Prog, fusion, art-rock, psych .. music? The problem with labels.

 

Each time I upload an album onto the wonderful CD Baby they have a series of questions you have to answer about the type of music you are uploading .. there are over  20 categories and another 20 sub-categories, I change my selection each time.

 

Greil Marcus in his wonderful book The History of Rock & Roll in 10 Songs makes the point that we once called The Beatles A Day in the Life pop music. I remember when we just listened to the next Hendrix, Byrds, Led Zepplin, Jethro Tull or Yes without classififying it as anything else than just "wow". My wonderful wife and partner Camile were watching the awesome Live at Knebworth concert by The Beach Boys .. question is .. is Good Vibrations or Heroes and Villains prog or pop or rock? Answer - who cares? .. they are just wonderful songs. Well critics and commentators who have to need to classify, sub-categorise, compartmentalise obviously do.

 

My concern is that while the amount of music available has grown exponentially and some form of description to help you find you way through the music maze could be helpful, the use of labels also can prevent folks from finding great music and restrict or stigmatise alternative forms of expression. Remember when Bob Dylan was booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he picked up his Strat and let the Band loose.

 

It's a lost battle I know but when I did Yaraandoo in 1974 which has jazz, folk, rock, ambient and all sorts of influences I was just writing the music that was in me ... no matter what the label, it's all music! Don't let the label get in the way!