The group, according to David Bowie, was more influential than the Beatles
Given that David Bowie was such a fleeting artist, it’s no surprise that his art is comprised of an eclectic patchwork of ideas and influences. For a man whose musical career has been an odyssey full of colorful characters and many twists and turns, his career has become a legend.
Throughout his long and respected career, his music has drawn inspiration from the avant-garde, jazz, glam and the experimental, and without his pioneering and unwavering passion for left field there is no today would have no place for pioneers like PJ. Harvey, Bjork and Aphex Twin.
Since Bowie was a very unique man, he also had a perspective that was entirely personal to him. Aside from his bizarre foray into cocaine-fueled racism in the mid-1970s, Bowie embodied wisdom for the rest of his life – something wise resident in music.
Like the star man he sang on, or Thomas Jerome Newton, the character he played in the 1976 Nicholas Roeg sci-fi film, The man who fell to earth, Bowie’s wisdom carried with it an otherworldly perspective and a keen perception often compared to someone outside of the earthly realm, leading us to wonder if he really was a man.
As he matured and gave up cocaine, in the ’80s, Bowie found a level of fame he hadn’t experienced before. the years 1983 Let’s dance confirmed him as a true pop culture icon, bridging the gap between his status as a cult hero and his newfound status as a global superstar. This, of course, made more people take an interest in what he had to say, and from that point on he would inform many of his audience’s opinions.
Often asked to comment on a number of topics, the internet is replete with Bowie’s hot views on everything from World Wide Web development to psychology and even Tony Blair. In 1996, Bowie gave us another critical review, and one that, when you dig into it, is just plain good value for money.
The musician found himself chatting about the greatest band of all time, The Beatles. Thinking back on their influence and album sales, Bowie said, “Bands like the Beatles (who) were so important in terms of what they sold and the influence they had” were clearly having an impact. back then but, in fact, “very little of their influence is really felt now.
This reflects Bowie’s keen eye on the ever-changing format of music and the perpetual attention to art. By 1996, the advent of technology had moved music into the next millennium, and Bowie clearly foresaw the futuristic path of music. From our 2021 perspective, given the ubiquity of technology and how it drastically changed musical tastes and consumption, his commentary on the Beatles’ lack of influence is now even more evident.
The Beatles were akin to the big bang of music, and without their pioneering contributions opening the floodgates, we wouldn’t be where we are today. However, because it was so long ago and society and music have grown so much since then, Bowie’s statement rings true.
Speaking of the actual bands that inspired real artistic change, Bowie said, “It’s the fringe and weird bands that no one has ever bought like the Velvet Underground that actually created modern music. And you kind of think, where is “yesterday” in all of this? Where is its influence on modern music? “.
Bowie then claimed that the Velvet Underground song “I’m Waiting For The Man” actually had more of an impact on music than the 1967 Beatles classic “Penny Lane”. Infering Blur and Oasis, Bowie said: “Well there are a few British bands that use trumpets every now and then and say they are influenced by the Beatles. But in reality, what they usually gravitate to more is ‘Waiting for the Man’ than ‘Penny Lane’ ”.
That was not all, however. Bowie provided reasonable justification for why he argued the Velvet Underground has more cultural impact than Liverpool’s favorite sons. Bowie claimed the Velvet Underground were the real artists and bet, “The culture of tomorrow is always artist-driven. So no matter how many critics were saying how important the Beatles were, there were artists running around saying, “Yeah, it’s okay, but have you heard the Velvet Underground? »Artists make culture, not criticism.
While purists may take his word for pretentiousness, Bowie’s opinion is correct. The Beatles have made giant strides, but in terms of art, the Velvet Underground has overtaken them. It’s not as if Bowie is undermining the work of The Beatles, instead claiming that in the modern context, the work of the Velvet Underground carries more weight than that of the Fab Four because of artistic intent and content. Tacitly, it even undermines the role of the critic in establishing mainstream opinion, something we could all learn a thing or two from today.
Plus, he was right about how artists from the outskirts often influence generations. If we look at alternative music today, with its focus on post-punk and jazz, the zeitgeist is massively influenced by The Fall and Thelonious Monk rather than, say, U2. While Bowie’s opinion doesn’t capture the whole progression of music, it does manage to explain some of the ways the discipline maintains its ever-progressive format.
Watch Bowie’s interview below.