Music, it’s been said, is the soundtrack of your life. And, I have noticed, the older you get, the faster time goes by.
Like when you’re a child — it seems to take forever for Christmas to arrive. As an adult, it seems like it’s time to buy gifts and watch endless Hallmark holiday movies every three months.
And so it is for me, someone who still remembers the groups and some lyrics of songs not heard in my head for decades. Of course, that same “tomb of tunes” in my head sometimes forgets what I had for lunch yesterday.
But in light of a recent column in these pages about my COVID-19 obsession with TV and its myriad offerings, I thought it’d be fair to turn to another medium, the radio, on which I’m often listening to an oldies station. I also catch some talk radio, listening mainly to KKOB-AM, even though it’s chock-full of GOP leanings and not balanced in the slightest.
Thus, when I tire of hearing the male callers ask, “Can you hear me?” and the women callers beginning their thoughts with, “Um,” it’s time to switch channels — or hit the CD player.
I guess some people think CDs are passé, but you have to remember, I started listening to 45s and LPs, then had an FM converter added to my 1963 Ford Fairlane, before being rich enough to get a cassette player. I made the right choice at the time: Cassette or 8-track? (If you collect cassettes, I’ve got a load to get rid of.)
I was fortunate to grow up in the suburbs of Detroit, well tuned in to the Motown sound and the rock that followed, from groups like Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Grand Funk Railroad, the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges and more.
I had the opportunity — the first time I recall being drunk — to hear Muddy Waters crooning, “I got my mojo working” at an Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. I heard the Guess Who in Windsor, Ontario, and occasionally headed to the Grande Ballroom, where the marijuana smoke was so thick you couldn’t see across the ballroom, but Three Dog Night, The MC5 and the Stooges kept the place hopping.
I feel sorry for Millennials and that demographic that followed, unaware of the great music of the 1960s, ’70s — and a little bit from the 1980s, with basically nothing worth listening to after that. We heard lyrics that were understandable and very few — Elvis, Cher — didn’t have had full names.
While trying to fall asleep one night last week, I began to make an alphabetical list of my all-time favorite bands and soloists. The groups I heard in person, back in the day or in later years, are highlighted in bold type.
So, old-timers, I hope this comes close to how your list would look; every letter except “Q” and “X” is covered. Basically, there’s only one Q group (Queen), and I don’t like that over-played music at all, and no X band.
I find it sad that so many of the musicians and singers have passed away, including those in the “27 Club”; Jimi Hendrix; Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones; Janis Joplin; Jim Morrison, who lived in Albuquerque as an adolescent; and numerous others who are not among my alphabetical array, which I present here:
Asleep at the Wheel (Allman Brothers)
Beatles (Bee Gees)
Cream (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Doors (Doobie Brothers)
Four Topps (John Fogerty)
Guess Who
Hendrix (Jimi; I know this should be a J listing, but someone else rules there)
Iron Butterfly (I saw them twice in the late 1980s.)
Janis Joplin (J. Geils Band)
Led Zeppelin
Moody Blues (Mamas and the Papas)
Neil Young
Ozzy Osborne (with Black Sabbath, of course)
Police (Pink Floyd)
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Rolling Stones (Rascals)
Seger (Santana)
Temptations (Traffic)
Van Halen
Who (Waylon Jennings; Willie Nelson)
ZZ Top
Per, the list of the top 100 rock bands begins like this (in order, 1-10): The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, The Hollies, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Doors and Van Halen.
You’ll see six of them are among my favorites, although I also enjoy hearing the Beach Boys’ harmonies, the Hollies’ great songs and even the Monkees, on occasion, but they weren’t really a legitimate band.
My bucket list would include the Eagles — prior to Glenn Frey’s passing; U2 and the Beatles, which would require a time machine equipped to go back a half-century.