Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Wonder of YouTube

I grew up in a era well before pop videos. The TV pop shows of the time concentrated largely on home grown UK artists who were, in the main, copying or covering the records of American acts. But I didn't like records by British artists. Virtually every record that entered my personal top ten was American. As a result I hardly knew what most of my musical heroes looked like. There were photos in the NME or Melody Maker and occasionally some of them might tour the UK in a package show. But it was a very different world from today. We could listen to the records, but there was little context. Sometimes I didn't even know if an artist was white or black.
YouTube has gone some way to rectify that situation. There are still big gaps, with many artists apparently never having been recorded on film, or at least not having been posted on YouTube to date, but we can at least see some of the greats as they were at the time - usually in grainy, out of sync black and white clips from early live performances or US TV programmes. So we get to see the Johnny Burnette Trio before they even had a hit, Clyde McPhatter, Jimmy Jones, James Carr, O V Wright, Bobby Rydell, Dion and clips of Sam Cooke, Roy Orbison and many others that I never knew existed. Who knows where these clips have been hiding all these years, but it's well worth a trawl through YouTube to see what gems have been lurking away unseen all these years.


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