Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Monterrey Pop Changed The Face of Music Forever

While there’s no denying the Woodstock festival’s epochal place in the narrative of rock ‘n’ roll, the Monterey Pop Festival is the one that really altered the way pop culture worked from then on out. In 1967, Monterey Pop represented a beginning for the hippie dream, and two years later, Woodstock ended up being more of a glorious elegy for the waning Aquarian era.

The first real rock festival, the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival in Marin County, actually occurred a week before Monterey on June 10-11, 1967, with an equally impressive lineup. But it was the three-day Monterey fest — which kicked off on June 16 — that really caught the public’s imagination and became a catalyst for the rise of “underground” youth culture even as it definitively established rock as a medium worthy of adult treatment. At the same time, it served notice that the counterculture constituted a mass audience that could spell big money for the music biz on an unprecedented level. The 1968 documentary of the festival had more than a little to do with the mainstreaming of that notion.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monterrey Pop Proved Hippie Culture Could Be Big Business

Its organizers promised "three days of music, love and flowers," but the Monterey International Pop Festival turned out to be much more. 

Over one weekend in June 1967, Jimi Hendrix and the Who broke through to American audiences, Janis Joplin went from underground sensation to superstar, and Otis Redding won over what he called "the love crowd." 

The event set the template for all rock festivals to follow, from Woodstock to Bonnaroo. "Monterey was one of the gestation points, where it all started to creep together and become itself," says David Crosby, who played the festival with the Byrds and as a guest with Buffalo Springfield. Adds his Byrds bandmate Chris Hillman, "I don't care what people say about Woodstock – Woodstock was a nightmare. Monterey was the best rock festival ever put on."

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Can Festival 50 Years Later Recapture the Feeling of Monterrey Pop?

When Norah Jones considers why she wanted to participate in the 50th anniversary revival of the Monterey International Pop Festival ­– the prototype for everything from Woodstock to Coachella – she gives an answer that sounds like something a hippie would have said a half-century ago: "It just sounded like a really good energy."

The original Monterey Pop festival – which featured Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, the Who and Jones' father, Ravi Shankar, among countless others – took place from June 16th through 18th, 1967, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, on a stage that bore the words "Music, Love and Flowers." It drew approximately 50,000 fans each day yet there were no arrests. 

The sequel is taking place this weekend on the exact same dates and in the same place but with a lineup that features both Monterey newcomers – Jones, Jack Johnson, Leon Bridges – and some returning performers, including the Grateful Dead's Phil LeshBooker T. Jones (who backed up Redding with his group, the M.G.'s) and Eric Burdon.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Look Back at Monterrey Pop 50 Years Later

In the 21st century, destination music festivals seem like a dime a dozen. But just 50 years ago, there was only one: the Monterey International Pop Festival, which featured more than 30 artists and bands playing over the course of three days in the summer of 1967.

Monterey Pop set the template for all the huge rock festivals that would follow — Woodstock, Coachella, Bonnaroo and all the rest — and its influence would spread even further via a documentary, Monterey Pop, that was helmed by D.A. Pennebaker and would set a gold standard for concert films.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Eric Burdon's Love Song to the Monterrey Pop Festival

When Eric Burdon and the Animals took the stage at the Monterey International Pop Festival on the evening of June 16, 1967—following Johnny Rivers and preceding Simon and Garfunkel—they were a vastly different group than most in the audience remembered.
The Animals had come to American listeners via the British Invasion of 1964, climbing to #1 that summer with their intense, blues-informed rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun,” a song with roots at least a century old and a subject that didn’t often find its way to the top of the pop charts: the ruin of a “poor boy” via drinking, gambling and spending too much time around the “house” of the title, generally understood to be a brothel. 
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bruce Springsteen Plans Intimate Broadway Residency

Bruce Springsteen will reportedly stage an intimate Broadway residency this fall as the rocker will perform eight weeks of solo concerts at New York's Walter Kerr Theatre.

"[Springsteen] wants to play a smaller house. He wants to try something more intimate, and he likes the idea of being on Broadway," a source told the New York Post of Springsteen's plans, which include five shows a week for eight weeks starting in November.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Female Artists Covering Dylan

Bob Dylan needs women. 
Not necessarily in the personal sense, although like most prominent male artists he relied on female companions' creative input and connections as he cut out his path to greatness. 
Certainly women have inspired his writing, too; his lyricism has always been most humane within his explorations of actual relationships, from his marriage to Sara Lownds to the mysterious bombshell who inspired his 1998 masterpiece about heartbreak in life's evening hours, Time Out Of Mind.
But more than in the usual heterosexual ways, Bob Dylan needs women to carry his music beyond the confines of his peerless yet technically limited voice. Sure, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and The Byrds gained commercial success and canonical status covering rock's Bard. 
But Joan Baez and Odetta gave us the most revealing dives into his songbook; Nico and Sheryl Crow delivered the finest version sanctioned by the writer himself; and right now, Joan Osborne is keeping the flame vividly alive right now with a tour that refreshes a whole program of his classics.
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Monday, June 12, 2017

'Ziggy Stardust': How David Bowie Created the Alter-Ego That Changed Rock

"What I did with my Ziggy Stardust was package a totally credible, plastic rock & roll singer – much better than the Monkees could ever fabricate," David Bowie later said of his definitive alter ego. "I mean, my plastic rock & roller was much more plastic than anybody's. And that was what was needed at the time."

In fact, what Bowie concocted on 1972's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was more than just a fresh, clever concept. 

Ziggy was a tight and cohesive song cycle that laid out a visionary direction for pop music, setting a new standard for rock & roll theatricality while delivering his synthetic ideal with campy sex appeal and raw power.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

All 213 Beatles' Songs Ranked. Do You Agree?

At Beatles anniversary time, the stories write themselves. “It was 25/30/40 years ago today!” “The act you’ve known for all these years!” “A splendid time was guaranteed for all!” 
Last week’s 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the most acclaimed rock album ever and the apogee of the Beatles’ cultural influence in the 1960s, is a time for all those chestnuts and more. 
But Pepper’s doesn’t make sense if it’s not put in context. And the only way to do that, given the weight of the Beatles’ presence, is to take a look at everything the band put on record over its eight-year recording career.
It turns out that ranking the songs recorded by the Beatles in the 1960s is easy; you put the worst one at the top, and the best one at the bottom.
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