Books: “The History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs”, by Greil Marcus

Among rock scholars, Greil Marcus, one of the most lucid minds on the phenomenon together with Lester Bangs or Dave March, is from the best time of “Rolling Stone”. Marcus, constant in his defense of the character of popular culture of music and clairvoyant to put it in connection with other human and social manifestations, gives us here the analysis of ten songs from which weave a labyrinthine framework that covers the history of Almost a hundred years of pop drive in their different nicknames, from Robert Johnson to Beyoncé, almost nothing.

His first book, “Mistery Train”, was a revulsive one to the official history when channeling the evolution of rock in artists who had considered until then splendid companions, not main drivers; And here he also crosses the paths through unsuspected paths, songs that have been relegated, others sanctioned by the canon and mass phenomena. Another story of the music in which the Brains, Joy Division and Amy Winehouse live together in the hidden rock and roll verges, one that says that the present does not exist and that, therefore, we have to look for everything to look new, To the abyss.

It is also true that it works with subjective parameters as value; Any fan has already built its history, its festival, its transfer of spirits between bands, its connection lines. These are Marcus’s. This is how Maurice Williams tricks himself into singing ‘Stay’ or how ‘Shake Some Action’ seems to show that rock and roll can be reinvented anytime, anywhere.

The somewhat lyrical but direct style, clear but dreamy, tells how Leonard Chess pulls out of the hollow of Etta James, goes from the naturalness of Buddy Holly – more authentic than the cries of zeal of others – Dylan or Tin Pan Alley, runs the songs that deal with money and the mechanisms of punk. Well, it focuses on ten songs but reveals hundreds of mysteries, from Doc Pomus to Lou Reed.

Thus came rock and roll to Colombia fifty years ago, provoking joy and disdain

“I threw rock and roll.” Carlos Pinzon, who at the end of the decade of the 50 directed the transmitter Nuevo Mundo, in Bogota (today the Basic of Caracol) says it calmly.

Pinzón, who later had a national fame for the Television Club, began in Colombia a fashion that 50 years ago charmed many young people, but which caused uneasiness between their parents and some priests: rock and roll.

So he says: “I presented rock and roll on Monitor – a Sunday program – because the movie came to the clock.” (Rock Around the Clock, with Bill Haley and his comets). , We took sound of the tape and with the whole of the Hotel Europe we launched the rhythm in the bullring “.

With friends like Juan David Botero (brother of the painter) and Gloria Valencia de Castaño, they founded La Bomba, a place to dance rock and roll.

Unlike others who also moved their hips in an unimaginable way, Pinzón does not remember that the rhythm was pursued. “A La Bomba were executives and young people, even Mayor Virgilio Barco, we never felt that music was attacked,” says Pinzón.

Gabriel Muñoz López, 80, a radio man, said that the rhythm was shocking, but not overwhelming, because he had to compete with the most popular porros, corridors and bambucos “It was difficult to dance for one, accustomed to the bolero, but Some parents did not like their daughters to dance because they had to open their legs, “he says.

Some saw it as a threat to Colombian music and others like a barbarian rhythm that would never move a good bambuco. Finally, the rock and roll left, but not without having generated a descendant that extends to today, sometimes, more impudent and crazy.

Bill Haley and his Comets will not pass

Rock and roll came with its rumble from the hand of Hollywood movies.

Ramiro Andrade, editor of ‘Intermedio’, a newspaper that circulated in the dictatorship of Rojas instead of EL TIEMPO, recorded it in 1957: “The chronicler attended the El Cid film and saw dancing – if this Is dancing-to ten couples the demonic groan (…) There were no less than a thousand Coca-Colas and kolcanas Four or five guys went out on stage willing to leave their partners with no bones. In the middle of the shouting of some young men with sideburns ‘a Presley’, trying to dance that thing.The girls exhibited what usually goes after the reheating … Actually, it was a poor demonstration.Let’s wait, A new one and send our mourning card to the country’s musical tradition. ”

That same February 4, a comment dictated his death: “Rock and roll has not proliferated in Bogota, nor will it proliferate … Among the Hispano-Indian temperament predisposed to bambucos and corridors and the Yankee temperament, there is an abyss Unfathomable … In Colombia, you will only be able to unleash storms of laughter, so let Bill Haley rest in peace! ”

Time of rebellion

In Medellín there were record labels and some groups managed to record rock and roll, according to Carlos Pinzón and Gabriel Muñoz, both radio men.

But, according to Hamlet Bouhot, who was a rock’nroller in his teens in that city, the thing did not go much bigger: “There were practically no places to hear it. I used to call it a fag. ” Remember that the station La Voz de Medellin recorded acetates for 150 pesos and put them in the air.

“I dressed in style, I had magazines and how much I could buy abroad, but I did it as a rebel.” With friends, we put them in the parties and we were like the dance clowns, “he says.