Sunday, January 22, 2012

By Royal Appointment; Exclusive Gigs

Fifty-years ago rock was about rebellion. Older rockers might remember the fuss when the Beatles were awarded their MBE medals, and attended Buckingham Palace to collect them from Good Queen Bess. (October 1965). The joke at the time was would the Beatles obey the signs and 'keep off the grass'!

How the world has changed; and so, has rock. Revolt into style, as George Melly once shrewdly observed. We now have a collection of 'Sirs' as well as MBEs, OBEs, and sundry other recognitions (like honorary PhDs awarded by self-promoting universities). Buck House is now a well-established rock venue, and even Status Quo have 'gongs'. Mind you, Quo deserve them a darn site more then some other of the recipients.

All this came to mind last week reading about St James Palace being the latest Royal Palace to host a rock concert. Admittedly, this was a promotional, PR turn by Van Morrison on behalf of the 'come to Northern Ireland' tourist campaign, but it counts and adds to Kensington Palace (Elton and Rod Stewart being regular performers for Princess Diana) and Whitehall Palace (Eric Clapton at some corporate do or other).

Rock has yet to reverberate from the walls of Windsor Castle yet, but maybe this is the year with it being QE2's 60th. We have still to hear what delights are to be provided for the masses as part of the festivities - though McCartney is bound to feature somewhere! Be a bit ironic if Windsor did feature given that the great National Jazz and Blues Festivals at Richmond and Windsor were one of UK rock's founding events. Just check who’s at the foot of the 1963 festival, and who lines up for 1967.

Thinking about it; rock has yet to have its first 'Lord'. Couple of certainties; it will get one eventually but count out Bowie and Keef Richards. Neither would accept any award of this nature. So who? Well, Lord McCartney of Strawberry Fields has a certain ring to it, and he's reigned nearly as long as Liz, God Bless her (and him!).

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