Occupy Guitarmy and the Most Ginormous Rock Groups Ever

Photo: Rebecca Smeyne for MTV Hive

Occupy Wall Street’s “Guitarmy,” an attempt to assemble a 1000-person band, had its first performance yesterday for May Day in New York City, with a six-song set list featuring both traditional numbers (“We Shall Not Be Moved”) and more recent material (“World Wide Rebel Songs” by the Nightwatchman, a.k.a. the Guitarmy’s general Tom Morello). By all accounts, the group didn’t get particularly close to the thousand mark — the video below makes it look more like a few dozen players — but it made a big noise. It also continued a longstanding tradition of drawing attention with huge musical ensembles.

(Video courtesy of Rebecca Smeyne)

One of the earliest extant sound recordings is this faint, celestial seven-and-a-half-minute snatch of Georg Friedrich Händel’s oratorio “Israel in Egypt,” recorded in London in 1888. At that point, sound had to be very loud indeed to register on a primitive wax cylinder, and this performance of “Israel in Egypt,” as tiny a trace of it as still exists, was as loud as music got in the 19th century: a 500-piece orchestra accompanying a 4000-piece choir.

It’s always easier to gather groups of singers than it is to coordinate people playing instruments: just last week, 40,000 people gathered in Norway to sing Lillebjørn Nilsen’s “Children of the Rainbow” together, specifically because mass murderer Anders Behring Brebik despises it.

Embedded from www.youtube.com.