Hey, quick question: who was the first Rock artiste you remember liking who was your age or younger? It occurred to me the other day that kids who cut their baby Rock teeth in the ’70s might have had an unusually high proportion of favorite artists who were much older than they were — as compared to, say, those who were in their teens in the mid- to late-’60s. If you were a 17-year-old Stones fan in 1966, for example, Mick Jagger would have been just 6 years older than you. For me, being a 17-year-old Stones fan in 1981 made me 21 years younger than Sir Mick. By the time I got to college, and became a huge Jam fan, Paul Weller was 6 years older than me. Same for d boon. I suspect I turned this corner by the time I was 25 or so. But who would my artist contemporary have been? I’m having a hard time figuring this out. Nowadays, of course, they’re all much younger and stupider than me.
Last night while watching The Bob Newhart Show (the good one from the ’70s, not the ’80s version, with the pouffy wife and bad sweaters) an ad caught my eye. I usually do my best to avoid any ads on any of the stations showing reruns of sitcoms from my youth. They make me feel really old. I wish my powers of avoidance had helped me last night, when I got sucked into the following:
My recent experience at a ’60s flashback tour documented HERE got me thinking a lot about how few bands on the oldies circuit have managed to retain any sense of cool, integrity, or credibility. I then happened to catch an interview with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone of The Zombieson an NPR podcast where they performed a “Tiny Desk Concert.”
I was immediately floored not only by the quality of their voices but also that they’ve continued to stand apart from other ’60s bands since their heyday. It is still a rare feat to have such wide appeal not only from the mass radio audiences but with critics and music snobs as well. Most likely they were able to escape any embarrassment or permanent damage to their history by dissolving the band at the height of their success. Further, it appears Blunstone’s and Argent’s post-Zombies output doesn’t overshadow or impact their previous work negatively. The same cannot be said for their contemporaries, whose quality of albums in the later years suffered and only manage to replicate any successes by showing up in casinos or touring the sheds every summer.
Is there a band from the ’60s still active and touring that rivals the coolness of The Zombies?
I know, I did it to myself. What did I expect? I listened to Classic Rock radio this afternoon and it’s just so stale that I swear, it sucks the very will to live right out of you. So my mind was wandering while they were playing “Start Me Up,” which is a pretty good song by my favorite band in the whole world. But I was just thinking, “maybe I should just turn on my mp3 player or NPR.”
Then I started thinking that the Oldies station doesn’t play a steady diet of Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. In fact, they seem to have made these kinds of great artists almost invisible. I was thinking that wasn’t such a bad thing. If I were a big fan, I could listen to them until I couldn’t bear it anymore anyway. I started thinking that when Classic Rock radio became a format, it was pretty much just Rock radio, and they played old stuff and new stuff (much like people actually do in their cars and homes). Then I thought, “Program Directors need a Death Panel!”
But like our Nation’s Death Panels, these Panels need to be made up of people who care. People with a vested interest. People for whom cutting these songs out of the rotation to make some room for something new are actually going to be affected by this action. I figured if I were on this Panel, I’d have to make those hard decisions about my favorite band, The Rolling Stones, but I wouldn’t be able to chime in about a band like Led Zeppelin, which I can’t stand. It just wouldn’t be fair because I don’t have a vested interest.
So I thought members of the Hall would be good candidates for this heavy burden. We’ve got to do something! These Program Directors are obviously in way over their heads, too attached to their heroes to make rational decisions to help get some decent new Rock on the radio.
Will you step up and make the hard decisions? I’ll start off by making my own cuts. I’ll miss these songs on the radio dearly, but I understand we just can’t support them anymore. It’s for the younger generation. It’s for the greater good. Can you help cut 5 songs from your favorites?
Start Me Up. There may be no song with more private support, with all the plays it gets in stadiums and on TV.
Miss You. It’s great for dancing and parties, but it’s a pretty long song, and a lot of new artists will benefit from the amount of air time freed up.
Gimme Shelter. A stone cold classic, and I truly love the song, but Martin Scorcese has promised to use it in every movie he makes anyway.
Brown Sugar. I’m pretty sure a riff like that will never die. It doesn’t need any more help on the Public airwaves.
Angie – I love it. I really do, but face it, there are plenty of other ballads every bit as deserving.
Hartford, CT has two passable radio stations. WDRC-FM 102.9 is an oldies station, although they have been tweaking the format for the last 2 years and no longer use the term oldies but rather “good time rock ‘n roll.” WAQY-FM 102.1 out of Springfield, MA is a classic rock station.
In honor of MLB umpire Jim Joyce, I present nine choices for you. These are taken from actual instances on the radio while driving on weekend errands. I noted which song was being played on DRC and which song was on 102.1. So, you make the call: If you were listening, which song would be safe and which would be out. First song listed in each is the oldies choice, second is the classic rock choice.
(1) Neon Philharmonic, “Good Morning Girl” vs. Santana, “Oye Como Va”
(2) The Beatles, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” vs. The Beatles, “Golden Slumbers” medley
(3) The Four Tops, “Same Old Song” vs. Heart, “Barracuda”
(4) Archie Bell & The Drells, “Tighten Up” vs. David Bowie, “Young Americans”
(5) Elvis Presley, “Suspicious Minds” vs. Boston, “More Than A Feeling”
(6) Dusty Springfield, “Wishin’ & Hopin’” vs. Journey, “Lights”
(7) Beach Boys, “Wendy” vs. Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”
(8) Jonathan King, “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” vs. Grand Funk, “American Band”
(9) Billy Joel, “Only The Good Die Young” vs. Billy Squier, “Lonely Is The Night”