Notes on Ageing: Being Out of the Loop

Larry 'n NassauIt could be easily argued that everyone’s favorite music is that which they spent their youth with. Music wise, my wife never left the 50/60s. She became musically frozen in time while I somehow managed to avoid such.

My mother always played a lot of big band era records and pop music of the late 40s and early 50s. Once we got a TV her favorite programs became Your Hit Parade, Name that Tune, Lawrence Welk, Sing Along with Mitch Miller, and anything featuring Liberace. So, I had that exposure along with an exposure to jazz that came from some older friends of mine. I came to rock ‘n roll a little more slowly and with some reluctance.

Eventually I gave into peer pressure and embraced people like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbinson, etc. But, I never was much of an Elvis fan. The Pelvis was just a little too popular and ran counter to my contrarian nature. When the Brits invaded in the early 60s I was slow to warm up to them. It really wasn’t until I watched the Beatles at Shea Stadium on TV that I decided to take them seriously. I may have been the last hold out.

All in all I’ve had a pretty eclectic musical education. I enjoy classical, show tunes, jazz, rock, folk, classic country, bluegrass, WWII era big band and pop, and most recently a real fascination for blues.

But at some point I, like so many older people, decided enough is enough and turned off my ears to anything new. I’m often reminded of this when my grand kids come wiggling into the house uttering strange sounds and lyrics. Most recently my being out of the loop was demonstrated by a magazine article containing Top Chart standings. In the category iTunes Top 10 Songs I only recognized the names of three artist and couldn’t name you a song title any of them have recorded. In College Radio Top 10 Albums I was zero for ten in artist names. Even in the category of From the Vault (1993) the best I could do was four for ten.

I’ve often joked that my musical awareness ended when The Eagles first broke up. Since that was in 1980 I may have been more correct than I thought.

The truth is, however, that it isn’t at all necessary to keep current and still enjoy yourself. With the Internet and MP-3 files I literally have thousands of songs recorded and could never live long enough to listen to what I have, let alone keep current. Plus, when I have given an ear to “what’s hot” I don’t hear anything that makes me want to give up the music of my life. People my age go about their business humming or whistling the melody of classic tunes. What the hell is someone who knows nothing but rap or hip-hop going to hum when they’re 70?

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