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Rocking ’70s

Updated on: 15 February,2021 08:24 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shunashir Sen |

Attend an informative talk about the decade that defined rock music

Rocking ’70s

Led Zeppelin’s sound was distinctly harder than the bands of the ‘60s

The 1970s have never really left us, at least in terms of music. Today, even if you walk into a place like Toto’s Garage, the popular Bandra garage pub, it feels like entering a sonic time warp where new-fangled electronic sounds are still in the distant future. But what is it about the rock music that emanated from that decade which made it such a defining era in music history? A talk that will be conducted by Adagio Studio this week will delve deep into that question.

Aditya Ashwath
Aditya Ashwath

Aditya Ashwath, the music educator who will host the session, tells us that there were essentially three different reasons. The first one is simple – technology. Better amplifiers and the use of techniques like distortion in guitars gave music an edge - and volume - that it never had before. “This was when the lead guitar really came into its own,” he says, alluding to bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd that had rousing guitar solos which characterised a song.

The second factor is that the psychedelic rock that the counter-culture movement in the late ’60s spawned opened people’s ears up to more experimental sounds that were solidified in the ‘70s. Let’s take a ‘60s band like the Beatles, for instance. Their earlier material basically falls under the bracket of bubblegum pop of the time. But events like the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr had such a deep impact on the minds of musicians that if you look at an album like Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which The Beatles released in 1968, you’ll find that it has a lot more nuance and experimentation in it. These new approaches spilled over into the ’70s, making people a lot more receptive to what, say, Pink Floyd did with an album like The Dark Side of the Moon.

The third factor is that a lot of the issues that disturbed the popular imagination in the ’60s were yet to be resolved. The Vietnam War, for instance, was still raging. So, people became disillusioned with peace and love, and the music resultantly became a lot more aggressive, Ashwath explains. That angst reflected in the sound of bands like Black Sabbath. And it eventually shaped the course of music history, giving birth to what we know today as ‘classic rock’, a genre that you’ll get to hear the next time you enter a place like Toto’s Garage.

On: February 16, 9 pm
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