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As Time Goes By...


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Many of us on this forum are over 40. A considerable number are over 50 years of age. And the one thing we all seem to have in common is "selective memory". By that I mean we have in place a sort of filter that keeps out many of the true memories of our times. Whenever we hark back to "the day", we seem to only pull out those facts, at least when it comes to music, that can be considered timeless. Such as Beatles and Rolling Stones music, Hendrix and Zappa, Elvis and Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. You get the drift. From our viewpoint now, looking back to then, we are able to "weed out" the mundane, maudlin and mediocre to put forth a compelling arguement about the Quality of "our" music.

 

We can also sit back and be amused at the singular, tunnel-visioned taste in music put forth by the very much younger members of this forum with complete disregard of the same tunnel-vision we, too, used to possess. It is only through the passing of many years that many of us grew to appreciate that music from even earlier times than ours. While teens, many of us rejected much of the music listened to and loved by our parents and grandparents. we had NO use for classical music at all. We, too, were content to listen to only one radio station and collect recordings purposely aimed at our demographic. So we now use this forum to put forth our arguement to younger members about the roots of what THEY might prefer to hear in the hopes they will come to an eclectic epiphany much sooner than most of US did. And it might be working. I'm not sure.

 

But we have to be honest. Not only to those younger members, but to ourselves as well. For as much "shit music" some of us like to complain about that permeates the airwaves today, we also had more than our fair share of the shit songs. And they are part of our musical heritage that's being treated like the perverbial "red-headed stepchild". Many of the tunes might deserve it, you would say. But they really don't. Because while we can now claim, after the absorbtion of so much other, quality music, that they weren't really all that good, back in the day they were considered "cool" and many even became #1 hits.

 

For example, while Elvis was scandilizingly shaking his hips, the biggest song of the time was "Mr. Sandman". A song that sounds like it was arranged for the Modernaires. Mixed in with songs like "Be-Bop-A-Lula" were songs like "The Witch Doctor"("OO-EE-OO-AH-AH, Ping-Pang, Walla-Walla-Bing-Bang"). The Fleetwoods' "Mr. Blue" is about as lame as it gets, yet at the time, it was a BIG hit. So were song novelties like "Kissin' and a-Huggin' With Fred", "She Can't Find Her Keys"(by Paul Petersen!), "The Purple People Eater", "My Boomerang Won't Come Back" and the ever-heavy "Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini". Many dug The Hollywood Argyles' "Alley Oop" as much as they did Pat Boone's(Eep!)"Speedy Gonzales". The novelty list can get pretty long!

 

While the rock'n'roll radio stations were pounding out platters like "I Get Around" and "Tossin' and Turnin'", they also spun stuff like "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor(On The Bedpost Overnight)"(from Lonnie Donegan), and(Eep, again!)Lawrence Welk's "Calcutta". Even after The Beatles changed much of the way music was played, we STILL heard stuff like "Henry the Eight" and "Winchester Cathederal".

 

Gene Pitney was probably the biggest vocalist in his time, and many of his tunes made it big. But NObody would call "Only Love Can Break A Heart" or "Town Without Pity" headbanging stuff. We bopped our heads to Brook Benton singing about a boll weevil as much as we did to Ray Charles wailing "Hit The Road, Jack". We thought the "Sugar Shack" rocked as much as many thought the "Love Shack" did years later. And when 1962-63 rolled around with the "folk music" craze, many of us divided our time between Peter, Paul and Mary, and The Sufaris. No single commercial radio station today would serve up such diversified fare like then, when you could hear, within a 10 minute span, the Four seasons singing "Sherri", Faron Young whining that "I Wanna Go Home", followed by Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk". And as silly as it sounds, all three of those tunes were big, '60's hits! As well as Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips" and The Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun". Go figure.

 

But it's all true. And yet, talk to any boomer these days and he'll go on and on about the Beatles and the Stones, Blues Magoos, Motown and Stax soul right up to Hedrix, Airplane and the Dead. As if all that other stuff never happened.

 

But as much as a lot of those tunes can now be looked at as dreck, I get a kick out of hearing them. Someday, some punk now will be old enough to look back the same way and wonder just what in the HELL did he ever see in Britney's music. But he'll probably get the same kick out of hearing that old dreck again. With me, the fact I used to think some of that swill was so cool is amusing. Another point is that it's a connection. Thank God and Edison for recorded music! I can pick a year and find a compilation of the tunes from then, listen to them and hark back. ALL those memories floods in. It's actually the only youth we'll ever be able to maintain. I probably won't get back the thickness of hair, nor thinness of middle that I had when I was 16, but, by God, I'll have the MEMORIES! And the recordings will help me reach them that much easier.

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Whitey - can I call you whitey? Get hooked up to satellite FM. All those "hit" or "shit" songs are there to enjoy without commercial interuption.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Can you call me "whitey"?

 

Sure. I've been called WORSE! :D

 

And I HAVE been looking into satellite radio for a while. Chances are I'll be with it pretty soon.

 

Whiteyfang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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And then there's us 23-year olds who REALLY appreciate The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and all the other major names one that LONG list of legends. And who also HATE Britney Spears (except for the fact that the *productions* are exceptionally well done and worth studying).

 

We're people who love GOOD MUSIC, no matter when or where it was made/recorded.

 

Great post "Whitey" :) Many good points...

-Joachim Dyndale

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Einstein: The difference between genius and stupidity is: Genius has limits

 

My Blog...

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Originally posted by whitefang:

Can you call me "whitey"?

 

Sure. I've been called WORSE! :D

 

And I HAVE been looking into satellite radio for a while. Chances are I'll be with it pretty soon.

 

Whiteyfang

I was on a long drive last week from Springfield, MO to Bismarck, ND and Had to make it non-stop. Once out of the KC area, radio stations are few and far betweeen, so in Sioux falls, SD, I stopped at a Best Buy (not a plug) and pickup up something that looks like a communicator from the original Star Trek series. I sat in the parking lot and installed it (took about 10 minutes to install and about 30 minutes to get my subscription up and running with Serius - God they love to plug themselves). Loved it all the way home. Any kind of music you want, any kind of talk show you want, any kind of news you want, and they even broadcast every NFL football game each Sunday in case your wife makes you go to the farm with her right in the middle of a Rams game. Also, old (before tv) radio programs and a couple comedy channels. The unit is mobile and can be moved from vehicle to vehicle easily if you are like me and always sell what you are driving. ( I guess that is not much of a deterent for theft). I had originally thought about getting an iPod with a car adaptor, but I just couldn't stand the $400 price tag or the thought of having to find all those 40 gigs worth of mp3's to load onto it. I have been listening to music I'd long since forgotten about. Cream, early Allman Brothers, ELP. And there's even a channel dedicated to Elvis. Pretty cool tool.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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When the oldies stations started up in earnest, maybe 15-18 years ago in this part of North Carolina, it was cool to be able to listen to songs that I hadn't thought about in a long while, silly stuff included. Then I noticed; none of the songs on the playlist were the angry songs that really made me sit up and take notice when they originally hit the airwaves. I'm talking about tunes like The Beatle's "Revolution" (the fast, 45 version) or "Like A Rolling Stone".

It seems like the emphasis was strictly on fun, happy-go-lucky stuff that didn't really reflect what was a turbulent time. Granted, there were more of the innocuous songs being produced (and promoted) back then than the songs that really made you stop and listen.

But when I think of the Sixties, I don't think about "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter"... instead I hear Jefferson Airplane calling for "Volunteers".

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When thinking of the '60's, a few of us old farts think of "Blowin' In The Wind"(no pun intended).

 

Actually, I HAVE heard "Revolution" and "Like A Rolling Stone" on the local "oldies" station up here(WOMC). Oddly enough, it's the "classic rock" station that shies away from the old topical stuff :confused: !

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I was in Tower records yesterday(picked up a copy of Keyboard 8/04 for the "reading room") and glanced at some CDs and came across a display of cassettes 3 for $10 and glanced through them. There was a wide assortment of cheese from the past along with some gems. I picked up Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain, Brubeck - Time Out, and Coltrane - Coltrane Plays the Blues(w/Elvin Jones).

 

steve

You shouldn't chase after the past or pin your hopes on the future.
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