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The past ain't what it used to be

Published Monday, June 04, 2018 @ 12:30 PM EDT
Jun 04 2018

"After you reach the age of 30, most popular music goes horribly wrong."
-variously attributed

It's obviously been going on for a while, and I suspect it's because of the summer months and the corresponding increase in broadcast radio listening, but the oldies stations are now playing stuff that makes me think, "That's an oldie?!"

For the longest time, "oldies" were limited from the beginning of the rock and roll era in the late 50s through the late to mid 70s. But time moves inexorably forward, and we've reached the point where our "kids", now pushing 40, want to hear music from when they were kids. They were kids in the 1980s. Q.E.D.

That being said, it is still somewhat jarring to hear "Thriller," or "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," or "Material Girl," or "Heaven is a Place on Earth" on an oldies or "classic rock" station. I think the modern definition of an oldie is anything 30 years old or older, which takes us back to 1988, the end of the Reagan era. Which was only three years from 1991, when N.W.A became the first rap group to claim the number one spot on the Billboard 100. Three years, people... then the apocalypse begins.

Of course, there's a good chance rock oldies stations won't play hip-hop or rap. Both actually surfaced in the late 70s but took a decade to reach prominence. One can hope there'll be rap oldies stations, where they'll leave us old fogies alone to our Beatles, Monkees, and Motown.

One disturbing thing about the "newer" songs entering the oldies genre: Some stations, like WWSW (3WS) here in Pittsburgh, have a playlist of only about 300 songs or so. Which means when they insert a song from the 80s, a song from the 60s gets ejected from the playlist, never to be heard on that station's airwaves again.

Frankly, I listen to 3WS only when I can't pick up the signal from Washington, PA's WJPA-FM, a locally-owned and operated station which has a much deeper library of songs. They also have news and local personalities; it's sort of like what KDKA-AM was in the 60s when the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, "Group W", was still Group Wonderful.

Sorry for the disjointed ramblings of an old coot mourning the disappearance of the music of his youth. And get off my lawn.

Categories: Music, Oldies, Radio, The Daily KGB Report


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