The Great Divide: How The Band Brought Music Back To Its Roots
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The Great Divide: How The Band Brought Music Back To Its Roots

After the high of Sgt. Peppers, The Band helped music back down to its roots.

The Great Divide: How The Band Brought Music Back To Its Roots

The year was 1967 and according to legend, music reached its all time peak. The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and nobody knew where music would go from there. Ever since The Beatles broke out, they catalyzed musics development. Bands were rapidly pushing the envelope, each giving their own effort until The Beatles finally sealed it with Sgt. Peppers. In one fell swoop of an album it seemed that the ceiling was reached. The high production values of psychedelic music seemed like they could go no farther (they would i.e. Dark Side of the Moon) and people wondered: where does music go from here? The answer wasn't to go farther up (which many bands would do) but to come back down and remember where it all came from.

Enter The Band. The Band had been playing under different names throughout the years and toured with many different artists, including Bob Dylan. When they released their first record, it contained a mix of what music had been missing in recent years. It was a carefully composed mix of folk, blues, country, rock, R&B, and soul. Ingredients that weren't commonly present in psychedelic music. This style gave a grand direction for music to grow in. Instead of growing vertically, music grew wider, mixing genres together that made the familiar sound new. It brought many artists back to the music that originally inspired them. The music was restrained, earthly and elegant in a rough sort of way. The folk rock genre that Dylan created is what The Band took and expanded upon.

Not only did the music itself hearken back to Americana roots, but so did their lyrics. They wrote myths that took place in some mystical version of America that may have never existed. And that worked to help create their own mythos. They weren't like other artists. They weren't the typical rock star types. They were four guys from Canada, and one from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. They didn't have a flashy name, it was straightforward and represented what they wrote. They were just The Band. Their music was a combination of all the genres that came together to make pop music. They played their music like an undercurrent, inspiring other artists to move in the same direction. Eric Clapton loved The Band so much that he even quit Cream, and soon after alternated to his more traditional rock-blues style. The Rolling Stones went on their string of Americana inspired albums. The Beatles brought themselves back down with more grounded approaches. Pretty much almost any rock band that existed in the 70's has The Band to thank for their direction.

It all comes down to one song really. The Weight. Most people have heard this song, but don't even realize it. It's just something they've heard before, a classic they assume has always been there. And because of that it has a timeless quality. The pinnacle of their sound The Weight, through its subtle simplicity sends listeners on a journey that may as well be as old as its allusions. This one song is all of what The Band represented for music.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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