Is it possible to rebel against rebellion? Since the invention of the gramophone, rebellion in music has been available to the masses. In the fifties, with Elvis rockin’ jailhouses and Bill Haley rocking around a clock with his Comets the scene was set. The mantle was taken up by the Animals, who just had to get outta this place, whilst the Rolling Stones had to get off their clouds before having a 19th nervous breakdown. Into the seventies and punk rebelled, until to look punk became fashionable, thus going against its aim. And so through musical history there has always been rebellion, be it Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg or the Sex Pistols.
How does this get us to Nottingham’s Market Square on the final Sunday of May last year? The answer starts over eighty years ago when Joe Loss started his orchestra. He became well respected in his field, with Dame Vera Lynn giving her first broadcast with the band in 1938. In 1990, Joe became too ill to travel with his band and entrusted Todd Miller with the leadership. Todd had joined the orchestra in 1972 as a vocalist and enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Joe. With over twenty years at the helm of the orchestra, Todd is as much of a showman as a leader of the Joe Loss Orchestra.
Back to the question I posed earlier, is it possible to rebel against rebellion? Any form of entertainment has walls. These walls take the form of generations. Parents cannot understand how their little angels can listen to ‘that infernal racket’, as they find their own identity and rebel against the older generations. Todd and the Joe Loss Orchestra had the Market Square singing and dancing, young and old side by side, playing music from Glenn Miller through to soul, the Beatles, Abba and disco, thus breaking down the walls. I could be inclined to say that they made the younger generation rebel against their rebellion, even if it was only for two hours.
The Orchestra’s encore took then past the nine o’clock deadline. Rebels indeed!