Authenticity and Technology

Posted Thursday March 12, 2009 by John Gunders in |

Two quotations I’ve used in my thesis, but never really considered them together until now:

In 1966, Bob Dylan toured Britain with his new electric band. The Albert Hall concert was bootlegged so it is still possible to hear the slow hand-clapping between each number, the abuse hurled at the stage, and the shouting arguments between members of the audience. At the end of ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ a voice clearly rings out: ‘Judas!’, ‘I don’t don’t believe you’, mutters Dylan as the chords start for ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. (Frith, Simon. “Art Versus Technology: The Strange Case of Popular Music.” Media, Culture and Society 8.3 (1986): 263-79.)

Johnny [Ramone]…said that he never developed his guitar playing beyond the bare minimum. “I never thought I was going to do it very long. Why bother?” he said…. But he jealously guarded his purism: For some time, denied playing on 1978’s Road to Ruin (he did) because he objected to the acoustic guitars on the LP. (Fricke, David. “Johnny Ramone.” Rolling Stone, 633, 28 Dec. 2004: 18)

Dylan was vilified for playing an electric guitar; Johnny Ramone was embarrassed about playing an acoustic one. Both were accused of breaching the unwritten laws of authenticity of their day.

Funny old world…

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  1. Nick Caldwell writes:

    Posted: 12 03 2009 - 23:18 | Permanent link to this comment

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