CM – « Is this here » at 20: How The Strokes redefined rock

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The strokes could not be ignored in the early hours of the morning: They were synonymous with rock’n’roll. Founded in 1998, the band – comprised of Julian Casablancas, Nick Valensi, Albert Hammond Jr., Nikolai Fraiture, and Fabrizio Moretti – led the indie rock revival and forged a sound and ethos that other artists would emulate. The common thread of the group happened to be Casablancas: he performed with guitarist Valensi and drummer Moretti when he went to school in Manhattan as a teenager, later adding his childhood friend and bassist Fraiture, as well as guitarist Hammond Jr., whom he did from a time at known boarding school. Combining the courage of downtown New York with the glamor of rock and roll, the Strokes helped redefine old rock when there wasn’t necessarily a single vision. And it all started with their 2001 debut album, Is This It.

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After their debut EP The Modern Age sparked a bidding war on a record label in early 2001, Is This It should put them on the map. Originally released July 30, 2001 in Australia (and later October 9 in the US), the record quickly sparked a frenzy and eventual garage rock resurgence. Heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground and art rock of the ’70s, Is This It had a no-frills approach to its Brit-pop-influenced sound. It made it « cool » to make music with your friends again, and it wasn’t long before other bands followed suit.

The album, produced by Gordon Raphael, was critically acclaimed and helped create The Strokes – and singer Julian Casablancas – to be established as a power player in rock. The group’s second single, « Last Nite, » became their first to hit the US charts and climb to # 5 on Billboard’s Hot Alternative Songs. Although the album wasn’t nominated for a GRAMMY, Is This It provided the foundation for the credibility the band needed to eventually win awards.

Years and albums later, the band finally took home the coveted GRAMMY Award : Their first record in seven years, their sixth studio LP The New Abnormal, brought them their first GRAMMY win for « Best Rock Album » at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards Show.

For the 20th anniversary of the The band’s debut albums, GRAMMY.com The Strokes is honoring the industry with a round-table tribute with artists who influenced the group and industry professionals who have worked with them.

Nick Marc (DJ / Promoter / Music Curator / Consultant at Tiswas NYC, Take Me Out and more): It was the start of a new millennium and people were ready for something new and The Strokes fit in with it. They were cool, from New York, which is attractive, especially if you’re stuck in the suburbs, and they were unlike anything else that happened back then. To top it off, they wrote great songs that, while bursting with energy, were accessible. It was time for a fresh start and The Strokes made it available and broke the door for all of the following bands.

Jim Merlis (Former Publicist of The Strokes): The band had a huge impact on New York culture, and it wasn’t just her music. The band really gave something back to the scene by taking New York bands / artists like The Moldy Peaches, Regina Spektor, Longwave, and The Realistics on their travels. No two of these bands sound alike, but they all made sense to The Strokes.

Robert Schwartzman (Rooney director and bandleader): When I moved to New York and went to college in college, the Strokes played shows in New York, and they were the « it » band, I guess you could tell. But it wasn’t just pop radio, they were the « cool » guys that showed up at parties in New York, and I started dating these guys because my cousin Roman [Coppola] was early directing their music videos. Being close to the people in their circle made it easy for me to hang out and spend time with them. They were almost like big brothers that I really looked up to musically,

Gordon Raphael (producer of Is This It): As soon as the first songs from The Strokes were released, there was a profound and noticeable change in youth culture and Music culture, pretty much worldwide. A whole generation that grew up hating the rock and roll of their older brothers suddenly bought their first leather jackets and guitars and then formed their own bands.

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Marc: There was already a nascent scene in NYC before The Strokes showed up, but as they emerged, they became the focal point of something that simmered beneath the surface for a while. It’s not like there wasn’t an alternative / garage rock scene before The Strokes showed up, but it was they who got it to the masses. They brought with them a sense of excitement, energy, and danger that was lacking in music at the time. Most of the alternative music the labels were doing back then was, to be honest, pretty bland, « Dad Rock » as it was called at the time, and The Strokes were definitely an antidote to that.

Ian Devaney (Nation’s lead singer of Language and a member of Machinegum): My parents spent their young adult years watching bands like Talking Heads, The Clash, and Blondie. To my friends and me [with The Strokes] it felt like this was a chance to have our own version of it. You had the feeling that the Strokes, whatever magic these older bands possessed, which decades later could still stimulate young fantasies, had a bit of that magic with them. As a suburban teenage boy, pop punk and emo really felt on the rise at the time, but none of that ever appealed to me. The strokes allowed me to see something different in the music that felt like it was worth striving for.

Merlis: Not only was your music great, it sounded cosmopolitan and very New York City. There hadn’t been much of a music scene in New York in the previous twenty years, with a handful of good bands here and there. The city was desperate for something cool, especially when [Mayor] Giuliani turned the city into a safe, Disney-themed city. The band sounded cool and looked like it. It certainly helped that most of the national media are based here.

Jake Faber (Sunflower Bean drummer): The strokes came into my life when the band started. I’ve been at a crazy point in my life trying to get a semester of college at SUNY Purchase while rehearsing with Sunflower Bean on Long Island almost every day of the week, in addition to starting a new romance and friendship in mine Brooklyn life. As you can imagine, the New York Metro has been driven a lot, [and] Is This It has put almost every minute of it to music. [It] brought it home for me sonically as it was a bit like The Velvet Underground, but more rocky and so pop. It filled the emptiness that one can feel when one drives through New York every day for months, to the most exciting things that happened (at this point in time) in my life, while one wonders: « Is that it? »

Eric Ducker (writer and editor; wrote the band’s very first cover story in 2001): When it comes to the New York rock revival, The Strokes weren’t the best band (that would be TV on the radio) or the best live Band (that would be Yeah Yeah Yeahs) or even the first band (that would be Jonathan Fire * Eater or The Mooney Suzuki), but at least they were the best at first at making it look like you were in a band would be friends was the funnest thing in the whole world. In the years immediately preceding them, a lot of people in rock bands – from nu-metal mooks to post-fugazi indie rockers to British gloom – seemed utterly unhappy.

Devaney: Your music does it that way much easier to endure all irritating and boring life in New York. It’s like some kind of urban mindfulness – reminding you that you chose to live here for a reason, and the dirt and difficulty is actually character building and romantic.

People are still moving away very pleasant places that are very far away, to New York, to immerse yourself in the world that exists in these songs. If you play a song from Is This It in a crowded pub late at night, people will go mad – it’s the height of their imagination of what life in New York would be like.

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Ducker: Part of the reason The Strokes became a great New York band was because they were either loved or despised. Or you pretended to despise her but secretly loved her. For such a contentious city, where everyone thinks they know best and always likes to tell you why you’re wrong, a band you can be very passionate about has a lot of appeal.

Schwartzman: You were part of this new world of that cool edgy piece of music that they had brought into the young music scene, like on the alternative rock side of things, which was, in a way, a breath of fresh air for this genre of music. At the time, alternative music had no real identity. The whole world they built just had this great consistency: They knew what they were and they stuck with it, and I think people really appreciated that.

[The Strokes] were that British sensation. It was wonderful. They conquered the overseas music scene and brought with them that amazing kind of credibility to win over the music fans and magazines. You could hear direct influences on all of these UK bands that followed: the singing style and the same kind of sound and tonal approach that they produce these records.

On the radio at the time, it was like POD, Linkin Park , Puddle of Mudd – that stuff all over the radio – and then you had the lines that paved this new path between all these bands that were very, very different musically. I just found it so cool to be young and up-and-coming in this whole old rock world and see them mix up this whole scene. They really turned alternative radio upside down because they were so weird. But they really brought a whole new wave of influencing a lot of bands with them. I remember when we were on tour you heard all these bands and you thought, « This feels like a strokes clone band. » Indie bands followed, cut straight from the same old fabric. They sang like Julian, very softly and booming [with] those spiky guitar parts that were kind of bouncing.

Marc: It’s safe to say that The Strokes are not just opening the doors for other NYC artists like Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, The Rapture and the whole « Garage » revival have collapsed. That fact alone helps cement The Strokes legacy.

Ducker: In the years after Is This It, some of the acts that became the world’s greatest rock bands were able to replicate what The Strokes did, but with its own specific twist. To reduce it to the most basic level: Kings of Leon were the Southern Strokes, The Killers were the Las Vegas Strokes, Vampire Weekend were the « Ivy League Strokes », Phoenix became the « Sophisticated French Strokes » and so on. The Strokes reformatted a template that other acts were building on, even if The Strokes themselves lost interest in it pretty quickly.

Ducker: When the promo for Is This It came (original artwork, leather glove on bare bottom ), I think I had heard The Modern Age EP, but I hadn’t gone to any of their Mercury Lounge residence shows. At the time, there was no social media or blog to get artists excited. For The Fader staff, much of that excitement came from London cultural publications like The Face, and they were already fully aboard The Strokes. I was vaguely expecting Is This It, but it wasn’t until I heard the progress that I quickly realized that this was a group and album that I could and would love intensely. This CD hasn’t been pulled out of the office stereo for a long time.

Marc: I bought Is This It for the first time when it came out in the UK, but after seeing it live several times last year and already making its debut -EP, I was already familiar with a lot of their material. What first caught my eye was how vital it sounded compared to the more pedestrian nature of most indie artists at the time, and it signaled a welcome shift towards indie rock music. The accessibility also impressed me. I knew I had heard a groundbreaking record, and even then I believed that Is This It would be viewed as a groundbreaking debut album that would stand the test of time.

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Merlis: A former intern of mine when I was at Geffen Records, Ryan Gentles, was their manager. He sent me their three-song Modern Age EP. From the first note I knew it was really something special. I remember getting up and walking up and down excitedly. I called Ryan right away and asked how I could join.

Devaney: « The Modern Age » is a song that has stuck in my mind over the years. The title is bold – you automatically have the feeling of hearing something defining the generation – and just by switching on you are involved in the moment. It hasn’t really changed either: the moment may be different, but when you put on this song or any other song from this album, you get the feeling that the city is the right place.

Julia Cumming (singer and Sunflower Bean bassist): When I was in high school, I used to watch the MTV $ 2 Bill performance on YouTube. I just accepted it as the culmination of a great rock performance. As a bass player and as someone who has always loved the bass in songs the most, « Is This It » really got me thinking about what rock bass lines could be and how I could work harder and harder to make them more creative and special.

Marc: There is some charisma about The Strokes, and they have joined that plethora of classic acts as icons of popular indie / rock / music and are still relevant in the process. I still hang up and it’s safe to say that pretty much every track on Is This It still gets the body down, but especially « Last Nite » and « Someday » which remain real classics. Both songs enjoy a crossover appeal that many « rock » songs don’t have these days.

Schwartzman: I’ve been on the road with them. They put Rooney on tour with this band called Sloan. For us it was a dream calculation. Seeing them play every night was so great. Hanging out with these guys on their tour bus [and] having this band mate was amazing. We were young, around 20 years old, and we were opening up for The Strokes. I mean it’s crazy.

Marc: I feel like the Strokes have been slandered for their privileged background, which I’ve always found unfair as they worked really hard. In the early days, they were out and about every night, handing out flyers, promoting their shows, and building their following. They didn’t take anything for granted. They were obviously well rehearsed as they were tight as hell!

Cumming: The Strokes are a band, real and simple. Most popular music today is made alone in bedrooms with laptops or with teams of songwriters coming together to create the addicting product. Bands like The Strokes show that there will always be something inexplicably important when musicians just play together, write songs and are united in one vision. That’s all a really great band can do.

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Ducker: Having cool jackets can get you pretty far sometimes, but if you write songs that people want to sing when they’re drunk but not too drunk, and you have cool jackets, you can go a lot further .

Merlis: One of the things that was rarely discussed about them was how hard they worked. They practiced constantly, played shows regularly, not only in New York, but also in Boston and Philadelphia. Toured nationwide with the Doves and Guided By Voices all before the album came out. They never waited for their big break; they created it.

Marc: I don’t think The Strokes or the NYC scene they came from would or could happen now. I’ve always had the theory that The Strokes, and the entire NYC scene that followed, was the last truly organic scene before social media got the hang of it. It was before the days when we lived life online. The Strokes and their contemporaries were more likely to rely on traditional promotional routes such as flyers, posters, mailings, and the like than on today’s social media promotion. Every night of the week in the early 2000s there were various band members in the East Village popping up the scene at one of the numerous parties or bars to promote their next show, and that created a certain camaraderie.

Ducker: Much has been said about the death of the rock band in the 21st century and rock’s lack of cultural prestige for the past decade. I don’t entirely agree, but I think after The Strokes, people in successful bands began to realize again that it was a pretty great job – if you could get it.

Every Moment Flame On: A Guide To That expanded universe by Robert Pollard &, led by voices

Second chances are hard to come by in the music business, and the old rock gold rush of the ’90s was no different. For every Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots success story, there were bands like Fig Dish and For Love Not Lisa whose albums didn’t make it.

And yet there was Jimmy Eat World, an emo punk band who Banned straight out of high school by Capitol Records in 1995, only to be dropped after two albums. Fast forward to 2002 and the band is playing their breakout hit. The Middle « on » Late Night with Conan O’Brien « . Then » The Tonight Show with Jay Leno « . Then » Saturday Night Live « . The uplifting lyrics of the song – » Don’t write yourself off yet … It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough / For someone else « – almost sounds like a masterclass in self-motivating lessons for life.

 » The Middle « from Jimmy Eat World’s fourth album Bleed American, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, shot in hit the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 all-genre chart and made it to the then-twenty-year-old from Mesa, Arizona, darlings of late-night TV and MTV.Although easy to read into the text two decades later, the Song wasn’t written as a kiss on her former label, but it was the ultimate turnaround, « phoenix-like resurrection from the ashes of dropping, » as Steve Martin of Nasty Little Man, who orchestrated the Bleed American ad campaign, puts it.

« Where they have arrived in their development and the musical zeitgeist of the time were just so coordinated, « says Martin GRAMMY.com. « Even if they weren’t [aligned], it was such an undeniable collection of songs. »

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At Bleed American, the band was about simplicity. While the album contained elements from their previous releases – the spiky post-punk guitar riffs from the band’s 1996 album, Static Prevails, that pelted the title track, the clinking atmospheres of Clarity (1999) rang in the background of “Hear You Me « And » Cautioners « – the reduced approach marked a significant change in their sound. Nevertheless, the songs on Bleed American are also peppered with hooks that get straight to the point: The band achieves both the clubbing chorus of « Bleed American » and the lively sing along to « The Middle » in 35 seconds.

« Me think I finally started getting Bruce Springsteen and the Everly Brothers after we did Clarity, « says lead singer and guitarist Jim Adkins. « I realized that simpler constructions, simpler arrangements, [the] all-you-need / nothing-you-not-type of songwriting are actually really, really challenging and worth pursuing. »

Before they made Bleed American, however, they had to cancel their contract with Capitol. Adkins estimates the band may have sold 10,000 copies (his emphasis) combined from Static Prevails and Clarity. The pairing was a disproportion according to the band. The label treated Jimmy Eat World like a development project, while Adkins says Capitol was founded to « drop the hammer on the thing that moves 15,000-30,000 [records] a week ». When the label dropped her in 1999 it was a relief. It was also an opportunity for rebuilding.

In reality, the band just carried on as before. You were already your own European distributor, bought copies of Clarity at wholesale prices from the college department of the Capitol and shipped them to Germany; the move paid off when 400 people showed up for their first gig in the country when Jimmy Eat World toured to save money on Bleed American recording. To this end, they also released Singles in 2000, a compilation of their seven-inch singles and one-offs, on the now defunct independent label Big Wheel Recreation.

With demos of new songs like « Sweetness » online and circulated in industry channels, the band settled in the Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles with producer Mark Trombino, whose trust in the band was so great that he waived his fee until the group signed a new label deal. In fact, representatives from major labels showed up at their recording sessions to see what it was about.

« That was a very welcome change, » says drummer Zach Lind. « You don’t feel like the red-haired stepchild, you are in a position where you have a little influence while we had no real influence before. »

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Jimmy Eat World 2.0 signed with DreamWorks, an artist-first label founded by music industry veteran David Geffen with filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose roster included Elliott Smith, Morphine and Eels. Retrofitted with a new label, new management and the title song of their new album as their first single, the band hit the promotion circles hard in the summer of 2001, played dates on the Warped Tour and headlined club shows.

 » When Bleed American started things changed quickly, « bassist Rick Burch told GRAMMY.com. “The venues got bigger. We no longer drove the van ourselves, we had a bus driver and a bus so we could play a lot more gigs over a longer distance and we played in front of more people than ever before. « Had before. »

The terrorist attacks from September 11, 2001 changed that. Although the song went well on alternative radio, « Bleed American » « just fell off the ground » after September 11, says Lind.

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When the Americans regrouped after the world-changing event, so did Jimmy Eat World. They renamed the album Jimmy Eat World and switched to « The Middle » which was the second single on deck.

Written in response to a fan email to Aol. In the 1990s, « The Middle » addressed issues such as alienation and low self-esteem. His perspective outlines a position of gathering and understanding that a person’s teenage years are only a small part, e.g. « the center » of a person’s journey. The radio welcomed « The Middle, » but what really exaggerated the song was the video and its subsequent shoots on MTV’s « Total Request Live » countdown show.

Paul Fedor, who was on the music video for « The Middle “Directed, introduced the topic: A classic dream sequence in which you show up naked to school, to work – or in this case to a house party. But in this case the roles are reversed. The protagonist shows himself dressed to a party, while his peers dance and frolic in underwear. Just as he succumbs to peer pressure, he meets someone like him. It was a simple concept, but it could easily have gone wrong.

« I think we just decided, ‘Let’s get in on this and do it and make sure it’s done right,’ make sure that it’s not over the top or inappropriate that feels scary, ”says drummer Lind. « So we tried threading that needle. I think there was a bit of concern, but when we decided to go that route and when we were done, we felt really good about it. »

As As their popularity grew, the tour schedule of Jimmy Eat World was expanded. They played the main stage at several European festivals to a « sea of ​​humanity, » according to Burch, and recorded a sold out appearance at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. for the Believe in What You Want DVD. The touring bubble kept her from seeing how big things had gotten.

« We were only touring and it all felt like working with Capitol, » says frontman Adkins , “[How] we totally got away with something. ‘That’s not really taking the ride for the funny stories while we have the chance.’ It didn’t respond to, « Oh wait, this is actually a connection to the people. This is something that really comes out. » It wasn’t until a record later or two records later that we realized how big it actually was. « 

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In the summer of 2002, the third single on the album, the fan favorite « Sweetness » reached number 2 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay Charts. Jimmy Eat World signed the opening of the Pop Disaster Tour, co-headlined by Green Day and Blink-182. The two-month outing raised $ 20 million in amphitheatres and arenas, according to Billboard, and the bands wasted no time berating each other.

« We hired some male strippers to do their song ‘All the Small Things’ to storm the stage of [Blink-182], ”recalls bassist Burch with a laugh. “The audience just loved it. They thought it was part of Blinks Act, and the guys at Blink loved it too. We actually helped them and gave them a cool element on their set that everyone loved. That wasn’t it to distract them at all. « 

Green Day, however, used its » considerable resources « mercilessly. » When they got on stage, they were the first to shoot super soakers, « recalls Burch. » The next shift were boxes of dehydrated mashed potatoes. [If you] combine that with the water, it turns into glue. « Then her crew put ping-pong balls and glitter bombs from the overhead lights.

 » It’s starting to rain, « adds Burch. « and when the glitter meets the mashed potato glue, it’s a very strong bond. There is still a bit of glitter stuck to my guitar that I played. « 

When the dust and some of the glitter had settled over their nearly two-year campaign for Bleed American, the members of Jimmy Eat World were with platinum plaques and came home with an album that remains high on the « Best Of » lists, and Rolling Stone readers voted it one of the 10 best pop-punk albums of all time Emo labels like Panic At the Disco, All Time Low and Fall Out Boy are thanks to Jimmy Eat World for cracking the gate to mainstream acceptance.

“The way bleed American just opened doors for us was perhaps one of the most satisfying experiences of my life, « recalls Lind. » After all the frustration and banging our heads against the wall at the Capitol, it just felt like everything was in perfect harmony , un d I think we were lucky enough to experience it this way because I don’t think a lot of people will experience this moment in their lives. « 

The succession of high profile drug demonstrations and tragedies that the Rolling Stones did in the late 1960s Years overshadowed, came to a head with the release of the 11th US album Sticky Fingers in 1971.

Recorded in the midst of the disastrous Altamont concerts and between famously extravagant concert tours through the US and Europe, Sticky Fingers is as raw as the life of the Band at that time. The smoky barroom boast of « Sway », the twitching riffs and croaky vocals of « Bitch » and the groovy but filthy « Brown Sugar » reflect how wild the rock and roll ride had become for the band.

A drug bust in 1967 that ensnared Mick Jagger and Keith Richards marked the beginning of the following years. Rolling Stones co-founder Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool two years later, less than a month after the Stones fired him for drug abuse, resulting in dwindling participation in the group; he barely appeared at sessions for Let It Bleed, the band’s tenth US album that was released in the months after his death. Eager for a fresh start and desperate for money, the Stones played a now legendary concert in Hyde Park in London and toured for their first US tour in the second half of 1969. Chaos followed the band and culminated in a free concert at Altamont Speedway in the hills between Livermore and Tracy, California. Billed as a kind of West Coast Woodstock, with a cast of Jefferson Airplane, Santana and the Grateful Dead, the concert instead marked the end of the hippie peace-and-love era.

Clashes between members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle clubs hired as concert security at the event and spectators created such a charged atmosphere that the Grateful Dead decided not to perform despite helping organize the event. A biker attacked Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin while other concertgoers targeted Meredith Hunter, who was stabbed to death in front of the stage while the Stones performed.

The tragedy followed the triumph of the first recording sessions for Sticky Fingers, the started four days earlier at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Florence, Alabama.

The studio was opened earlier this year by a group of session musicians called The Swampers, who supported Aretha Franklin on « Respect » and was hungry for his first hit. They got two with the Rolling Stones: « Brown Sugar » and « Wild Horses », the two singles on the album, were released on Muscle Shoals between December 2nd and 4th along with a true-to-original cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s « You Gotta Move » « Brown Sugar » is one of the most controversial songs that landed at # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked in May 1971. Musically, the song is a Stones master class based on a characteristic Richards guitar riff. When Bobby Keys blows his brilliant saxophone solo, the guitars play against each other, the percussion and piano clink and Jagger howls his head.

The lyrics of the song, however, are a different matter. Although Marsha Hunt, a British actress of African descent with whom Jagger fathered a child in 1970, is the muse behind « Brown Sugar, » the song is full of innumerable innuendos and explicit references to slavery, sex and drugs half a century ago. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1995, Jagger called the text « a mishmash » that unites « all the nasty topics at once ». However, he seems to have cooled off on his lyrical concept over the years; In the same interview he said he would « never write that song again ».

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At the other end of the spectrum, the country-tinged “Wild Horses” and the final album ballad “Moonlight Mile” show an introspective Jagger, wistful and longing on the former and street weary on the latter. Acoustic guitars form the basis for both songs as well as « Dead Flowers » and « Sister Morphine », while trembling guitars and soaring horns emphasize the otherwise barren, pleading soul of « I Got the Blues ».

Sticky Fingers also highlighted several important ones personnel changes in the Rolling Stones universe. The fall and subsequent death of Brian Jones led them to hire guitarist Mick Taylor of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, who refueled the band’s energy.

Taylor stepped into the role at Sticky Fingers, delivering nuances like the ringing overtones of « Wild Horses » and set the jam band template Vamp with his extended guitar solo in the seven-minute « Can You Hear Me Knocking » over a single chord. He played all of the guitars on « Moonlight Mile » after an increasingly unreliable Richards failed to show up for sessions at Stargroves, Jagger’s English country house, and often nodded off while high on heroin. Taylor would have to climb more in the years to come as his bandmate’s habit grew.

The end of the group’s relationship with record label manager Allen Klein and his ABKCO label also gave the band a boost and began the modern era of Rolling Stones. Sticky Fingers was the first album to be released on Rolling Stones Records and debuted the iconic lip-and-tongue logo designed by John Pasche.

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Though they landed in the middle of what many fans are calling their golden era – the four albums that ran from 1968 to 1972, which included Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed and Exile on Main Street – marked Sticky Fingers a rebirth for the Rolling Stones; the legacy and impact of the album would evolve over the coming decades.

Sticky Fingers returned to the top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 2015 after a massive reissue. The deluxe remake includes alternative takes like « Brown Sugar, » recorded with Eric Clapton on guitar, and an expanded version of « Bitch, » alongside live tracks recorded in 1971. The Super Deluxe remake adds a 13-song live recording from a gig at the University of Leeds that same year as a bonus.

And while the band members’ personal habits in the Exile on Main St. period and In the 1970s, the « Rolling Stones » grew as a company into a recording, tour, promotion and merchandising machine. At the end of the decade, the Rolling Stones were a stadium act – and they haven’t returned since.

In the mid-2000s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) rightly experienced the most commercially and creatively successful phase of their 20-year-olds Career. Eventually they had triumphed over their tumultuous and tragic early years – which were, however, musically revered and influential, and included multiple line-up changes and drug abuse struggles – to achieve a massive artistic and mainstream prospectus with Californication (1999) and By the Way (2002) .

Granted, not all fans were happy with the group replacing some of their beloved, rough, playful and daring themes with more approachable approaches; Still, it’s hard to deny that both albums were as important for their high quality and countless industry awards as they were for embodying the band’s most shared sense of healing and growth. (This was especially true of guitarist / backing singer John Frusciante, who had overcome his heroin addiction and rejoined the group in 1998 with newfound confidence and ingenuity).

The Chili Peppers felt immensely productive and capable and did themselves after the two-year tour for By the Way in September 2004 with Rick Rubin, who produced their previous four albums, back together to tackle their most ambitious and diverse project to date: Stadium Arcadium.

Recorded at The Mansion in Los Angeles, where the group released Blood Sugar Sex Magik in 1991, embodied Stadium Arcadium, a 28-song double album, practically every style the quartet had ever done. Of course, this flexibility and ingenuity led to some of the most voluminous songwriting and compelling arrangements they’d ever made. As a result, the Arcadium Stadium can best be viewed as an incredibly rewarding and varied tribute to the group’s history.

Of course, double albums have been a popular musical tradition for decades: Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde (1966), Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979 ), 2Pacs All Eyez On Me (1996) – the list goes on. It was almost inevitable that the Chili Peppers would give one up too. (In fact, they had planned to release Stadium Arcadium as a trilogy six months apart before deciding to put it all out at once, the band NME said in 2006.)

In his interview with Total Guitar im In July 2006, Frusciante announced that they had no qualms about attempting such a feat: “We don’t just make music … for our own enjoyment; we make music for our audience. We write 28 songs that we think are top notch, that’s what we want to give the public … We release what we think is worthy. « To his credit, every track at the Arcadium Stadium deserves its place and contributes to the bigger picture .

It’s also worth noting that Stadium Arcadium’s development has been more personable and collaborative than By the Way, largely due to the mended relationship between Frusciante and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, due to his melodic prowess and characteristically adaptable methods Frusciante was often seen as the centerpiece of the Chili Pepper sound at the time, especially with By the Way, where he wanted to move away from the nervousness of the band’s past and towards the harmonious arrangements of groups like the Beatles, the Beach Boys and his own fertile solo discography.As a result, Flea felt that her earlier funk and punk elements wanted to emphasize something indifferent and unnoticed, so he considered quitting after the band finished their By the Way World Tour; the two worked out their differences when the Arcadium stadium began.

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In conversation with Kerrang! in May 2006, Frusciante admitted, « It’s more of a band now. I don’t force my ideas on people as much as I did. » Flea agrees, making it clear that the creation of Stadium Arcadium was a healthy democratic and collaborative process. In a chat with MTV News 2007, singer Anthony Kiedis remarked: « There was very little tension, very little fear and very little crazy. Everyone felt more comfortable than ever to bring their ideas. »

These creative highlights and compromises make Stadion Arcadium undoubtedly such a sweeping victory. In fact, it became the Chili Pepper’s first # 1 album on the Billboard 200, earning them four GRAMMY Awards at the 49th GRAMMY Awards in 2007: Best Rock Album, Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package, and Best Rock Song and Best Rock performance of a duo or a group with vocal, the latter two for the album opener « Dani California ». (Producer Rick Rubin would also win the GRAMMY for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical that evening.)

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Fifteen years later, Stadium Arcadium is one of the quartet’s most representative and emerging projects. Divided into two parts – the engaging “Jupiter” and the comparatively esoteric “Mars” – it logically continues the contemporary rock templates and catchy songwriting from By the Way and Californication. Specifically, the ironic-sunny elegy “Dani California”, which revolves around the same character as from the title songs of the above-mentioned predecessors, is undeniably catchy and tightly composed, while “Snow (Hey Oh)” and “Stadium Arcadium” are lovingly poppy and pop symphonic. Later, the acoustic guitar clink and radiant harmonies of « Slow Cheetah », « Desecration Smile » and « Hey » border on folk rock, while « So Much I » is alternative rock smoothness at the highest level.

Of course the real brilliance is from Stadium Arcadium as it (no pun intended) peppers more modern flavors with extensive doses of sweeping nostalgia. Tracks like « She’s Only 18 », « Animal Bar » and « Turn It Again » draw on the harder funk and metal motifs of earlier RHCP albums like Mother’s Milk (1989) and One Hot Minute (1995). Similarly, songs like « Charlie », « Hump de Bump », « Warlocks » and « Readymade » with playful horns, imaginative percussion and Flea’s trademarks are reminiscent of the exuberant funkiness of Freaky Styley (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987 ). Bass power. RHCP are even capturing a bit of their early rap-rock sound, a genre they helped shape albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik, including « So Much I » and « Storm in a Teacup ».

While Kiedis, Flea, and drummer Chad Smith are stellar during the album’s two hour run, it is perhaps Frusciante who is showing the greatest range and advancement throughout the Arcadium Stadium. From start to finish, he employs some really exploratory vocal and guitar techniques, maintaining his recent minimalism while harnessing a newfound appreciation for dual track recording and the flashiness of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Omar Rodríguez-López of Mars Volta he worked with the latter throughout the decade. « We Believe » finds Frusciante with angelic background harmonies, bizarre psychedelic licks and echoing progressive rock oddities. His additional vocals are also sublime on « Torture Me », « Stadium Arcadium » and « She Looks to Me ». In the meantime he plays his improvisational solo skills on « Strip My Mind », « Wet Sand », « Hey » and the closer « Death of a Martian » to the emotional weight and the fuzzy theatrics of Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour Summon Eric Clapton and Jimmy Book Page.

Red Hot Chili Peppers have long been one of the most daring and diverse bands of their generation; Each album and each phase has its own note and deserves its own audience. Nevertheless, Stadium Arcadium, an all-encompassing magnum opus, offers pretty much everything you could want from a Chili Peppers platter – and a lot more. It shows how the quartet expands its stylistic past and at the same time reminds of its newly restored bond; meanwhile, Stadium Arcadium reinforces the idiosyncratic essence of the Red Hot Chili Peppers both as a collective force and as individually distinctive musicians.

John Lennon asked the Beatles for a « divorce » and he got his request. After the group broke up in 1970, arguments and competition between him, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were the norm. In Lennon’s case, that tension added to a slightly tainted reputation that resulted from public disappointment with the end of the Beatles, his unpopular marriage to Yoko Ono, and an artistic diversion. The latter resulted from an ongoing search for his place in a world he was frustrated with and desperate to be a part of. As his songs and remarks demonstrate, Lennon’s efforts to find himself were often left empty and he regularly lacked unconditional trust or commitment.

This self-discovery process stood in the way of an inability to resolve past traumas, which one the main reason was why Lennon chose to undergo Arthur Janov’s primal scream program. He had the obvious goal of finally coming to terms with the childhood wounds surrounding his mother’s death and the feelings of rejection associated with his father’s absence. But the treatment also addressed the recent pain of losing his other family – the one Lennon had shared a life with for the past decade. In short, how could he move forward if he didn’t know which direction he was looking in?

All of this flowed into Lennon’s debut solo album, John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band, which turns 50 this month. (December 2020 also marks the 40th anniversary of his assassination.) Released as a companion to Ono’s simultaneous solo debut, Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band, Lennon’s album Therapy was in its purest form: raw and self-referential. This intimacy was also evident in the recordings: besides Lennon and Ono, the latter of whom is mentioned on the album cover as a « Wind » contribution, the only other musicians were Starr and bassist Klaus Voormann and the former Beatles roadie Mal Evans (for  » Tee und Sympathie « ), the pianist Billy Preston and Phil Spector, who played the piano in » Love « and » God « respectively.

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When a cycle doesn’t end quickly enough, there is often a tendency to speed it up, and Lennon was a man on a mission. The year before, Lennon had creatively ditched the Let It Be sessions and broadly opposed the approach McCartney and producer George Martin wanted to Abbey Road when attempting to destroy the entity he helped create. This self-sabotaging process, which coincided with his dangerous affair with heroin, often resulted in a deafening silence that Beatles researcher Stephanie Piotrowski wrote in her Ph.D. Dissertation as « Part of Lennon’s agenda to break the Beatles myth ».

But silence wasn’t his only strategy. Over the course of his solo career – which culminated with his GRAMMY-winning final album with Ono, Double Fantasy (1980) – it became increasingly clear that Ono was his new partner in crime in McCartney’s place. For those who could not understand a hint, in September 1969 he privately announced to the other three Beatles that he was leaving the group. Her finance manager Allen Klein asked her to keep this development a secret for as long as possible, fearing that the news would undermine sales of the upcoming album Let It Be (1970), which would take forever to mix and master.

Lennons apparent rush to break free makes it strange that the Plastic Ono Band didn’t come out until December 1970, making him the last Beatle to release a proper debut album. (Of course, if we don’t include three earlier experimental albums with Ono: Two Virgins, 1968, Life With The Lions and Wedding Album, both 1969. And let’s not forget the hastily put together Live Peace In Toronto 1969, which was partly composed of early rock- Covers consisted of Ono, guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Voormann and drummer Alan White.)

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Spector was supposed to be producing, but he was missing from action when the sessions started, which resulted in Lennon posting a full-page ad on Billboard saying, « Phil! John is done this weekend. » His relative absence was, after all, a hidden blessing: Spector’s trademark « Wall of Sound » probably wouldn’t have matched the ethos of the album. Lennon and Ono’s minimalist approach fit the content better and made the emotional outpourings sound appropriately bleak.

The Plastic Ono Band is about healing, devotion and substitution and is a prime example of Lennon’s songwriting quirks. These include his remarkable ability to create instant hooks, focus on the lyrical element, and rely on subjectivity in storytelling, which was contrary to McCartney’s general predilection for third-person views.

Always with words, Lennon eschewed tried to complicate his message and chose direct statements (« Hold On », « Look At Me ») over the elusive metaphors and cryptic references to which he often returned in the later years of the Beatles. This aspect made the album vaguely reminiscent of its commitment period in the mid-1960s, the « Help! » and « In My Life, » which came about as a matured reflection of what it felt like to be lost in the eye of the hurricane.

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the album met with mixed feedback at best; it was also quickly dwarfed by the release of Imagine nine months later, in 1971. Similar to McCartney’s self-titled debut, some critics accused John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band of being a product of self-employment and empty selfishness. This harsh perception came mainly from the absurdly high expectations after the Beatles split up.

« This is a black bile man’s album, » said Geoffrey Cannon in a 1970 review for The Guardian. “Lennon’s album makes a deep impression, if more on him than on us… This is declamation, not music. It’s not about freedom and love, it’s about madness and pain. ”

Even though Imagine eventually became Lennon’s undeniable legacy – the theme song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999, seven years after Lennon’s posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award – Plastic Ono Band was still rightly valued. Fans welcomed its relatability. It is easier to identify with your idol opening up about its problems of love and loss than to hear it discuss abstract concepts, with the renunciation « God » and the tender « love » being exceptions. </ But it also helped that the album didn't become as difficult an institution as Imagine. Less worn out by pop culture and well-grounded in both content and form, Plastic Ono Band felt more human and approachable, despite being from the mythical colossus named John Lennon.

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In September 1980, three months before his death, Lennon gave David Sheff an extensive interview for Playboy magazine. Sheff asked what Ono had done for him. « She showed me the alternative, » Lennon replied. « ‘You don’t have to do this.’ ‘Not me? Really? But-but-but-but-but …’ « Although he was referring to his temporary retreat from music in order to fully devote himself to househusband, the Plastic Ono Band could be identified as the dénouement of a similar epiphany 10 years ago. A new life began, which Lennon knew would be fundamentally different from anything he had experienced before.

The album not only represented a threshold moment for Lennon, but also underwent a mutation in its critical reception . Over the decades, Plastic Ono Band received praise that was far from taken for granted when it was released. In 2020, the album was ranked 85th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 best albums of all time. « Lennon’s […] pure, raw confession […] is years ahead of punk, » says the album entry on the list.

But maybe Lennon put it in four words in his Rolling Stone interview, which are still harrowing to read, best summarized: « The Beatles were nothing. »

It won’t always be so gray: George Harrison’s « All Things Must Pass » at 50

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