Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 27: The Creation, "Making Time"

Artist: The Creation
Song: "Making Time"
Album: Making Time (single)
Year: 1966

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Among the countless trends and odd occurrences within the long history of recorded music, few are as inexplicable as the almost random phenomenon of which bands find success and which bands never reach their full commercial potential.  In nearly every genre and every decade, one can point to a handful of bands that clearly came up short and yet gained massive public notoriety, while at the same time, there are groups that were so amazing and talented, yet remain in relative obscurity.  Though many bands have been relegated to this latter category, few make as little sense as the immensely talented and absolutely groundbreaking sound of 1960's hard rock pioneers, The Creation.  From the echoing guitar riffs to the exceptional lyrics to the captivating vocals, The Creation remain one of the most amazing bands that never receive their due credit for the impact they made on the shape of music that followed.  This is largely due to their baffling lack of record sales in the U.K., as even their peers like The Who and Led Zeppelin pointed to them as one of the most powerful bands of the era.  In later years, their music would be released on compilations that were disguised as full length albums, but it was the singles they released in 1966 that almost instantly cemented their place as music legends.  Bringing a power and attitude that was simply not present anywhere else at the time, there are few songs that are more impressive in every sense of the word than the experience one finds on The Creation's pivotal 1966 single, "Making Time."

From the moment that "Making Time" begins, the influence that the band had on all of their peers is instantly clear, and the lead guitar riff from Eddie Phillips remains today one of the most unforgettable in music history.  There is a grit and attitude within his playing that was clearly copied by bands like The Who, and this fact alone is enough for The Creation to have a rightful spot amongst music legends. In fact, there was a point where Pete Townshend asked Phillips to join the band as a second guitar player, but obviously, Phillips declined the offer.  Yet Phillips is not alone in creating the powerful, captivating mood found on "Making Time," and the almost looming bassline from Bob Garner is equally impressive.  There are points on the song were the bass seems to almost bounce, and it is this element that sets the band far apart from any of their peers.  The final element of the music, drummer Jack Jones, manages to highlight the driving grind that makes the sound on "Making Time" so unique, as he incorporates the cymbals in a far more involved manner than nearly any other group at the time.  It is the way in which the band moves as a single unit, deploying this pioneering brand of attitude-driven rock that makes the connection to punk rock and heavy metal quite clear, and after hearing "Making Time" only once, it is a song that is impossible to forget.

Providing what is without question the ideal finishing touch, in terms of both style and sound, vocalist Kenny Pickett quickly establishes himself as one of the greatest vocalists in music history.  Though he is clearly more on the "singing" side of things, it is the slightly-spoken, gritty vocal style that pushes "Making Time" to an entirely new level.  Much like the music over which he sings, one can easily hear how his vocal performance influenced all his peers, and when one looks at things from a chronological perspective, one can easily argue that it is Pickett's vocals that served as the blue print for nearly all of the British "hard rock" bands that emerged over the next few years.  Along with his brilliant vocal performance, the lyrics which Pickett sings also manage to rank among the greatest in history, as they manage to capture the spirit of angst-ridden youth in a manner that is perfect unlike any other song.  When Picket sings lines like, "...why do we have to carry on, always singing the same old song...," there is a call for musical revolution that is still in many ways well ahead of its time.  Furthermore, one can easily understand how a line like this was a perfect anthem for the generation that was rising, and these words can be seen as the ideal summary of the spirit of that generation.  The way that Kenny Pickett delivers this rallying cry for change is absolutely mesmerizing, and it plays as the exact element that the band needed to finish off what is an unquestionable musical masterpiece.

Taking into account the roaring guitars, spirited vocals, and the other elements that come together to make "Making Time" such a significant musical achievement, it becomes quite difficult to comprehend the fact that in its time, the song lived in relative obscurity.  While one can argue that there were a few other bands that were dominating the charts across the world, the attitude and sonic originality found on "Making Time" surely should have been enough to overcome such competition.  Yet reality is what it is, and "Making Time" barely managed to crack the top fifty on the U.K. charts.  However, as the years passed, the song proved its strength, as it endured better than many of the "hits" of the era, and even more than forty years after its initial release, the song retains its attitude and can easily hold its own with the music of the modern era.  This strength mostly lives within the repeating guitar riff from Phillips, and as the years have passed, it has earned him the status of a true guitar legend, as bands from every generation have cited him as a massive influence.  Truth be told, it is the attitude on "Making Time" that has enabled it to endure as it has, as the way in which Phillips' power chords seem to slam into Pickett's vocals is just as energizing today as it was more than four decades ago.  Though they still do not receive the accolades they so clearly deserve, it is impossible to deny the influence and sheer musical genius that one can find on The Creation's phenomenal 1966 single, "Making Time."

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