MUSIC AND GLAM
Music artists iconize the past by assigning the past a continuity and currency. Part of this continuity and currency as iconization is glamor (glam). David Bowie was doing 60s rock, yet with face paint and platform shoes, as were the New York Dolls, the Ramones, but with intensified sexualities. Later disco was a development of early disco yet with glam. Current artists (Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd) draw on Jazz, Rock, Funk, Pop (Deborah Harry, Fleetwood Mac, Kool and the Gang) in a more ‘sparkly’ version, as did James Brown in Rocky.
Why does music largely begin as underground and progress to glam? The music industry creates a parallel social economy, which rewards (and punishes) musicians, who may feel at liberty to define an own their own ‘mini’ parallel social economies. This was the case with the inner city Bronx and rap in 1979-1982. Affluence and riches are central. Pressures of success lead to commercializing and reduced affordances to experiment (at times), compensted by the visual. Through technology and competing with commercial markets, an increasing emphasis on the visual and sexual become a priority. Following Margaret Mead, the liberty to acknowledge the sexual functions has de-oppressed a society that reflexively acknowledges sexuality as connected to certain forms of music. In the Balkans, during lent, disco, rock, jazz, funk, and anything non-religious or classical was forbidden. The pulls of the record label are also a factor.
Identifying with history, and assigning that music an iconicity as a root musical cultural form, musicians authorize themselves as performers and pioneers of that music. Finding a hybrid and glam form of musical roots assigns the musican an authority over tradition, and over the boundaries of the parallel social economy created by glamorizing music. Paul Weller, a punk-pop musician, suddenly appeared on TV with a suit and tie strumming jazz chords, alongside gospel keyboardist Mick Talbot, and forever altered the music industry through glam.