These sites usually talk about other things besides music These sites mainly talk about music
Rock 'n Roll
Friday, June 16, 2006
When I was in Wales, I had a nice chat with John (one of the guides) about music. He told me that his 12-year-old grandson listens to nothing but classic rock, specifically Led Zeppelin. His fellow pre-teen friends were also into the band, as well as other classic rock staples Cream, the Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix. John, while pleased with what they were listening to, thought it was kind of strange that these younger people were more into songs from his generation than any of the new bands.

It reminded me of this article in Rolling Stone.

"Why would kids born in the Nineties turn to timeworn guitar anthems?," asks reporter Brian Hiatt. "For all of the vibrant rock recorded in the past ten years -- from pop punk to neogarage to dance rock -- no new, dominant sound has emerged since grunge in the early Nineties. 'I can't think of a record recently that blew people's minds,' says Jeff Peretz, a Manhattan producer and guitar teacher. 'And there aren't really any guitar heroes around anymore. Kids don't come in and say, ''I want to play like John Mayer.''"

In 2004, Edna Gunderson wrote in this USA Today article: "Jamie [14 years old] is not alone in his obsession with the sounds of the '60s and '70s. Though difficult to quantify, the trend of youngsters craving oldies seems to be gaining momentum. Kids are snatching up Beatles and Led Zeppelin discs, flocking to ZZ Top and Steve Miller concerts, researching the troubled histories of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Sabbath and scouring their parents' record collections for Jimi Hendrix licks and Allman Brothers Band jams."

What does this devouring of classic rock by teenagers say about today's rock music? Does it say something larger about our culture? Or is just a quirky teenage rebellion trend? Maybe teenagers are pushing back against what mainstream radio and bloggers say is cool.

Or maybe it's as Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis said in the Rolling Stone article: "It's called classic rock for a reason--it's classic. It's just really great music."

Song of the Day
posted by pimplomat @ 10:43 AM  
  • At Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Eric Grubbs said…

    What this says to me is that the corporate rock of the '70s and '80s has failed to make an impact on future generations. Younger people don't want to play like Neal Schon of Journey or Tommy Shaw of Styx, they want to play like Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page or Angus Young. You can't beat the real thing and that says a lot about how people think a certain kind of music can sell versus what works in its own ways.

    As someone who was equally inspired by Led Zeppelin and Metallica when I was really getting into playing music in my teens, I think it's cool that younger people are going through the same bands that I went through. This stuff still really holds up.

    There is a wider appeal to a band like the Stones and Led Zeppelin than say Hawthorne Heights or Fall Out Boy. Yes, all of these bands sing about heartache in certain forms, but Zeppelin and the Stones didn't come from a cheese factory.

  • At Friday, 16 June, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good post.

    i think teenagers always have been and always will be captivated by the obvious rock gods of the 60's & 70's.

    what's intersting about this article is that he points to other types of rock developed in that era (e.g. almond brothers) as something kids and other people are revisiting these days.

    if music let's itself be influenced by bands like the almond brothers, fleetwood mac, the band and other groups whose sound up until recently have been considered "not cool", we may see some really interesting sounds develop.

    those "not cool" sounding bands from the 70's, DID have a lot of interesting songwriting elements that just went away over the last 25 years.

    i would reference the new midlake album as an example of what i'm talking about....

  • At Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Blogger scruffylooking said…

    I have kids that age who are really into the classic rock. I think some of it started with the popularity of School of Rock. My daughter and her friends grew up listening to some classic rock from their parents, but Jack Black made it much cooler.

    My daughters still listen to Death Cab and The Shins and Dresden Dolls and other more current bands, but I think classic rock has become both their comfort/nostalgia music and also the music that they want to be able to play. Both my girls learned to play the guitar with Led Zeppelin, The Who and Clash songs.

  • At Sunday, 18 June, 2006, Blogger Mr Atrocity said…

    I think that this has always been true to a greater or lesser extent. Zeppelin or Hendrix records have always sold well and this can only be explained by a permanent influx of new fans. Either that or doddery old buggers like me keep forgetting where we put our copy of Zeppelin 4 and have to keep rebuying it.

    If you go into any guitar shop, probably worldwide, the kids you see playing guitars they can't afford are playing the same things as I was 15 years ago, i.e. Zeppelin, Hendrix, Metallica, Cream, Van Halen, G 'n' R etc. Every once in a while a band like Nirvana comes along who are good enough to have a couple of their songs added to the roster, but generally the repertoire remains pretty constant.

    So really, at a grass roots level, not that much is different now than it has been at any point in the last 20 years; it's just that with the success of bands like The Darkness, the media has finally twigged that most guitar-obsessed kids are exactly the same today as guitar-obsessed kids 20 years ago and somehow this is news to Rolling Stone.

    "For those about to rock, we salute you".

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