The other day, I was driving home from the grocery store when the local radio station--which specializes in hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s--announced "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'" by the Four Tops, noting that it dated from 1964.
As I listened to this great oldie ("Baby, I need your lovin', GOT to have all your lovin'") it occurred to me, not for the first time, that I have been listening to the same music for the past half century. I have some newer favorites--Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and others who have hit the scene at various mileposts along that 50-year highway--the music from my youth is still just as fresh and full of life as it was when I first heard it. Maybe more so.
Why, though, is it still being played regularly on the radio? When I was a boy in the 60s, my mother occasionally listened to old records (she had a good collection of 78s) from the thirties and forties, but I had no recollection of her regularly listening to music from 1915 or even 1925. I heard a lot of old 1940s swing (Vaughn Monroe was one of her favorites) and the Ink Spots and Eddie Arnold, but nothing as old to her as I hear today on the radio. I have to think that today's focus on the real oldies is a cultural phenomenon
So, why is there still a mass market for music a half-century old? One factor, certainly, is that we Baby Boomers are a big generation. We have market clout, even as we begin to retire. Is there more than that? Is the music somehow indicative of a cultural shift that started in the 1960s and gathered steam in the 1970s? There may be something to that.
Regardless, I am glad to still be able to hear "my" music out there in public. Keeps one young and tapping one's toe, glad for car air conditioning so I can keep the windows up and the radio loud.