Saturday, June 04, 2016

`The Hopes Which They Had Raised'

Rock music, of course, died in 1970, give or take a year. After less than two decades it had rotted, dried up and blown away, a familiar cycle in popular culture. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in Cleveland serves as its reliquary and mausoleum. One can view the suit Jimi Hendrix wore at his final public performance and scraps of the airplane in which Otis Redding was killed. Museumgoers are reverent and maudlin, especially among my fellow Boomers, or irreverent and loud, aping the first Punk generation of forty years ago. In my lifetime, a sub-genre of music aimed at adolescents became a way of life and a surrogate religion. My thirteen-year-old son and I most enjoyed the videos of rock precursors – Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Muddy Waters. Otherwise we would have left the Rock Hall feeling let down and a little unclean. Naturally, I thought of The Rambler #127, published on this date, June 4, in 1751. Dr. Johnson might be writing of the fans of rock music and the musicians who made it:

“It is not uncommon for those who, at their first entrance into the world, were distinguished for attainments or abilities, to disappoint the hopes which they had raised, and to end in neglect and obscurity that life which they began in celebrity and honour. To the long catalogue of the inconveniencies of old age, which moral and satirical writers have so copiously displayed, may be often added the loss of fame.

1 comment:

The Sanity Inspector said...

"Most of those who make
collections of verse or
epigram are like men
eating cherries or oysters:
they choose out the
best at first, and
end by eating all."
S├ębastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

Same could be said of how the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame picks acts to induct, too.