Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: The History of Distortion and Feedback

Once upon a time not that long ago, all music was expected to sound clean and clear. Pure, accurate, right in tune. And lo, it was…fine.

But with the introduction of the electric guitar and the amplifiers that went with them, some intrepid players started experimenting with ways to toughen up that sound. They wanted more power, more growl, more rawness. And over a period of about 20 years, the clean, pure sound of the original electric guitars gave way to something dirty, distorted, filled with harmonics, and various amounts of feedback and noise.

What was once considered undesirable, irritating, excruciating noise is now looked upon as beauty. Here’s a fantastic example of that evolution taken from Back to the Future.

So how did we make that transition from purity to all-out fuzz? Let’s find out.

Songs heard on this show:

  • White Stripes, Seven Nation Army
  • Jackie Brenston and his Kings of Rhythm, Rocket 88
  • Smashing Pumpkins, Cherub Rock
  • Depeche Mode, Big Muff
  • Wolfmother, The Joker and the Thief
  • Sister Ray, Velvet Underground
  • David Bowie, Heroes

And of course, Eric Wilhite has a playlist for us.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

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 38005 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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