I’ve been thinking lately about the legacy of some of my favorite bands. I’ve recently started following Art of Noise on Instagram, who are currently at the planning and prepping stages of an upcoming tour. The other week I downloaded the new album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
This year we’ve seen new releases by The Godfathers, Daniel Ash, The Feelies, Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), Peter Murphy, Depeche Mode, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Wire, Clan of Xymox, Robyn Hitchcock, Slowdive, Blondie, Erasure, The Charlatans UK, Alison Moyet, Ride, Cheap Trick, Public Enemy, KMFDM, Sparks, The Waterboys and Living Colour. And there’s still three-plus months to go in the year, with more new releases by classic bands coming up.
It occurred to me that many of these bands are from the first generation of 70s and 80s rock and its multitudes of subgenres, or their slightly younger siblings. We still have some musicians from the original rock wave of the 50s and 60s — Ringo Starr has a new album coming soon, and Paul McCartney is still on tour, for instance, and recently-passed Chuck Berry had a new album out as well. One has to remember that rock music as we know it really is a young genre compared to other popular and fringe music out there. We’re still seeing it grow and evolve. We’re also still seeing some of the old vanguard putting out albums.
My fascination here isn’t just that many of these bands were my favorites when I was in high school thirty years ago, and that I’m just reliving my youth in my own pathetic way. I’m also fascinated that these bands are still going strong, still providing their signature sounds, still touring, still releasing. Some of them may have taken an extended hiatus for various reasons (Ride’s last album was in 1996, for example, and they split almost at the same time it came out), but upon their return, fans both old and new rejoiced.
I’m fascinated by the legacies of these bands, because I’m living during their tenure. I’m watching and listening to their history as it happens. It’s that ‘I was there’ moment — it’s my own Woodstock remembrance, in a way — and I love that I’m a part of it in my own way, as a listener and as an owner of their recordings.