I’m not sure what happened to me, or what has happened to me now regarding music. As I have mentioned here before, I am a strange bird when it comes to the music of my time. Popular music has never really interested me. When I was very young, my mother exposed me to a variety of music and I can recall her introducing me to classical music. She even quizzed me to learn some of the main composers and their important works.
Later, since I had taken up the trumpet, I became a fan of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. They played a variety of what I might term Mexi-pop. I bought the music and played many of the tunes.
During high school, I sort of had to listen to the music of the kids I was hanging around. I tried and did, sort of get into it a bit, yet, one day I discovered the music of my parents’ generation. They had a few albums and I began to collect more. Soon, I was searching the junk and antique stores for 78s—records that turned at 78 RPMs and were somewhat rougher sounding than the 33 1/3 RPM microgroove records of my day. I got really hooked on the 40s music and soon branched back as far as the 20s. I joined a club of record collectors and went to jazz clubs and festivals. I was a record collector.
Enough of that for now. My background as a record collector can wait for another time. I want to get to the point here.
As one lives and travels through life, there must be a certain amount of osmosis that takes place. Now that the folks who made the music of my time are aging, people want to look back and remember the music they grew up with. It brings back memories and that is what we call nostalgia.
I find that, even though I was listening to other music, I seem to have some knowledge about the popular music I really didn’t love and was not listening to. I even like it. It doesn’t sound a bad as I thought it did and certainly seems to sound better than anything that came after it. Is this a common phenomenon?
After all, I can remember vividly the commotion of complaining and discussing by people of my parents’ generation when electric guitars and rock music came along. This coincided with the new kind of dancing that didn’t involve touching, only wiggling. Anybody could do it. I remember the older generation trying it out. Here was what came to be known as the ‘generation gap.’ It started with music and spread to most aspects of life resulting in rebellion and then separation between the older and younger generations. Wait, this is about music, so let me get back on track.
Rock and roll music was characterized by some people who complained that “You only need to know three chords to play it.” That may have been true for some of the music, but much of it, as I watch the nostalgic reunions of musicians on PBS television, was played by some pretty skilled musicians. Even Paul McCartney or the Beatles surprise himself.
Once the Beatles stopped touring and turned to doing all their recording in a studio, they started to experiment with various ways of getting new ‘sounds’ to their music. McCartney describes how they used to recored his bass playing and vocals separately. That left him to develop some pretty complex bass parts. As he explains it, when he did start to play the tunes live, he was unable to play his parts and sing at the same time. It took him some time to get used to doing it. I can recall seeing a clip of him playing live and I was amazed at what he was able to do.
I was born in roughly the same year that rock and roll was born. During this time there was a revival of folk music. So, I began to hear pop-folk and pop-rock music. There were a variety to sub-types, like surfing’ music. It was music I didn’t love, but came to like, since it represented my time, therefore, it holds some level of nostalgia in my mind.