History of Nerd Rock

History of Nerd Rock

Update: 2021-03-03
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Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd…


It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press…


According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”…


I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that…


The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo…


But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler…


By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?...


But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth…


This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music…


This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”…

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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History of Nerd Rock

History of Nerd Rock

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