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Music Was Never Meant To Last

Great music blows like a gentle breeze across the meadow. It floods the senses with the force of a hurricane. It moves the spirit; breaks the heart; tames the wild beast and burns in the belly with fire. Still, there are too many choices. The concept of a single artist or group like The Beatles uniting a large pop audience and shaping and defining it is about as dead as the 45-rpm single. There are some things you don't learn in a classroom; things you only learn on stage in front of an audience. All great music is born on the stage. It is a product of the chemistry reaction between the audience and the performer. As much as we are inspired and entertained by great music, it is the collective consciousness of live performance that audiences have come to expect and what artists live for. There is always room in show business for an artist that can make an audience love him. When artists give an audience what they expect, the union is complete. The audience remains faithful and adoring. In the desperation of trying to please an audience, the artist can go to extreme. The greater the extremes, the higher the pedestal he climbs the greater the fall. Unlike the sixties, it's hard to make it in the music world. You can't hear new music on radio anymore. There's no artist development. Suffice to say, there's great music in every genre: too bad we don't get to hear most of it. By the early '90s, radio underwent a transformation. Radio's almost effortless cash flow made it ripe for consolidation. Broadcasters began formatting their stations to keep people from moving the dial. The music business started producing similar sounding music according to strict commercial standards. Every "hit" was "covered" by imitators. Record labels began selling music to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Singer-Songwriter Don Maclean once wrote a cryptic song called "American Pie". The song spoke about the day the music died. Of course, Maclean was talking about the day rock and roll legend Buddy Holly died in a tragic plane crash. But the song was taken metaphorically to have many different meanings. The song's varied interpretations have been widely debated for decades now Is the music dying? Did the music die in the 90's. The Music industry has certainly changed it's focus from nurturing artists, to high-pressure sales tactics. The emphasis is on marketing way ahead of creativity. These days that means, if you don't get a solid hit first time at bat, you'll probably be forgotten in favor of some other artist waiting for their turn to shine. One hit wonders continue to fall like shooting stars in the night. I'd much rather be a folk hero with a loyal cult following, playing the music I love than selling out for a shot at a fickle mass market audience that will dump me in a heartbeat for the next new artist that comes along. Sixties idealism gave way to greedy idols who took far more than they gave. No one was really surprised when The Ramones reinvented rock. It was bound to happen. No genre, style or art form was ever meant to last. Dennis Walsh progressofmusic@hotmail.com

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