YOUR MUSIC SUCKS

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, David Lee Roth

 

If you were born after 1977 I feel sorry for you.  It seems, of all the things the internet killed, music is among the most dead.  Yes we know that VHS tapes and bulky stereo systems are also but they were on a life cycle of their own regardless and would go the way of cassettes and 8 tracks regardless but with the advent of streaming and downloading music off the net illegally, the financial base of music seems to be gone.

The reason for this is the observation that among many of my God-children and adopted kids (many now adults), I hear them rolling up to my house with my generation of music blasting out their car.  I was asked by my nephew if I had ever heard of AC/DC, and one of my adopted kids desperately wants to see Journey in concert.  She isn’t clamoring to see Justin, no.  She wants to see REO Speedwagon and Journey and Cheap Trick and wishes Phil Collins would tour.

Phil Collins at his best:

 

For those of you who love music today, don’t freak out, I am not claiming that there is no skill or talent present.  There are very skilled musicians, singers and bands today.  But they won’t likely have the staying power of the previous generation.  And for those who don’t know, I am also biased but not blind.  I came of age in the 80s; the last (currently) golden age of music.

My ipod also has Marc Cohn, Alien Ant Farm, Avril (yes), Edwin McCain and Kelly Clarkson as well so I am not totally 80s and before but those represent exceptions.  I like Metallica and they seem to have had the most staying power of the post 80s era.  Dave Mathews was big for a long time and still tours but not like back in the day, but that’s normal.  The idea that I can name these is both a testament to their popularity and rarity.

What’s missing is variety as well as power.

 

Look at it this way, there are very few recent artists that sell more tickets while touring than the nostalgia bands of the 70s and 80s who’s members are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s.

The undeniable, U2 …

 

Now I will also admit, some of these bands have few original members, which means the music itself alone is outselling a modern artist performing his or her own music.

For those of you who missed out on Steve Perry

 

The variety of the 80s was amazing.  In my formidable years I was partially formed to the music of Brian Adams, David Bowie, Journey, Police, Phil Collins (Genesis), Poison, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Crowded House, Talking Heads…

 

… Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, Whitney Houston, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Bob Marley, Culture Club, Springsteen …

 

… Def Leppard, Huey Lewis, John Cougar, Rush, ZZ Top…

And we closed out that era with one of the last Mega Bands, GnR.

 

We also had the bands that came of age in the 70s and either kept on keepin on or modernized like The Stones, Doors, Elton, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Chicago, Pink Floyd, The Who, Aerosmith and of course, Queen.

The most powerful performance possibly ever, live, in front of the world.  By the man who defined presence…

 

I dare anyone to follow that.

We too had sprinkles of ‘classic rock’ then such as Buddy Holly …

Where it all started…

 

The Beach Boys (who I saw live twice, once against President Reagan’s wishes) set my life in motion, The Beatles, The Kinks, Simon and Garfunkle, CCR, Bob Dylan and one of my all time favorites, Roy Orbison.

Oh my summers …

 

Something happened in the grunge era.  Music variety died.  Music power died.  Anger prevailed and it was exhausting and boring.  The 90s was not an era of rock, it was an era of modern country.  For those that don’t know, the 90s country music wasn’t all about getting drunk.

And the lesser known but amazing …

 

Music is the soul of the words poorly written that are the narrative of an era.  These bands defined when I fell in love the first time.  The first time I stepped out on my own.  The first time I felt loss to the core of my soul.  And when I truly learned who I was, good and bad.  There is music to every memory for me and some of these are those memories I hear in the sound track here.

And …

and the beautiful …

 

Each of the songs above represent a woman of the 80s for me.  Each one taught me, loved me, made love with me in one way or another and they are each amazing.  I learned from them I could love and care deeply, I could imagine having a home, and I learned about sex.  Not a bad era.

The list above is impressive and incomplete.  What is not said there is the power of the music of the era.  Music is the era’s narrative.  The music of that era was the backbone of so many of its movies that today are or are becoming classics.  The same music, unless iconic to one movie like Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me, is continuously being recycled.

Iconic

 

As mentioned, Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club, Danger Zone from Top Gun, Road House, Dirty Dancing, Ghost, even Young Guns all had hit sound tracks then based on music of the era.

I could also talk about the amazing record sales.  They had to invent new classifications for these bands.  There were albums that debuted double platinum.  There are albums like Van Halen 1984 and 5150, Michael Jackson Thriller, ACDC Back in Black, Springsteen Born in the USA, GnR Appetite for Destruction, Prince Purple Rain, Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet, Def Leppard Hysteria, Motlet Crue Dr. Feelgood, U2 Joshua Tree, Madonna Like a Virgin,  Journey Escape, ZZ Top Eliminator, Billy Joel An Innocent Man … all standards today, iconic and monsters still …

THE 80s icon …

 

I remember when Journey, with Steve Perry came to town.  They were there Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  They sold almost a half million seats in one city in one stop.  Then they moved on to the next city to do it all again.  They weren’t the only one.  They invented arena rock.  They invented stadium concert tours.  They invented the tour bus caravan and the tour PLANE.

By the late 80s there hair bands had learned how to dominate and took it as far as it can go.  I respect that.  I learned the limits of racing by exceeding the limits … It takes guts and although we can look back at these..

And wonder if it went too far … no.  It was an age of excess and individualism.  I love these guys.

These bands brought us torn jeans as fashion, spandex, cut off Ts, they made long hair for men fashionable again (I had it) hair gel and aqua net were of the era as well and luckily most of the look is gone, although the torn jeans have returned with the current generation claiming it as original.  Also, the bands of that era have not apologized for the spandex to my knowledge …

In this era and to this music I did much more than chase women.  I raced.  I didn’t race on a track yet, although that did start in 89, this was the other kind.  The dangerous kind.  I street raced and played and to the anthems of Poison, GnR, Quiet Riot, AC/DC , Boston, Twisted Sister and countless other hard driving bands of the era, I turned up the stereo, spooled up the V8s and threw my life to chance in exchange for adrenalin rarely felt since.  I wrecked a few cars, I rolled one three times, I ran from the cops on more than one occasion, more than five … and all by turning the stereo up louder…

 

As I write this, I am in a restaurant that is playing almost entirely music from the list above.  The day that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper was immortalized in Don McLean’s song, American Pie as the day the music died.  It was reborn in the 80s.  It may have died again in the 90s.  But like the rebirth after Buddy Holly died, there will be another but I do wonder … if I was lucky enough to come of age in the greatest age of music.

I am so lucky to have these and dozens more songs as the sound track to the most powerful years of my life.  I loved to some of these songs.  I cried to some.  I almost died to some.  And they are all in my DNA and to the artist who made them, sweated over every chord, every word, every pause in the chorus … to those who first stood in front of a crowd and sang from their heart and soul and hoped their dream would take flight, I love you.

And finally, one of the original classics

 

Lets hope Rock and Roll find’s it’s feat again and for God’s sake, start having fun up there again!  But until then, the 80s are here to rock you and remind you, life is about living, not about anger …

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