Do you still love music and regulary visit the Graveyard of Superstars?
|| The following article is not meant to show a full detailed background on topics such as artists, music, fashion, ideologies. It’s supposed to give a rough impression on specific lifestyles in connection with music. The attempt is to highlight the way Youth identified themselves with and through music. They used a certain fashion trend to belong to their community. It was all about selves-expression and their way of seeing the world, their attitude. ||
I remember a time when Youth did identify themselves with a special music genre and movement. They really had a strong attitude and stood up for it. They had something to say and to fight for.
As I was young, Rock’N’Roll with Elvis was already done, even The Beatles was history. Flower Power at Woodstock with true guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix has happened, while Kraftwerk managed to create their own style of music in the field of electronic pop in the late 70ties. They have been role-model and made the foundation for electronic music and bands such as Depeche Mode and lots of others. Meanwhile in Germany we experienced the “Neue Deutsche Welle (short: NDW)“ as something that started off as underground music based on British new wave and punk music. Artists such as Nena, Falco, Trio became real big, not just in Germany. Besides, there have been a lot of “Eintagsfliegen”, meaning “One Hit Wonders”. But something special that never lost it’s power is Nena’s song “99 Luftballons”, which was released in the 80ties and made it to the top of the charts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada and USA (top 2). “99 red balloons” had a message. It became popular within the final period of Cold War and was seen as a peace movement, comparable to Flower Power standing for ending the war in Vietnam.
One of my favorite’s from back then is Rio Reiser’s “König von Deutschland”, which still is some sort of self-expression to me. A timeless song to sing along.
Youth expressed themselves through music and created movements and trends that stood for it. Outstanding were the punks, who became alive in the mid 70ties in New York and London. The Clash and The Sex Pistols were leading punk bands, characterizing anti-establishment views and representing anything, that wasn’t normal. They were against anything, had a huge and compact community, that even was outstanding in the way they dressed. While NDW was popular in Germany, Punk more or less became some sort of mainstream too. Back then it was normal seeing a group of punks hanging out on the corner of the streets, doing nothing but drinking beer, smoking, listening to music, hanging out with their buddies and asking for money “hastde mal ne Mark”. Often people changed the side of the street, as they were scared of the strange looking punks, with their shaved heads, spiked mohawks, colored hair, piercings, leather jackets and Dr. Martens boots and so on. They were called noisy, drunk, sometimes dirty and often lazy. They really were a piece of art and if I am honest – I miss seeing them out on the streets. I miss diversity. The punks of yesterday either got killed through their life style or became bourgeois / Spießer and grandparents today.
Pop- pop-pop music… And then there was pop music, standing for popular music. Anything that was famous. The roots and influences didn’t matter, a huge music industry grew strong and powerful including almost any type of music genre, with Superstars such as: The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Chris Rea, The Police, Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, U2, Queen, Metallica, ACDC, Santana, The Beastie Boys, Robbie Williams, Eminem, Beyonce, Pink and so on. Actually the word “Superstar” was formed for these outstanding artists.
We, the fans, loved our record collections. We were addicted to the radio. Later we got addicted to music television, music videos and music magazines. We wanted to dress like our superstars, we needed tonz of merchandise articles and were desiring to catch a little bit of the limelight and glitter of the music industry. It was the century when the big record labels were the winners too, selling dozens of records, leaving space for DJs and mixtapes and later CDs and DVDs. We spent hours with music, being specialized on a specific genre such as hip hop, reggae, rock, grunge, metal, techno, country, synthie pop and lots more. Even more, we were crazy for our Superstars, celebrated the “Top of the Pops” or went nuts for Boy Bands such as A-ha, Bros, New Kids On the Block, Take That, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync…
We went to music festivals that grew bigger every year and celebrated our music and stars. We enjoyed being part of our community.
As I grew up, all this existed. It totally won my heart over. I lost my heart to music. “Music was my first love – and it will be my last, music of the future – and music of the past…”.
I was influenced by my parents, whom survived the Woodstock era and listened to music of Genesis, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Santana, Eric Clapton, Chris Rea, The Bee Gees, Supertramp, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Tracy Chapman, Bob Marley etc. Back then, I did not appreciate their music, but I sure loved music.
My musical awakening took place in 1984/1985 when the Band Aid project was formed. This project is special in every way, nothing ever competed. It was founded by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and included further Superstars such as Phil Collins, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Sting, Paul Weller, Duran Duran, George Michael, David Bowie, Boy George, Paul Young, Heaven 17, Paul McCartney etc. The hit single that came out of this project is the well known song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. It was highly successful worldwide.
On TV live music and festivals were shown, lots of benefits events and artists performed in order to generate money for people in need. Band Aid and Live Aid combined raised about $150 million (USD) for the famine relief effort in Ethiopia. (source: wikipedia.org)
The first time I saw Madonna was on July 13th, 1985. I wasn’t even 10 years old back then, but I remember it clearly. My parents had the TV on all day, which was unusual. I was used to music being played all the time, but music on TV, that sure was special and caught my interest.
I fell in love with Madonna. I wanted to become a singer myself and back than I told my parents, that I was adopted. My real mum must have been – guess who – Madonna! My parent’s answered simply: people would pay me to stop singing.
I was into dancing and playback appearances too. I was addicted to the radio and to chart shows such as the German “Hitparade”, always trying to foresee which song would make it to the top of the pops. I was good at it. I was totally into Pop Music. I always had to buy the music magazine “Bravo”. With the Teenie Idol / Boy Band “Bros”, I learned the expression “Popper”, meaning including all the music genres and being successful. I always described that I need a great hook or chorus to sing along with. In addition a special voice would carry me away, so I simply would fall for songs like that. I was good at recognizing songs by only hearing the first seconds of it. I was good at guessing the name of the singer too, only by hearing the voice. I learned to judge and cherish music and great songs. I used a bad English, but I knew, I would learn. All the time during school, I had music and superstars on my mind, went to uncountable concerts, backstage, after-show parties etc. I knew, I had to end up in the music industry working for a big record label.
I got into music at a very young age and in my late teenage years, all I longed for was making my dream come true. And I did.
Now it’s 2019, almost 34 years later. I lived the live I wanted. I have been a “Popper”. I was a Cosmopolitan. I worked with some of the artists, I was dying for and I saw many of them life on stage. Nowadays it’s hard to win me over, as it feels like live music has lost it’s magic. Seems like there is nothing really to fight for anymore. A lot of people turned deaf and numb. And I started appreciating the music my parents brought into my life.
Meanwhile David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Freddy Mercury, Leonard Cohen, Curt Cobain and lots more have passed away. I am full with fear as our last big superstars slowly are dying. And to be honest – there aren’t too many younger ones who will be able to compete to the Superstar status. Nowadays, people lost passion in music. Music is available anywhere. It’s not about collecting objects such as LPs, CDs or merch anymore. It’s only one click to download. One click to delete. Lot’s of Eintagsfliegen (day flies). It’s fast moving. It’s one hit wonders. I often say music lost it’s soul. Seriously, the moment I knew I had to quit was, as a young girl, who wanted to work in a promoter’s office, asked me who Elvis is!?
As I was still part of this life, it was passionate and heart driven. It had soul and was glamorous!
Nowadays it’s nothing but great memories. I cherish, I was part of the Tibetan Freedom FestivaI in NYC. I will miss my Superstars though. I already miss too many. There were only two bands existing, that I called myself a fan of: Beastie Boys and Linkin Park. In both cases my favorite voices died, Adam Yauch and Chester Bennington. I also will miss my soul companion Tupac Shakur. R.I.P.
My love in music made me a “Popper” and Real Rock’N’Rolla. I always have been passion driven and was lucky to go for what ever I desired. It took me to magic places. I made magic friends and my heart and soul was touched deeply, over and over again. I call this a fortunate life. As I loved and lived music with heart and soul. And yes I gotta admit: I regularly visit the graveyard of old superstars. Some songs simply are made forever!
Outlook: No worries! There is always hope. And music is universal. During a time period, when “Fridays For Future” is happening, there is hope for a new awakening and movement. Hope that something like “99 Luftballons” will rise again to conquere the world!