When Herbie Hancock Brought Music from the Future #MusicMonday
Here is the always fascinating Ethan Hein on the deep influence of Herbie Hancock’s track “Rockit” and the iconoclastic live performance from the 1984 Grammys that broke turntable scratching and breakdancing into the mainstream.
The more I think about it, the more I feel like Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” is the most interesting musical recording of all time. It touches every form of twentieth century American music, from blues to jazz to rock to techno, and it’s one of the founding documents of global hip-hop. Not bad for a last-ditch effort to keep Herbie’s label from dropping him.
Herbie’s performance of the song at the 1984 Grammys had a colossal impact. Few people watching the broadcast had ever heard (or heard of) turntable scratching. If you watch Scratch, one interviewee after another cites this broadcast as their inspiration for getting into turntablism. Breakdancing was probably new to most viewers as well. Even twenty-five years later, the whole thing remains fresh.
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