On the final Wednesday in August, the great residents of Buñol, Spain, collect in the primary sq. to throw tomatoes at one another. Nobody is totally certain why, both. All most individuals care about is that it’s enjoyable to pelt buddies and strangers with tomatoes, so the La Tomatina Pageant grew to become an annual factor. (For the file, it appears to this point again to about 1945, when there was some form of brawl that devolved into the throwing of vegatables and fruits.)
Talking of throwing issues: In Denmark, single individuals aged 25 are doused with cinnamon by family and friends on Valentine’s Day. Nobody is aware of why aside from it’s at all times been a factor. Identical factor with tossing new child infants off the 50-foot Sri Saneswar Temple in India. The tykes are caught by individuals holding an enormous fabric under. It’s simply custom, the origins and functions of which have disappeared into historical past.
Rock music has been round lengthy sufficient to have its personal inexplicable traditions and behaviours. Let’s take a look at just a few.
Holding lighters aloft at concert events
We’ve all been to a present the place sooner or later individuals maintain lighters (and now cellphones) within the air throughout the gig. The place did that come from?
The reply goes again to the Toronto Rock’n’Roll Revival, a one-day live performance held at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on Sept. 13, 1969. John Lennon was a last-minute addition to the lineup, impetuously deciding to play his first-ever present outdoors The Beatles. Lennon was nervous to the purpose of being sick, so MC Kim Fowley urged the group to create a cool and peaceable vibe by bringing out their matches and lighters to show the stadium right into a blissful candlelit panorama.
It labored. Lennon got here out, performed his set with Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band, and went again to the U.Okay. to announce he was achieved with The Beatles. We’ve been bringing forth fireplace (or at the least mild) at exhibits ever since.
The “Freebird!” Man
Likelihood is you’ve been to some present the place somebody insists on yelling “Freebird!” as a extremely inappropriate request at a non-Lynyrd Skynyrd present. Why?
Blame Kevin Matthews, a Chicago radio DJ who had a working bit the place he’d encourage his listeners — referred to as Kevheads — to yell “Freebird” at any live performance, regardless of who was onstage. And so it started. The Chicago Symphony, Florence Henderson (the mother from The Brady Bunch) and Jim Nabors all needed to endure the calls for because of Kevheads. You’ll be able to nonetheless hear these calls as we speak nearly anyplace, be it at a efficiency of Mamma Mia and even at a hockey recreation.
the sort: Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche and, after all, Motörhead. “Rock dots,” as they’re generally identified, are Swedish and German in origin and technically referred to as a “diacritic,” which is a sort of accent. Why would anybody use them? As a result of they appear cool, international, Gothic and unique.
So far as we all know, the primary band to make use of umlauts/rock dots on this method was Blue Öyster Cult for no objective aside from it appeared like enjoyable. They could have been impressed by Amon Düül, a psychedelic band from the ’60s who had been, in actual fact, very German. We will additionally embody the American hardcore band Hüsker Dü — besides that they use umlauts appropriately. “Hüsker Dü” is definitely Swedish for “Do you bear in mind?”
Lengthy hair for male rock followers
Lengthy hair on males has gone out and in of fashion over the centuries and was generally the goal of scorn. In 1842, The London Saturday Journal wrote: “Many vagrants are musicians, nevertheless it doesn’t observe that every one musicians are vagrants. It’s anticipated of musicians these days to put on lengthy hair as an appendage to their expertise.” A protracted screed towards lengthy hair adopted.
Quick-forward to the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, when brief hair was culturally enforced. White males who didn’t hold issues trim had been thought of every thing from effeminate to subversive to unhygienic. However then alongside got here rock ‘n’ roll within the Fifties and its rebellious attitudes, expressions of private freedom and new vogue types. Lengthy hair signalled a person’s membership within the new counterculture, societal pushback be damned.
After The Beatles and their moptops, tresses on males started flowing longer and longer. This continued till the punk backlash of the center Nineteen Seventies when lengthy hair was thought of an outmoded hippie attribute. Nonetheless, lengthy (or at the least longish) hair on males continues as we speak, even when which means such unlucky types because the mullet.
Any metallic present options members of their viewers violently shaking their heads in time with the music. How did that turn into a factor?
This isn’t a brand new factor. If we go method again into music historical past, an analogous exercise was related to Islamic music within the Sufi custom. Qawwali music from India, Pakistan and Iran has additionally employed headbanging-like actions. Each will be traced again centuries and are associated to worshippers falling into trance-like states.
Fashionable headbanging may need begun with Jerry Lee Lewis and his behavior of flicking the curls off his face as he pounded on his piano. It grew to become one thing of a signature transfer so followers started to mimic him.
Possibly we will level to a 1969 North American tour by Led Zeppelin the place followers — particularly punters at some exhibits in Boston over a number of nights that January — had been seen banging their heads on the stage in time with the music.
Transferring deeper into the Nineteen Seventies, the identical behaviour was seen at Black Sabbath exhibits, AC/DC gigs and Motörhead performances. In truth, Lemmy favored to take credit score for the time period itself, saying that it was derived from the sight of individuals “Motörheadbanging” at their concert events.
There are two sorts of stage diving. The primary is when a performer leaps off the stage into the group. The second is when a member of the viewers clambers up onstage and dives again into the group. Let’s start with the previous.
The primary rock performer to leap into the group may need been Jim Morrison of The Doorways, who’s reported to have gone airborne from the stage between 1967 and 1969. The primary actually documented stage diver must be Iggy Pop, who was making it an everyday follow throughout exhibits with The Stooges by 1969.
As for viewers members entering into the act, the primary documented crowd collaborating in stage diving dates again to Aug. 8, 1964, when followers had been leaping off the stage at a Rolling Stones present within the Netherlands. That’s so way back that nobody was calling it “stage diving” but.
Lastly, an unsolved thriller: The particular viewers participation lyrics with Billy Idol’s Model of Mony Mony
I can’t repeat them right here, however every time somebody performs Billy Idol’s rendition of Tommy James’ Mony Mony, the group will erupt with a profane chant that continues commonly all through the track. There are slight variations within the chant primarily based on geography (Ontario is completely different from Colorado, which is completely different from Texas, which is separate from what they chanted within the U.Okay.) however nobody has ever labored it out. I’ve achieved some critical examine into this pre-internet meme however I’ve by no means been capable of finding an evidence of the place it got here from or the way it unfold across the globe. I’ve even put the query to Idol himself and he claims to don’t know.
Every other questions?
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for International Information.