Concept Albums


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concept albums radio

Radio and its future
     During the increase in popularity of radio, Arthur Edwin Kennelly said (1926) "through radio I look forward to a United States of the World. Radio is standardizing the peoples of the Earth, English will become the universal language because it is predominantly the language of the ether. The most important aspect of radio is its sociological influence." Kennelly was foreseeing the potential power and impact that radio would soon come to have. By the late twenties, we would see radio become quite the sensation in the household, and this sensation would continue to prosper even through the Great Depression with aid of soap operas and popular programs such as the Lone Ranger. Radio would see a decrease in popularity during the rise of the television. Eventually, radio would find itself a niche in the media market, allowing it to continue to prosper. This would be due to the help of Frequency Modulation radio broadcasting and localization. Radio stations were now able to offer more local content than radio, touching on local news, weather, and advertisements for local businesses all at a higher sound quality. That joined with a symbiotic relationship with the recording industry and the start of formatted radio programs, the two industries were set to last for almost another fifty years (Adams, n.d.).
     Once again, radio is currently at a crucial stance. FM radio was once the means in which someone could find out about new music artists, hear their favorite top songs, and catch up on local/world news. However, with the surge of the Internet at the turn of the century, the role of the radio starts to diminish. The Internet can now be used for gathering local news or weather in a fast and efficient manner. It can also be used as a way for music fans to find new artists similar to ones that they currently like, and (although not legal) ease in the process of downloading complete albums in high-quality formats for free. CD and MP3 players are now very popular for the person "on-the-go," and as a result, it's very easy to find people that remark: "I don't listen to radio." The reason for this is that radio has lost its niche. No longer is radio as convenient of a means to get news and experience new or popular music. Radio is forced, once again, to innovate itself in order to keep from being eliminating by the more popular types of media. Two recent innovations in radio could possibly give radio a new niche and be its own savior. These are genre-specific radio, and high audio-quality broadcasting.
     Part of the blame for the gradual falling of the radio industry is attributed to homogenization. "While Costello and the punks and New Wavers did their best to push back against increasing homogenization, the promise of radio-long the most democratic of the traditional mass media-continued to be squandered. Big media corporations and their allies in Congress and on the Federal Communications Commission quietly rewrote the rules during the 1980s and '90s to clear away barriers to consolidation, thereby ushering in an era in which the news was dumbed down, dissent was stifled and the music all started to sound the same" (Radio Waves, 2005, p. 3). A reaction to predictable and bland radio programming is specialized stations that are genre or topic specific. Given the limited band of frequencies in FM for music stations, it would be tough to have specific radio stations for the hundreds of genres that music can be categorized into. One possibility is to have stations play a certain genre for a few hours a week. Some stations such as college radio stations will do this. Although this would allow for more specific content, the listener loyalty would not be as high. This would be because the targeting user would only tune into the station for those few hours that their desired music is on. Internet radio can solve this problem.
With a virtually unlimited number of Internet radio streams, radio stations can hone in and be extremely genre-specific. This means that the listener gets to listen to the music they want all day long, and hear new artists that sound like ... more

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Pink Floyd
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think. Oh by the way, which one's Pink?
In the mid 60s Syd Barrett formed a psychedelic band, with fellow Englishmen Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason.  Barrett on lead guitar, Waters on bass, Wright on keyboards, and Mason on drums.  The name came from two of Barretts favorite American blues-men, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.  They began experimenting with intense instrumentals of feedback, electronic screeches, and unusual, eerie sounds created by loud amplification, reverb, and such tricks as sliding ball bearings up and down guitar strings.  
By 1966, heavily under the influence LSD and Barrett, the group began to incorporate light shows to add to the psychedelic effect of their live performances.  In 1967 they signed with EMI records and released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  It is considered to be one of the best British psychedelic albums, second only to The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band album.  
Sadly they would never even have a chance to recreate a similar masterpiece, solely because Barretts involvement in the band was in its final stages.  Barrett was becoming heavily involved in mind-altering drugs like LSD and was showing alarming signs of mental instability.  They tried to work out an arrangement where newly hired guitarist and close friend David Gilmour would perform live with the band while Barrett would make his contributions in the studio.  This didnt work.  Syd Barrett left the group to pursue a solo career.
The band decided to continue on without Barrett and Waters stepped in as the dominant composer and writer.  Using Barretts vision as an obvious blueprint, but adding a more formal, somber, and quasi-classical tone, their 1968 follow-up A Saucerful of Secrets, made the British Top Ten and proved the band was to continue on.  For the next four years they would work on their sound, keeping it within the range of psychedlia, but reaching out to the uses experimental rock, and using such instruments as organs and horns.
They continued on in their journey of rock history with such classics as Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother, but never reaching that same plateau as they did with their debut.  They later released Meddle in 1971which further showcased their development of albums as whole masterpieces instead of just individual songs.
Nothing, however, prepared Pink Floyd or their audience for the massive mainstream success of their 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, which made their brand of cosmic rock even more approachable with state-of-the-art production, more focused songwriting, an army of well-timed stereophonic sound effects, and touches of saxophone and soulful female backup vocals.  Dark Side of the Moon rose to #1 in the U.S. and made them one of the biggest-selling acts of all time.  It has now spent an astonishing 1093 weeks on the Billboard charts, marking its 25th year and making it the longest running album to be on the charts.  
Wish You Were Here followed in 1975, and was a sort of tribute to their long-departed founder Syd Barrett. With Waters still being the predominant creative force they released Animals in 1977.
Waters had been working on the next project for many years. It was to be a concept album like none before it. The Wall, released in 1979, was the story of a rock star named Pink Floyd and his battle for sanity as he builds an emotional and material wall around himself to distance himself from everyone and everything. It was based off of Waters own life and experiences as well as the bands experiences with Barret.  The Wall was a huge success, this being a result of the band losing heavy-duty electronic textures in favor of more approachable pop elements.  The band rarely released singles since the late 60s, but Another Brick in the Wall went to straight to #1, and The Wall would soon become the best selling double album of all time.  The live performance was no less disappointing.  
The elaborate stage shows of early and mid 70s was surpassed by The Walls production.  The band had an actual wall constructed during their performances and by the second act, with the wall already built, the ... more

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