The drone is musically defined as an underlying accompaniment concentratred
on a single note–think bagpipes. Various kinds of drones play an
interesting role in the history of rock.

Under the influence of Indian music, the Beatles put powerful buzzing
drones in several songs from Revolver on. A good example is George
Harrison’s “Love You To.”

The Velvet Underground made drones a mainstay of their style; most
typically they were supplied by John Cale’s whining electric viola.

New Zealand bands like the Clean studied the Velvets’ technique
assiduously; the influence is very clear in the insistent, repetitive organ
riffs of “Beatnik.”

Chris Knox uses a combination of drones and rhythmic patterns
in dozens of his songs, including one in “Boys” that directly
echoes “Love You To.”


Return to Part Six of “Nothing’s Going to Happen”