Australian Classic Rock of the 60s and 70s: Part 1

I went to Australia for my honeymoon and I absolutely loved it! I hope one day to come back. In the meantime, I’ll just be listening to some great Australian musicians! I’ve been talking about classic rock

Australia has a long rock history starting in the 50s with American rock music arriving there. Australia may be far away, but it isn’t isolated from American culture. The two countries are good friends. By the end of the 50s, pubs were staying open late, rock bands would play, and people would tune into the radio and TV to hear the latest music.

Australian rock music is largely an immigrant history, with many of the most famous Australian rock stars being European-born (mostly UK-born with a few Dutch-born). No doubt, the influences come from the musician’s birth countries, as well as America, where rock and roll began. Many rock bands from around the world made stops in Australia because there’s a significant following there.

Looking at the present, some of the best rock music of today comes from Australia: Tame Impala (Perth), Pond (Perth), King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (Melbourne), The Babe Rainbow (Byron Bay), and The Murlocs (Melbourne). According to one of my friends who lives in Australia, you can hear classic rock everywhere and it’s a great place to go for those who love the 60s and 70s.

Australia is a great surfing destination and surf rock was very popular here, but one subgenre is very much Australian and got its start here, pub rock. Psychedelic rock and progressive rock also have a following.

Enjoy this A-Z of Australian rock! In the first part, we’ll go from A-F, AC/DC to Fraternity.

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Despacito: Topping the charts everywhere, but is it really that impressive?

I’ve been busy working on other writing projects and my thesis, so I am a bit late to the party, but this song is still played widely on the radio. It’s still #1 in America. I heard it on the bus and it got me thinking: is it really that impressive that a Spanish language song made it to the top worldwide in 2017? It is impressive because most songs on the charts are in English and English is often deemed the official language of rock and pop, no doubt. There are still barriers to non-English language music appearing on the charts: the need to appeal to American audiences.

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The multicultural roots of surf rock

Surf culture was something I had an interest in since I was a little kid watching Rocket Power and wishing I lived in California rather than a small town in the Midwest. Even to this day I would love to move to California.

The first thing a lot of people think of when surf rock is mentioned is The Beach Boys, and for good reason. They were very successful and influential with over 20 Top 40 hits in the US charts. But they weren’t the first surf rock band, far from it. They shouldn’t be the only image we have of surf rock and The Beach Boys did more than just surf rock.

What is the real surf rock story? Where did surf culture come from? Let’s explore!

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Classic Rock in Eastern Europe Part 2: The Baltic Countries

Let’s get started with a little geography and history. The Baltic Sea is in Northern Europe. When maps talk about the Baltic Countries, they are usually referring to three countries, even though more than three border the Baltic Sea. So what are these three countries? Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

It is debatable if they are part of Eastern Europe or Northern Europe, but there is one thing that these three countries have in common with a lot of Eastern European countries, they were colonised by Russia. These countries were invaded and forced to join the Soviet Union. They weren’t independent countries until the early 90s. These articles: here, here, and here have some interesting information about the independence movements in 1990 and 1991 and what became of these countries afterward. Things have changed a lot since then, and the three countries have joined the EU and have capitalist economies.

Speaking of debate over what part of Europe should the Baltic States be classified as, here is an opinion piece from the Guardian, written by a journalist named Agata Pyzik. She writes about how the desire to be considered Western Europe is so they can forget the history of Russian occupation and draws parallels to her experience in Poland, where some prefer to call the country Central European. She talks about the stereotypes of the West and the East and how Eastern culture is stigmatised and even then, the border between West and East has changed so much over the centuries. I also found another article by a German blogger who is living in Lithuania talking about why he thinks Lithuania is part of Eastern Europe. Some may agree with these opinions, others may disagree. Feel free to have your say in the comments section.

Some people think that the term Eastern European, as it is used is too broad and too generalising because there are differences between the countries. Eastern Europe itself is a pretty large region and can be further divided into more regions.

Like anywhere else, there is a following of rock music in the Baltic Countries. In Vilnius, Lithuania, you’ll find a Frank Zappa statue. Music festivals can be found in all three countries.

Without further ado, let’s get to the fun part and talk about the rock bands! Very little information was found on the bands, but you’ll find a good amount of music here, just less commentary than in previous blog posts.

Continue reading “Classic Rock in Eastern Europe Part 2: The Baltic Countries”

Indian Influences in Classic Rock

 Note from the author: I wanted to write this post for a while now. The sitar is my favourite instrument. I think it was an instrument that revolutionised classic rock and added something cool to the table, paving the way for other world music genres to influence classic rock. I believe that incorporation of world music influences in classic rock does a lot of good, broadening the minds of fans. It’s great to see musicians acknowledging their influences and giving credit where due. It’s not cultural appropriation. It’s art and it’s for all to enjoy.

 I grew up in a family that taught me about different cultures and encouraged curiosity. Not only did I learn about multiple cultures from being mixed race, I travelled a lot with my parents and my parents encouraged me to read from a young age. I encourage everyone to read about other cultures. I encourage you to travel and try new things. Maybe you can’t afford to travel or you’re unable to for other reasons, but the internet and the library are here for you – great places to learn about the world around you. Life is short, learn about this beautiful planet.

The 60s was a period where you saw Indian inspired fashions and heard Indian inspired music. The term for this embracing of Indian culture is Indomania.  It was more than just sitars in psychedelic rock and it wasn’t just superficial, let’s throw in a sitar in this rock song. In this post, you’ll see what I mean.

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Immigrants in Classic Rock

I’ve been busy with school, so busy I can’t write another post. Don’t worry, this blog is still in my thoughts. As you may know, I am an immigrant myself, going to school in a different country. I have no family in the country I live in. Being an immigrant is a challenge, especially when you don’t know anyone of the same background that you can relate to and talk about your culture with. As you can imagine, it’s all bottled up and if I do speak about Venezuelan things and events, no one understands. I especially miss the food: rice, beans, and fried plantains.

Why was I thinking about immigration? I have a lot of family who are immigrants. I have cousins who are immigrants. My mum was an immigrant. It’s an issue that is not only talked about in the US election, but in other elections around the world. The US election is always on my mind since I have family there. It’s a disaster: two unlikeable candidates that not even 10% of the US population have chosen. How did we get here? A combination of cheating, media bias, and people just not caring enough about elections, I’d say.

I can only speak in an informed way for US politics. On the one side, you have Republicans who are very xenophobic and anti-immigration. Donald Trump, whose mum was an immigrant, wants to build a wall, as one example. He’s said horrible things about Mexican immigrants and Middle Eastern immigrants, and many other groups beyond that. In short, he’s incredibly racist. He talks like a Nazi. He cannot be our president.

Democrats can be just as bad too. Rewind to the 90s and there was President Bill Clinton enacting laws that would deport people quickly (no due process) and separate them from their families, increase border control, and more. Here’s a video. 

Now I know that Hillary is a totally separate person from Bill, but I don’t think I can vote for her because of so many ethical reasons, which I’ll not go into now or this will just turn into me rambling about politics.

I don’t understand why people hate on immigrants so much. Immigrants are not lazy. They work hard and many immigrants start their own businesses. Many of them want to blend in and be a part of the culture of the country they moved to. Immigrants are less likely to break the law. Immigrants pay their taxes too. We earn the jobs just as much as native born citizens.

How does this all relate to classic rock? Many classic rockers are immigrants and they each have different stories. Some of them immigrated as children, some were escaping persecution, some immigrated before they got famous, and others immigrated after they got famous. Chances are, one of your favourite musicians is an immigrant. Besides, a lot of famous people own properties in more than one country. Let’s take a look at some rock stars and their immigration stories. This is not an exhaustive list, but if you have other examples, feel free to share in the comments section.

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Disco Rocks

Genre rivalries, there are a lot of them. They can be between different subgenres of rock or between different genres. You’re told to pick one side or the other, you can’t like both. Or can you? A silly question, of course you can like more than one thing. Don’t let the elitist fans tell you what you can and cannot like. I can rant all day about elitist fans, but I’ll leave that for another time. In this post we’ll be covering the crossovers between disco and rock with an emphasis on rock musicians trying their hands at disco. Disco played an important role in popular music and inspired the dance genres of the 80s and beyond.

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Classic Rock in Eastern Europe Part 1 and Intro

Note: Some of the following countries that I’ll be talking about in this mightn’t be considered part of Eastern Europe, but rather Central Europe. All of these countries however, were under the influence of the USSR (as satellite states) at one point and they were behind the Iron Curtain, which separated Eastern and Western Europe. 

Rock and roll definitely had a following in Eastern Europe ever since it came out, despite the government trying to suppress and silence it. It is a horseshoe theory, like in America conservative Christians were against rock and roll music. It was only natural that rock and roll would have a following because a lot of young people wanted to rebel against the government and it doesn’t hurt that rock and roll is really good. Rock and roll played a big part in the fall of communism and it wasn’t that long ago that communism was alive in Eastern Europe. People your parents age likely lived through this. This was a difficult topic to research about because much of the rock music coming out of Eastern Europe in the 60s and 70s is very hard to find and it’s hard to get a good grasp on the context of the time period. Much of the research I did came from a book called Rock Around The Block by Timothy Ryback.

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Classic Rock in Scandinavia

Out of all of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden has had the most visible contribution to classic rock and oldies, but the other Scandinavian countries made contributions as well. You probably know of ABBA and maybe a couple more of these musicians. Let’s get started! In this blog post we will also cover musicians from Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.

Note: Some of the information that I found about the bands is not in English or a language I can understand well enough, like Spanish or French. I don’t speak Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian, or Finnish. I have to rely on Chrome’s translator and sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so good. I’m trying my best. If you do speak one of these languages and you see misinformation in the post, please leave a comment below and I’ll fix the mistakes.

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