It is obvious that rock did not make a mistake. At most, it confused, provoked, made fun of, consumed nights of sleep for dads and moms, interrupted the inertia of politicians and bureaucrats with a status quo addicted to mental castration. Pedigree rockers are not seduced by comfort zones. In fact, if it is to be zoned, let it be on the ground of the eternal confrontation between the new and the old. And may the best win, that is, the new, always.
Making rock transcends the act of tattooing the body with images of skulls, piercing the clitoris with a screw, letting the hair grow, beating a distorted guitar with the reed, sitting the pua on “sex and drugs”. In essence – first of all – rock is attitude. In fact, lately, residents of a planet that seems to be out of control are missing a lot of this attribute, not just in the musical sphere.
As laughable and clueless as the analogy may seem, what rock’n’roll did for Humanity, in terms of questioning “states of affairs” and violating arbitrary conservatism, in particular, in the second half of the last century, it is comparable to the advent of anesthetics for medical science. Stay with me, because I insist on traveling on mayonnaise: the difference between them was the object. That is, ether and chloroform cushioned physical pain; the rock, the pain in the soul. Poetic, isn’t it? You can even compose a rock ballad with things like that.
Convinced that God and love even help, but the one who really saves is the music (in this case, I revere all the good music made in the world, including the Brazilian one), I have compiled the ten most important, significant, emblematic and transformative rock songs from the past 60 years.
I will soon tell you that it is not the ten rock songs that I like the most. It is just a short script, a booklet, a cheat sheet, a summary of the rock bible, a be-a-bá, a hint of hymns to be sung – without hypocrisy or fanaticism – with the children, whether at home , at school, on the playground or in a hospital bed. I know that the saying is grim and tacky, but those who love it take care: it is crucial to educate the ears of the unwary, before “arrochas and lepo lepos” put everything to waste.
Rock around the clock (Bill Haley and his comets, 1954)
Bill and his comets penetrated the musical atmosphere of the 1950s with a sound so impressive and charismatic that it was impossible not to be disintegrated by the riffs and chords. After “Rock around the clock” – the style’s first big hit – the skeletons never stopped shaking.
Long tall Sally (Little Richard, 1957)
Romance, passion, fun for two. This is the seductive formula that was preached in the beginning by the messengers of rock. To top it off, with the advent of birth control pills in the early 1960s, no one else held back little Richard and the slender Sally: love was finally starting to become free.
Jailhouse rock (Elvis Presley, 1957)
It is unthinkable that the detainees of Pedrinhas do Maranhão would exchange all the brutality – theirs and the cruel state prison system – for the contagious sound of the King of Rock. But, it doesn’t hurt to dream. In fact, the dream is a predicate of music and art. Let the stones roll. The heads, please don’t. Not in front of the kids, as my grandmother said when Dad played Elvis on the record player in the living room for the first time.
Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry, 1958)
A hillbilly playing guitar in a wooden hut in the middle of the forest. What is the chance of this theme becoming a sales success in the country music market? Zero, why the hell! In the repertoire of Brazilian urban duo, even backcountry, only dumb drivers piloting their yellow camaros.
What’d I say (Ray Charles, 1959)
In the land of the blind, who has an eye is king, right? Wrong. Rock exists precisely to break concepts and paradigms. Ray lost his sight while still young, affected by trachoma, a contagious infectious disease that strikes poverty, the state’s social unassisted people. Even though he was black, even though he was poor, even though he could not see the piano keyboard, he stuck his name in the history of music.
Please please me (The Beatles, 1962)
This was the first composition by Lennon and McCartney to reach the top on the English charts, catapulting the Liverpool Boys to stardom and immortalizing their work. Please please me: play any Beatles song there, even if it’s as silly and good as “Please please me”.
(I can’t get no) Satisfaction – (The Rolling Stones, 1965)
There was a false bitter rivalry between the Beatles and the Stones, a subtle stereotyped confrontation between the well-behaved and the “bad boys”. There was a huge scene game, marketing tricks so that both bands won over the public. In fact, the boys were very close and friends, including Lennon and McCartney gave “I wanna be your man” for Mick Jagger and his troupe of antisocials to record. “Satisfaction” was marked as the most popular recording by the Stones. For example, whenever I listen, I want a little more. I can never satisfy myself, but I try.
Foxy lady (Jimi Hendrix, 1967)
In terms of skill in handling a guitar, Jimi Hendrix is unanimous among his colleagues and music fans. He is considered to be the greatest guitarist since the “Big Bang” explosion. At this moment, as I write this text, protesters set fire to tires interrupting traffic in the city, occupying the news, intoxicating my day. Another protest against the Government. Legitimate act, anti-democratic attack or punk-rock manifesto? It is impossible not to remember Hendrix setting his guitar on fire on a Monterey stage in 1967.
Stairway to heaven (Led Zeppelin, 1971)
Many, including me, consider this the best rock song of all time. It is a highly inspired composition, possibly dictated by God or by an alien, the perfect soundtrack to enter Paradise, to sit on the right or left of the Father – whatever – so that we can listen, with the utmost attention, to each in his own way, another great work of creation.