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.

Continue reading “Australian Classic Rock of the 60s and 70s: Part 1”

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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!

Continue reading “The multicultural roots of surf rock”

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.

Continue reading “Indian Influences in Classic Rock”

Jewish Classic Rock and Oldies Musicians Part 2: US and Canada part 1

The United States has the most Jews of any country besides Israel with estimates ranging from over 5 million to over 6 million. Canada has a Jewish population of 375,000. Jewish Americans and Canadians have contributed to rock and roll in performance and songwriting, but this post will be focusing on the music side of things, but many of these musicians are songwriters. While doing research for this post, I found out that there were so many Jewish musicians from the US and Canada that this post will have to be broken up into two parts. A usual post for the Diversity of Classic Rock is more or less 2000 words and this post had it been released all together would be more than double that. I strive to showcase as many musicians as possible from the well-known to the deep cuts who deserve more recognition. These musicians are in a variety of types of rock from punk to hard rock to folk to power pop to blues rock to progressive rock. A diverse range of subgenres in rock.

This series of posts was a really important to me as someone who is Jewish. I am an atheist but identify culturally as Jewish. Writing this made me think of all the times that my dad would say that “it seems like everyone is Jewish.”

Continue reading “Jewish Classic Rock and Oldies Musicians Part 2: US and Canada part 1”

Before they were old enough to vote: young musicians in classic rock and oldies

Rock and Roll was a very youth oriented genre. Young people loved it and many songs were about rebellion and standing up for what is right. The slogan of the 60s generation was “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Many rock stars got their start in their early 20s and were topping the charts. Some of these musicians when they made it were not even adults, and in some cases were not even teenagers or were barely in their teenage years. They were making hits before they were able to vote in an election or rent a car. Many musicians today were young when they made it such as Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Rihanna, but they were far from the first teenagers to make it in music. Here are some classic rock musicians who started their careers at a very young age.

Continue reading “Before they were old enough to vote: young musicians in classic rock and oldies”

Romani Classic Rock musicians

The Romani are an ethnicity mostly living in Europe (although there are some Americans of Romani descent). They originated in India and were nomadic, eventually reaching Europe. The Romani live all over Europe, with populations in countries such as England, Spain, France, Italy, and Romania. Sadly, they have been persecuted for centuries and there are estimates that anywhere from 220,000 to 1.5 million Romani died in the Holocaust (not much is known and it is difficult to find exact numbers). To this day there still is persecution because of far right wing parties being elected in parts of Europe.

Romani music itself has a wide variety of influences from Indian to Greek to Persian to Slavic to French and Spanish. Romani music was even the basis for the Spanish flamenco. Django Reinhardt, a Belgian jazz guitarist of Romani descent was very influential to rock musicians such as Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Dickey Betts, Jeff Beck, and Jerry Garcia. Django Reinhardt was the inventor of the genre “jazz manouche” in the 30s. Jazz pianist John Lewis said of Django “He was the first great European jazz musician”. Another interesting thing about him is that in a fire he lost a few fingers but continued to play guitar. He died in 1953 at the age of 43. Here’s a video of some Django Reinhardt songs:

There are a few musicians of Romani descent who have made contributions to classic rock, let’s explore! Disclaimer: There will be quotes from musicians about their backgrounds. Some of them have reclaimed the word “gypsy” to describe their ethnic backgrounds. This is how they wish to identify. The only usage of the word “gypsy” will be in quotes from musicians or in one case a band name. Otherwise I will not use it. Thank you. Continue reading “Romani Classic Rock musicians”

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