Knowhow-Now Article

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The heartbeat of the world heard in almost every corner of the global village, but it wasn’t or still isn’t just an auditory-only pleasure experience. Rock and roll is visible. It’s a beast captured by light and caged onto paper, kept in place by time, kept in circulation by fashion. Rock and Roll images remind us that the show must go on.

For some of you, rock ‘n roll wasn’t your parents’ music (boy, you’re old!) For a lot of us rock and roll was our parents’ music, then it became our music, then it became our kids’ music, it will be their kids’ music—a good time continuum? See, you’ve got your favourite band-- you love their songs. The rhythms make you dance; the lyrics make you wanna sing along and/or write your own lyrics and shout ‘em out. The posters and calendars become your wallpaper; the t-shirts and buttons make you a walking advert but you don’t care because …it’s rock ‘n roll!!

Never mind the stars they illuminate, some rock and roll images are Icons themselves. Like the close-up of John Lennon’s face in his “How I Won the War” costume was used on the front cover of the first Rolling Stone magazine (1967). Or the photograph of a wailing Elvis Presley for the cover of his first LP, released way back in 1956. And numerous group shots since then—in a variety of settings, from around the world. Who’s your favorite? No doubt there’s an image or two associated with the rockers you love best. Rock and Roll images; for a moment they are the show, then after that they keep the show going.

You see them now beyond the usual album cover or wall poster— worn on t-shirts, ties, buttons, jackets, backpacks. Some adorn coffee cups. Fans identify with the images, perhaps even set boundaries with them: (“Wha-? You never heard of the Sex Pistols?!? Don’t talk to me, man!”) These rock and roll images captured more than people’s attention and imagination – they captured the zeitgeist of their respective times; whether early on in the evolution of the rock and roll ‘fad’ or along the various paths, the many different, twisty routes taken by the music, the musicians, the fans and society in general.  Always with a sense of (youthful) rebellion, adventure, risk, sometimes humor, sometimes shock, sometimes pride in artistic accomplishment. Even during the 1980’s before the complete digitalization of entertainment, artistic ground was broken.  In all the converging aspects of the business, the images were there at the forefront flickering on your TV screen in a music video, or in magazines and newspapers as a still from those videos. The rock and roll images that might say to you, “Remember when..?”

Rock and Roll images: reminding us that the show must go on—still captured by light, but caged by light, shining back at us from the screens of computer monitors, iPods and mobile devices. Wonder what images will we see in the future?? Who’ll be there on the good time continuum? The famous, the infamous, the artists we laud today and laugh at tomorrow, especially if their choice of costume was a bit suspect…. (80s big hair, anyone?).

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