Friday, June 14, 2013

i draw the line at led zeppelin (and billy joel and ... and ...)

We listen to the radio a lot in the car when we're out and about. I get sick of all the Kelly Clarkson/Taylor Swift/Katy Perry stuff on the pop station that my daughter likes, so we frequently switch to the oldies station — my mom, who has dementia, actually perks up and recognizes all of her favorite artists from times past, like the Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, Beach Boys, and the Eagles.

My mom had a mega-crush on Barry Gibb — probably still does
My mom was always a big fan of rock music, so our spins on the dial can land on either a pop or rock station. I don't mind hearing the Eagles and even the Bee Gees (although they rarely play the great, early songs), but I have to admit that lately I have been drawing the line at Led Zeppelin and changing the station when they come up. I'm not sure why their music sounds to me not just nostalgic, like the others, but out of date. Maybe it's Robert Plant's voice? I know for rock 'n roll aficionados, to criticize Zeppelin is probably as unpopular or unbelievable a statement to make as, "I hate chocolate," but there it is. I just don't have the patience while driving to sit through "Stairway to Heaven" for the umpteenth time. Ditto "The Wall" by Pink Floyd.

Yes, they are one of rock's great bands. No, I don't want to listen to them.

My mom never seems to mind if I skip Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. She's always been more of a Beatles/Rolling Stones fan anyway. I have found that I actually enjoy hearing the Stones more these days than when my mom played their music when I was a kid. Other no-gos: I don't want to hear Eric Clapton either. Or Elton John or Billy Joel if I can help it. So sue me.  I'm not always so successful with the latter two artists, as my mom really likes Elton John. "Crocodile Rock." Ouch.

We saw Elton at Madison Square Garden together many years ago. He was great. I just wish our local station would play some different songs by him. They seem caught in a "Crocodile Rock" and "Levon" programming loop.
Of course these days I'm as likely to hear music from my youth on an oldies station as from my mom's era. Time flies. Sigh. Music of the '80s and '90s are in as heavy rotation as "Moving Out" and “How Deep Is Your Love.” To be fair, there are artists from my oldies era that I will also skip if I can. Cyndi Lauper. Her songs are well-written, and I'd like to see Kinky Boots. It's just her voice that grates me. The Eurythmics. I know. Annie Lennox is great, but I don't want to hear "Here Comes the Rain Again." Ever.

Are there any songs or artists from bygone days that I am surprised that I am happy to hear? Michael Jackson comes to mind. Maybe it's because our station plays songs like "Man in the Mirror" and "Off the Wall" versus "Bad." But his music is always upbeat. K.C. and the Sunshine Band is also guilty pleasure fun. I have to admit that sometimes it feels a bit like I'm driving around in a time capsule. Will I ever get to hear contemporary music again — that isn't the kid's bubblegum pop? Suggestions welcome.
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