So I’m trying to find my preferred music on the radio, which is really not too hard, since I will listen to anything that isn’t gangster rap or country music (well, a little Johnny Cash never hurt anyone), from essentially the 1700s until the 1990s, and I stumble upon a great station playing classic rock, and they announce themselves as the “Oldies Station.”
My mother listens to the oldies station, not me. She’s been listening to oldies since she was ... my age.
OK, let’s rewind and start again.
I can understand my mother’s generation of rock and roll being classified as “oldies.” After all, she was listening to artists who were, quite literally, defining rock and roll as a style of music, such as Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.
She was in on the ground floor when Elvis hit the airwaves, buying his first record (she says he’s still The King), and she bought the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s” album, new, when she was in college, earning her cool points once I learned of this when I was a teenager. Ever hear of a little movie called “American Graffiti?” That was my mom’s generation.
When I was young(er), I not only got a kick out her music being “oldies,” I used to tease her about being an “oldie” herself, to which she would reply to me in her soft-spoken way, “An oldie, but a goodie.”
I told her my music would never get old. I simply couldn’t conceive of it then. Heck, I still can’t conceive of it now.
Never mind that I don’t believe that, despite looking the part, The Rolling Stones can ever truly be considered “oldies.” They just concluded another concert tour in July. Rock and Roll greats such as Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders, and Billy Idol are all still touring. Even the surviving members of LynyrdSkynyrd still tour. The list certainly doesn’t stop here; I’m just stopping myself.
Other active bands that I love, but are not entirely mainstream (not then, not now), include Devo (of course), The B-52s, The Church, The Pixies and Book of Love. And let’s not forget ’80s staples Duran Duran (still sounding great), Flock of Seagulls (still sound great), Sting (of The Police, still sounds awesome!), Annie Lennox (of Eurythmics fame, also awesome), The Cure (more awesomeness) ... once again, the list can continue, so I’ll stop myself.
And I defy anyone to tell U2 that they are OLD. They’ve been around since the ’70s, but tell Bono that their music qualifies them for a spot on an oldies station. I dare you.
I prefer the term “classic,” much as we term a great car. We don’t call a great Corvette an “oldie.” We call it a “classic.” Those channels aren’t called Turner Classic Oldies, or American Movie Oldies, now are they?
I would bet that any of the artists I listed, or any other that I may have forgotten, would argue for themselves that their music is, in fact, “classic.”
When you’re in your car on a Friday, jamming out to Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend,” is the first thing that comes to your mind, “Wow, that’s so old?” Or is it, “Great tune!” My guess is the latter. Personally, I don’t think at all. I just turn up the volume and start singing along with Mike Reno.
Even Ironman jams out to AC/DC. He’s not on that stage playing air guitar and rocking out, all the while thinking, “Hmm, ‘Shoot to Thrill.’ I know all the words. I must be old.” Nope. Ironman is thinking, “Awesome tune! Classic!”
Which brings up another point. Oldies don’t get put on so many movie soundtracks.
Nope. Oldies just don’t age well (unless you’re my mother, who is a “goodie”). Good music does. That’s what renders good music “classic.” So the radio stations should change the designation of my music back to “classic rock.”
Or else answer to Bono.
Stephanie Ratts Grissom is a Herald correspondent.