Jan 162007

Rock ‘n roll…My life was saved by rock ‘n roll. Forever more I will give it up for The Power & Glory of Rock.

Shortly after the ‘n Roll was dropped from Rock ‘n Roll and long-haired, bearded bands took the stage at open-air festivals, backed by a phalanx of amplification, to play Rock music, these same bands felt the need to get back to rock’s roots. The Beatles got back. The Stones, who’d barely left rock’s roots through their Brian Jones years, wisely ditched the hashish and dashikis and got way back to rural American blues. The Band and Traffic holed up in the countryside. The Byrds went the trad-country route. The rock world called on Sha Na Na to help reclaim that prematurely dropped ‘n Roll. Getting back.

Getting back and joining together, man, in the form of a band! Rock’s Premier Seeker, Pete Townshend, was ripe for rallying behind The Power & Glory of Rock. The Who and The Move, led by eccentric, multi-instrumentalist, conceptualist Roy Wood, applied the thunderous, plodding riffage of their bands to early Rock ‘n Roll’s walking bass lines and pounding piano-driven rhythm sections. Lyrics might commemorate the innocence of early Beach Boys, as The Move did in “California Man” (by this point with Jeff Lynne in the fold, who would continue as a proponent of The Power & Glory of Rock as The Move transformed into ELO) and or celebrate the everlasting Power & Glory of Rock itself, as The Who did so memorably in “Long Live Rock”.

When giving thanks and praise to The Power & Glory of Rock, it’s not enough to sing of innocent times and imagined dance steps, it’s not enough to restore the slightly frantic, swinging rhythms that marked the genre’s explosion onto the pop culture landscape. No, every shred of humanity in each riff and downbeat must be thrust to the fore, revived, exploited. The song becomes secondary. The act of getting back becomes secondary. Rather, it is the act of giving thanks and praise itself that comes to represent The Power & Glory of Rock.


  5 Responses to “The Power & Glory of Rock”

  1. BigSteve

    I never knew P&G had anything to do with 50s camp and pastiche. I thought it was more about the power chord.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I’m glad we could clarify this. I believe there’s a lot we’ll find was never clear in our prior discussions on these topics until we re-examine them, and them review and revise based on these re-examinations. In researching and reflecting on this glossary entry, it became clear that The Power & Glory of Rock resulted from the mating of the power chord with over-the-top ’50s riffage.

    Another pioneer in the development of The P&G was John Lennon. Think of how “Revolution” (the single version, in particular) attemptes to bust through The P&G that Chuck Berry could only hint at in the late-50s. Same goes for the rockers on the first Plastic Ono Band album.

    Some of Lennon’s solo work with Elephant’s Memory overtly attempted to move into full-blown P&G, but they generally fell flat in their efforts. Gotta love their attempt at elevating Chuck on the old Mike Douglas show, although having Yoko and another hanger-on beat a bongo out of time is a soft-on. That almost uniformly horrible Rock ‘n Roll fiasco was another attempt by Lennon to get back, but by then he’d lost the means to exploit The P&G.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    First, a comment on the functionality of this site. It bugs me that I can’t just click on a button at the end of a post to respond to it. I gotta go back to the original story that inspired it to post a rant? Naw, man, that ain’t right.

    But look, my real reason for posting is to say: give me a fucking break, Lennon apologists! That Berry appearance on the Mike Douglas show is a Very Sad Thing indeed. I mean, come on! Berry sucks. (What else is new, post-1964.) Ono and fellow dumbek whacker/idiot hippie suck. The backing band is uninteresting — though they get a pass for being on deck to make everybody else look good. But the sadest, suckiest personality on stage is old Johnny Boy himself. Come on, people, the emperor has no clothes! His guitar sounds like shit (and not just because he couldn’t be bothered to tune it), he muddles his way through the song like a 13 year-old in somebody’s basement… he just plain stinks! Seriously, I had a recording of a 14 year-old John Lennon singing “That’ll Be the Day” pop into the earbuds this afternoon, and it sounded as sophisticated as bloody Steely Dan compared to this steaming heap of a performance. And I got no problem with inspired amateurism in Rock. I simply cannot understand how anybody can watch this performance without wincing; it’s dreadful.

    I have spoken.

    BTW, the preview function for comments don’t work.

  4. Mr. Moderator

    But look, my real reason for posting is to say: give me a fucking break, Lennon apologists! That Berry appearance on the Mike Douglas show is a Very Sad Thing indeed.

    To what are you reacting? Please re-read the glossary entry for The Power & Glory of Rock and report back. Must this fantastic site include a special formatting for half-hearted sarcasm?

    By the way, the preview function for Comments does work. Maybe it’s a pop-up issue with your computer. Maybe it’s a user error. Keep trying, my friend.

  5. Gold lame!

    Is there any sort of definitive word on how Sha Na Na really went over at Woodstock? I think it’s a crucial question. And the question of how “At the Hop” would’ve gone over if a po-faced, let’s say, Ten Years After performed that exact same version, is one of the Great Unanswered Rock Questions.

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