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C O U R S E 
History of Rock, 1970-Present
John Covach, University of Rochester
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
British New Wave 1977-80
Notes taken on February 13, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
British New Wave groups
had success in the United States
punk didn't happen in the United States in the same way as it happened in the UK
at least not in a commercial way
although it certainly happened in subcultures
Elvis Costello
came out of the punk scene in the UK
seen as one of the first UK artists to do New Wave, the safer version of punk
most rock fans' exposure to New Wave was in December in 1977 when Elvis Costello appeared on Saturday Night Live
the show you wanted to get on if you wanted to reach young America
an edgy show after 11:30 on Saturday nights so they could get away with things you couldn't say and show on prime time
the Sex Pistols were supposed to be on but had some kind of visa issue
so Elvis Costello substituted for them
he was supposed to play "Less Than Zero"
then told band to stop
then started the song "Radio Radio"
Lauren Michaels who produced show was very angry and banned him
1977 My Aim is True
1978 This Year's Model
Pump It Up
Radio Radio
The Police
the most influential group of the late 70s and early 80s
if you asked someone in 1984 who will be the band that will be remembered in rock history, the Police or U2, most people would say The Police
U2 has gone on to be the more popular band
Sting on base and vocals
lyrics filled with literary references
Stewart Copland on drums
tricky and jazz influence
Andy Summers on guitar
atmospheric guitarscapes
Outlandos d'Amour (1979)
Reggae influence
Can't Stand Losing You
New Wave
one of the first styles that makes strong references to rock's own past
in order to get the irony of New Wave, you have to know the repertoire they are referring to
you can't get what New Wave was doing in the the last 1970s if you don't know 60s or late 50s music
Elvis Costello comes out with horn-rimmed glasses
referencing Buddy Holly
an ironic collage
wasn't clear if New Wave was meant to embrace the past
e.g. this hippy rock music is not very good, let's go back to an early form
in the case of people like Tom Petty, that is actually what he is thinking
but he's in a minority
most New Wave bands were just using the 60s to make a critique on the present
adding a layer of observation at what is happening in the musical culture
it was hard to not recognize what this music was referring to
not hippy music
it took hippy music and rubbed its nose in its past
it was an act of rebellion but an act of aesthetic rebellion, not political rebellion
it was a life style choice
New Wave bands and Disco bands are in the same boat in rejecting music that had dominated rock music up to that point