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Was the 1970's the most political decade musically


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Old 12-11-2013, 20:22
bikini
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I was thinking today that the 70's spurned the most political movements in music about race, sexual equality, unions etc.
Do others agree?
Like the 80's was excess and big fame, the 60's was pop and by the end political.
The 90's was more artistic.
Am I talking nonsense guys???
The sex pistols were somewhat political and especially the clash. Pink floyd talked about society and mans place in it.
I just wanted to know what others think. I know the smiths were somewhat political and each decade had some but the seventies was to me much more challenging and turbulant yet people used to call it boring and grey.
I was only a wee kid then but I am going by retro shows and my knowledge of each decade secondhand from what I have learned and listened to.
what do others think about the decade that changed politics the most.
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Old 12-11-2013, 20:26
TheTruth1983
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90s was rubbish. Grunge and Britpop? Really? And don't even get me started on Rave.
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Old 12-11-2013, 21:18
mgvsmith
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It's a good question. The answer partly depends on where you live. The 1950s saw the birth of Rock N'Roll and consumerism in the USA which came across the Atlantic in the late 50s, early 60s in the UK.

It's dangerous to generalise too much but really the 1960s is a huge time of social change, prosperity and success in GB, a kind of Golden Age. Think James Bond, The Beatles and The Stones, Carnaby St, 1966, The Wilson Government, Gay and Abortion law changes. All that suggests a very idealistic period where anything seemed possible.

For me that sense of optimism carried on into the 1970s reflected perhaps in the Glam and Prog Rock of the early 70s.
The disillusionment set in after the energy crisis of the early 70s (oil shortages and steep price increases) and the disconnect between the rock superstars and their audience.

UK Punk and New Wave had a DIY ethic which provided a vibrant, alternative pop culture the like of which we haven't had in UK pop culture since. It's arguable how ideological the punk movement was. The Clash, The Ruts, X Ray Spex, Elvis Costello and later Two Tone artists certainly included some radical songs. Yet Punk always seemed somewhat nihilistic at times.

For me the 1980s are the most political. The kind of changes brought about by the Thatcher hegemony are still being lived out today and her government were completely ideological, bent on breaking the power of the unions, ending social cohesion and promoting rampant individualism. So you get New Romantic bands, the club culture and the decadence. Think Duran, Duran, Visage, Spandau Ballet, ABC, etc. At the same time pop culture did LiveAid (the last site of 60s optimism within pop?).

Not a full story but it does illustrate that pop music is intimately connected with the world around it. Those who say, pop music is just about the music you like, miss all that.
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Old 12-11-2013, 21:20
Hit Em Up Style
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For me the 1980s are the most political. The kind of changes brought about by the Thatcher hegemony are still being lived out today and her government were completely ideological, bent on breaking the power of the unions, ending social cohesion and promoting rampant individualism. So you get New Romantic bands, the club culture and the decadence. Think Duran, Duran, Visage, Spandau Ballet, ABC, etc. At the same time pop culture did LiveAid (the last site of 60s optimism within pop?).

Not a full story but it does illustrate that pop music is intimately connected with the world around it. Those who say, pop music is just about the music you like, miss all that.
I would agree with all this.
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Old 12-11-2013, 21:28
Coen
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Plus the 80s had quite a lot of bands reacting against Thatcherism and all it entailed and producing openly political songs - there was the whole "Red Wedge" movement, Ska bands like The Specials ("Ghost Town") and The Beat ("Stand Down Margaret"), Billy Bragg, Style Council etc

Not everyone embraced excess and decadence in the 80s!
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:20
mushymanrob
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i dont think you can tie it down to a decade... the most political period was certainly punk/post punk, so id suggest from 77 - 86 as the most political ten years in music (for the uk).

the early 80's wasnt all about new romantics, flamboyance, escapism, punk had become very political, and whilst not mainstream there were plenty of hardcore anarchist groups like crass in music.
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Old 13-11-2013, 08:13
mgvsmith
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Plus the 80s had quite a lot of bands reacting against Thatcherism and all it entailed and producing openly political songs - there was the whole "Red Wedge" movement, Ska bands like The Specials ("Ghost Town") and The Beat ("Stand Down Margaret"), Billy Bragg, Style Council etc

Not everyone embraced excess and decadence in the 80s!
i dont think you can tie it down to a decade... the most political period was certainly punk/post punk, so id suggest from 77 - 86 as the most political ten years in music (for the uk).

the early 80's wasnt all about new romantics, flamboyance, escapism, punk had become very political, and whilst not mainstream there were plenty of hardcore anarchist groups like crass in music.
I wouldn't disagree with those points at all. It supports the idea that the 80s was the most political decade with pop music providing a place of resistance to change. In social and political terms we are living in a decade that shows many similarities with the early 80s including a clearly ideological Tory government.
The place of resistance this time is the web rather than pop music; Wikileaks, Anonymous and Occupy movements.
Julian Assange is a modern rock star and he uses a laptop not a guitar!
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Old 13-11-2013, 19:02
bikini
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I personally think the question is so hard to answer but the late sixties people thought they COULD change the world. The early sixties was a bit sugar coated in my opinion.
The 90's surely is NOT the most political deade.
But I personally think in terms of music it was the seventies like punk and political movements and womens movements and black movements. But all these were began in music in the late sixties.
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Old 13-11-2013, 19:46
Pointy
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90s was rubbish. Grunge and Britpop? Really? And don't even get me started on Rave.
The 90's were good in my opinion. A positive for music overall.
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Old 13-11-2013, 20:59
Rocketpop
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The 90's surely is NOT the most political deade.
Any era that has both Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine can't be to bad....throw in somes others like too..

The Manics
Pearl Jam.
Bikini Kill.
System of a Down.
Ben Harper.
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Old 13-11-2013, 21:38
mgvsmith
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Any era that has both Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine can't be to bad....throw in somes others like too..

The Manics
Pearl Jam.
Bikini Kill.
System of a Down.
Ben Harper.
When you talk about Public Enemy you need to provide context. PE are worth an entire volume in terms of their politics and how they represent an African American perspective on pop culture. Their popularity was from the late 80s into the 90s fair enough but their oppositional position was a reflection on Reagan and Bush's America. Truly remarkable in terms of their cultural and musical impact. The other bands are worthy but not in same league.
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Old 14-11-2013, 04:49
mrkite77
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Plus the 80s had quite a lot of bands reacting against Thatcherism and all it entailed and producing openly political songs
You omitted the quintessential 80s protest song:

Killing Joke - Eighties

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