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Is Rock’n’Roll Nostalgia on the Ropes?

Macleans takes a look at the possibility that nostalgia for rock might be in its final stages. Here’s the explanation:

Rock ’n’ roll will never die, but rock ’n’ roll nostalgia might. Even though this musical style has had its ups and downs on the pop charts, the entertainment industry has built its own mini-industry of TV shows, movies and documentaries about the greatness of rock and its importance in cultural history. In some years, this sub-industry has been more healthy than rock music itself. But in 2016, several high-profile failures have raised the question of whether that kind of story works now. Could the rock story go the way of the Bing Crosby movie—a charming relic of an old form of music?

Not that people have stopped making these rock tributes—at least, not yet. Every major rock anniversary is commemorated, particularly anything to do with the Beatles: the Market Gallery in Toronto currently has an exhibit about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ last concert in Toronto. Some rock stars can make news for whatever they say or do, like Bruce Springsteen, who is getting wall-to-wall coverage and respectful reviews for his new memoir, Born to Run. And the rockumentary, about the rise and fall of real-life bands, continues to be made: on Oct. 27, Oasis will be the latest group to be enshrined, in the documentarySupersonic, which is already leading to rumours of a reunion.

But 2016 has also been full of warning signs that the market for rock ’n’ roll sentimentality isn’t what it used to be.

Thoughts? Read the whole thing first.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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