Dec 032010

In our Bullshit On thread involving Linda McCartney, Townsman Oats made the follow wisecrack (I think) that got me thinking about something else:

I always thought Linda helped invent the two-fingered style of playing Minimoog that has since popped up in all kinds of settings, from The Cars to Dr. Dre to assorted indie rockers.

The “something else” I thought about was John Lennon‘s subtle claims in his final interviews that Yoko must have been a big influence on New Wave bands they were hearing, like The B-52s. Perhaps Yoko was the influence for the singing style of those women, but what this really got me thinking about were suspect claims of influence in rock ‘n roll.

These suspect claims of influence often come long after the fact. They sometimes seem orchestrated to add relevance to the comebacking career of a veteran artist, such as Neil Young‘s Godfather of Grunge campaign. There may be merit to these claims, but they can just as easily be as whacked out as the now-commonly accepted notion that Buddy Holly ripped off his entire act from Bo Diddley.

What claims of influence in rock ‘n roll do you find especially suspect?


  8 Responses to “Suspect Claims of Influence”

  1. I was half-kidding before. Did anyone have an easy-peasy Moog solo before “Jet”? And think of all the similar Moog solos or hooks you’ve heard since.

    Hmm, lemme think of some suspect claims of influence.

    Cheap Trick for Nirvana. Sure, Kurt Cobain made some claims, but how reliable was he?

    The Beatles and The Smiths for Oasis. I think The Smiths was more a hometown pride thing. And maybe The Beatles was just an expression of the band’s winner rock aspirations.

    The Grateful Dead for punk and postpunk. I often can’t tell if Sonic Youth’s Dead aspirations are for real or not.

    The story I heard is that John heard the B-52’s in a club, called Yoko and said “They’re ready for you!”

  2. Right, that’s one of the Lennon stories, Oats!

  3. Lee Ranaldo of SY is openly into the Dead. I think it shows up on the free-form parts of songs like “Expressway to Yr. Skull.”

    Big Black’s cover of “He’s a Whore” was a pretty big sensation in the indie rock scene that would later influence Nirvana. Perhaps that’s to what Cobain is referring.

  4. I think these are largely added to box set liner notes to try and create a direct link to something “modern”. Blame a PR guy (no really, do this now)

  5. Off topic here, but was talking to someone last week who was telling me how different The Beatles last gig could have been. Yoko was there, but it was too cold for her to join John on the roof and chip in with her signature screech-off.

  6. shawnkilroy

    i have always thought George Michael’s entire career was an effort to achieve the greatness of Bee Gee’s Jive Talkin.

    All of the original press releases about a new Philly based band called Free Energy that are enjoying national success, compare them to Thin Lizzy. This is complete publicist generated bullshit. I like Free Energy. I like Thin Lizzy. They sound nothing alike. They look nothing alike. I think Thin Lizzy was a name that got dropped because nobody under 20 has ever heard Thin Lizzy.

  7. alexmagic

    kilroy: True as your first comment is, I fear it will just lead closet RTH fan George Michael to announce the formation of a new supergroup featuring Flea once he realizes he was just one bass player away from achieving his goal all this time.

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