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June 01, 2007

40 Years Ago Today ...

... Sergeant Pepper taught the music world a whole new way to play.

(Yes, I know that doesn't go with the rhythm. Just go with me, here.)

Back some twenty years or so, I had a copy of Sergeant Pepper. Original copy, too -- my cousin had a copy, and he gave it/loaned it to me. I played it to death.

Sergeant Pepper is an album that, for me, defined what late '60s music was. A little eclectic, a little trippy, and very different from what went before. It's also an album that was introduced to the world in a different way than before.

AM radio was king. FM was getting started, but there were doubts as to whether it could make money, and many people didn't have the equipment to listen to it. Station owners would often just mirror their AM broadcasts on their FM stations; after the government put a stop to that, they allowed their FM DJs a lot of latitude in what they played. A lot of new, experimental music was played on FM, and a lot of new bands got their break through FM radio.

Sergeant Pepper was an album that was introduced on FM radio. AM radio stations were afraid of the drug references, so it was up to the renegades on FM to introduce the world to one of the most critically acclaimed rock albums in history. And today, it may not have been made.

Increasingly, bands are going for the hit single. And with the advent of downloadable music, it's happening more and more. People don't get the entire album -- they download the two or three songs they really like and skip the rest. Think of your favorite concept album -- Kilroy Was Here by Styx, The Wall by Pink Floyd, you name it. In today's market, they may never have been made.

So is the concept album doomed? Nope. The renegade spirit of those early FM jock is alive and well in the world today, and if you've paid any attention at all to my music posts lately you'll know what I'm going to say next -- podcasting.

Yes, there are stinkers out there. There were bad early FM shows, too. But there is gold in those podcast directories. Check the link out and find some for yourself.

Posted by Warren Kelly at June 1, 2007 06:55 PM | TrackBack
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