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Listening to the classics, how’d music go so wrong?

The Old Rocker -- Opinion column

I spent the past two weekends listening to some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll singers/groups of all-time — Hall of Famers such as Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, the Drifters, the Coasters, the Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Four Tops and Temptations. Their music is just as enjoyable today as it was a half-century ago.

My contemporaries remember their smash hits. Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops” in 1958, “That’s Why” in 1959 and “Baby Workout” in 1963 ... Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” and “Chain Gang” in 1960 and “Cupid” in 1961 ... The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby” in 1959, “Up on the Roof” in 1962 and “Under the Boardwalk” in 1964 ... the Coasters’ “Searchin’ ” in 1957, “Yakety Yak” in 1958 and “Charlie Brown” in 1959.

Also the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfin’ USA” in 1962 and “I Get Around” in 1964 ... the Four Seasons’ “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” in 1962 and “Walk Like A Man” in 1963 ... the Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” in 1964, “I Can’t Help Myself” in 1965 and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” in 1966 ... the Temptations’ “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” in 1966 and “I Wish It Would Rain” in 1968.

Fifty years … and, incredibly, that music still sounds great today.

That music reflected the attitude of the 1950s and early 1960s — songs about teenage love, relationships, good times, beach parties and, as the Beach Boys sang, “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

There was no venomous hate toward police or anyone else in that music. No threats to kill. No violence.

Music from a particular era generally typifies the attitudes

of the young people.

I can’t understand where we, as a society, got so skewed, so full of hate and the contempt which permeates of today’s music.

Maybe it’s still part of devisiveness that struck this country during the Vietnam War.

Whatever it is, I sure wish we could return to simpler times.

METHINKS YOU’RE GETTING OLDER when you realize when you retire your week is comprised of six Saturdays and one Sunday. ... Bedtime is three hours after you have fallen asleep in the recliner in front of the television. ... You decide the best way to describe retirement is a never-ending coffee break.

MEKNOWS YOU’RE HAPPY YOU HAVE MEDICARE when you realize some of the possible joys as you approach your 70th birthday ... Kidnappers have no interest in you. … People call at 9 o’clock (a.m. or p.m.) and ask, “Did I wake you up?” … Things you buy will never wear out. … You stop trying to hold in your stomach regardless of who walks in the room. … You sing along with elevator music, especially if it’s Francis Albert Sinatra. … Your secrets are safe with your friends because they won’t remember them, either. …You will stop lying about your age and begin bragging about it.

METHINKS YOU APPRECIATE THE 10 PERCENT SENIOR DISCOUNT when you realize formal attire for seniors is tied shoelaces. … The term for somebody who loves work and refuses to retire is NUTS! … The biggest advantage of returning to school after you have retired is that if you cut classes nobody is going to call your parents to tell them. … You get concerned when you start making the same noise as your coffee maker. … You know you are old when everything has either dried up or leaks. … You really don’t need to worry about old age because it doesn’t last that long!

MEBELIVES YOU APPRECIATE your Social Security checks when you realize a penny saved is a government oversight. ... The primary purpose of a child’s middle name is so the youngster will know when he is really in deep trouble. ... A clear conscience is the sign of a bad memory. ... Why is it that a psychic needs to ask you your name? .. Hard work pays off in the future, but laziness pays off now!

METHINKS YOU APPRECIATE YOUR AGE because people no longer consider you a hypochondriac. ... There is absolutely nothing left for you to learn the hard way. ... Your joints are better predictors of weather than that guy on television. ... You still think you have something on the ball, but you’re too darn tired to bounce it. ... As a retiree, you go to a burger joint and the wise-ass kid behind the counter asks if you can afford french fries.

But, just remember In 40 years, rap music will be considered the golden oldies. Am I happy I won’t be around to listen to it!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Barry Levine is a member of The Albany Herald’s news copy desk. Some of the information from this column was taken from emails.


stredr357 3 years ago

This is absolutely hilarious. I'm in my 50's but remember all those songs. Its nice to see something in the Herald thats not negative. This is funny as all get out. Could'nt stop laughing through the whole article. Thanks for the laugh. Got to forward this.


Bumpyjohnson 3 years ago

Thank you for such a wonderful positive article and nothing negative toward Romney, Obama, DCSS, Velvett Riggins, Heard, Petraeus, Murfree. Mom taught me that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. She also taught me that I will reap whatever I sow. I haven't lived such a perfect life and is so understanding of the Tiger Woods in life.


Sister_Ruby 3 years ago

I bet you wish you could be Tiger Woods for one day back when Elin was still with him.


missdaisy 3 years ago

At every wedding reception I go to those great songs are what is played by the band/DJ. They are the true feel-good party songs for every generation. What person does not jump up and dance whenever "Shout" is played; no matter the age or what genre of music they claim to like? I agree that the thought of rap becoming the golden oldies is a frightening, degenerate thought.


VSU 3 years ago

Music isn't like it used to be, I like today's music, but still enjoy listening to old music. Motown put out a lot of good music back in the day . The Jackson 5, 4 tops, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, the list goes on and on. Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley etc. Their music never dies.


Jimboob 3 years ago

Listening to the "Oldies" station when something came on my wife didn't know/remember/like. What IS that she said? Honey, Nervana is now classic.


Bumpyjohnson 3 years ago

I wouldn't wanna be Tiger Woods for a day but I wouldn't mind kicking it for a day with Angela Basset.


Bumpyjohnson 3 years ago

Better yet Sis_Ruby, I'll kick it with you for a day.


Roger879 3 years ago the line about rap music and thankfully I won't be around to listen to it that was funny...thanks for a great laugh.


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