Friday, March 23, 2012

Cui Jian is the Father of China¡¯s Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll

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Cui Jian is the Father of China¡¯s Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll

In 161, Cui Jian was born in an ethnically Korean family in Beijing, and was immediately surrounded by an atmosphere of music and dance, for his father was a professional trumpet player in an air force band and his mother a member of a Korean minority dance troupe. Living on an unmilitary base, Jian spent a very happy childhood, as he said, ¡°Born in the People¡¯s Republic of China, Growing up under the red flag, I feel I am the happiest person in the world and the rest of the world is suffering.¡± (Free Style, P) Although Jian was good at writing compositions, and his teacher thought he should devote himself to be a writer, Jian began learning trumpet at the age of fourteen in 175 because of his father¡¯s influence. In 177, one year after the Cultural Revolution, China resumed the Entrance Exam for College. What¡¯s the most interesting thing is that the father of China¡¯s Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll didn¡¯t pass any exam and study further in a musical college. From then on, Jian started to keep long hair rare in China at that time, about which Jian quarreled with his father many times. At length, Jian reluctantly had his long hair cut and became hairless. Meanwhile, Jian was also busy looking for a job, but he never gave up his passion for trumpet, for he felt ¡° making music is the happiest thing, while doing all the other things seems to doing donkeywork.¡± (Free Style, P14) In 178, the opening and reforming policy was adopted in China, Jian had the chance to listen to the tapes spirited into the country by tourists and foreign students. Inspired by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, and the Police, he learned to play guitar and was soon singing in public.

In 181, Jian landed a job as a classical trumpet player with the prestigious Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra, which meant a high social status, a stable and ideal salary, what¡¯s more, the ¡° iron rice-bowl¡±1. However because of his natural rebelliousness and the influence of Western music on him, Jian resolutely resigned in 184 and formed with six other classical musicians a band named Seven-Ply Board, which was the one of the first bands of its kind in China. In 186, at a Beijing concert commemorating the Year of World Peace, Cui Jian climbed onto the stage in peasant clothing (Jian didn¡¯t have his special costumes, and he didn¡¯t care about them at all, for he thought changing clothing on the stage only meant the performer had no self-confidence) and belted out his latest composition, Nothing To My Name, which made him famous instantly through out the country. ¡°Undoubtedly, Nothing to My Name marks the emergence of China¡¯s rock¡¯n¡¯ roll.¡±(Look Back China¡¯s Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll, L5)

Along with the adoption of China¡¯s opening and reforming policy, ¡°the western world of complete difference suddenly exposured to the Chinese youth, and made a huge cultural impact on them¡± (Wild on the Snow, L17). Many of them who were proud of being born in the active 160¡¯s became depressed and frustrated when confronting with those changes arising suddenly. They sighed for the instant changes of the world, because their once-lofty ideals were torn into pieces by reality; they lost their original ideals and beliefs they were sticking on; their idles Paul, Rong Zhixing faded away, what¡¯s worse, they couldn¡¯t find themselves new goals. It was at that time that Jian ¡°expressed with his music the youth¡¯s oscillation, and the aspiration for truth and humanistic liberation.¡± (Wild on the Snow, L)

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¡°In the middle of the 180¡¯s, Chinese people were seemed to be waking from the long and severe winter and began to enjoy the spiritual liberation.¡± (Free Style, P0) Cui Jian released his first, as well as China¡¯s first rock¡¯n¡¯roll album, named Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll on the New Long March in 188 which was the tenth anniversary since China carried out the opening and reforming policy. It is well known that the 178¡¯s reformation was focused on the material aspect, while the reformative power with which Jian endowed his songs was inward and spiritual. In Rock¡¯n¡¯Roll on the New Long March, Jian sang ¡°I have heard about it, but never seen/Twenty-five thousand miles¡±, for Cui Jian and later youth only read about the Long March of half century ago on the historical textbooks, meanwhile, he also assimilates people¡¯s whole life to the laborious Long March, about which he sang ¡°Walking here, walking there/Without any destination¡±. These lyrics appropriately reflect his equal youth¡¯s perplexity and warn them their future life must be as tough as the Long March. There is another song in this album named Nothing to My Name, in which Jian sang ¡°I want to give you my dream/And give you my freedom/But you always laugh at me/Nothing to my name¡±. Along with the deepening of China¡¯s reformation, its social systems were severely changing, and the ideology of Chinese people was diverging. In addition, the youth were about to lose their means of life and ¡°iron rice-bowl¡± which were well arranged by the social systems and became ¡°nothing to my name¡±. With his songs, Jian warned the youth they would face up with the cold desolation when the newly emerged objects overwhelmed the tradition; on the other hand, he also encouraged them to fight for their own ¡°dreams¡± and ¡°freedom¡±.

In 1, Cui Jian released his second album named Solution, including the song Wild on the Snow, which won an MTV International Viewers Choice Award and became an instant hit throughout Asia. This song tells about a person escaping from hospital and walking on the snowy road. In this song, Jian sang repeatedly ¡°Give me a bit of flesh/Give me a bit of blood/Because my sickness is that I have no feeling¡±, which directly hit upon the numbness and philistinism to ¡°have no feeling¡± which were popular among Chinese youth of that time.

In 14, Cui Jian released his third album Balls Under the Red Flag. Along with the speeding of China¡¯s reformation, China made a lot of tremendous material progress. On the other hand, the spiritual status of Chinese people kept degenerating and they were all busy making a fortune. Jian sang in this song ¡°Reality is like a stone/Spirit is like an egg/Although stones are hard/Eggs are life¡±, by which Jian ¡°reminded people of protecting their spiritual eggs from being smashed by stones of reality.¡±(Free Style, P1)

As a rock¡¯n¡¯roll player, Cui Jian also discussed love and sex in his works although he discussed in a very implicative way because of China¡¯s traditional taboos and inhibition upon them. One of these kind songs is named Greenhouse Girl, in which he sang ¡°You asked me where I am heading/I pointed to the ocean¡­/you lead me into your greenhouse¡­/I will walk down the old road/Even though I am sure I can¡¯t/ Leave you, oh, girl.¡± Jian established a vivid comparison between the ¡°greenhouse¡±, which symbolizes comfort and quiet life and the ¡°ocean¡±, which indicates freedom and liberation even it¡¯s full of dangers and challenges. He himself unhesitatingly chooses to ¡°walk down the old road¡± to live a free life. Four years later in 18, Cui Jian released his fourth album The Power of the Powerless, in which people would obviously feel there was not so much passion as in his previous ones and the compromise because of the social environment. He sang ¡°I am like the wind/You are waves/Rolling water beneath my caress/Can you feel this power, so powerless¡±. It describes a story that a man holds an ideal of changing the world, but is defected by the cruel reality and looks for comfort from his lover by asking her ¡°Can you feel this power, so powerless?¡± In 000, Cui Jian was presented with the prestigious Prince Claus Award by the Dutch ambassador for his artistic endeavors in the developing world.

This is the year 00. As a middle-aged man, Cui Jian still plays on the rock¡¯n¡¯roll stage, although some people say that he¡¯s ageing, and he has no passion for rock¡¯n¡¯roll any more, even he himself said ¡°Good girls should love capable men. I am old now.¡±(Wild on the Snow, L56), we shouldn¡¯t remove his contribution to China¡¯s rock¡¯n¡¯roll. Cui Jian was born in the red active 160¡¯s, and witnessed and went through the huge change of China¡¯ society, economy and culture. Although he focuses on the uncuttable connection between his equals and China¡¯s red tradition4, he encourages the later youth and helps them find their own life goals with his music. What¡¯s more, because of Cui Jian and his music, China has its own rock¡¯n¡¯roll that makes its music different. He is worthy of being respectfully called the father of China¡¯s rock¡¯n¡¯roll.

Iron rice-bowl refers to a job as fixed as iron.

Paul a patriotic soldier of former Soviet Union.

Rong Zhiixing a Chinese worker who served Chinese people heart and soul.

Red tradition refers to the Chinese tradition of loving red color, which means auspiciousness and revolution, such as the Red Army.


1. Free Style Cui Jian and Zhou Guoping

Guang Xi Normal University Press

. Look Back China¡¯s Rock¡¯n¡¯ Roll Wang Jiyang


. Cui Jian My dreams come true Li Liang

http// 00-0-06 10

4. Anatomize Cui Jian with paunchy agony Powers


5. A Complete Convulsion Cheng Tong http//

6. Play wildly in the snow field Tai Ran

7. In Memory of Cui Jian Netease

8. On Cui Jian¡¯s Humor Li jianzhong


. Cui Jian and Wang Shuo two crying monkeys Huo Longchuan

10. Express himself Hu Haitao

11. The dispute between a poet and a rock¡¯n roll player Zhang Quan

1. The rock¡¯n roll what to rock and what to roll Wu Wang

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