Author Topic: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?  (Read 3077 times)

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2019, 06:01:50 PM »
That time I drunkenly wound up doing coke with British Sea Power in some country pile in the middle of nowhere, they all nose-hoovered it up using a ten-pound note, rather than anything bigger.
Always struck me a a nice bunch of middle class lads from green Westmorland. When a mate and I interviewed them, they reacted to us being born/raised in Whitehaven by asking "is it still bad over there?" and 'joking' that we would nick all the beer on the rider.

The Jam were the punk band with the actual working class background, weren't they? Weller's "we're voting Tory" comments and the lyrics on 'Time for Truth' back that one up. 

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2019, 08:52:46 PM »
James Blunt

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2019, 08:58:15 PM »
It seems everybody on Factory Records was working class, but is that what you mean by "rock music"?

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2019, 09:00:57 PM »
I don't think there's going to be any shortage of artists to put in the two columns- we could be here for days doing that ("no, but the drummer's dad was landed-gentry so they don't count..." & so on)

the OP's question, for me at least, is more about the art-form itself, & whether it has ever genuinely spoken for an entire class of people.

sabbath may've been working-class, but "planet caravan" isn't exactly billy bragg, is it?

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2019, 09:13:23 PM »
I don't think there's going to be any shortage of artists to put in the two columns- we could be here for days doing that ("no, but the drummer's dad was landed-gentry so they don't count..." & so on)

the OP's question, for me at least, is more about the art-form itself, & whether it has ever genuinely spoken for an entire class of people.

sabbath may've been working-class, but "planet caravan" isn't exactly billy bragg, is it?
I think that's why I mentioned the Jam - they were from a working class background (I think, at least Weller was) and their music was attractive to working class youth as it often related to their own world - plus for a time they were one of, if not the, most popular bands in the country.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2019, 09:13:39 PM »
I've always thought of harder rock as generally being 'outsider' music, particularly at the more metallic end of the spectrum. I think some of the more trad metal speaks to that 'shit week at the factory, now a blow out down the rock club' kind of vibes. It's just kind of dumb and angry, and there's something relatable about that.

Sabbath get a pass, though I'm not sure Iron Maiden would with a singer that fences and flies. I'm sure they have an attraction to working class rock fans who aren't especially class conscious and just like that feeling of vague rebellion (as (in)authentic as they may or not be).

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2019, 09:21:35 PM »
Black Sabbath cut their teeth in West Cumbria, and even in the late 90s when I first started going out in Whitehaven, a very working class town, the kind of music that Sabbath helped give birth to (hard rock, heavy metal, whatever you wish to call it) was still hugely popular. You were either into that, or getting pilled up to listen to rave in the Park nightclub.

As I liked the Smiths, Joy Division etc, I was considered a "puff" and ostracised by by both groups.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2019, 12:49:13 AM »
P.I.L. ?

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2019, 01:13:24 AM »
When it was black.

kngen

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2019, 01:59:09 AM »
I'm not sure Iron Maiden would with a singer that fences and flies.

And went to a public school, where - rumour has it – he was an organizer for the youth wing of the political organisation that sounds a bit like Frational Nont.

Paul D'Ianno was bit more earthy. When he toured as Paul D'Ianno's Killers (doing stuff from the first two Maiden LPs) someone shopped him to the social as he was supposed to be on the sick (my money's on the aforementioned epee-wielding lyrca enthusiast).
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 02:12:37 AM by kngen »

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2019, 02:15:52 AM »
I'm not sure rock music needs to be "authentically working class" in order to be good or even particularly against-the-grain.  The Norwegian black metal scene was primarily created by kids from comfortable Scandinavian families, a lot of decent punk music came out of kids who weren't exactly from the slums.

Then again, it depends what your definition of "working class" is.  For some people it seems to mean "utterly destitute".

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2019, 02:20:58 AM »
Of course it has. What a silly question. The architects of rock and roll - Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley - were all dirt poor.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2019, 06:52:06 AM »
I think it was Bill Drummond that hypothesised the reason (both in the UK and US) Black music is constantly evolving is because working class people are constantly making new genres which then become decimated by the suits in record companies, a bit like a dog chasing after a car. It's also why different generations of white people are fixated on different genres of black music most black people don't listen to any more.

Which would perhaps explain rock musics perceived lack of evolution over the last 20 years or so if you buy into the idea that its become a more middle class pursuit.

the science eel

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2019, 07:47:38 PM »
Always struck me a a nice bunch of middle class lads from green Westmorland. When a mate and I interviewed them, they reacted to us being born/raised in Whitehaven

WOAH

hang on...


Whitehaven?

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2019, 07:49:56 PM »

the science eel

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2019, 07:55:02 PM »
No, it's just that that's where I'm from too...I thought everybody here was from Leeds or Glasgow or Manchester or wherever.

Blimey.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #46 on: April 13, 2019, 08:05:13 PM »
I left a fair old time ago (1999), and eventually wound in my current Manchester abode, but Whitehaven is still home, somehow. Probably because my parents are there - I doubt I'd ever go back otherwise, but all the same I won't take any shit about Cumbria from soft Southern wankers (hence what may have seemed a vaguely antagonist reponse!)

the science eel

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #47 on: April 13, 2019, 08:13:30 PM »
Ah yeah, I get defensive about the place too. There are actually things I like about it. I'm back here temporarily and looking at buying a little flat down on the harbour. But I'll be off again within the year, I reckon.


thenoise

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2019, 08:17:22 PM »
Lonnie Donegan's father worked for the local council, they get a good wage and a decent pension scheme to boot.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2019, 08:25:13 PM »
Ah yeah, I get defensive about the place too. There are actually things I like about it. I'm back here temporarily and looking at buying a little flat down on the harbour. But I'll be off again within the year, I reckon.
I suppose we could tie this into our area's one true successful band, It Bites, who I seem to think were all working class lads from Egremont, except the keys play being from Mirehouse. Which is as working class as you can get...

Harbour looks quite nice now, compared to when I was a kid, with the silos and cranes up.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #50 on: April 13, 2019, 08:30:30 PM »
The Fall?

A lot of it is, isn't it? I don't really care if artists have worked a day in there life though, nobody actually wants to be working class, do they? I certainly don't (I live on a shitty council estate and can't wait to leave)

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2019, 04:19:16 PM »
"authentically" is rather a provocative qualifier, as if there's a proper way to be working-class rather than having parents who were manual workers. You can be socialist working class (Bragg) but you can also be a working-class Tory (Cilla Black). Paul Weller was both at various times. George Harrison was working-class but moaned about paying taxes and went to live in a mansion. Ringo had the most materially deprived Beatle childhood and experienced serious illness.

I also think you can identify with working class culture despite being born middle-class - see Joe Strummer. I wouldn't say he was fake or inauthentic. Lennon was middle-class given that he was raised by a middle-class aunt, but again I think he was sufficiently anti-establishment to be quite authentic, although "Working Class Hero" is bollocks as autobiography.

Nick Drake was definitely not working class but never pretended to be so, nor was he rock as such, but he has value just for being him.

Morrissey had a toe in the middle-class due to his mother being a librarian but his school experiences were working class, his dad was definitely working class, and Morrissey himself left school at 16 and did some very brief working class jobs before going on the dole.

I'm not sure where Scottish musicians fit in like Orange Juice and the Cocteau Twins.

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2019, 04:24:20 PM »
Re. Orange Juice. Regardless of theiir upbringings, a band who make a chorus of the line 'I will not be a party to your scheme' probably don't qualify for this thread.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2019, 04:25:02 PM »
Morrissey had a toe in the middle-class due to his mother being a librarian but his school experiences were working class, his dad was definitely working class, and Morrissey himself left school at 16 and did some very brief working class jobs before going on the dole.


Ha. The hysterically dramatised depictions of childhood misery in his autobiog make it sound like he was a character in a Dickens novel.

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2019, 05:05:22 PM »
I'm not sure where Scottish musicians fit in like Orange Juice and the Cocteau Twins.
From what I've read of Robin Guthrie in the 4AD biography, it seemed he did (does?) identify as working class.

kngen

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2019, 02:37:53 PM »
Re. Orange Juice. Regardless of theiir upbringings, a band who make a chorus of the line 'I will not be a party to your scheme' probably don't qualify for this thread.

West End wanks, as pointed out in this review of Simon Goddard's Postcard Records book

Quote
It's intriguing to learn that Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame, who was raised in working-class East Kilbride, was unimpressed by (Alan) Horne and (Edwyn) Collins, from the posher West End of Glasgow, laughing about eating "peasant food" in local cafes: "That's what we eat at home all the fucking time."

gilbertharding

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2019, 03:27:21 PM »
I don't think there's going to be any shortage of artists to put in the two columns- we could be here for days doing that ("no, but the drummer's dad was landed-gentry so they don't count..." & so on)

the OP's question, for me at least, is more about the art-form itself, & whether it has ever genuinely spoken for an entire class of people.

sabbath may've been working-class, but "planet caravan" isn't exactly billy bragg, is it?

As you can see, the 'Dad Was a Dustman' lists are still being posted - but my question in reply to your question 'has it ever genuinely spoken for an entire class of people' is 'has anything?'

To be honest, I don't know. I went to a comprehensive school, but it was in a small town where the Midlands meet East Anglia... I all my friends (of whatever class) liked chart music. Some of it was Rock.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #57 on: April 15, 2019, 05:15:21 PM »
Who are the poshest most upper-class artists in rock/pop? I was going to suggest Bryan Ferry in a lazy knee jerk fashion so Googled him.

Blimey

Ferry was born in Washington, County Durham, into a working-class family (his father, Fred Ferry, was a farm labourer who also looked after pit ponies)

gilbertharding

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Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #58 on: April 15, 2019, 05:22:13 PM »
Who are the poshest most upper-class artists in rock/pop? I was going to suggest Bryan Ferry in a lazy knee jerk fashion so Googled him.

Blimey

Ferry was born in Washington, County Durham, into a working-class family (his father, Fred Ferry, was a farm labourer who also looked after pit ponies)

And so I thought: "Old Brundle-Fly's looking in roughly the right direction, but surely he wants to see what Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno's dad did for a living... oh - he was a postman from a long line of postmen."

The school he went to was 'independent' though...

Re: Has rock music ever been authentically working class?
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2019, 05:26:44 PM »
Who are the poshest most upper-class artists in rock/pop? I was going to suggest Bryan Ferry in a lazy knee jerk fashion so Googled him.

Blimey

Ferry was born in Washington, County Durham, into a working-class family (his father, Fred Ferry, was a farm labourer who also looked after pit ponies)
In equally lazy fashion, I will merely comment that the Maccabees' first names are Orlando, Felix, Hugo, Rupert and, erm, Sam.