Ask any young person to name the artists who filled the Top Ten Pop charts of America and Britain in the Fifties and they’ll tell you they were Elvis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.
But those who were THERE – will tell them they are WRONG.
If you CHECK OUT those charts, you will find they were filled with M.O.R. artists like Pat Boone and Doris Day, with only the OCCASIONAL entry by the Rock ‘N’ Roll giants mentioned above.
This is because the people in CHARGE of the recording industry of the Fifties were OLD MEN, like Norrie Paramor and Mitch Miller. The thing is, ANY BUSINESS is INEVITABLY going to be controlled by old men. Even businesses whose “resource” is music made by YOUNG men and women.
It took YOUNG men to sidestep these dinosaurs and bring youth culture to the fore. Like the legendary Ronan O’Rahilly, who bought a tramp steamer, kitted it out with studios and a tall aerial and began broadcasting non-stop Pop from just outside the three-mile limit off the south-east coast of England – thus kicking off the Swinging Sixties.
And it was the same story with British comedy in the Seventies. Controlled by old men like Johnny Hamp and Jimmy Perry, comedy in Britain STALLED until the young producers employed by upstart TV company Channel Four discovered MODERN comedy in two London clubs, cleaned it up and stuck it on their station.
The reason for these anomalies lies in the system all businesses have for selecting those who control them. Seniority. But those businesses that deal with material consumed by the YOUNG need to realise that it takes YOUNG minds to identify what said young WANT. Showbiz may be a BUSINESS, but its resource – is MAGIC.