4 moments that shaped music history (part 2)

Within just the last half of the 20th century, music has become democratized. Available to everyone and found in virtually all homes, the spread of music has brought new talents, new rules and new practices.

Here are four moments that have changed the course of music history.

Ziggy Stardust visits Earth

June 1972
In the early 70s, glam rock made a notable entry to the music scene. Emerging English artist David Bowie was quickly seduced by the sparkle and the new genre's splendor: excessive makeup, sequins and rhinestones, oversized platform boots, etc. Bowie hatched an alter ego that would forever surpass the status of a simple singer to become a living icon and catalyst of crowds: Ziggy Stardust.

In the 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Bowie tells the story of an extraterrestrial come to liberate humanity from banality. The alien comes to know the joys of success and becomes a rockstar before getting lost in his own excess of sex and drugs. Critics of the time remarked that the album could be considered a satire of society in the 70s. Alongside The Spiders From Mars, the group that accompanied David Bowie (special mention to guitarist Mick Ronson), the concept-album was a major hit, taking listeners from the sweet sounds of the sixties to light years ahead. Despite the album's success, Tony DeFries, Bowie's manager, advised him to disassociate with his character and seriously devote himself to music. Just a year after Ziggy's landing on Earth, in June of 1973, at a concert in London that has since become famous, Bowie abruptly announced: "Of all the shows on the tour this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it’s the last show we’ll ever do." In doing so, Bowie confirmed the death of Ziggy Stardust and simultaneously named the title of the iconic album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

"Dark Side of the Moon" eclipses competition

March 1, 1973
"Dark Side of the Moon," the ultimate work of English rock band Pink Floyd, released in March 1973, remained cemented on the Billboard 200, at the top of the best sales for a total of... 917 weeks, a little more than seventeen years, a record for any album especially one that seemed an eternity ago in a time of MP3s and perishable groups. During that time the moon turned 190 times around itself without ever revealing its far/ dark side, a mystery as impenetrable as the concept-album that carries its name.

Punk makes the Kingdom tremble

December 1, 1976
It's 1976. Socially, Britain is on the brink of explosion. The industrial crisis caused record unemployment rates and the music world wasn’t spared. Progressive rock bands all but ruled the roost of their labels, who they themselves were scared to wager money on other musical genres. Everything continued as status quo. But four young adults from the working class had the idea and the courage to disrupt it all. In November 1976, two months after signing a contract at EMI, the Sex Pistols released their first single, "Anarchy in the UK" and were all set to leave for a 19-date tour across England. But on December 1, the Pistols made a controversial and career changing television appearance on the show Today, following a last minute cancellation from Freddy Mercury of the band Queen. When lead singer John Lydon and his team arrived on the set of the show, they were welcomed with an open bar while waiting for their turn to go on air. Guitarist Steve Jones recalls being completely drunk when it was finally their turn.

When Bill Grundy, the show's host, introduced the group, with an ostentatious quip: "You see they are as drunk as I am... they are clean by comparison." In an interview following the band's live performance, Gundry provoked the young band: "Go on, you've got another five seconds. Say something outrageous." Steve Jones, totally uninhibited, took the bate and retorted with a few expletives, unheard of on live TV for the time. Embarrassed by the turn of events at his own hands, Grundy could no longer backtrack and attempted to cover the severity of the scene with a lighthearted chuckle and the statement "What a clever boy!" The next day, scandal and buzz rocked Britain as the press published "The Filth and the Fury" with as a subtitle: "Who are these punks? ".

Live Aid: the day that music changed world

July 13, 1985
Bob Geldolf, the leader of Boomtown Ratsand brainchild of thecharity concert Live Aid entered the press room at Wembley Stadium on July 13 1985, as the clock struck five, concealing biting back pains. In the eyes of people whose eyes he met, he was no longer a mere mortal with aches and pains, but Saint Geldof. Michael Buerk, whose documentary about famine in Ehtiopia gave Geldof the idea of ​​Live Aid, recounts that Geldof made an appointment with the biggest stars to raise money, becoming the impresario by excellency. Buerk goes on to note that Geldof was likely even more admired than all the artists he had managed to bring together. While it is arguably an abrasive means of raising money, Geldof's opened the concert by jumping on stage, grabbing the microphone and shouting "Give us your f*ing money now." This less than traditional means of demanding a donation didn't prevent concert-goers and viewers from dipping into their savings to help.

At the end of the day, no less than 4 million pounds had been collected to fight the famine in Ethiopia, more than 5 million US dollars. During the following week, donations reached 30 million pounds, nearly 40 million US dollars. On a music level, the success was just as complete with a larger than life line up, divided between thousands of miles: Wembley in the UK and Philadelphia in the US. The who’s who of music were present for the global broadcasts:
Status Quo, Elvis Costello, Black Sabbath, Sting, Phil Collins (the only artist to play in both Wembley and Philadelphia on the same day!), Crosby, Stills and Nash, Judas Priest, The Beach Boys, Dire Straits, Queen, David Bowie, The Pretenders, Santana, Elton John, Wham !, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and even Bob Dylan.

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1 comment
  • 7 days ago
      Excellent and I lived to tell the tale