Saturday, December 2, 2023

Is Classic Rock Now Dinosaur Music?

The other day I read an article that claimed classic rock is now a dinosaur musical genre, which soon will be relegated to the dustbin of history, along with Glenn Miller-type big band music from the 1930s and ‘40s.

The writer of the article, who obviously was some smart-aleck whippersnapper no older than age 40, pointed out that all the famous classic rock musicians are either dead, or will be dead in less than a decade. (I won’t mention the writer’s name here — mostly because I forgot it.)

It’s true that many of the artists who created rock n’ roll music, from the mid-1960s through the early ‘90s, are gone now. But on the other hand, some of them are still going strong. For example, the Rolling Stones just released a new album and the following senior citizen singers have performed in concert during the past year or so: Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Pete Townsend.
I think what annoyed me most about the snarky “classic rock is dead” article is the way the writer almost gleefully pointed out that Baby Boomers, those of us who are the biggest fans of classic rock, have entered into the final phase of our journey here on earth. He seemed anxious to be rid of us, so he would no longer be subjected to “old fogey” music from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Joan Jett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Boston, Led Zeppelin, etc.

Speaking of being “subjected to” music, I attended a college football game back in November, and during halftime the PA system played rap music for 20 minutes straight. My seat was really close to a large speaker, and after about 10 minutes I turned to no one in particular and said out loud, “Any chance they can play some Beatles or Queen, ya know, something that actually has a melody?”
Two students nearby heard me, and turned and stared at me as if I had suggested the PA system should play Mozart’s Fugue in G minor. I smiled and shrugged. Over the next few minutes I noticed those two students were singing along with the rap songs. (Or is it reciting along with? Shouting along with? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure “singing” is not the correct word.) Anyway, they knew every word of the songs being played — in the same way I know every word of “Hey Jude” and “Born to Run” and a gazillion other classic rock tunes.

I thought I felt old during my recent annual physical, when the young whippersnapper doctor kept asking me questions like, “Have you noticed that you’re becoming more forgetful?” and, “Do you ever feel unsteady while walking?” However, that was nothing compared to the rap music halftime experience. When those two students stared at me with completely baffled expressions on their faces, I felt like saying, “And yes, I did meet Abraham Lincoln in person. He was a nice guy.”

To quote Joan Jett: “I love rock n’ roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby!”
Hmm, the phrase “put another dime in the jukebox” is actually rather archaic. After all, jukeboxes were popular even before another musical relic, the beloved 8-track tape player. So, I guess for people who are in their 30s today, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll” is pretty much the same thing as Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Well, I don’t care if classic rock is now a dinosaur musical genre, as long as I have my collection of tunes that put a smile on my face. As Bob Seger put it: “Today's music ain’t got the same soul / I like that old time rock n’ roll!” 

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