Monday, February 27, 2006

When Does Rock Become Classic?

First, a quick note of how many words I've written today for the OWW writing marathon: 612 on Day. I also finished a scene. So far so good; let's hope I can keep the pace up. Now on to today's topic....


Eugene and I have been noticing lately that our favorite classic rock station The Drive (which is very similar to The Lake in Madison; we even recognized an announcer's voice from The Drive when we listened to The Lake on our recent trip) is playing songs from the 80s and even early 90s now. I haven't heard Madonna or punk rock; instead, it's been songs such as "One Step Up" by Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream." In a way, it makes sense that a classic rock station would play songs by these artists, though if The Drive really wanted to promote classic rock artists, they'd play songs from their more recent albums too. (For example, although I heard Paul McCartney's latest album played once at Barnes and Noble, I doubt I'll ever hear it on the regular playlist of The Drive.) Still, it bothers me to hear these songs on this station, and I had to think about why. I do like these songs, and while it may seem strange to hear songs from high school and college considered "classic," I'm not at a point where I'm worried about my age. (Ask me in five or ten years, and that may change.) The best answer I've come up with is that I've always defined classic rock as being from the 50s (yes, I do like some songs from this era), 60s, and 70s. If you stretch the genre to include later decades, then what does that make the Beatles, for instance? Very classic rock? Immortal rock? Geezer rock? Do we need new terms to define each decade of rock, or is it enough to refer to "60s rock"? At what point does rock become classic? Are there reasons for or against expanding the catalog of classic rock? How will doing so affect stations' playlists?

Plenty of food for thought here. If you have opinions, feel free to post them. I should browse over to OWW and read the latest review of Day.

1 comment:

Eugene said...

How about "The Steel Wheelchairs Tour" by the Rolling Stones. Try the Dinosaurs of Rock Music Fest. It's kind of scary that music that we listened to in high school and college is now being played on classic rock stations. As long as we don't hear Britney Spears and her dreck on that station.

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