I've been lamenting to my kids that they are just not going to have the golden oldies when they are grown up like I do. It cracks them up that we can be playing name that tune on 70s on 7 on the XM radio, and even if I don't know the song...I can usually name the artist.
That's because "back in the day," there was an actual emphasis on voice...and on talent...not on the Look, or the Dance Move, or the Lack of Clothing.
What's funny is to look at the playlists on Amanda's or James' DJ. They have as many old songs as they do new ones. I like taking some credit for that, but the reality is...it's just good music.
Bob Dylan. Janis Joplin. The Eagles. Neil Diamond. Elvis. The Beatles. Chicago. Don McLean. The Temptations. Johnny Cash. John Denver. Dolly Parton. Jimmy Buffett. I can identify the artist, because I can hear his or her (or their, in the case of a group) actual voice, and the voice is most always distinctive enough to stand out from others. The song has a lyric that actually makes sense and means something. Not a lot of synthesizer, no god-awful drum beat that drowns out everything. Instead - a unique style, and a vocal and instrumental sound that, even if you've never heard the particular SONG, still lets you determine the particular ARTIST.
There's good music out there today, don't get me wrong, and I enjoy listening to some of it with the kids. Rob Thomas. Green Day. That "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" song. I love that song, even though it makes me sad - "my shadow is the only one who walks beside me" - how heart-breaking is that?!?
But twenty years later, I hear the first note sung by Karen Carpenter's gorgeous voice, and I know immediately who it is.
Twenty years from now...are my kids going to be able to tell their kids the difference between Brittney Spears or Jessica Simpson or Ashlee Simpson or Pink or Gwen Stefani with just a line from a song?
Nah...but they can't do it today, either. And it's no big loss.