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Masters Of The Past

Only 483 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.
–Michael Jackson

Welcome to chapter three, which is – like all chapters in this manual – a very important one.

You will need to have read chapters 1 and 2 in order to fully understand why this third chapter will be overly important to you.

Chapter 3 is the last element of the educational part of this manual, and after reading this one you’ll finally be ready to start working on your unique style and sound, as well as on your new songs in order to produce your killer album. If you still wonder why you should read this chapter, then here’s the answer:

If our strategy will be to become successful by making GREAT MUSIC, then you’ll need to

  • LEARN as much as you can about the music of the past,
  • you’ll need to ANALYZE it and to COMPARE it to today's music (in order to understand the differences), and
  • you’ll also need to see WHAT CHANGED and what WENT WRONG during the past few decades.

All of this will help you to understand how you will be able to greatly improve YOUR OWN MUSIC.

In other words:

You will need to UNDERSTAND THE PAST if you intend to CHANGE THE FUTURE.

If you want to become a good writer, then you’ll need to read good books. If you want to become a good director, then you’ll need to watch good movies.

And if you want to become a good musician, then you’ll need to listen to good music.

If you want to become good, then you will have to listen good music. If you want to become great, then you will have to listen to great music.

And if you want to become THE BEST, then you will have to listen to THE BEST MUSIC OF ALL TIMES.

It’s as simple as that. So here’s what you’ll get in this chapter:

  • We will take a closer look at the music of the past, so that you’ll understand the evolution from good to bad music.
  • Understanding the differences between good and bad will allow you to improve your own music.
  • You will learn about the most important artists of each decade, as well as about their most important songs and albums.
  • You will also learn about technological advances that had a major impact.

Use the occasion to expand your horizons. You will surely discover a few great artists, albums and songs you didn’t know yet. This chapter is quite condensed, as it’s not a complete historical review. I will focus on those elements that will help you to make some real progress. Think of the power law again, 20% of the music and the changes in each decade were responsible for 80% of the outcome, so we’ll try to focus on those 20% here. Always remember:

Honoring the Masters Of The Past doesn’t mean that you will need to sound like the music from the past, as the problem is not (only) the sound of today’s music, it’s the OVERALL QUALITY and VALUE.

It also doesn’t mean that you will rip off the music of the past, but it will serve as a source of inspiration. Before we start, I’d like to note that most artist descriptions in this chapter are mostly short versions of corresponding Wikipedia articles, with comments added where useful or necessary.

The Masters

If you want to become successful by making music that’s better than most of today’s Top 40 crap, then you will have to take a closer look at the Masters Of The Past, which is in fact just another a term for the greatest artists of all time.

You’ll find a whole lot of “top lists” on the web, and unless you’re looking at lists published by teen websites, you’ll notice that the names on them are always mostly identical. You’ll also notice that most of those artists originate from the Golden Age Of Popular Music (mid 1950s - mid 1990s).

Some of those artists have written a large number of songs that everyone knows (the so-called evergreens), and you’ll be surprised to see how incredibly great and talented many of them were.

We’re not talking about musicians that were 10 or 20 percent better than today’s entertainers, we’re talking about true artists that were at least 10 or 20 TIMES better than most of the clowns you’ll find in today’s charts.

Our strategy will therefore be to take a closer look at those artists, and to see what they have in common. We need to understand what are the differences between those artists and current entertainers – not only from the point of view of their music, but also what they represented, and what they stood for.

Do not try to imitate or even to replicate, try to understand the VALUE of their music instead, and then try to take over some of that quality into your own work.

If you manage to achieve only 10% of the quality we had back in the 1960s, then you’ll instantly play in today’s top league. There has been a retro trend for some time now, and some artists recognized that you can become very successful by making music that’s inspired by the music from the Golden Age Of Popular Music. Amy Winehouse, Adele, Lana Del Ray, Daft Punk, and Michael Bublé are good examples, and if you take a look at album sales, then you’ll even note that this retro trend is responsible for some serious income. Taking a look at the list of the most successful albums since 2000 also makes clear that people who are willing to spend money on music seem to prefer quality inspired by pre-2000s music.

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Chapter 3   •   Page 1 of 9

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