Everywhere I go right now it’s Glee this and Glee that. Think High School Musical mixed with Grange Hill and you get the idea – it’s basically an American kids’ TV programme which has become a big hit worldwide. But what the f**k has that got to do with rock I hear you say?
Quite a lot, in fact. Just as Guitar Hero started turning a generation of Slash wannabes in the direction of classic rock Glee regularly revisits pop metal’s standards and gives them a refreshingly contemporary revamp.
Just as the Journey boys benefited from that X Factor boost before Christmas – when eventual winner Joe McElderry covered Don’t Stop Believin’ – they’ve experienced another surge in sales following the same track’s appearance on Glee.
But there’s more.
Van Halen’s Jump is the rock anthem most recently given the Glee treatment and if it’s not exactly a riff fest then at least one of rock’s most enduring anthems has been given a new lease of life – just when the aforementioned Guitar Hero and its latest Van Halen spin-off is being roundly panned by the critics.
Glee, of course, does not deal exclusively in rock. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Many of the tunes featured were throwaway pop then and still utter trash now. But there’s something strangely endearing about watching a bunch of beaming American teens blast their way through some of our favourite soft rock anthems.
How often do you get to hear Heart’s Alone these days? An immense power ballad featuring the best of the Wilson sisters and the irrepressible Howard Leese deserves to be heard more often. And if it’s not going to get played on Planet Rock or Radio two then at least Glee gives the song a suitably high profile after all these years.
Then there’s The Rolling Stones, Queen, Creedance Clearwater Revival and Billy Idol. All of those rock favourites have found a place in the hearts of the Glee faithful and a whole new generation of impressionable kids are being given the chance to explore God’s own music.
Even better than that the talented cast have made Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life sound way better than the original and there’s the promise of more soft rock heaven to come.
It’s unlikely Cannibal Corpse, Suicidal Tendencies or Five Finger Death Punch will find their songs featured on Glee anytime soon but who knows? The wife was watching a Sky reality TV show the other night called Pineapple Studios and who should pop up? The mighty Slayer – prime time, midweek and in all of their thrash metal glory.
As a fan of rock I really don’t care when or where I see or hear my favourite kind of music. It’s simply a case of the more, the better. Well done Glee. Now how about that cover of School’s Out?