3.2 DON'T DO ME LIKE THAT: rock grows up

When the rock generation of the fifties started growing up, popular music grew up with them. As the sixties progressed, pop/rock became an increasingly adult obsession. The traditional problems were largely still unsolved in terms of televisions technical capability to reproduce music for an audience that was becoming increasingly critical. The difficulty with rock's anti-authoritarian stance on such a rigidly conservative medium only increased as the musicians began singing about politics, sex, and drugs, and not just leaving home and riding motorbikes.

Small rocks too small

The most important factor was purely commercial. Despite an increasingly pressing desire to capture the ever-growing, increasingly cash-liquid rock audience, the sixties also saw the splintering of popular music into increasingly smaller, violently rigid taste groups. As rock diversified, it provided youth with not only a means of identifying themselves as other to their parents generation, but allowed them to also form identities separate from those in their own age group.

Radio was a cheap enough, flexible enough medium to adapt to this upheaval and the new FM band only further expanded its marketing options. Broadcast television was and is just too big an operation, too expensive to operate, and too desperate for majority approval to be able to adapt. This is not to say it was a any way a moral decision (exept in tems of putting off viewers). If a program can attract more viewers than it puts off, it's worth showing, no matter what its moral stance is. Television is commercial first and everything else, including conservative, second. Rock music by the end of the sixties simply could no longer fulfil the basic criteria of a sizeable, predictable audience that broadcsat television required to meet its economic obligations Not until cable TV gave birth to MTV did music on television become any kind of substantial reality in America.

Rocking Hollywood

The rock phenomenon was not ignored by all the American visual arts pre-MTV however. Far from it. Films such as Easy Rider had such an incredible and totally unexpected impact that for several years afterwards movie studios mystified by the dismal failure of 'classics' like Star, made almost nothing else but Easy Rider clones. The film industry began to slowly to wake up to the commercial possibilities of films grounded in a kind of rock sensibility.

Many of the finest film makers of the post-war period have explored the possibilities of the genre: Fellini in , Kenneth Anger in Scorpio Rising, Antonioni in Blow Up. Their contributions to the genre of music video are less directly obvious. The techniques explored in these films, although they use rock as a kind of vehicle, are probably more accurately seen as influencing music video through the more general movement of avant-garde film, Even in rock operas like Tommy or The Wall, the links with music video are often more themeatic than technical. Where structural links can be seen it is often the case that rather than the film creating a new way of treating visuals for music, it has simply borrowed existing elements of music video to create a new style of film.

In recent years, many music video directors have in their turn, tried their hands at making feature films, producing some very music-video-y films; New Jack City, Cool as Ice, and Tresspass all star musicians as well as relying heavily on popular music soundtracks and extended music video sequences within the framework of the main narrative sructure.