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February 12, 2008

Prog-Rock Linkage by Barry Wood

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I received a fun and informative email from rock fan Barry Wood the other day. It was so full of good info and resourceful linkage that I couldn't resist asking Barry if I could post it on the blog. I'm pleased that he agreed to let me. Here it is:


Dear Michael Blowhard

I’ve found a terrific way of enjoying YouTube. I’m a big fan of sixties and seventies rock music and there are a few personal websites which enthusiasts have set up to which they devote themselves to charting band history, analysing the music and rating the various albums.

You have to be pretty devoted to do this but the quality of the best of it is surprisingly high. Foremost among these is George Starostin who must rank as one of the most astonishing web rock critics not just because of the superlative quality of his reviews and insights but also because he was so prolific.

Sadly George stopped posting a few years back but his huge archive is still up and has a kind of cult quality among many fans, myself included. Here it is.

The fun bit is in reading about the birth of some band you didn’t know about on Starostin then going over to YouTube and summonsing up archive footage. You can see a band’s entire development this way and some terrific material has come to light.

The history of David Bowie on Youtube is fascinating. The earliest clip of him dates from 1964 when as a 17 year old schoolboy he appeared on the BBC complaining about being teased for having long hair.

His first single at age seventeen after he changed his name from Jones to Bowie (audio only)

First appearance with his first hit Space Oddity in 1970:

Bowie singing "Rubber Band":

Bowie mime from 1968 when he was 21:

A 14 year old skiffle enthusiast from the London suburbs appears on black and white TV in the late fifties. Hard to believe that this lad grew up to be Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin:

King Crimson also have a long and tortured past which Starostin documents well with the faithfulness of the true devoted fan.

You can map out the King Crimson from their hippy precursor called Giles, Giles and Fripp:

To their first big success in 1969 with Court of the Crimson King which can be heard here, and here. More:

In 1970 came In The Wake Of Poseidon. With the big success of Larks Tongues in Aspic in 1973:

The YouTube collection on them features an interview with the King Crimson leader Bob Fripp which has got to be the most unintentionally funny TV interviews ever carried out outside of Spinal Tap. It is both comedy and rock gold. It is four parts beginning here. Doesn’t get really funny till part two.

Interested in Marc Bolan and T Rex.? As you might expect there is plenty of clips on this British glam rock star at the height of his fame in the early seventies. But there is also an entire documentary with plenty of pictures:

Not only is practically every single that the Mamas and Papas made up there in Technicolor but in addition there is a wonderful seven part documentary featuring interviews with virtually everyone who was closely associated with the band. Here's Part One:


Barry Wood



T-Rex? King Crimson? Not my thing exactly. Still: What an era!

Many thanks to Barry Wood.



posted by Michael at February 12, 2008


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