You don’t have to be a maestro to love music. And from whatever was playing on Granny’s radio or on the way to school music sang out. And sang to me. Well, some of it did. I can hear something and be back in 1974, in school uniform watching the traffic. Music can take you back in an instant to a place and time you had forgotten. I listened to 3 fabulous fossils chat a few nights ago. Really respectable and some would say conservative. Whose eyes glowed when the Grateful Dead were mentioned. I mean glowed.
So it’s not just me – music makes you feel. Now adults know that nobody makes you feel. But feel you do when a song or a lyric hits you. Speaks to you. And then comes back at you. Years later. Once it has got you – you don’t forget.
There are so many songs, so many lyrics and in spite of all the suing that now goes on about copying songs be it words or (can I say) riffs? Isn’t that arrangement of notes? You can tell I’m not actually musical in the technical sense. But hey – if a song does it for you then it does it for you. However the notes are arranged. And whatever it might be quite like.
The fossil anthem (there are many) we have to start with – Elton John singing: Do you remember When Rock was Young. It could have been written for this blog. Of course we do Elton. Of course we do. You only have to hear the first opening bit. I said I wasn’t technical. I think it is honky tonk piano (it was the 70s). Obviously it would have been better to say do you remember when you were young you (fossils who) Rock. But I digress. He didn’t know. I think he was in his 20s when it came out.
Music takes you to a place you used to be or just simply makes the moment you are in. Look at the behaviour in a mosh pit. But then fossils don’t do mosh pits. Not really. Where being transported to sing, dance and wave arms and gurn is not only accepted but expected. I can and do all that (expected or not) but not exactly in a mosh pit. More a dance floor at a party. Or more likely at someone’s kitchen table at the end of a long and very enjoyable evening. But I can imagine that I look like the front row at Glastonbury. If I want to.
It is what the lyrics say to you very often. If you know the words. Those are lyrics. Or it can be a particular tune, riff (I said it again), run of notes. Whatever. You just remember. And the urge to turn it up and dance or sing or just even hum. It gets you.
It is difficult to know what people will like. One man’s meat being another man’s poison. The Grateful Dead? Really? Why? That would be sacrilege in some circles. Who knew? Some people hate Abba. The Stones. And then there is music you just don’t get. For me it has to be Pink Floyd. Sacrilege again.
Music has been divisive for years. Dictating other’s choices was (and still is) a profession for some. And a calling for others. Music has been banned by successive generations of the pleasure police. Or they have tried. Frankie Goes to Hollywood was already number one when the BBC caught on. Screaming girls were too much for the parents of the Beatles generation. Je t’aime (recently called a cult classic) was banned and was so shocking that every 1970s school child (and uni student) wanted a copy. Masterly marketing.
Now of course with instant streaming it must be difficult to ban anything. But would Sting get away with it now – Don’t Stand So Close To Me, famously used in a deodorant ad (which he was furious about) was actually about a teacher and pupil. The highlights: this girl is half his age… temptation frustration… his car was warm and dry. Not sure I would have liked my 15 year old daughter swooning over Sting and fantasising about being in her teacher’s car. Nobody seemed to mind that one though. But then if you loved it (the song not your teacher) – then it did it for you.
Other honourable mentions of songs I’m not sure would speak to a younger generation would be Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue. Can you say any of that now? And (Johnny Cash again): I Shot a Man in Reno To Watch Him Die. Now I’m not a Johnny Cash fan but in tune with our rocking fossil theme – know what you like, enjoy, revel in it. Tolerate the choices of others, you can always go home if it gets too much. Or not listen or just talk loudly over their choice. Especially if the Gypsy Kings is on on repeat. Ten minutes of some things is seven too many.
So any music you that does it for you – whether it is old, new or anything in between you rock to it. You rocking fossil you.