Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Blues, Sex Pistols, Benny Goodman, & The Fight Against Tyranny

With all the hoopla surrounding the very quick rise of ISIL (Islamic State if Iraq & Levant, or now just IS - Islamic State), and all the bandwagon-ing, I thought I'd share a musical perspective to all of this.

Let it be known that I am a supporter of liberty; oppression and tyranny have no place in my book, be it a political system or religion. The iron fist/heel rule of power is an outdated concept that only shows the worst part of humanity.

While everyone is freaking out (not that I blame them), keep in mind that all the regional and international powers all have some interest in such a group existing, as it causes harm to one of the rival governments in some way.

Let's take a quick step back in history; below are three case studies (out of hundreds) about how music has stood up against the tyrannic laws and leaders:


When you think of the blues, you think about misfortune, betrayal and regret. You lose your job, you get the blues. Your loved one falls out of love with you, you get the blues. Your dog dies, you get the blues. While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity.

The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th Century. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves - African-American sharecroppers who sang as they toiled in the cotton and vegetable fields. It's generally accepted that the music evolved from African spirituals, African chants, work songs and field hollers.

The blues was instrumental in what lead to the civil rights movement, that allowed African-Americans equal rights as everyone else in the land of the free, by sparking social consciousness with the message of the music that spread out from the South and found it's way to the entire world.

2. BENNY GOODMAN (and Jazz in General)

Live in Moscow 1962

The USSR was a failed communist experiment that lead to the death of millions of innocent people at the hands of the state for ideological reasons.

A major factor that lead to the dissolution of the USSR was Western culture, such as jazz and jeans.

Millions of Russians and Soviets would tune in to Western radio stations and broadcasts and heard the music and about life under democracy. One day the Communist Party agreed to have Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, to perform in the USSR.

Here's a short video below from an original news story from that time,  a great flashback of the Cold War era:

It took many years, but eventually the Berlin Wall fell in 1990 and it was all over from then on.


I mean... anyone who sings a song about the bloody queen is enough to be on this list, especially when the singles cover is like the one above!

It was unheard of to have this type of rebellion against the system; in 1977 The Sex Pistols exploded the charts and the UK with this song, and there were rumors that the UK government had manipulated the sales charts to show the song at number 2, when in fact the actual numbers show it at number 1. 

This lead to a huge punk rock anti-establishment movement, with bands like The Clash performing songs like 'London Calling':

So now to the Arab scenario, if we are to stop an advancing terror, history tells us that such tyranny is never won by brute force, but by ideals of justice, equality, and liberty. 

1 comment:

  1. Very inspirational but sadly I don't think any musical revolution can change anything in our region ... Under Sharia all music but anasheed are Haram :(
    However we'll keep a melody and we'll keep hoping.


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