The Development of the Rock Musical in the Late 20th Century Essay

1821 Words Jan 17th, 2006 8 Pages
Rock Opera
Term Paper

The Development of The Rock Musical In the Late 20th Century

Rock opera in its narrow definition seems to be a purely British phenomenon, possibly because at the time of its arrival England, as opposed to the United States, had not found its musical theater voice yet: while musical theater was booming in the United States from the early twentieth century onwards, England didn't develop a popular musical tradition until the late 1960s, when Andrew Lloyd Webber started to write and produce large-scale musicals for the London theaters.
To provide an overview of the scope of the genre of rock opera, I will briefly discuss some of the most renowned works. It is usually the British rock band
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Pink Floyd's The Wall is one of the most successful albums in rock history, topping the United States album chart for fifteen weeks in 1980 and spanning off the hit single "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)", which remained at No. 1 on the United States singles chart for four weeks. In the 1980s The Wall was made into a movie directed by Alan Parker and starring Bob Geldof in the lead role as Pink. Pink Floyd took The Wall on tour, with the most famous, if not complete performance taking place in Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Wall is a double album about a fictional, emotionally crippled, depressed rock star, Pink, who is unable to cope with the pressures of life and therefore builds a wall around him. The wall is obviously a metaphor for his psychological isolation, for the barrier he creates to distance himself from his pain. As parts of his life spin out of control, the wall grows and Pink ultimately blames everyone, particularly women, for his incapability to deal with his neuroses. The origins of his deplorable state is illustrated by flashbacks in individual songs, such as Pink's childhood memories of his father's death in World War II ("Another Brick in the Wall [Part I]"), his overprotective mother ("Mother"), the repressive school system, and his fascination with and fear of sex ("Young Lust").…