Research and Reports
From the Winter 1982 issue of the Annenberg School of Communications' Journal of Communication comes evidence that today's rock-and-rollers may be tomorrow's fuddy-duddies.
In "Popular Music: Resistance to New Wave," James Lull writes that many of the 375 University of California students he surveyed about "attitudes toward New Wave music" are clinging to rock music from the 1960's and dislike New Wave because they consider it an "attack" on music from that period.
One student wrote:
Sometimes I feel like my parents and how they feel towards what I listen to. So, maybe I'm getting old-fashioned in my early twenties, for I prefer the music I grew up with (soft rock and roll) and I'm set in my ways. I think I now understand why my parents like the classical music they grew up with.
The researcher defined New Wave as a product of "punk rock and its up-tempo musical derivatives.... Much of this music is based on distinctive, evocative sounds that derive from black-originated reggae and ska bassline-oriented rhythms combined with tempered British punk music."
Many of the students considered New Wave not just a musical style, but a lifestyle they often identified as "sick," "kinky," and "not fun."
The adjectives most often used to describe New Wave music were "primitive," "crude," and "simple."
The students' favorite band was The Beatles. Other preferred musicians included The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, James Taylor, Neil Young, and Fleetwood Mac.
The study does not offer images of the generation gap that is probably widening even now between aging 1960's rockers ("Dylan, now there was a songwriter!") and their spike-haired, leather-clad juniors. Nor does it speculate on what will come next. How, for example, will the children of today's punks rebel? With Johnny Mathis? John Barleycorn? Or the Beer Barrel Polka?