The Laureate
from the History of Rock & Roll
2008 Fender American Standard Stratocaster
Bering Art Collective, Houston, Texas, The History of Rock & Roll, October 9 - 30, 2010
Art on 5th, Austin, Texas, Texas Top 30, September 23 - October 19, 2012

The Laureate is the third guitar from the History of Rock and Roll series.

The addition of words to music to create song is not exclusive to rock and roll.  Thematically, however, it is one of the most important elements in defining this musical genre from its predecessors.  There are numerous examples of writers and songs that have been elevated to the status of anthems and "voices of a generation" simply by the power of the words used in conjunction with music.  Many lyricists have created such powerful compositions that the words themselves stand alone on their merits without the accompaniment.

As an oral tradition, songs of history and philosophy have existed since the beginning of history.  Illiteracy created the need for a aural tradition of spreading information in this manner.  The front of the Laureate features hieroglyphics that pay homage to the deep rooted history of this tradition.  Over time the function of lyrics has changed.  Poetry, as an independent entity of communicating idea and philosophy, took precedence over singing.  Songs became a form of entertainment used for telling stories or accompaniment for celebrations and dancing.

The 20th century movements of music reinstate the lyrics as a primary social method of communicating ideas, personal opinion and political ideology.  Through efficient distribution methods such as radio, public performance and technological advancements such as records, cassettes, CDs, artists utilized their ability to communicate to a wider and more diverse audience.

In the modern context, it is difficult for us to consider the lyrics of songwriters such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, or Jim Morrison on the same level of importance as poets such as Baudelaire, Dickinson, or Byron.  History will view these writers, and many others of the rock and roll movement, as the laureates of our century that used music to share their ideas and vision with the world for posterity.