History of Alternative Music

by 12/11/2012 13:44:00 0 comments 1430 Views
History of Alternative Music

The question of where and when alternative music began is very much open to debate. It could be argued that alternative music has its roots in the Mississpi Delta and the artists who gave birth to the blues. Others might argue that alternative music really kicked off with the emergence and explosion of punk rock in the early 1970's. Still others make the case that alternative music was made possible by one man in the 1950's: Frederick Link Wray (otherwise known simply as "Link Wray"). Ray is often given credit for pioneering a new sound for electric guitars and inventing the "power chord" which made punk and heavy rock a possibility. Ray has been cited as an influence by many well-known musicians, including Mark E. Smith of The Fall, who sang: "I used to have this thing about Link Ray, I used to play him every Saturday, God bless Saturday."

Many music oficianados will argue that aleternative music really began with timeless figures like Iggy Pop (and later "the Stooges"), Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, or The Ramones. However, I have decided to begin this musical odyssey in 1965 with the formation of The Velvet Underground. Their "outsider attitude" and musical experimentation are often cited as pivotol in the development of punk and alternative rock. The VU are one of the most influential bands in the history of modern music and you can hear their memorable sound in the performances of literally hundreds of other alternative bands. Brian Eno wasn't too far off when he claimed that "only about 1 000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but everyone of them formed a rock 'n' roll band."

The Velvet Undrgound gave birth to pessimistic psychadelic rock, raga rock, and what would later come to be known as New Wave. And, above all, they brought forth a will to make music that was independent, subversive, and nihilist - in a style that was eventually christened "punk rock". The Velvet Undergound were among the first bands to concieve of music as creative art, not as a commerical product to sell in this or that format.

The VU sound is timeless and, for me, marks the beginning of a new era in music which is still going very strong.