Rock ‘n’ Roll music and I pretty much grew up together.
I came along early in the Baby Boom and can remember when Eddie Fisher and Patti Paige and some four-boy vocal groups had control of the air waves.
Then along came folks like Bill Haley and the Comets. (A cousin of mine looked so much like Bill Haley that people asked him for his autograph, which he gleefully provided. And if she was cute enough, expect a kiss in payment.)
My introduction to popular music came from an immense console radio/phonograph, alternately playing Glenn Miller 78 records or broadcasts from the local radio station, WHSC, which boasted "one thousand watts of audio radiance for the radio audience."
I can’t tell you what I would give to have those records today.
The local radio station reluctantly gave air time to Rock ‘n’ Roll, providing an hour from 10 to 11 p.m. for rock programming, hosted by a fellow who called himself "The Bashful Bachelor."
Then Elvis Presley kicked the whole thing into the mainstream and rock was everywhere. I actually knew somebody named Elvis before anyone ever heard of Presley.
A Christmas gift of a Channel Master transistor radio when I was about 12 opened up new musical worlds for me. I could get clear channel stations from all over the country on that little thing, and I would lie in bed all night going from station to station -- New York (WABC), Chicago (WCFL), Fort Wayne WOWO, and the Big Ape in Jacksonville.
Then came the British Invasion with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, ad infinitum.
I enjoy the music, but admit that I am bored with some of it. What follows is a list of rock music that I have simply heard as many times as I want to hear them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing the music, I’m just saying "enough is enough."
Leading this list is "Stairway to Heaven." I realize this is Led Zeppelin’s anthem to Rock Nation, but Jeez, it is played to death.
Don McLean’s "Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie" is over-long and bewilderingly obscure. I wouldn’t mind hearing it every three years or so, but I heard it last week so I’m good until 2010.
Anything by Michael Jackson. Enough said. Except "Beat It," and that’s only because of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar licks.
"Me and Bobbie McGee." I love Janis Joplin, but don’t radio stations have any of her other, better stuff?
"Unchained Melody." The Righteous Brothers took a lovely song and beat it to death.
Have you seen the video of "Love Shack" by the B-52’s? Have you ever been to a party at that place? A lot of old Bulldogs recognize the place,
Derek and the Dominos hit with "Layla," but then Eric Clapton did a much better "Unplugged" version.
Next time you hear "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart, imagine you’re the mandolin player and try not to contemplate suicide.
And Procol Harum’s "Whiter Shade of Pale" grew tiresome about the third time I heard it.
This is certainly an incomplete list and I’m sure you readers can add to the list or make up your own.