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Rock on The Simpsons


Rock music is present throughout the series. There are chapters in which it is the central theme, and others in which it appears occasionally, but in general we can find many examples of this style that Homer Simpson is so passionate about.

Homer is the main character around which rock mentions appear, since he was a teenager in the 1970s and was deeply influenced by this style of music. Through Homer Simpson we can review, possibly, the best time in the history of rock. In addition, criticism of other varieties of rock is not lacking, as well as references to practically the most important groups.

To begin, let’s begin by reviewing some of the references to rock that are made in the series, to verify that Homer is a true lover of rock, and a nostalgic of the seventies.

In the chapter A Tale of Two Cities (Season 12) the appearance of the group The Who (1962-1983) takes place, which achieved popularity with songs like My generation (1965) or Behind blue eyes (1971). In this chapter Homer joins The Who to the astonishment of the members of the group.

It is true that Homer does not have a great style or a slowhand on the guitar, but he does not lack the rock spirit.

In the chapter  Without Duff  (Season 4) we can see Homer at home, lying drunk listening to Queen. Specifically, he is listening to the album A night at the Opera (1975), which featured hits like Bohemian Rhapsody.

Homer is a rocker even in church. In the chapter Pray what you know (Season 14) he manages, through a lawsuit, to take ownership of the church building. The first thing he does as soon as he settles in his new house is celebrate with beer and good rock:

The song that Homer rocks and rolls is I was made for loving you, by the New York group Kiss. This song, possibly the most famous of Kiss, is the single from the album Dynasty (1979).

Among the artists that ever appear in The Simpsons are the Rolling Stones, who in the chapter How I rock and roll on my summer vacation (Season 14) are part of the central plot.

In this chapter Homer attends the Rolling Stones’ Rock’n’Roll Fantastic Camp. At the camp they learn rock with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello and Lenny Kravitz.

In the chapter Homer loves Ned Flanders (Season 5) we can see another example of how Homer Simpson likes the rock of the seventies. In the following fragment we see him singing (and playing the guitar riff) of the song Two tickets to Paradise (1977), by Eddie Money.

As the last example of rock references, we can hear Money for Nothing, by Dire Straits, in the episode Margie’s Ice Cream (Season 18), when Homer drives the ice cream truck.

These famous chords sounded for the first time on the 1985 album Brothers in Arms. This historic album is one of the most successful in history, with around 30 million copies sold. In addition to Money for nothing , it included other memorable songs such as Sofa far away , Walk of life or Brothers in arms .

Criticism of the rock of the ’90s

In The Simpsons, through Homer, the rock of the ’70s is praised as the moment of maximum apogee, while at the same time a criticism is made of the rock of the ’90s, which was characterized by indifference and pessimism towards society. . In the first half of the 1990s, the grunge style was very successful, with distorted guitars, energetic sound and lyrics that reflected apathy and disenchantment. Groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam or The Smashing Pumpkins are the most representative of this style.

Homer rejects this style, and is strongly criticized in the chapter Homerpalooza (Season 7), when he goes to a rock festival (a parody of the Lollapalooza festival). This chapter is from the year 1996, in the middle of the ’90s. It shows a youth lover of grunge and with expressions of little happiness.

This criticism of the change in mentality and style is also evident in the curious change of name of the old Springfield record store, formerly called “Good Vibrations” (at the time of teenage Homer, in 1970 Springfield), and now called “Suicide Notes” (in the year 1996 specifically).

It is a critique of the change in mentality, from the passage of “good vibes” and a zest for life to a pessimistic mentality, in the grunge style  of the ’90s.

The previous name of the record store made reference to a song by the Beach Boys, an upbeat band.

In the same chapter of Homerpalooza (Season 7), Homer has a chat with the leader of the Smashing Pumpkins, and says a very interesting phrase.

In fact, the grunge style letters did not speak of a hopeful or positive future, quite the opposite. This pessimism and disappointment led some of the mass idols to end very badly, such as the famous case of Kurt Cobain, leader of the Nirvana group, who committed suicide at the age of 27.

Back to the 1970s

Homer, trying to explain some rock history to his sons , tells them that “The Grand Funk Railroad gave way to Jefferson Airplane, creating the right environment for The Alan Parson’s Project, which was a kind of space shuttle.”

Grand Funk Railroad (1968-1976) was an American group that fused hard rock with funk and blues. On the other hand, the group Jefferson Airplane (1965-1974) was one of the pioneers in psychedelic rock. According to Homer, influenced by them was born The Alan Parson’s Project (1975-1987), a British progressive rock band, whose best-known song is Eye in the sky (1982). If Homer says of them that they were a kind of “space shuttle” it is because of the electronic and futuristic sounds that can be heard, for example, on his album De él I Robot (1977), which they transport into space.

Alan Parson (1948) is an English sound engineer and musician, who, in addition to being successful with his group The Alan Parson’s Project, became famous for being a recording assistant on the albums  Abbey Road  (1969) and  Let it be  (1970 ). ) by the Beatles, as well as  Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon  (1973). For his work on this latest album, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Sound Engineer.

The Dark Side of The Moon is also represented in The Simpsons. In their student days, Homer and Barney Gumble shared a room, and one of the posters they had was precisely the one on the cover of this famous Pink Floyd album.

You can also see part of another historic album: Led Zeppelin (1969), by the group of the same name.

Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are two of the most important groups in rock history, and were among the most successful of the 1970s. The album The Dark Side of The Moon (1973) has sold more than 50 million copies to date, which places it as the third best-selling album in history (source: Best-selling albums ). During this decade, Pink Floyd recorded some of the most important albums in rock history. In addition to The Dark Side of The Moon , the British group released: Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and   The Wall (1979).

On the other hand, Led Zeppelin, whose total sales are estimated at about 300 million records sold, is the other great group that appears on the wall of Homer’s room in his student days. This group mixed hard rock, blues and the typical psychedelic style of the 1965-1975 period.

The album on the wall, recognizable by the famous burning airship, is Led Zeppelin , from 1969. This album features the hit Dazed and confused, a good example of hard rock and at the same time psychedelic rock, typical of those years (1969).

In the following years, Led Zeppelin II (1969) and Led Zeppelin III (1970) came out. True, they did not think much about the names of the discs. Creativity was saved for the songs.

The album Led Zeppelin IV (1971) is the most successful of the band, with 37 million copies sold. This disc contains the singles Black Dog and the most famous song by Led Zeppelin:  Stairway to Heaven.

Led Zeppelin, apart from on the wall of Homer’s room, appears in the mouth of Otto, the charismatic driver of the school bus, who, in the chapter Das Bus (Season 9), shouts: “Long live Lez Zeppelin!” before drowning in the sea.

Scientific fact: 1974 was the best year

One of Homer’s most famous phrases regarding music is said in the chapter  Homerpalooza  (Season 7), when he wonders why so many new rock groups are needed, when  “everyone knows that rock reached perfection in 74 It’s a scientific fact!”

In general, the 1970s are one of the most important for the history of music, and especially for rock. Specifically, 1974 was an exceptional year in terms of musical production, due to the richness and quality of the albums and songs that came to light.

In addition to the singles that had appeared a couple of years earlier, in 1974 historical songs were heard for the first time. Trying to go back to that time, we are going to turn on the radio and listen to what it was playing in 1974.

We cannot guarantee that, scientifically, this year was the best for rock, but it is clear that, in general, the first half of the 1970s was a period of special musical production, with great quality and quantity of albums and songs that They have become part of the history of music.

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