriter, saxophone, piano and guitar player, producer, designer of sets, album covers, not to mention his persona changes that reflected his changing personalities. All these added up to an interesting mix of styles that were imitated but never quite perfected. He was creative in the world of music that often as not didn’t make the kind of money the bigger bands brought to the corporate pocketbook.
I would rank his Diamond Dogs album based on Orwell’s 1984 as his best as every song was a hit and had something to say. He wrote it in the hopes having it done as a Broadway musical but was deemed too depressing for the contemporary shallowness of theater.
His albums starting from the Man Who Sold the World to Let’s Dance in 1983 were some of the most creative works in the history of music. Each album represented a different and highly reflective view of an artist such as Picasso who changed styles like we change socks.
The video below tries to capture the essence of Bowie but fails on many levels, ignoring his works and focusing more on the borderline folks around him rather than those who actually made the music with him. For me, that comes off as pretty superficial but it is worth viewing only as another view of a man who was truly a “changling.”
One of the things that’s interesting about nearly all ethnic music is that it doesn’t pivot on the idea of newness.
Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually.
Congolese musician Koffi Olomide
“I think everyone’s inherently snobbish. Things that are very popular are not taken seriously.”
“Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don’t change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.”
I got a message on acid that you should destroy your ego, and I did, you know. I was reading that stupid book of Leary’s [the psychedelic manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead] and all that shit. We were going through a whole game that everyone went through, and I destroyed myself…I destroyed my ego and I didn’t believe I could do anything.