The BBC in the UK are trying to stir up a bit of music debate about the current state of music and how it all seems so posh. This is due to the amount of artists that were taught in private schools or stage schools with the list including Lily Allen, Eliza Doolittle, Florence Welch and Chris Martin from Coldplay.
Is this really that big an issue as surely the only criteria that matters is good or bad when it comes to music and as music is subjective, so the answer will be different for everyone. And similarly, the definition that you have of posh is not likely to be the same as another person’s.
The only thing that people will agree upon about posh music is that Victoria Beckham should never be allowed on stage or in a studio ever again!
Now the obvious joke is out of the way, it is possible to look back through the history of music and see how true these claims really are.
Blues and country are music of the people
The origins of many of the best musical genres can be found in country music or the blues and both of these genres were very much the sound of the slaves or the working classes. Posh and refined people of the time had a taste for classical music but the raw sound of working men and women found its way into these amazing musical genres.
As the years went by, the 1960s hit and looking back, most people equate this decade to the hippies and the flower power movement. In reality, this was only a small part of the 60s and a lot of great music was made by people from backgrounds that wouldn’t have been classed as working class.
One of the reasons why the Rolling Stones managed to get that blues sound down to a tee was because Mick Jagger and his family were well off enough to get a constant shipment of genuine American blues records. There may have been some rough and ready boys in the Stones but they could point to a proper education. Even listening to Jagger or Charlie Watts now indicates that this is a band that never came from working class roots.
Rich boys can rock too
One of the biggest movers in the country-rock genre and a big friend of the Rolling Stones was Gram Parsons, who came from a lot of money. Gram was the original rich boy playing rock but it didn’t dilute his musical message in any way shape or form.
You can throw in Pink Floyd and Roxy Music to the mix of bands that had a good schooling behind them and they were hardly on the breadline when they were developing their skills. Great music can come from desperation and poverty, with Black Sabbath being a prime example but great music can come from other areas as well.
There is a greater desire to know about an artist these days
Part of the reason for this focus now is that it is possible to know so much more about an artist and learn about their history. Back in the 70s, it was almost plausible to believe that Ziggy Stardust did come from Mars but that wouldn’t happen nowadays. Pictures of Ziggy’s childhood growing up as dull old David Jones would be on every internet page and glossy magazine before you could get to the chorus in his first single!
Maybe pop and rock music is becoming more posh but even if it is, so what? If you like it, you like it and if you don’t, you don’t. There is more than enough good music to focus on without worrying whether you should like an artist because of their background.