You might add a few articulate black men who gave quite articulate interviews on other forums but were never popular with blacks (like Hendrix) and definitely rock. Ben Harper and Lenny Kravitz.

Or you might add one of the most articulate men to ever speak who was never rock but spoke circles around a congressional panel of rather inarticulate white men who blackballed his career for making the look kindegardenish-Mr. Paul Robeson.

For some rather articulate white women who had a clear grasp of the issues of the world you might seek out interviews given by Mary Travers, Buffy Saint-Marie, or Joan Baez (too folk to be articulate enough for Mr. Winner) and sometimes Baez could be full of herself. But how about a German rock legend who never made it in America but was one of the most articulate musicians I ever listened to, Inga Rumpf of one of the best bands in the world when Wenner was beginning his rag, Frumpy.

But I do recall interviews in RS with the likes of Chrissie Hynde and Cherrie Currie that the interviewers were only interested in their sexual proclivities. Look I use to read the magazine for its innumerable reviews but the stories and interviews were never about the intelligence of musicians, but how degraded they could be.Read their interviews with Dylan and compare them to good interviews of Dylan. No contest, the mag was a fanzine at its height that was never very articulate.

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I realized that I might be able to better communicate my previous comment with a metaphor.

I was trying to say that it makes sense to celebrate Rock as a big, vibrant, cosmopolitan city and, at the same time, I enjoy the evocative names for the neighborhoods and locations in the city.

I can enjoy wandering around New Wave village, hearing about the parties at Power Pop cul-de-sac, or admiring the Motown hi-rise (and, of course, Blues Highway is the major route to and from.

I can think that it's nice to admire the local character, without trying to argue that any one element should stand in for the whole.

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Right, but...the problem is the landscape of American cities is inseparable from the history of segregation....

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I'm not disputing that at all. I'm making the argument that _despite that_ I think there is value in appreciating the history of the neighborhoods.

I wouldn't want people to be stuck in one place, but I don't think that's necessary.

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You are absolutely, 100% correct about the gatekeeping, and my personal preference would be for a world in which cultural cachet is more widely and more equitably available, and we still have a variety of genre names and descriptive terms to categorize music, and I think that's happening.

Over the last couple of decades I feel like there's been a reappraisal of pop ( https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/10/30/20853231/lana-del-rey-authenticity-career-norman-fucking-rockwell ), disc, etc (not to mention the prior decades in which Rap and Hip Hop successfully claimed cultural credibility).

Within that I think there's something lovely in the way that people come up with ways to describe how a given slice of music sounds (or how it feels).

Joni Mitchell is certainly part of the broad tapestry of Rock, but I'll primarily think of her as a Laurel Canyon musician ( https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/story/2020-05-31/laurel-canyon-docuseries-takes-deep-dive-into-joni-mitchell-the-eagles-and-others-from-fabled-60s-la-scene ) (and in later years, heavily jazz-influenced).

Otis Redding is one of the definitive Soul singers, and he absolutely belongs in the story of Rock, but a sentence like, "Rock performers who were Black—like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Sly Stone—were classified as R&B, or funk." feels like it flattens a lot of what makes them distinctive.

Again, I don't want to argue for pigeonholing artists, but one of the pleasures of pop music is finding a way to identify how new music fits within and pushes against tradition.

I think about the opening of _Velvet Goldmine_ and the pleasure in the new (Glam Rock).

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I mean, every artist is distinctive to some degree, but it's hard for me to see what exactly the difference is between Redding and the Stones, when they were influenced by the same artists, covered some of the same material, and performed in similar styles (other than Redding being better, for the most part.)

David Marsh's book "The Heart of Rock and Soul" makes the same point at length (It's pretty great.) https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Rock-Soul-Greatest-Singles/dp/030680901X

there are subgenres and those can be fun/helpful...it's just useful to keep an eye on how race defines them and what that means. New Wave, for example, is very much restricted by race in a way that keeps Prince and Janet Jackson off of best of lists and puts Elvis Costello (largely a throwback rocker) on them. Prog rock is pretty much just fusion for white people, and so forth... and Glam rock is...kind of just white guys adopting some of the androgynous fashion that Black performers were already wearing...

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I agree with your main point -- that genres and sub-genres of music are frequently used to segregate music along racial lines.

But, in terms of Otis Redding and the Stones, I'm not going to argue the point that they had overlapping influences but, on some level, I can't see the stones doing

"Amen" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJUWn-26jkw

"A Change Is Gonna Come" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M_wkYDE7PU

I agree that it would be a mistake to keep black artists out of the history or Rock, but it would also be a mistake to say that Otis Redding and the Stones have the same influence without also talking about the differences -- including those causes by the experience of being Black:


" Cooke was another of Redding’s heroes, and on Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, an 11-song album recorded over the course of 24 hours in 1965, he covered ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. Gould doesn’t like the recording, which he calls ‘the sole mis-step’ on an otherwise glorious album.

After a ‘brave beginning,’ Gould writes, Redding ‘loses his grip on the lyrics and starts groping for the sense of the song’ . . .

"Maybe; but to my mind, it makes no more sense to imagine that Redding forgot the words to this song – already a Civil Rights anthem – than it does to think that Louis Armstrong had ‘forgotten’ the words to ‘Heebie Jeebies’. . . . [F]or musicians like Redding, and Cooke before him, the market exerted its own set of pressures. And yet, Cooke had managed to say a great deal, and Redding’s version cuts just as deeply.

Take the first ten words of Cooke’s lyric: ‘I was born by the river ... in a little tent.’ The ‘I’ is Moses. It’s also Sam Cooke, who was born by the Mississippi. And it is also a personification of black America during the Civil Rights era: ‘I go to the movie and I go downtown/Somebody keep tellin’ me: “Don’t hang around.”’ Cooke’s parable had many layers, meanings that Redding had to transform, not only because Cooke had died, but because events since his death – the marches from Selma; the assassination of Malcolm X – had changed the national mood. This is what gives Redding’s coda such force."

[edit]: Just to make my point clear; I wouldn't argue if you wanted to say that racial history IS part of the history of Rock. That's true, and worth saying, I would also argue that saying, "it's hard for me to see what exactly the difference is between Redding and the Stones" shows the way in which seeing them both as part of the story of Rock flattens important differences as well.

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??? the stones could totally have done a change is gonna come sonically? it would be weird for them to sing a civil rights song because they just never gave a shit, but they did ballads. Like, Eleanor Rigby owes a good bit to A Change Is Gonna Come (again,the main difference is that it replaces the Black liberation themes with generic existential nostalgic gunk.)

I love Redding's version. But the difference is, again, that he gave a shit and is a better singer than Jagger, not that he's in a different genre, imo.

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Okay, let's take a step back; I think the entire point of our disagreement is about what purpose genre labels serve -- and my argument is that they can serve multiple purposes and it's worth preserving some of those.

I completely agree with your point that it's worth having a more expansive vision of "Rock" as a genre for many reasons: to correct the historical exclusion, to tell a fuller (and more accurate) history of the genre, and to see institutions like The Rock and Roll HoF (or Rolling Stone magazine) as serving a broader mandate. All of that is good.

I think it's also worth being able to to tell smaller stories and trace individual threads within the tapestry of music history and that various descriptive labels (including genre labels) are _useful_ in that purpose.

I think the argument about Otis Redding is a bit of red herring in terms of what I'm arguing. But maybe it would be helpful to just say that part of why I'm arguing at all is that I think one _use_ of labels is to provide some framework to say, "if you like X you might also enjoy Y" and from that perspective Otis Redding and the Stones fall into very different categories in my head. That's utterly subjective, of course, and I'd argue that there are distinctions to be made that are less subjective, but I'd freely admit that part of my motivation just reflects my personal tastes of, "no, these two artists do not belong together." (and I'll concede that my reaction is leading me to minimize the similarities).

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I mean, just looking at which critics like which, Redding and the Stones are really similar! They're Jimmy Gutterman's two favorite artists, Dave Marsh who I mentioned above loves them both; they're both really canonical boomer rock acts. Redding did a famous Stones cover!

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I may not know what I'm talking about, but I'd suspect that the you could make a stronger prediction for "if you like the Rolling Stones you might also like Otis Redding" than "if you like Otis Redding you might also like the Rolling Stones."

This did get me to read the transcript for the 500 songs episode on Otis Redding -- which is fascinating and mostly new to me. https://500songs.com/podcast/episode-163-sittin-on-the-dock-of-the-bay-by-otis-redding/

The things that stand out are (1) how collaborative music making is, and how many people played important roles in shaping Redding's career. (2) It underscores the importance of Little Richard as an influence (which supports your point), (3) The Rolling Stones covered him fairly early "Pain In My Heart" and (4) the story about his cover of "Satisfaction" is hilarious:

"Redding had never heard the song before — he was not paying attention to the white pop scene at the time, just to his competition on the R&B charts — but he was interested in doing it. Cropper sat by the turntable, scribbling down what he thought the lyrics Jagger was singing were, and they cut the track. Redding starts out more or less singing the right words:

But quickly ends up just ad-libbing random exclamations in the same way that he would in many of his live performances:"

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Yep. Nailed it. Totally agree.

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