Perhaps the musicians never rose to prominence like the painters because in general musicians come off a little more like role models to kids. Musicians need to get large groups of youths in one place to listen to them, and the group effect is to reinforce or idolize the style of the performer, with many often choosing to dress the same.
But in China at that time here was no Tower records. It was near impossible to just record a rock and roll record, much less mass-press it and sell it to the public at will in the local You Yi Fan Dian, or “Friendship Store” that was the only place to get a lot of western appliances at the time.Hyper Growth
I don’t ever want to give the impression that China was an undeveloped backwater when I got there. This was a modern bustling metropolis which was already overrun with traffic (taxis) and cranes were launching buildings into the sky like mushrooms almost overnight.
No, the developed cities on the east coast were as modern as any other city in many ways. Freeways, glass towers, new airports, row after row of new housing. It was a modern and bustling city, just one that had no soul beyond the ghosts of its imperial history, no heart beyond the ‘everyone’s in this together’ nostrums of the Communists.
It was a time when party leaders enjoyed their power pretty much unfettered. (if you wanted some, better join the Party, a little like if you want power in Texas you better join the Republican party… it just greases the wheels). At least, they did until Chen Xi Tong became the year’s sacrificial lamb to exorcise the sins of the parties’ excesses in a campaign designed to do what purges here often do… win power and influence people) .
Economically, China leapt forward. Culturally, China tried for as long as possible to stop the free speech projects of its artists for as long as possible.
And, then, within a decade, it exploded into a modern commercial industry favoring lightweight fare for the most part.