May they ALL be remembered

So, this post is going to be pretty deep. More discussion, emotions and unfortunately not a funny one. However, it’s an important one. I’ve given it some time to write this, due to recent events within the music industry.

A week ago, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life following a long battle with depression. Two months earlier, Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden, also took his own life.

These deaths shook the music industry and fans of the bands to the core. They are both highly influential people and have given fans of their music so much hope and strength. They have made incredible albums, songs and have been loved by so many people. They left an impact on people’s lives.

So, why does the media forget about them within a few months?

*Disclaimer- I am not talking about all media, as music journalists will not forget about these, ever. I am talking about main media, major news programmes etc.*

I find it very frustrating when channels or news outlets such as the BBC, Channel 4 etc, give certain artists more recognition and remembrance when the pass away, and give other artists barely any airtime at all. Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead, Hawkwind) passed away on the 28th December 2015. David Bowie passed away on the 10th January 2016. Both incredible, influential musicians- the difference between them though? Lemmy received a 30-second segment announcing his death for a couple of days, yet David Bowie received tribute upon tribute, programme after programme, for months.

Don’t read this as though I dislike David Bowie. I was just as upset when he died as I was with Lemmy. My anger is at the media.

The same happened with Prince, Pete Burns and George Michael. All passing away in 2016, all receiving different amounts of remembrance from the main media. For example, there are still news stories from papers being written about George Michael and his death. However, with Pete Burns, the articles stopped within a few days.

Is this because artists such as Pete Burns and Lemmy were *shock, horror* a little controversial? Not particularly media/radio friendly?

To lay it out:
– Lemmy was notorious for drinking, swearing, saying controversial things, and making heavy metal music, the least played genre of music on mainstream radio.
– David Bowie constantly changed his image along with how the music industry changed, put out radio-friendly music and did charity work. The most controversial thing Bowie said was that he was bi/gay in an interview with Melody Maker back in the 70’s.

The music Lemmy and Pete Burns put out was not of a genre that would frequently get airtime on mainstream radio stations, because it didn’t appeal to as many people as the music of George Michael and David Bowie did. Michael and Bowie’s music appeals to all ages, reaching a wider demographic than heavy metal or new-wave. Which is why, news programmes focused on, put out tribute shows on and kept news stories going for months on David Bowie and George Michael, because they would bring in the ratings. Which is so disappointing.

Every musician that dies should be remembered equally.

Every musician that dies rips a hole in the music industry and affects so many people’s lives, that the media should not pick and choose who to give more airtime to.

Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, George Michael, Prince and Pete Burns are all equal in the eyes of the music industry and their fans.
The music industry will not be the same as it was without these musicians putting out their incredible music. Their songs had so much meaning and meant so much to a hell of a lot of people. So much that fans say, ‘Chester/Lemmy/David etc saved my life’. Surely that statement alone warrants endless recognition.

I could go on a rant for ages about this subject, going on different tangents, but those are for other blog posts. I am going to leave it here for now.

I will always remember musicians such as Chester, Lemmy and Chris, as equally as Bowie, George and Prince, and you should to. They all saved lives.

Bang That Gong…Glam Rock and Sexuality

Okay so this blog post is a little bit raunchy, but something I find so intriguing…have you ever read the lyrics of Glam Rock songs? Like, REALLY read them. If you have, then you will know what I mean. Some people may get a little bit of a shock, and those people are normally the ones who just idly sing a long just because it’s catchy. But now lets take a long, hard look into the lyrics of said songs, and discuss how the genre of glam rock had such a connection with sex and sexuality.

“Well you’re dirty and sweet, clad in black, don’t look back and I love you…’ “Get it on, bang a gong, get it on”– ‘Get It On by T-Rex, their biggest hit in the US. What’s it about? Sex. However, as the imagery is a little subtle (probably not in the minds of people today) most people didn’t realise the meaning of the song. “Get it on” obviously refers to getting ready to have sex, and apparently, according to the ever reliable source of Urban Dictionary, “Bang a gong” refers to hitting a womans sweet spot with…well, you get the picture. Even the grinding guitar riff in 20th Century Boy makes anyone listening to it feel alive and makes you want to grab someone and dance up against them. For some reason, Glam Rock flicks a switch in people, turning on that part of us most of us hide until the lights go off.

You can’t talk about glam rock and sexuality without mentioning David Bowie. Now, whilst he may have had a stint playing in the glam rock genre before drifting in and out of others, he really created an uproar concerning sexuality when releasing albums such as The Man Who Sold The World, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and Pin Ups. His character Ziggy Stardust, was portrayed as ‘plastic’ and ‘bisexual’, although Bowie immersed himself so much in Ziggy that his fans and the media were unsure of his true sexuality, something that at the time was a huge deal. He wore make-up, had bright coloured hair, wore skin tight feminine clothes and the media wasn’t sure whether to love it, or stick to the gender roles that were so in place at that time and put so much negativity on him for daring to be controversial. At a concert, when playing the role of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie reportedly went down on his guitarist and acted out oral, in front of the entire audience. This, clearly, did not help with calming the media’s anger and confusing concerning his sexuality. It seemed that Bowie was more interested in wanting to create a shock value, get a reaction out of people, that the high musical/lyrical talent of his songs and albums were overlooked. (Research from http://www.highbrowmagazine.com/david-bowie-and-medias-obsession-sexuality).

The New York Dolls were a band which really went straight in with the cross-dressing, androgynous element of glam rock, wearing over the top drag-queen style make up and having hair so big it made Bon Jovi’s do’s look flat as pancakes. They wore bright colours that clashed and bold patterns and platform thigh high boots. A style which would become more prominent when glam rock evolved in the 80’s. In an interview on http://chicago.gopride.com/news/interview.cfm/articleid/101881, David Johansen says that ‘there was a big celebration of sex going on’ (in the 70’s) and that he ‘never dug sexless music’. The New York Dolls song ‘Looking For A Kiss’ had one particularly sexy lyrical section,

“Well I been looking for a real.. hot.. kiss
Come on, kiss me

You think it’s bad, but you know it’s true
So why won’t you just look here baby
When I’m looking for a kiss”

Until that point it doesn’t seem like a deeply raunchy song, then it hits you and that is what brought them and other bands like them attention. Glam Rock was a genre which allowed you to explore. Explore yourself, explore others and allow you to do things for the first time that were originally looked down upon. When I think of glam rock I visualise a technicolour, glitter filled haze with smoke floating up and the sounds of T Rex in the background, and every form of sexuality being tried and accepted. I would have loved to have been around when Glam Rock was at it’s peak, so I could experience all the things that were associated with it, to see T Rex, Bowie and Suzie Quatro live… However I don’t think it would be as tastefully sexual if revived today, if anything there would be more controversy than ever, but thats another blog post.

Vicki x