Thread: Neil Peart
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:26 AM
KlarkKent KlarkKent is offline
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Default Re: Neil Peart

Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
This Hall of Fame discussion is interesting, but in all due respect seems beyond any prescribed formula or conspiracy based agenda.

One poster has stated that having hits was a requirement, whereas I can't recall the Sex Pistols or Miles Davis ever getting close, past SP's #93 US Billboard showing with Pretty Vacant, and Miles's Kind of Blue taking 40 years to go platinum.
Actually, the Sex Pistols did have a major hit in "God Save the Queen" in May 1977, a single which sparked a lot of upheaval and social irritation. They released this song during Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee celebrations--something which the patriotic public took enormous offensive at--almost like giving the Royal Family a big, fat, blatant "V" sign. The song made it to number one on the New Musical Express charts in the UK, but the song was slighted at #2 on the official BBC UK Singles Chart. In fact, I think some printings of the BBC chart listings back then left the slot blank as a way to censor the band.

If you want to talk about blistering lyrics, then I agree with CavGator about his "tame" comment. Mattsmith makes a good point about the American South and religion, however; I lived there for a time and some people in the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia corridor possess a religious attitude that dates back to the 1950s. Extremely conservative and, depending on your point of view, amazingly close minded.

Punks in England, though, really ruffled feathers--and followed not too far off of 1971. A lot of the English were angered by John Lydon's (aka Johnny Rotten) satire on the Royal Family ("God save the Queen/She ain't no human being/And there's no future in England's dreaming"), and he was even jumped and knifed by some National Front lads who took a racist pro-British/pro-white view of English life and were thus angered by Rotten's attack on the icon of Englishness.

I think a lot of lyrics coming out of the punk and post-punk scene in England were a lot more severe than Jethro Tull--they sort of took the political critique in some prog rock, like Tull, and raised the volume level well past 11. Think of Marxist/Christian-inspired The Housemartins, a very popular pop band from the North of England, who, in 1986, wrote in the song "Get Up Off Our Knees":

Famines will be famines, banquets will be banquets
Some spend winter in a palace, some spend it in blankets
Don’t wag your fingers at them and turn to walk away
Don’t shoot someone tomorrow that you can shoot today
Combine such lyrics with the ironic "Christmas Message" from the band printed in the sleeve of their London 0, Hull 4 album: "For too long the ruling class have enjoyed an extended New Years Eve Party, whilst we can only watch, faces pressed up against the glass. The Housemartins say: 'Don't try gate crashing a party full of bankers. Burn the house down!' Take Jesus - Take Marx - Take Hope."

Extremely controversial, particularly at the height of the Reagan/Thatcher era. This, of course, does not lessen or diminish the impact of Tull's lyric in 1971 (and if we want to talk 1971, then Kubrick's shocking A Clockwork Orange, which was in theatres in England then, would also be a good gauge of serious/alarming stuff), but the Pistols inspired a whole new era of charged criticism that can indeed make Jethro Tull and others look kittenishly tame.

(Another good example: Morrissey released the song "Margaret on the Guillotine" in 1987, a Smiths song that never made it to Strangeways Here We Come and so appeared on Moz's Viva Hate solo debut: a quiet melody that paints a shocking attack on Thatcher, which provoked a police raid of Morrissey's flat. Talk about art causing some serious problems and rattling the public/authorities.)

These are just some interesting examples, though sorry for the non sequitur--not exactly the topic of the thread. But Mattsmith's and CavGator's exchange on this particular issue was interesting.

Poor ol' Rush: never getting full respect. An old friend of mine used to be a roadie for Rush (in the mid-to-late 1970s) and knew the band very well. I remember him telling me stories about Neil Peart being a major bookworm, always off reading, and Peart and Alex also jamming on Zeppelin tunes for fun during rehearsals until Geddy would scold them. According to my friend, Geddy was a bit of an egomaniac--bit controlling, full of himself. Neil and Alex were the "nice ones."
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