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Rock on by Nigel Roth

Dernière mise à jour : 2 mars 2021

By the time the first International Chemistry Congress was underway in Karlsruhe, and the French had begun searching for the mythical planet Vulcan, and American settlers were in the process of massacring as many Wiyot Indians as they could in a single day, something magical was happening in Paris.

It was down to an inventor called Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, who made the first ever recording of a song on his phonautograph. It would be eighteen years until Thomas Alva Edison made his own tin foil recording of an unknown concert.

Edison, who said he couldn’t see much future in the phonograph, would be delighted to know that since that first recording of Au clair de la lune, around forty genres of music have evolved, and within those a further three-hundred or more sub categories.

And I can almost guarantee you don’t want to hear music from most of them. Not because they’re particularly bad, but because you’ve honed your musical tastes (if you have anyway) quite specifically and, some would say, narrowly, and most of these would not appeal to your delicately-evolved ears.

I should reveal here that my own musical tastes have been mocked worldwide and my Spotify playlist is more barren than the Atacama Desert, so a musical expert I am not. And so musically, I don’t know a lot of things.

I don’t know, for example, why the day of my birth should be lumbered with the horrific song Winchester Cathedral, which was number one on the Billboard. It featured a strange man singing through a megaphone, and was said to have been inspired (if that is in fact the correct terminology here) by the 1920s, although which 1920s is unclear.