They Don’t Write Them Like That Anymore – And Thank God For That!!!!!

When I was growing up there were a number of things that I wanted to be. As a child I wanted to be a fireman, a cop or an accountant (It was a strange childhood, don’t ask). As I grew older those dreams grew to rock star, race car driver, or relief pitcher for Chicago Cubs. It was just last year that I came to the brutal realization that the only way I was getting into Wrigley Field was by buying a ticket. But in all that time there was one thing that I didn’t want to be: My Parents.

Oh don’t get me wrong, both of my parents were wonderful people. They were hard workers, good providers, and pillars of their communities. But there was one thing that they definitely were not: Cool. Nope, my parents (and probably yours) were about the uncoolest people I had ever met. And by God, I vowed that if I ever grew up and had kids of my own, I was going to be cool. Whatever it was my parents said or did when I was growing up would not, I repeat, NOT be something I would ever repeat.

I failed.

Because you see, if there was one area above all else that my parents were uncool about, it was music. I mean, I can’t even begin to tell you how uncool my parents were about music. And to be fair, you have to remember that my folks were born in 1923 and 1924, so their formative teenage years were the late 1930’s. 1976 – the year of my 16th birthday (and greatest year ever) – was filled with the debutalbums from Boston and Foreigner, as well Springsteen’s Born to Run and one of the greatest albums of all time, Hotel California by The Eagles. By the same token, the number one song the year my dad turned 16 was Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland. Number two that year: Back In The Saddle Again by Gene Autry.

Then add on top of that the fact that my remaining teenage years were spent going to concerts by Kiss, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, while Mom and Dad’s remaining teenage years were spent fighting that pesky little World War II thing, and the truth is, the poor slobs never had a chance. They were doomed to be uncool.

But damn it, I wasn’t. I’ve been to dozens and dozens of concerts. I have over 2,000 CD’s, and an iPod with over 14,000 songs on it. I know music. I live music. Sure, I couldn’t carry a tune if you put a gun to my head, but when it comes to music, I’m cool.

Or so I thought. You see, I am the parent of a 21 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Blake’s idea of music is the heaviest of heavy metal music, by groups I’ve never heard of, and who, to be honest, scare me a little. But I don’t bust his balls over this, Like I said, I was into Alice Cooper, Rush and Black Sabbath when I was his age. Sure, timid by todays standards, but hardcore for the 70’s.

No, the real problem is with my daughter. You see, for about three weeks now we’ve been on J.B.C. – Justin Bieber Countdown. The new 3-D Justin Bieber concert film comes out a week from today, and if you walk up to my daughter and ask how many minutes ’til the debut, I’d bet she could tell you.

Now I understand the appeal to a girl her age. Hell, when I was growing up it was David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, or Davy Jones. All the girls I went to school with had pictures of these three cut out of Tiger Beat and pasted on their notebooks. So I get it. But today, I uttered the words that I have dreaded since I was a child:

You kids today with this horrible Music…. Now when (wait for it) I WAS YOUR AGE, now THAT was Music.

Yes, I have officially become my father. But, in my defense, the music today is crap, right? And the music of my era – the 70’s – was awesome, right? We had Led Zepplin, The Who, The Stones and Pink Floyd, and today we have Lady Gaga, Lil’ Wayne, Ke$ha and, of course, Justin Bieber.

How do you even compare the two? Well, if you want to be honest – I mean REALLY Honest – you have to admit something that a lot of folks my age don’t want to admit: There was a lot of really crappy music in the seventies. Sure, we had Stairway to Heaven, Layla, China Grove and Pink Floyd’s Money – None of which topped the charts. As a matter of fact, Money – one of the greatest rock songs of all times – only reached number 13 on the Billboard charts, and Stairway to Heaven, arguably THE greatest rock anthem of all time, never even made the top 40.

And then we have such gems as I Think I Love You (The Partridge Family), Kung-Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas), The Streak (Ray Stevens) and Convoy (C.W. McCall) – each and every one of them a number one hit. Other number one hits from the seventies include Billy, Don’t Be A Hero, The Night Chicago Died, Disco Duck (I swear to God, Disco Duck was a number one single),  …. oh, and don’t forget Afternoon Delight. And the very last number one song of the seventies: Escape. Your remember Escape, right (If you like Pina Colada’s, getting caught in the ran…..).

And then we have the number one song of the entire decade: You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone. Believe it or not, that piece of crap was the number one song for TEN STRAIGHT WEEKS. Ten Weeks. To put that in perspective, you could be driving in your car and the D.J. could come on the radio and announce that You Light Up My Life was the new number one song, causing you to drive headfirst into a tree. And then, when you awoke from the coma two months later, that damn song was STILL NUMBER ONE!!!

So it’s hard to pick on the music my daughter listens to as crap when there was plenty of crap that we listened to in the 70’s. But damn it, that was OUR crap music, and we need to embrace it. After all, that was the soundtrack of my youth, and I wouldn’t trade that music for anything. Daydream Believer by the Monkees was the song that was playing when I got my first kiss. I remember roller skating to Bobby Vinton’s Sealed With A Kiss, holding hands with Robin, my first girlfriend. So say what you want about the music of the seventies, but to me it’s the best damn music there ever was, and ever will be.

And Madison, I’m sure you’re going to feel the same way about Justin Bieber thirty years from now. But seriously, we’ve got to talk about that Lady Gaga……..

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3 Responses

  1. Good stuff Bob.

  2. Those WERE Awesome years and music. I’m a few years younger, but that was MY parents music and a bit of my years too. My son and his girlfriend actually laughed at me a few months ago about a song on the radio in the car. Watching The Groomsmen on Netflix brought back some memories and I had to look up a Greg Kihn song and ran across your page. I enjoyed it.

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