Friday, September 23, 2011
Anyone who knows me can testify to the fact that my tastes in music are diverse and often eccentric. Setting aside my love of classical and choral music for a moment, and even country, let’s talk about rock and pop. I was moulded by the super-bands of the 1970s: Led Zeppelin, Yes, ELP and the like. Then I explored many musical directions except punk. I never liked punk. I still don’t. Come the 1980s and 90s I still somehow kept pace with the explosion of commercial music that was played on the radio. I was conscientiously challenged by U2. I puzzled over the Manic Street Preachers. I winced at Bjork and was bored by Neil Young. I was amazed that Genesis were still playing, and wondered whatever happened to Blondie?
Imagine my consternation therefore when I read this week that the American band R.E.M. were finally hanging up their instruments and retiring. Why was I concerned? Because with hand on heart I can honestly say that I had never heard of them. Not only that – the news networks and commentaries were constantly playing extracts from their more popular tracks, and I could not pretend that any of them, not even one, sounded familiar. They received Grammy and Brit awards, and released fifteen albums. How did I miss them? I really must stay in more…
Posted by Tim Lewis at 10:20 AM