Tuesday, May 9, 2006

When Did My Musical Tastes Become Obsolete?

I saw an episode of The Cosby Show where Stevie Wonder’s limo hits Denise’s car. Clair declared that her kids would never forget meeting him for the rest of their lives. It occurred to me that, while that was true, they might have to explain who Wonder was in about 10 years.

It’s a generational thing. My parents loved Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, and Jimmy Dean, probably to upset their parents who were into Les Brown and His Band Renown, Dean Martin and the Andrews Sisters. Therefore I had to love Three Dog Night, The Beach Boys, and then Aerosmith, Led Zepplin, Genesis, and Pink Floyd just to spite them. Not to be outdone the next generation went berserk for Donna S’s, and KC and The Sunshine Band’s disco gang because they knew my generation hated it, and their kids are now appalling their parents by being in love with rap and hip hop.

I still have to tell people that Richard Harris did not steal "MacArthur Park" from Donna Disco Queen. About 10 years ago I remember explaining to a kid that Paul McCartney was more famous as a Beatle than as member of Wings, and had to explain that Paul didn’t rip off “Live and Let Die” from Axl Rose, and he wouldn’t believe me till I showed him a video tape of the movie.

It’s not fair that I should know what a “33 1/3” is, or be embarrassed for knowing all the words to the Mamas and the Papas “California Dreamin’,” or have Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon memorized. You know you’re musically obsolete when you find yourself singing along with The Moody Blue's “Nights in White Satin” playing on the overhead speakers at the grocery store... and then I realized I knew all the words to all the songs I was hearing.

It didn’t dawn on me until a friend my age said he doesn’t listen to country music anymore on the radio because it’s changed so much. That threw me - it still sounds the same to me: some guy falls in love, his wife leaves him for another man, he’s all alone with his huntin’ dawgs, and his pickup breaks down.

I used to be so proud cruising around with my top down and the stereo up, blasting “The luuuuuunatics are on the grahhhs…” Now I get looks like I’ve lost my mind for playing such garbage in public.

Someday soon in a Wal-Mart checkout line, I hope to hear some mother explain to her kid that she used to love to listen to "The New Kids on the Block," only to have the kid ask, "Really; where did they live?"

The only thing that gives me comfort is that sometime around 2025 today’s kids will be totally embarrassed as adults to play what’s current now for their kids, and get just as self-conscious as I do when I’m stopped at an intersection singing out loud “Day-lie day-lie my boyfriend’s back!”

WARNING: Reproduction of this article is forbidden without the author's permission
© 2006 by Jet in Columbus

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