Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eclectic Tastes

I’m not talking about those young enough to have Hippy parents, but rather to those who had pre-hippy parents that are now over the age of 45. Remember your parent’s record collection? It was usually composed of one type of music; usually pretty bland and white-bread. Have you asked yourself why is it our generation had such eclectic tastes in music? Look at anyone’s collection and you will see that our generation has everything from Classical to Rap to Rock to Bop to Swing to Motown. The list is endless, yet we are only one generation away from the stuff our parents listened to. Why is this?

My theory is because we grew up on Top 40 Radio. Top 40 got a bad reputation when FM became popular. FM formats allowed the playing of longer versions of songs and it allowed a play list of material that was far less commercial. FM became the interesting medium, however it was Top 40 with its tightly scripted format that was in reality the adventurous format.

Think of it, Top 40 didn’t play just the top 40 rock hits. Top 40 played the top hits of every type of music out there. Where else could you hear Frank Sinatra next to the Turtles next to Mason Williams playing Classical Gas. On top 40 you could hear Tennessee Ernie Ford singing 16 Tons, and Herb Alpert’s Spanish Flea. Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit next to Puff the Magic Dragon. How about How Much is the Doggie in the Window and the Battle of New Orleans?

What I am saying is that if you grew up in the Top 40 Radio world you too probably have acquired an eclectic taste for music. My thanks to Dan Ingraham, Harry Harrison, Dandy Dan Daniels and Cousin Brucie and those that worked at 77-WABC when I was a kid.


Blogger Donna said...

Tennessee Williams sang? In addition to his writing career? I think you meant Tennessee Ernie Ford.
But now I'm trying to imagine what sort of sick and twisted songs Tennessee Williams would have sung.

5:02 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, Stella! You are so right, I'll edit in that change. What was I thinking?

5:09 AM  
Blogger weese said...

My parents were pre-hippie. I think its why we tried to hang onto it so long as kids. We did the hippie thing for them.
They had classical albums. That was it.
Well...except for buying us Alvin and the Chipmunks when we were small. Which i believe was a decision they regretted for some time.
I am glad for the classical exposure as a kid. I still enjoy it very much.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Oh, and I intended to mention before: My parents only had a few records. They bought a wind-up phonograph that a school was done with and got the whole collection of records with it... Hmmm, I think this will make an entry on my blog.

7:01 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Luckily for me, my parents already had eclectic tastes in music when I was a kid. Some of the stuff I can remember from their album collection: The Moody Blues, Johnny Cash, The Kingston Trio, Stan Freberg, The soundtrack from Camelot, The Singing Nun, Pete Seeger and Bill Cosby. Seems like we always had music going in our house.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cousin Brucieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! 2525 Walden in Buffalo ring any bells?? Drinking age 18 in NY...called for a pilgrimage to Gilligans at Brucie's urging. Had to stop in Massachusetts on the way for a bag of killer...and I mean killer weed. Turned my buddy into a wide eyed very bad babbling poet carrying a two fisted burger while looking for a place to pee. A killer Chihuahua proved to be his undoing. Never never underestimate the power of advertising...and a transistor radio hardwired into your sleeping brain.


7:38 AM  
Blogger qandlequeen said...

My parents are one year too old to be boomers and I'm two years too young to be a boomer (my math might be off by a year). While I was definitely raised on Top 40, I can't say that I remember ever hearing ANY of those songs. But yes, my musical tastes are exactly defined as "eclectic".

7:43 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I grew up in NJ, Oh how I remember Cousin Brucie at WABC. We were close enough to get both NY and Philly radio, WFIL Jerry Blavet, The Geeter with the Heater. And you are so right, there was country, there was R&B, Soul, bubblegum, rock and more variety than I can mention. That is why we dont listen to the radio today, it is the same songs, same artists over and over. We heard Johnny Cash A Boy Named Sue, a beatles song, the supremes etc. Thanks for the memories


5:24 PM  
Blogger dalia said...

idunno... i don't think eclecticism has anything to do with top 40 radio.

i grew up listening to everything from charley pride, slim whitman, the chuckwagon gang, zamfir (shut UP), and i'm pretty sure there was an album entitled "music to make love to your old lady by" or some shite like that.

12:26 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Weese, I had the Chipmunks too when I was a kid.

Donna, nice post on your blog.

Darev, your parents were a lot younger than mine.

Moose, you really need a blog. Too funny.

Q-Queen, Top 40 should have been the same Top 40 everywhere. It just depends on the year of influence, but it seems the results were the same for you.

Sue, it is cool to remember what we were doing and what we were feeling when those songs were played. Oh and Charley Greer was another DJ at WABC.

Dalia, that is because you are young enough to be my daughter which means your parents got their eclectic taste from Top 40.

5:20 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

my dad would beg to differ (and over a few drinks, i'm sure) that his musical sensibilities were influenced by *gasp* top 40.

8:28 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Dalia, I dare you to send him the article and see how he replies.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I was born in 66. I LOVE doo-wop, greaser rock. My daughter was born in 98 and adores stuff from the 80s!

2:50 PM  

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