I Can Hear Music. I Think.
As we Baby Boomers plummet down the slippery slope to fogeydom, we often use what little memory we have left to recall our young adulthood. And when we do, we find that one towering cultural icon runs like a demented streaker through many of our fondest recollections.
No, not Richard Nixon. I’m talking about Classic Rock, the music of our youth, the bright light of an era that was otherwise a complete waste of hair spray. Those of us who can raise our fists skyward without neck pain still enthusiastically pump the beat of timeless anthems like “Satisfaction”, while shouting out what we vaguely recall are the alleged lyrics. We leap into creaky, dance-like motions to the strains of “Wooly Bully”, and once again know the gratification of seeing our teenage children slink from the room in embarrassment.
But the Born to Run generation is slowing to a stroll; the cutting-edge music of yesteryear becomes the dull instrument of today. Lanky, sullen young people who wear their pants at much lower elevations than we do plot bizarre new musical concepts while we fall asleep ever earlier each evening, our bottles of Arthritis Pain Relief Formula on the nightstand.
So let’s take one last look back at our beloved music and consider what made it special for us, other than the fact that our parents hated it and 45s were really cheap. Is it because enough amplifiers and strobe lights could make even the Vienna Boys Choir sound like Pink Floyd? Was it the infectious beats, the guitar riffs, and lyrics that included the word “groovy”? Consider these compelling questions:
If you’re “In a Gada da Vida”, where in the heck are you?
Could you really hypnotize someone using only “The Sounds of Silence” and a lava lamp?
Isn’t “My Baby Does the Hanky-Panky” one of the greatest song titles of all time?
Which is longer, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” or the ending of “Hey Jude”?
Would you stick your finger in a live amplifier outlet to have that suede fringed jacket that Jimi Hendrix wore at Woodstock? (I would.)
We may never have all the answers. Perhaps the real reason behind the endurance of Classic Rock is its ability to take us back to a finer, simpler time, when our joints worked with effortless precision, we looked good in hip-huggers, and our regularly ingested drugs did not include names like Lipitor and Viagra. Our music allows us to bask in nostalgia, to escape the tedium of everyday life.
And the fact that we can’t see without bifocals and can seldom hear other people speaking to us any more just makes it all that much easier.