No Band Will Change The World Like They Did
Today, December 8, 2020, marks 40 years since John Lennon was shot and killed outside The Dakota in New York City. John would be gone at 40 years old. The Beatle, and at the time solo musician was part of a musical revolution. One of four this world saw, and I don't think we'll ever see another one.
A musical revolution isn't just being a successful band that lasts for decades. It isn't being the first to create the musical style that everyone will love. It isn't being the best at what you do. It's a combination of all of that and more. The band or artist that can be on this level needs to start something new at the right time. It needs to grab the worlds attention. It needs to not only start a musical trend, but a musical, stylistic and cultural shift. For all of these reasons, I don't believe we will ever see one again.
Now saying something will never happen ever again is a stretch. In a million years there may be another band like this. I'm saying WE'LL never see another one. So you know, 40-50 years...let's be honest that's about all we have left.
But here is why (and I realize this makes me sound old) the Internet. As I lay out the 4 bands that did change the world below what did they not have to fight against. The Internet. These bands needed to be played on radio, TV, found in your local album store and for the last couple MTV. However today, if you want to listen to Viking Death Metal, Australian folk music, techno, blues, pan flute...you get the point...you can find it! There are so many choices of music out there today that I don't see one band/artist breaking through the way these other bands/artists did. Music is so fragmented now, which for the consumer is great. But for a band trying to become a world changer, they have a lot of minds (many of them stubborn...you know who you are "I only listen to Metal!" guy) to change. Perhaps there is a person out there that can replicate what these bands/artists did.
1. Elvis Presley
While "The King" might not have been the best or first to do what he did, the stars aligned and he changed how the world listened and just as important, looked at things. While Elvis would perform covers from Little Richard, Ray Charles and more, let's be honest here, this was the 50's and at that time an African-American artist was not going to break through like a good looking southern boy like Elvis. He was able to bring these artists and this sound into the mainstream. He had a look kids copied. He had moves parents feared. If you don't think he changed the world, look at what was before him and what shortly came after. Here is one more insane stat on Elvis. When he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956 there were 60 million Americans watching. That was 82.6 percent of the TV audience. I can guarantee that will never happen again.
2. The Beatles
The British invasion, the mop tops, the sound and the evolution of The Beatles. Once again, a band that some might say wasn't the best at that time or style. But it didn't matter. They had a look, sound and style that hit at just the right time. As Elvis was still going strong, there was a new shift on the way in the 60's and The Beatles would be the ones to lead it. There music started with straight pop rock. Really when you go back and listen to their early stuff, anybody could have done it. But they did it at the right time and place. There musical talent would break through years later and John, Paul, George and Ringo's effect on the world would be ever lasting.
3. Michael Jackson
Another King that changed music. The King of Pop had been around for years with The Jackson Five but that was a family band that didn't make an impact into the American suburbs. Michael would have songs that couldn't be denied on radio and most importantly at this time MTV. Back when MTV showed videos it was clear the audience they were targeting. They didn't look like Michael. Then he made Thriller and the world would change. The style and sound would shift for sure. But also, what you heard on your radio and saw on MTV would change as well. Artists like Lionel Richie, Rick James, Prince, Whitney Houston and more became a part of popular culture after Michael paved the way for them.
The last musical revolution we will ever see. In the previous weeks and months before January 1992 the top selling albums would be from bands like Guns N' Roses and other hair metal mainstays. Then Nevermind came along and said "no more of that". An album that would debut on the charts at number 144 just four months earlier all of a sudden became number one. The kids that were given Warrant tapes for Christmas, exchanged them for Nirvana CD's. Hair metal would be dead and this new thing called "Grunge" would take over the next 5 years. Instantly record labels scrambled to find the next Nirvana which would bring us Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and so many more. Sounds changed, style changed, Hollywood changed and the world would never be the same. I know some of you will argue they weren't the best from that time and they were just ripping off The Pixies. You might not be wrong. But, as you should know by now with all these bands, it's not about being the best or even first, it's about all the stars aligning properly to change the world.