“Tracking Purebred Rock and Roll by Decade”

Purebred rock and roll differs from alternative rock, and I am trying to redefine one thing and coin another here, by its “pure” reliance on major chords. Led Zeppelin would be one example of alternative rock, since they use minor chords, specifically, the blues scale. Nirvana, as well, is alternative, although, as it’s minor chords at work, they base themselves on the tri-tone, rather than the blues scale. Pearl Jam’s breakthrough single “Jeremy” uses minor, as well as most Soundgarden stuff, so with these my definitive distinction of alternative from purebred holds up. Basically, as satisfying as alternative rock can be sometimes, and I do think it has the potential to take us to greater heights of conceptuality, maybe in moments of solitude, purebred rock and roll always has value, because its mind state is lighter and more accepting of surroundings, irrespective of certain tenets that, say, Nirvana would wield, things like shunning macho or selfish behavior. Though Nirvana’s “Lithium” is a great song in its own right, the enjoyment of it is like an eggshell that can be easily cracked by someone traversing the listening individual’s values boundaries. That is, its structure, though, in a way, more intricate than that of a Chuck Berry’s “Babydoll” or Girls’ “Honey Bunny,” is also more vulnerable, and purebred rock and roll gathers from all streams and vistas for its incapsulate beauty, not discriminating about how that stream or vista gets its mojo.
Steve Winwood, as far as I know, is the only man to ever be a one-hit wonder twice. He was in the Spencer Davis group, which reached their name as such because Spencer Davis was the only one in the band who liked doing interviews, and in it, Winwood wrote the groundbreaking “Gimme Some Lovin’.”
It’s true that “Back in the High Life Again” was a notable single of his solo career, but only “Higher Love” hit #1. You hear “Higher Love” nowadays and you’re in my generation, that is, close to 30, and your eyes dart around, and you hope you do have someone to love. Other than that, few complaints, as far as I see.
But this all started a while ago, so here are the masters, by decade.
1960’s – Chuck Berry
1970’s – The Clash
1980’s – Steve Winwood
1990’s – Pavement
2000’s – The Libertines
2010’s – Girls
I’ve already discussed Steve Winwood, Pavement’s perfection in stride can be summed up by “Range Life,” and I doubt I’d be able to say anything valid or new about The Clash or Chuck Berry, since they performed so long ago, and so much has been written already. The Libertines’ “Death on the Stairs” is their masterpiece, the song focused enough to come off meaningful, Doherty unleashing a lyrical tribute to the underprivileged. Which is interesting, because, for the fabled back story of Girls, singer Christopher Owens, he gives quite the image of orphan boy. A little for the aide of mythologizing, and in lieu of philosophically dissecting the implications of these artists’ economic background, let’s just sit back, poor a beer or glass of wine, and listen to these guys steal from the rich and give to the poor. Or, at least, I assume that’s what you do before you make a classic album.

Leave a Reply