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HomeTrendingA noble try to clarify a few of rock’s weirder traditions and...

A noble try to clarify a few of rock’s weirder traditions and behaviours – Nationwide

On the final Wednesday in August, the nice residents of Buñol, Spain, collect in the principle sq. to throw tomatoes at one another. Nobody is solely certain why, both. All most individuals care about is that it’s enjoyable to pelt associates and strangers with tomatoes, so the La Tomatina Pageant turned an annual factor. (For the file, it appears thus far again to about 1945, when there was some type of brawl that devolved into the throwing of vegetables and fruit.)

Talking of throwing issues: In Denmark, single individuals aged 25 are doused with cinnamon by family and friends on Valentine’s Day. Nobody is aware of why apart from it’s at all times been a factor. Identical factor with tossing new child infants off the 50-foot Sri Saneswar Temple in India. The tykes are caught by individuals holding a giant material beneath. It’s simply custom, the origins and functions of which have disappeared into historical past.

Rock music has been round lengthy sufficient to have its personal inexplicable traditions and behaviours. Let’s have a look at a number of.

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Holding lighters aloft at concert events

We’ve all been to a present the place sooner or later individuals maintain lighters (and now cellphones) within the air in the course of the gig. The place did that come from?

The reply goes again to the Toronto Rock’n’Roll Revival, a one-day live performance held at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on Sept. 13, 1969. John Lennon was a last-minute addition to the lineup, impetuously deciding to play his first-ever present exterior The Beatles. Lennon was nervous to the purpose of being sick, so MC Kim Fowley urged the group to create a cool and peaceable vibe by bringing out their matches and lighters to show the stadium right into a blissful candlelit panorama.

It labored. Lennon got here out, performed his set with Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band, and went again to the U.Ok. to announce he was finished with The Beatles. We’ve been bringing forth hearth (or at the least gentle) at reveals ever since.

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The “Freebird!” Man

Likelihood is you’ve been to some present the place somebody insists on yelling “Freebird!” as a extremely inappropriate request at a non-Lynyrd Skynyrd present. Why?

Blame Kevin Matthews, a Chicago radio DJ who had a operating bit the place he’d encourage his listeners — generally known as Kevheads — to yell “Freebird” at any live performance, regardless of who was onstage. And so it started. The Chicago Symphony, Florence Henderson (the mother from The Brady Bunch) and Jim Nabors all needed to endure the calls for due to Kevheads. You may nonetheless hear these calls at the moment nearly wherever, be it at a efficiency of Mamma Mia and even at a hockey recreation.

Umlaut bands

You realize the type: Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche and, after all, Motörhead. “Rock dots,” as they’re generally recognized, are Swedish and German in origin and technically generally known as a “diacritic,” which is a sort of accent. Why would anybody use them? As a result of they appear cool, overseas, Gothic and unique.

So far as we all know, the primary band to make use of umlauts/rock dots on this means was Blue Öyster Cult for no function apart from it appeared like enjoyable. They might have been impressed by Amon Düül, a psychedelic band from the ’60s who had been, in actual fact, very German. We will additionally embody the American hardcore band Hüsker Dü — besides that they use umlauts appropriately. “Hüsker Dü” is definitely Swedish for “Do you keep in mind?”

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Lengthy hair for male rock followers

Lengthy hair on males has gone out and in of fashion over the centuries and was generally the goal of scorn. In 1842, The London Saturday Journal wrote: “Many vagrants are musicians, nevertheless it doesn’t comply with that every one musicians are vagrants. It’s anticipated of musicians these days to put on lengthy hair as an appendage to their expertise.” An extended screed towards lengthy hair adopted.

Quick-forward to the Thirties, Forties and Nineteen Fifties, when quick hair was culturally enforced. White males who didn’t maintain issues trim had been thought-about all the things from effeminate to subversive to unhygienic. However then alongside got here rock ‘n’ roll within the Nineteen Fifties and its rebellious attitudes, expressions of non-public freedom and new style kinds. Lengthy hair signalled a person’s membership within the new counterculture, societal pushback be damned.

After The Beatles and their moptops, tresses on males started flowing longer and longer. This continued till the punk backlash of the center Seventies when lengthy hair was thought-about an outmoded hippie attribute. Nonetheless, lengthy (or at the least longish) hair on males continues at the moment, even when meaning such unlucky kinds because the mullet.


Any steel present options members of their viewers violently shaking their heads in time with the music. How did that grow to be a factor?

This isn’t a brand new factor. If we go means again into music historical past, an identical exercise was related to Islamic music within the Sufi custom. Qawwali music from India, Pakistan and Iran has additionally employed headbanging-like actions. Each might be traced again centuries and are associated to worshippers falling into trance-like states.

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Trendy headbanging might need begun with Jerry Lee Lewis and his behavior of flicking the curls off his face as he pounded on his piano. It turned one thing of a signature transfer so followers started to mimic him.

Perhaps we will level to a 1969 North American tour by Led Zeppelin the place followers — particularly punters at some reveals in Boston over a number of nights that January — had been seen banging their heads on the stage in time with the music.

Shifting deeper into the Seventies, the identical behaviour was seen at Black Sabbath reveals, AC/DC gigs and Motörhead performances. In actual fact, Lemmy preferred to take credit score for the time period itself, saying that it was derived from the sight of individuals “Motörheadbanging” at their concert events.

Stage diving

There are two forms of stage diving. The primary is when a performer leaps off the stage into the group. The second is when a member of the viewers clambers up onstage and dives again into the group. Let’s start with the previous.

The primary rock performer to leap into the group might need been Jim Morrison of The Doorways, who’s reported to have gone airborne from the stage between 1967 and 1969. The primary really documented stage diver needs to be Iggy Pop, who was making it an everyday observe throughout reveals with The Stooges by 1969.

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As for viewers members stepping into the act, the primary documented crowd taking part in stage diving dates again to Aug. 8, 1964, when followers had been leaping off the stage at a Rolling Stones present within the Netherlands. That’s so way back that nobody was calling it “stage diving” but.

Lastly, an unsolved thriller: The particular viewers participation lyrics with Billy Idol’s Model of Mony Mony

I can’t repeat them right here, however at any time when somebody performs Billy Idol’s rendition of Tommy James’ Mony Mony, the group will erupt with a profane chant that continues commonly all through the tune. There are slight variations within the chant based mostly on geography (Ontario is completely different from Colorado, which is completely different from Texas, which is separate from what they chanted within the U.Ok.) however nobody has ever labored it out. I’ve finished some severe examine into this pre-internet meme however I’ve by no means been capable of finding an evidence of the place it got here from or the way it unfold across the globe. I’ve even put the query to Idol himself and he claims to don’t know.

Some other questions?

Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for International Information.

Subscribe to Alan’s Ongoing Historical past of New Music Podcast now on Apple Podcast or Google Play



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