Words on World Music

Rock isn’t dead … it’s just waiting to be reincarnated, again.


Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

One of the most memorably titled worldbeat albums I’ve come across over the years is from UK South Asian rockers, Cornershop and the seminal When I Was Born For The Seventh Time. If that doesn’t tickle your chakras I don’t know what will. Last week we touched on BBC music guru Paul Gambaccini’s declaration that rock and roll is officially dead, which made me think of that Cornershop album. Sure it’s dead, but for how long? The first day it died was February 3rd, 1959, Buddy Holly would have been 75 this week. 40 years ago in Manhattan’s garment district, the original disco clubs started pumping until the sun came up on the me generation and the sun set once again on rock ‘n roll. But, as we also mentioned last week, we’re caught in a cycle of nostalgia that ensures that as soon as we wipe the dirt from our hands, what’s been buried is already clawing its way to the surface. And, when punk’s zombies emerged to eat disco’s brains there came a resurgence of rockabilly harkening back to Buddy Holly’s days. Then, REM and U2 ushered in a return to the guitar jangle of the Byrds and the Beatles. Metal caught its second wind through the leotarded hair bands of the 90s and today’s glut of sappy singer/songwriters is just a strum away from the California cowboys of the 70s like Jackson Browne, James Taylor and the rest. So, how long do you actually think it will be until the red glowing lights and foreboding amp buzz signal the loud and proud rebirth of rock ‘n roll? I dare say, despite what the memory-impaired like Paul Gambaccini say, with a little calculation you can probably mark the exact day in your iCalendar. We’re not one’s to wait around. rock’s a part of worldbeat’s life force and when we’re not rockin’ we’re turning over more rocks to see what new life is coming up for air for the seventh time.

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