[This was my weekend column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]
It hurt to see Pete Townshend, one of my musical heroes, succumb to the notion that rock music is in decline. “Hip-hop is rock to my ears: music for the neighborhood, the street, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the young, the ignored,” he said to The Dallas Morning News. “That used to be what I focused on.”
This isn’t the first time Pete has felt this way. In 1972(!!!), The Who released this song lamenting how rock had lost its way.
Pete’s back at it 40 years later. This time, though, he’s not entirely wrong. The first half of the 20th century was dominated by jazz and all its variations before being pushed aside by rock in the middle 1950s. It became the primary musical driver of culture for the next half-century before it was slowly elbowed aside by hip-hop sometime in the late 90s — at least in America, which is from where most of these rock-is-dead stories emanate.