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.