Ahh, the history of rock and roll from Circus in 1989 makes interesting reading. Like all histories, there is a bit of revisionist writing taking place based on what is or was popular at the time.
Because history is always written to suit the winners or the populist viewpoint. Sometimes revisionist history sheds new light on historical events because of new evidence or new interpretations of previous evidence. But generally its seen as showing history in a distorted and dishonest way.
We see it a lot these days with our current leaders trying to reframe themselves to suit their own revisionist narrative.
So in 1989, whatever was popular, would get a small sentence.
Bon Jovi is mentioned as releasing their little known debut album in 1984, because in 1986 they would take over the world with “Slippery When Wet”. And by 1989, Bon Jovi ruled. If “Slippery When Wet” and the follow-up “New Jersey” sold like the first two Jovi albums, well Bon Jovi wouldn’t even get a mention here.
Metallica in 1989 was just another speed metal band with a cult following.
But if you read the 80’s histories written after 1992, well it’s all about Metallica and their ground breaking albums in “Kill Em All”, “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”. Or their ground breaking technical thrash metal album in “…And Justice For All”.
It’s a very different history and Metallica is featured prominently and so is Ozzy.
Because for all of his mis-deeds, Ozzy has survived and he’s become part of popular culture. But by 1989, Ozzy was not as big as he was in the early 80’s.
His next comeback happened with “No More Tears” a few years later and then the Ozzy brand just kept getting bigger with Ozzfest, The Osbourne’s TV show, the Black Sabbath reunions in between and so forth.
If you read any history of rock music, Black Sabbath and Ozzy are featured, however in the 70’s Black Sabbath was seen as a really extreme act to be classified as rock. Now they sound like kids playschool music compared to the other extreme acts.
Joe Perry is mentioned as re-joining Aerosmith in 1984, but if “Permanent Vacation” and “Pump” sold as much as “Done With Mirrors” then there would be no conversation of Joe Perry re-joining.
No-one could escape what happened with Vince Neil and Razzle. It’s mentioned and so is “Shout At The Devil”.
Judas Priest just kept getting press for the wrong reasons. Concert vandalism and subliminal messages. What about the excellent releases that kept coming?
“Condition Critical” is mentioned as well as Kevin DuBrow’s big mouth hindering the albums promotion which eventually led to his dismissal.
Twisted Sister is mentioned twice, once in 1979, as an unsigned band selling out a 3000 seat theatre in New York and once again, in 1984 as Dee Snider is arrested for swearing too much.
Van Halen and 1984 and David Lee Roth’s are mentioned.
Going back to 1969, it starts with The Beatles last gig. Steppenwolf is mentioned, for their “heavy metal thunder” follow up, “Magic Carpet Ride”. There are arrests for lewd behaviour, drunkenness, drug possessions and there are deaths and for a bonus, there is Ted Nugent winning a National Squirrel Shooting Archery Contest. WTF.
How would have this Rock’N’Roll history look if it was re-written in 1999, 2009 and 2019?