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Is rock 'n' roll dead? It's a proposition that must surely vex all followers of popular culture, but none so much as those journalists paid to write about said idiom.
Paul Gambaccini - the "Professor of Pop", no less - has argued that we are witnessing "the end of the rock era... in the same way the jazz era is over", citing a slump in sales. The percentage of rock songs in the charts plummeted in the last calendar year to 3% from 2009's 13%, according to official figures.
Times rock critic Will Hodgkinson, of course, is a man with a vested interest in refuting such allegations, given that his livelihood depends upon the genre remaining very much alive.
Nonetheless, he makes a fairly good fist of asserting the continued relevance of stratocasters, solos, feet on monitors et al.
Rock music, he concedes, "reached a creative peak in May 1972 with the release of Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones". But, he adds, "to conclude that rock is irrelevant because it cannot top this peak is like saying that literature is over because no one will better Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, or that painting has been redundant since Impressionism".
There is a reason why the biggest concerts in the world continue to be rock concerts and why everyone is excited at a rumour that the Rolling Stones are playing Glastonbury. Rock music has a unifying power that makes people feel good. It isn't just about escapism, although that plays a part, and it isn't just about ego worship or imagining yourself up on stage: it's about the shiver down your spine, the hairs-raised-on-your-arm feeling that the sound of a rock band going at it full tilt can bring. Pop, which is concerned with materialism and aspiration, can rarely reach those heights.
Paper Monitor has an alternative theory about the recent decline in rock's fortunes: the absence of pony tails.
Time was when any stadium icon worth his (and it was usually his) salt gloried in lustrous locks tied back behind the cranium. But, like Samson, their hair has been cropped; witness the sensible short-back-and-sides sported by the likes of Muse's Matt Bellamy.
And which tribe has now made the style its own? Why, according to the Guardian, it is the 21st century's superstars - Premiership footballers.
Newcastle's Andy Carroll and Jonas Gutierrez; Sotirios Kyrgiakos of Liverpool; Benoît Assou-Ekotto of Tottenham Hotspur; Kenwyne Jones of Stoke; Sunderland's Kieran - all, notes writer Pete Cashmore, revel in a hairdo that, within living memory, would have been "a target for jeering fans".
Cashmore's explaination for this trend? The inability of top-level athletes to indulge in binge-drinking is causing them to fritter away their generous salaries in hair salons:
You may not be able to cement your masculinity by getting hammered every Saturday night, but you can still feel like Charlie Big Potatoes by doing something sartorially or tonsorially ridiculous that costs a fan's monthly wage.
So it's the absence of a rock 'n' roll lifestyle that's responsible? Maybe Will Hodgkinson is right after all.