Since the political situation in this country is entering a period of transition with the change in administration, I am going to hold off commenting on politics for awhile, and, instead, I am going to sort of reminisce a bit as a way of making social commentary. Besides, with all the ugly crap in politics these last few months, I’ve gotten a bad taste in my mouth just talking about it. So, consider my reminiscing a sort of intellectual mouthwash for us all.
I was going through my music collection the other day playing some of my favorites – Led Zeppelin, Jackson Browne, Neil Young and Van Morrison. These are some of the people whose music has shaped who I am. I’ve been listening to them for about forty years or more. What’s really amazing to me is that, with the exception of Lennon who has been dead for years, they are all still performing! Robert Plant and Jackson Browne were born the same year I was (1948)’; Young and Morrison are three years older than that. Us old geezers can still rock!
The reason that I find the fact that these guys, as well as many others of that generation, and myself are still rockin’ – in more ways than just musically, is that forty years ago, when we were in our twenties, we used to say, “Never trust anyone over 30.” And now we are all twice that! Totally blows me away!
I can remember back to the early days of rock’n’roll. I was still in elementary school. Adults like our parents said rock would not last, that it was just a passing phase, like bobby sox or poodle skirts. Well, it’s now been more than fifty years since the earliest rock music first hit the scene and, although it has gone through many changes and comes in many flavors, rock is still the musical accompaniment to our lives, and to the lives of our children and grandchildren. I think that 200 hundred years from now, lot of the people like those I listed above will be talked about in the same breath with Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, Stravinsky and other classical composers. After all, weren’t these classical geniuses the rock stars of their generations? And the rebels?
my kids like a lot of the same music I do. My daughter for example, is a big Zeppelin fan, and all my kids, even my autistic son, love Chuck Berry and Little Richard. But they also like a lot of the newer groups, some of who, I an barely tolerate. But, unless the group condones sexism, racism, satanism, or other generally accepted forms of evil, I do not criticize my kids choices, even though I think some of these groups are musically challenged. I remember my own parents’ reactions to my taste in music and I try not be a hypocrite. I wish more of my generation would follow that rule.
Two of my kids are teenagers and the youngest will be one this time next year. As far as I know, their generation does not subscribe to the notion not to trust anyone over 30. That’s a good thing. We do not need the same sort of generation gap that existed in the late 1960s. The world is a much more dangerous place now then it was then, and our teenagers need to be able to trust at least some adults. We who grew up as rock’n’roll kids need to make sure we keep the faith so that we can be there for the teenagers of today when they need help and guidance.
And it is the shared bond of our mutual love of rock’n’roll that can serve as the catalyst for building relationships of trust with our kids and grandkids. Fr from being the devil’s music, rock is the music that can create love and trust between generations. As Chuck Berry said nearly fifty years ago, “Hail! Hail, rock’n’roll!”