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26 Apr 6:03am

The Who Sell Out: still a searing satire on pop’s commercial breakdown

The Guardian
Filled with product placement and advertising, the band’s newly reissued 1967 album put the pop in pop art, by showing how closely music was entwined with capital These days, we think of the period between 1965 and 1967 as one of white-hot musical progress, a dizzying three-year period during which innovation followed innovation, a succession of totemic albums and singles were released and pop music changed irrevocably. But, as Jon Savage’s superb book 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded made clear, not everyone at the time was impressed with how things were going. Savage’s research revealed a succession of contemporary naysayers, devoted to “ringing the death knell” as he put it: 1966 – The Year Pop Went Flat was noted music journalist Maureen Cleave’s assessment of 12 months that had seen the release of Revolver, Blonde on Blonde, Reach Out (I’ll Be There), Eight Miles High, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World and 19th Nervous Breakdown. The most striking contemporary quote of all might be one that didn’t appear in Savage’s book. “People aren’t jiving in the listening boxes in record shops any more, like we did to a Cliff Richard ‘newie’,” it lamented, before qualifying: “I like some of the new sounds, purely as sound, that are coming out of pop music.”
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