I discovered popular music as a kiddo while riding around in my Daddy’s 1955 Pontiac, playing with the AM radio push-buttons. This was around 1958, and I was seven. For some reason my parents didn’t have a radio in the house, nor did they own a record player and records. Music wasn’t important in their life, but they seemed to love the music on TV, on the variety shows, where my Dad dug Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and my mother would tell us kids to shut up so she could listen to Nat King Cole or Perry Como. Those crooners were so damn old, even then.
My parents would get especially excited if music clips of Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller played in an old movie. They’d tell my sister and I how that was their music. Big bands, with trumpets and clarinets, it seemed as ancient as Egypt. Music that felt new was the rock and roll music I found on the AM radio in the car. That music made my Dad turn red and shout, “Turn off that goddamn noise.”
I’m listening to Quicksilver Messenger Service, a San Francisco rock band from the late 1960s. Quicksilver still feels out of the womb new to me. Even though it’s forty years later, a much greater span of time than from Benny Goodman of the late 1930s to the late 1950s, Quicksilver didn’t get old to me. Why? Would kids hearing my music today feel it had been dug up by archeologists?
Is my music new to me, but old to you?
Listening to current pop music makes me feel old. It’s all made by teenagers, or over-the-hill burnouts in their twenties, but then the rock and roll of the 1950s was made by teenagers too. Time is doing a number on my head. Time is more than relative. I can feel young and old, both at the same time, just by listening to music.
JWH – 6/16/9