The Death Of Progressive Rock: Addendum

Following my post 1979: The Death Of Progressive Rock & The Jazz/Folk/Acoustic Amalgam, I began to think more about what I’d written. Was I being too hard on the Prog scene by saying it was virtually dead in 1979? Surely there was some life in it yet? But then I thought, what does the sentimental side of me say about this? It said ‘no, you were not’. And my logical side, of course, agreed. Continue reading

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Weighing Up The Scales: Does Your Left-hand Know What The Right-hand Is Doing?

So, a while back, I was teaching a bit of compositional theory (as you do) and I asked the students a seemingly outrageous question: “What is the purpose of the harmonic minor scale? Why is there a raised 7th in there?”

Blank looks.

But I was not deterred and thought I’d push them even further… “OK, what about the melodic minor scale? A raised 7th AND a raised 6th.”

Silence. Continue reading

The Police As Pioneers: Did They De-Do-Do-Do It For You?

The Police, back in the day, were my favourite pop band. I first heard them in early 1979 on the radio station Q107, Toronto – playing ‘Roxanne’ live at the El Mocambo. As a 14 year old raised on a musical diet of Kiss and Aerosmith, The Police were revelatory. Of course, they were part of the ‘New Wave’ of UK music, making itself present in Canada and the USA in the late 70s, that included Elvis Costello, The Records, Gary Numan etc. and coincided somewhat with American ‘skinny tie’ bands like Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Cars, whom I loved as well. Continue reading

1979: The Death Of Progressive Rock & the Jazz/Folk/Acoustic Amalgam

1979: Growing up in southern Ontario in the 70s, FM radio was the soundtrack to your existence. The music came in from Toronto (CHUM FM, Q107) and played a mix of stadium rock (Styx, Journey, Kansas) and AOR (mainly the Westcoast type like Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and so forth). Fleetwood Mac were all over the place – there was a fair share of disco, too. Continue reading