Retro Rockers Have Still Got It!
As with everything in popular culture, things go in circles and reinvention is the name of the game. Every band who has ever started has been influenced in one way shape or form by other bands before them. Amy Winehouse definitely had a Motown vibe going on before her untimely death, Kanye West sampled Ray Charles and it’s fair to say in music there is no such thing as an original idea any longer.
So many bands spring up that many of them are here today, gone tomorrow, which is why when a band can survive the test of time it’s a real testament to their skills. Jazz funksters Level 42 are now celebrating 32 years since the release of their first album, and Scottish popsters Deacon Blue are currently enjoying their silver jubilee, having spent 25 years entertaining fans worldwide.
Some names in the music industry never change though. Fender guitars, Marshall Amplifiers and Roland pianos are institutions in the rock n roll hall of fame - names which have been seen since the birth of rock n roll if not longer.
Name any song with a keyboard in it and the chances are it was a Roland. Classic artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Erasure, Genesis, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, The Human League, Simple Minds and OMD all used Roland synthesisers.
Similarly, name any guitarist and he’ll probably have a Fender in his collection. Famed guitarist Jeff Beck recently admitted to having over 90 guitars in his collection and Eric Clapton sold off 70 guitars from his collection in 2010 for charity. The auction raised over £2.5m for a rehab centre in
Antigua – Clapton did not reveal how many guitars that left him with!
Some names in music have been around much longer than the last 50 years though, predating the birth of popular music as we know it. Japanese piano manufacturer Kawai has been around since 1927 and the most famous make of all, Steinway began producing pianos in a
Manhattan loft in 1853.
But which brand do the top recording artists buy? Elton John, who himself has been in the music business for over 5 decades, reportedly started out on Steinway pianos , but now favours a Roland for its range and versatility. Eagle-eyed viewers who watched the documentary on Susan Boyle last year, spotted a Kawai in her “posh” house (Boyle has two houses, the small semi she grew up in, and a bigger house on the outskirts of Blackburn in
West Lothian ).
So whether it’s the four bar blues, or the latest boy band from X factor one thing is certain – it’s all been done before in the world of music history!