Even though I am only 40, I must admit I am “old fogey,” as my kids call me, especially when it comes to music.
To better explain my point, I would be hard pressed to name you 10 songs that have been released in the past decade. To further expound on that point, it is of my opinion that the world lost two musicians from Jan. 10-18 with more talent in their pinky fingers than 99.9 percent of the “artists” have combined that choke out what goes for popular music these days.
As far as rock ‘n’ roll music is concerned, the world lost two of its best with the deaths of David Bowie on January 10 and Glenn Frey just eight days later. It literally makes me weep that generations of young kids and teenagers will live their lives listening to Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, etc. As much as that junk makes my ears bleed, don’t even get me started on today’s country. I shudder thinking how Waylon Jennings must roll over in his grave every time a new Florida Georgia Line tune comes out. There is not enough verbal vomit to describe how I feel about that. Shudder!
Schools today put a lot of emphasis on art – making sure students are given at least some education to appreciate the world’s fine artists like Rembrandt, Picasso, Da Vinci, and so forth. If I had my way, at least a couple of weeks of a child’s 13 years of public education would be dedicated to music appreciation.
The way I figure it, this way a child would at least hear “Seven Bridges Road” once in their life. Once a class of young ‘uns has heard the beautiful harmonization Frey and the rest of the Eagles released in 1980, at least one child would hopefully realize just how craptastic the current tunes of pop music truly are. Let them hear Tequila Sunrise or Take it to the Limit and maybe, just maybe, a couple of kids might grow up to make music that doesn’t, you know, SUCK!!!
As far as Bowie, he was an oddball’s oddball – a truly freaky individual. As my cohort David Broyles said, Bowie was Lady Gaga WAY before Lady Gaga. But weirdo-ness aside, Bowie cranked out some timeless treasures in his day. I would rather listen to Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity or Under Pressure on an infinite loop than be tortured with 30 seconds of Kanye West. Seriously, if the U.S. government used Kanye West music to get ISIS detainees to talk, we could have terrorism licked in a week.
The thing is, Frey and Bowie are just the tip of the iceberg. What I would give to teach every child the wonders of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. If just one kid could learn to wail like Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen on a guitar, what a better world it would be in which to live.
If just one band today sounded like The Allman Brothers, it’s my opinion the Justin Biebers of the world would quickly go the way of disco and into the music graveyard. Seriously, if you are a youngster reading this, just look up Blue Sky by The Allmans on Youtube. You can thank me later.
As my Mount Airy News cohort Jeff Linville recently pointed out, there’s a reason you still hear Metallica at high school and college football games. There’s something about Taylor Swift that just doesn’t quite get the adrenaline pumping like the bone-crushing guitar and drums of Enter Sandman or AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.
Realizing that we live in rural Southwest Virginia where country is king, I have a simple plea for today’s youth growing up on Luke Bryan and Keith Urban. Go to your handy cellphone, find the Youtube app and enter the following, Waylon Jennings, Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way. I can almost assure you that your outlook on music will be changed.
If rap is your thing, type in Johnny Cash, Don’t Bring Your Guns to Town. As the notorious rapper Snoop Dogg once said, “I’d like to dedicate this record, right here, to my main man Johnny Cash, a real American gangster.” Search ole Mr. Cash’s “The Man in Black” or “A Boy Named Sue” or “One Piece at a Time.” Any of those songs are better raps or country songs than anything today, this I can assure you.
By this point, I realize I have fully cemented that old fogey status my children have bestowed upon me. I try my darndest to get them appreciate the great bands like CCR, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Doors. It’s still a work in progress, this I admit, but after a few more years of Miley Cyrus, I am willing to bet my hard work will eventually pay off.