Do gems really get their due?
Date: December 05, 2000 03:36AM
I think it is somewhat utopian to think that all recordings that are gems receive their due over time. By sheer virtue of the QUANTITY of recorded material, there will invariably be some oversights and artists who epitomize the incongruities between attention deserved and attention attained. Hence, the cult hero. There are hundreds of under-rated, under-appreciated artists and albums that, for reasons of management, timing, geography, finances, marketing, politics or just plain BAD LUCK, have not risen to their rightful ranks. I need only point to America's first heavy metal band, Blue Oyster Cult (whose manager Sandy Pearlman monickered the genre, incidentally). Until BOC's awe-inspiring premiere thunderclap in 1972, heavy metal was primarily a British export, blazoned by the likes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and the well-decorated soldiers in Led Zeppelin. How many times do you hear BOC's "Cities on Flame" played over classic rock airwaves versus, say, a "Smoke on the Water" or a "Paranoid"? A few weeks back on this board, I made reference to Mark Mangold's primordial excursions into rap, available only as bonus tracks on the Japanese pressing of American Tears' Tear Gas CD. The origins of these 2 songs pre-dated Sugarhill Gang by more than a decade, but the fact that innovation needs to be validated by popularity will simply mean who did it first will never be as important as who sold it first. Listen to Timothy Leary's "You Can Be Anyone This Time Around" and you'll hear house music that was made in the late 1960's. But it applies to the melodic hard rock format too. Why can you buy any Boston, Styx or Foreigner CD at any record store in America, but you can't find any Touch or New England, two bands from the same era and genre who were every bit as good if not better? History IS selective, the cream doesn't ALWAYS rise to the top and that's because individuals (who comprise cultures) tear open the boxes of their Black and Decker personal interest filters, adjust the criteria setting to "superficial", turn the denominator switch to "lowest", and then disgard the owner's manual with giddy haste.
NP: Blue Oyster Cult "Imaginos"