Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Just a Little Further Out There


Experimental music was big in the sixties as it could be heard on pop radio or underground FM stations. The most wacked out of bounds song of the entire decade was perhaps "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha" by Napoleon XIV, a record that quickly shot up the charts, only to be quickly dropped by radio programmers concerned about the psychiatric health of their listeners. The song was done in a rhythmic spoken word style, almost like an early rap record, over a heavy drum beat. The vocalist ranted about being driven crazy by an ex-lover as he was about to be escorted away to the funny farm.

Another experimental song that became huge and set off alarms was "In The Year 2525" by Zager & Evans, which looked at humanity in the distant future. The grim forecast saw humans merging with machines and replacing food with pills. The undertone of the story was that man's lust for greed and power leads to destruction. There simply were no creative boundaries at that time. Another song that deliberately tried to be weird and haunting yet somewhat humorous was "Fire" by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown.

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