Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Thirty-one year old song used as part of debut of "new" Tonight Show:
I like the song, but wow
Conan O'Brien made TV history Monday night when he took over The Tonight Show, and Rockford [Illinois, place of origin of the band Cheap Trick] was part of the moment, practically from the start.Surrender (Cheap Trick song)
The show opened with Conan preparing to host his first Tonight Show, and then realizing he never moved to L.A. So he runs from New York to California. The whole time he's running, Cheap Trick's "Surrender" is his soundtrack. Cheap Trick guitarist, Rick Nielsen, says he knew Conan wanted to use one of the band's songs, but he wasn't sure what, if anything, Conan would do on the show.
Conan called Rick the next day.
"'Rick I wanted it to be a surprise for you,'" Nielsen remembers. "He says, 'This was just the greatest song. I tried to think of what would be the best song for doing this thing...going across country. Surrender.'
"Surrender" is a single by Cheap Trick released in June 1978 from the album Heaven Tonight. It was the first Cheap Trick single to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 62. It is a late 1970s teen anthem, describing the relations between the baby boomer narrator and his G.I. generation parents. The narrator describes how his parents are weirder and hipper than many children would believe. For example, the narrator describes how he discovers his parents "rolling on the couch" and listening to his Kiss records late at night. It is ranked #465 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
It's my firm belief that starting in the (late?) 1980's with rap and later grunge, pop music suffered a significant decline. Much fewer melodies and harmony. Thankfully, that now appears to be changing.
I think pop and rock showed a decline after the early 70s and a very steep decline after the early 80s, mostly due to the rather robotic rhythms associated with the emerging affordable synthesizers, and the over-production made possible by multi-multi-multi-track recording.
I personally think hip-hop injected new life into popular music by actually being well-suited to the emerging technologies, especially sampling.
Of course, there's a danger of sounding like Homer Simpson:
"Why do you need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in
1974. It's a scientific fact."
I see rap as more or less spoken word (aka poetry). I like(d) New Wave, though sometimes it lacked energy. Anybody remember the group Madness? That was fun.
Yes, production has had a big effect. Around 2000 there was that coquettish-metallic sound (often by actresses who thought they could sing) that drove me nuts.