The Dropped Rock

Is Rock and Roll culture dead and gone?

Freddy Mercury and Queen stealing the show at Wembley in London. July 13th, 1985.


The Dropped Rock

Seeing something cease to exist is probably a very sad moment in life...we have to give our parents more credit. The reason being is that they had to watch rock and roll die (or at least the prominent culture that used to surround it). I'm talking Led Zeppelin, Queen, Michael Jackson (wherever he is now), David Bowie, Def Leppard, Elvis Presley (depending on how old your parents are), Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, etc. I could really list off names of people or bands that I wish I could go back in time to watch them perform. The bottom line is that we, in the current generations, came into this world either while it was dying or after the fact. You might ask, "what makes you think Rock and Roll is dead?"

First off, good question, second off, did you see the Rolling Stones perform at Super Bowl 40? Mick Jagger, who once was a wild and eccentric performer, shifted (via his expiring age and unexpected hip gyrating) into someone's grandpa who may or may not have had a pedo van parked behind that stadium. I'm all about rock and roll icons being remembered and even performing. That's not the point. The point is that in the culture of the golden age of Rock and Roll, there was a constant baton being passed. This baton passing kept the competition and sound fresh. 

Now, proof that said baton is not being passed is shown through The Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are arguably the last of the true Rock and Roll icons. How do we know that even they are fading at an accelerated pace? Again, a Super Bowl 48 Performance proves true Rock and Roll artists are becoming underwhelming. Even their latest album does that. Now that they are fading, will it pass to anyone? During the golden age of Rock and Roll, it was never a question of "if," it was "who." These figurative batons were passed to between prominent performers like a love note is passed in elementary school to your crush in the second row of desks.

While we still have rock (and very good rock from Jack White, Black Keyes, Arctic Monkeys), no one really pulls in viewers like performers did during the Golden Age of Rock. I would even throw Michael Jackson in there as he contributed immensely to the concert culture that was prevalent then. The point isn't that the music back then was necessarily better but that the culture around it was fun and exciting, it seems like the vibe in rock music right now is as if music from The Smiths and Bob Dylan had a child and that child was never allowed to leave the house.

Talking with friends about this topic, they have all said the same thing, "rap music is like our Rock concerts." I can honestly get on that idea, and it totally is true depending on your definition of "like." However, I wish it wasn't true. Now, I love rap and hip hop as much as the next person, but saying it's the same as Golden Age Rock concerts I feel is inaccurate.

Rap is often a solo performance. You'd have probably a DJ and then maybe some random dudes standing up there cause they're part of your clique, but besides that, the focus is Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, or The Weekend. Rock and Roll usually had three guys up on stage who were all just as wild as the next. Another downside about rap concerts is that they are so damn expensive. Post Malone concert tickets at their cheapest were in the ballpark of $100. After researching ticket stubs from the 1980s, general admission tickets were around $20, but typically a few dollars under that. Imagine 15 bucks getting you and hundreds of other people into a show for some crazy guys yelling for you to "Pour some sugar on (them), in the name of love" (Def Leppard). I know what you're thinking..."It would be the best 15 bucks I ever spent."

With these high ticket prices, rap will never have the same following that the Rock and Roll era once had. Imagine kids and adults alike scrambling to get their hands on some Van Halen tickets...simpler times.

I'm mostly just feeling nostalgic, but at the same time, seeing Led Zeppelin or Queen perform live would have been rad. Even just that whole time period from the mid 50s to the early 2000s would have been exciting, everyone knew how to perform. The call to action is that if we saw ticket prices drop, then modern entertainment moguls could reach the same wide audience that existed in rock from the mid 1950s through the early 2000s or even from early rap groups like NWA or A Tribe Called Quest. Just think about that Jay Z. 

*Cue Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive"*

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