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Living in The Past

The only thing more annoying than listening to old people bitch about how the past was so much better is catching yourself doing the same thing.  “Today’s music sucks and they don’t make movies like they used to and people are so much nastier now and kids dress like slobs and waaaaaa….

There are quite a few things that suck worse now than they did in the past, but nearly all of them are the fault of the government.  (The economy, reductions of freedoms and civil rights, more regulation, more deadly cops, etc.)  Nearly everything else has improved.  But our memories are selective.  We remember the good things from the past and forget the dreck.

If you doubt that, try this experiment.  Pick a year from your teens or twenties.  (If you’re in your teens or twenties this experiment won’t work.  Bookmark this page and come back in 2019.)  Google “Billboard Top 100 for {that year}.”  You’ll find great tunes you still listen to and others you remember fondly, but you’ll also be reminded of nauseatingly horrible crap you forgot about.

I just did it for 1972.  There’s some great stuff there:

American Pie – Don McClean
Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues
Lean on Me – Bill Withers  (I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad version of that song.)
Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress – The Hollies
Pappa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations
Saturday in The Park – Chicago
Layla – Derek and the Domonos
Tumbling Dice – Rolling Stones
Dr. My Eyes – Jackson Brown
Rock and Roll Pt 2– Gary Glitter
Hold Your Head Up – Argent

This is just a sample; there’s other good music on the list.  But it also contains lots of nauseatingly bad crap.

Alone Again (Naturally) – Glibert O’Sulivan  (#3, no less)
A Horse With No Name – America  (Unfortunately, this still gets a lot of airplay, which runs counter to my point, but I can’t resist mentioning how badly it sucks.  You’re in the desert, schmuck, with nothing to do, and it’s your horse.  Just name the damn thing!  And whoever wrote “for there ain’t no one for to give you no pain” should have their poetic license revoked for life.)
Clair – Gilbert O’Sulivan again
Betcha By Golly Wow – The Styleistics
Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton.  (Puke inducing.)
Precious and Few – Climax (Any song or product with the word “precious” in it is guaranteed to suck.)
I’d Love You To Want Me – Lobo
Go All The Way – The Raspberries

That’s also just a sample; there are quite a few other gag inducing tunes on the list.

I grew listening to The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Mama’s & The Papa’s, Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin and the like.   They’ve survived the test of time, and their music is still everywhere.   But there was an enormous amount of crap from then that’s rightly (and thankfully) forgotten.  A hundred years from now, when people are still listening to the great music from that era they’ll have no idea “Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love In My Tummy” and “We Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Seasons In The Sun” was somewhere in the mix.  You can also be certain that some old fart (who hasn’t been born yet) will be complaining that the music of his youth was so much better than the crap those damn kids are listening to now.

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6 Comment(s)

  1. Hey! Get The Raspberries off that list.

    Johnny Virgil | Oct 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. There are things that suck worse than The Raspberries – most notably The Cranberries – but that’s the wrong decade.

    Hittman | Oct 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. The Strawbs?

    Johnny Virgil | Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

  4. I was going to make some comment about avoiding bands named after fruit – Bananarama, The Banana Splits and Peaches & Herb came to mind, but I forgot about Strawbs. And Moby Grape. Both of which go well with Cream after a meal of Humble Pie.

    Hittman | Oct 31, 2009 | Reply

  5. “Ninety percent of everything is crap”
    — Sturgeon’s Law (after Theodore Sturgeon)

    mojo | Nov 4, 2009 | Reply

  6. The quality of the writing was much better in the 60s and 70s than it is now. I believe this is for one reason. Innovation. They were pushing boundaries. They were writing songs that had never been heard before. Playing their instruments with passion and techniques that no one had pushed into the mainstream before. Sure there were some misses, but that made the Hits even more exciting.

    New ground was being covered lyrically as well. A new kind of songwriting was emerging.

    In 1968 you couldn’t listen to Zeppelin and say they remind you of “x” band.There are hundreds of music acts today that can be traced back to zeppelin by even the most novice of listeners though.

    Today the majority of mainstream music is a rehash of a rehash. there are some gems to be found in modern music, but you’ll rarely hear it on the top 40.

    millstone | Sep 26, 2012 | Reply

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