Jul 232011


As some of you may know, I am a part-time facilitator at Republic Polytechnic. This semester, I am facilitating a module called History of the Arts. This module basically covers mostly Western art from the pre-historic age to the modern era in 15 weeks. Early on, I had a student question me about why she had to study History of the Arts – how was it relevant to her? So I enquired what diploma she was undertaking and she replied, “arts management”! Sometimes, you can’t make this shit up!!

This is not an unusual attitude. It’s rather commonplace in our music scene where even our bands and songwriters do not appreciate the importance of knowing the history of pop & rock music. For many of them, the scope of reference is often nothing earlier than 2000, if you’re lucky! And so, they are blissfully ignorant of the bands of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s! That is a whole lot of great music to be ignorant about.

What’s the big deal you say? Well, to put it simply, you can only create from what you know and if you know very little, then you probably will not be capable to create much either. And what is truly amazing is that in the internet age, it is so easy to listen to any music from any age. So let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s take a significant band from each of the aforementioned decade (which are related and associated music wise) and feature a video taken from youtube (where else?).


The Kinks

Ray Davies, the band’s principal singer-songwriter has been cited by many (yours truly included) as a seminal influence (including the bands that follow below). He is best known for his observational songs about his native England.


Big Star

Often considered to be one of the pioneers of power pop, Big Star melded a melodic sensibility and shiny guitar attack to produce a highly influential concoction. Fronted by the late Alex Chilton, the band would inspire many guitar pop bands in the 80s and 90s.


The Replacements

Part of the alt-rock movement that ruled US college radio back then (with R.E.M., Husker Du and others), this Paul Westerberg-led outfit has left deep impressions which resonates strongly with numerous indie bands today.



Black Francis, the frontman of this beloved indie band, claimed that the above song was inspired by The Kinks, which brings us full circle.

As you can see, it isn’t too difficult to gather together some amazing music and bands from four different decades with the right research and of course, interest.

So, my message to all young bands and singer-songwriters out there in the S-ROCK scene, what’s stopping you???

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