There will never be another Everly brothers, music that will live forever.
They came up through the old route. Learning their craft for years and years, honing their talent. Nowadays – with very few notable exceptions – we have Bic artists, all mostly disposable with no use past a few scribbles or shaves. Nobody puts years of graft in before they get a shot any more, if they don’t get somewhere in five minutes they pack in. They’ll go and sulk and press buttons on their Xbox.
They’re not hungry enough. They see too much money paraded before them in the media. They want to be famous. When I was twenty-two we were recording the first Icicle Works album at Rockfield in Monmouthshire. Robert Plant did a gig at the local pub. I genuinely thought he must be doing it to earn a few quid as I thought Led Zeppelin were an obscure band who didn’t sell many records because you never saw them on telly or heard them on the radio, and aside from a few live photos I didn’t really have a clue what they looked like.
They didn’t have hit singles. They didn’t even bother putting them out. They didn’t even have pictures of themselves on their album sleeves. They didn’t even put their band’s name on a couple of them. They did it by working their arses off for years. I lined up to get Bill Nelson’s autograph when he did an interview for the local radio in the late 70s. One of the first pop stars I ever saw in the flesh. He didn’t appear to be fabulously wealthy; In his casual street clothes and there was no limo. People weren’t screaming and cameras weren’t going off. There was me and about five other people waiting for him. I saw AC/DC twice in 1976/77 in Liverpool. I got to know their stuff from Phil Easton’s radio show but I didn’t know anyone else other than one mate I went to the gig with who’d heard of them, and that was because I told him they were great. Bon Scott let me climb through the dressing room window to get his autograph. He was thrilled someone wanted it. There wasn’t any security around. All these people loved music and fame and fortune was a by-product and non of them could believe it when they discovered they had 100 quid in the bank for the first time. FROM PLAYING MUSIC. They would have done it for nothing. When I started playing music I did it for love not money. It’s just as well!
What remains of the record industry in the 21st century will throw a fortune at someone wrong and drop them after one (maybe two) albums. It’s all about the fast turnaround and they don’t care – when you’re done they can just pick up another and do the same. No music lovers are in charge anymore, just the bean-counters. And this is just how it is now. You can always tell who a genuine artist is – you only ever see them onstage. They don’t hang around trendy eateries/bars waiting to get pap’ed. They’re at home putting their kids to bed. I am very grateful I caught the tail end of the music boom. I feel very sad for sincere, talented new artists who are out to make it. There is more chance of winning the lottery. I tell them not to plan on being a musician if they need money soon. There’s also very little chance of them writing a classic song as they’ve already been written a thousand times. There are a few good new acts around but they’re by and large a shallow reflection of what came before. There was still new ground to be tilled in the early 80s, which we all tried to do. At least the youth audience of today don’t actually know what they’re missing so anything not terrible put before them will appear new and exciting. For a while. R.I.P. The Golden Age Of Rock ‘N’ Roll. (I’m here all week). I.