“In memory everything seems to happen to music.” ~ Tennessee Williams
Baby boomer music was and is special; then it was the birth of rock ‘n roll – now, it’s classic rock ‘n roll. I bet a certain song takes you back to a special time of your youth. Some songs do that for me, too.
One of my earliest favorites was “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las. I remember listening to it when I was supposed to be studying or sleeping. Maybe it was that motorcycle sound at the end that always got my attention. In my teen years, I loved The Monkees and watched their show whenever I could. I remember at the last senior assembly in high school, someone played “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” by Three Dog Night; ever since, I’ve associated graduating from high school with that song. “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart (Sir Rod Stewart now) is the song that I identify with going to college. I remember listening to it driving to and from campus.
Who were the musicians most associated with the baby boomer generation? There are so many to pick, but some are just universal.
Elvis: Need I say more? Probably not. “Jailhouse Rock” released in 1957. It was number one on the British singles; it did not climb to number one; it came out as number one. Fitting, considering the influence Elvis’ music had on The Beatles.
Buddy Holly: “That’ll Be The Day” also released in 1957. The song was inspired by a John Wayne movie, “The Searchers.” This was the first song recorded by The Quarrymen who later changed their name to The Beatles.
Cubby Checker: I still remember “The Twist.” At my elementary school dance, that song was featured as part of the dance contest. “The Twist” hit number one twice — in 1960 and 1962. It still has the power to get everybody on his or her feet “to do the twist”…and then pay for it later!
The Beatles: I’m sure my Dad got thoroughly sick of hearing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” Their early songs have always been my favorites.
The Beach Boys: They had a sound all their own…that California sound. They spent eight months just on “Good Vibrations.” Their car songs were my personal favorite.
Instrumental Rock ‘n Roll: How about “Green Onions” by Booker T & the MG’s, “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures, and my all-time favorite, “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris.
Think about the singers and songs you loved in your youth. Your list likely has completely different artists and songs. I could venture off to folk music, which I loved then and now — who could resist Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon.” I even learned that during my piano lesson days.
Funny. Some things never change. When we were young and listening to “our” music, our parents couldn’t stand it any more than we could tolerate the hair bands and metal music of our kids’ generation. I have no comment on whatever our grandchildren listen to; I can’t understand the words over the screaming (and that’s probably a good thing).
“You are the music while the music lasts.” ~ T. S. Eliot