Thursday, March 10, 2016

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Rock 'n' roll is, today, too big for any center. . . . In one sense, this is salutary and inevitable.  The lack of a center means the lack of a conventional definition of what rock 'n' roll is, and that fosters novelty.  Rules about what can go into a performance and, ultimately, about how and what it can communicate are not only unenforced, they're often invisible, both to performer and audience.  That rock 'n' roll has persisted for so long, and spread to such diverse places, precludes its possession by any single generation or society--and this leads not only to fragmentation but to a vital, renewing clash of values . . . [But] The fact that the most adventurous music of the day seems to have taken up residence in the darker corners of the marketplace contradicts rock 'n' roll as aggressively popular culture that tears up boundaries of race, class, geography and (oh yes) music; the belief that the mass audience can be reached and changed has been the deepest source of the music's magic and power.
--Greil Marcus, 1980

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