Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Rock Gets Harder


Prior to Black Sabbath, some of the hardest rocking bands in show biz had been The Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly and garage bands like DC5 and The Stooges. Black Sabbath were pioneers of early metal and their song "Paranoid" summed up the angry metal disposition. Punk culture revolved around dissatisfied youth about the system. It was never meant to be a conformist trend but that's what it turned out to be once it was packaged by independent marketers who labeled it "generation x" and attempted to lump everyone born after the mid-sixties into one category of angry vampires with spiked hair and black attire on the verge of revolt.

Even Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols said in his writing that the point to punk was about individuality, but was widely misunderstood. The angst in songs like "Anarchy In The U.K." and "God Save The Queen" were not taken so much as political songs, but simply as energetic angry attitude songs. And so style, instead of content, went on to shape the foundation of later punk, new wave and modern rock. Another early punk artist, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, tried to apathetically define the new movement as "The Blank Generation." Many from this new wave of artists strove to alter the definition of cool credibility to someone who experieced mindlessness, recklessness, carelessness, disillusion, alienation, decadence and depression. Yet, there was a strand of new wave artists who treated the music as a reference point from where the sixties left off. Many sixties hits ended up being covered by modern rock artists for years to come. In America The Ramones were considered punk pioneers with songs like "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker."



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