That Can’t Be Classic Rock


I remember how excited I was when Santa Claus brought me my very own “boom box”, complete with cassette player. In the years to come much of my allowance was spent on cassette tapes but the real revelation that first day was how many different stations there were, how much of a variety of music was now available to me. When we were in the car my father controlled the dial. That Christmas morning, sometime around 1979 I’m guessing, was quite possibly the first time that I had heard a song recorded that decade.

I try and be conscious of the music that I play when the kids are riding with me. The teenager hates country but won’t complain about most everything else. The little just wants something that she can sing along with. Actual knowledge of the lyrics or what they might mean is completely unnecessary.

I’m conscious, but like my father before me believe that my car = my tunes. Also like him, more often than not that means classic rock.

It’s a station that I was reluctant to embrace, a denial about the songs of my youth fitting that description. Classic rock means The Kinks, The Who, The Animals. It means Led Zeppelin, one of Kayla’s favorite bands, and The Rolling Stones, a band that Alaina can often be heard singing around the house.


Thats Not Classic Rock
I did something right


I was OK with ZZ Top, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, artists that had success in the ’70s and carried that over into the ’80s and beyond.  U2 and Journey seemed to be pushing it, but I could be reasonable. Motorhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, fine. When “Sweet Child O’ Mine” from Gun’s and Roses started getting regular airplay I called for the firing of the programming director.  There obviously had been a terrible mistake about that being an old enough song to qualify. Nobody replied.

It took some time, but eventually I got over it. The music of my youth was now “classic.” It was bound to happen.

Today marked a crossing of lines, another e-mail to the station forthcoming. Today I heard “3 AM”, a song from Matchbox Twenty’s debut album. It was released in 1996, four years after I graduated high school.

I understand the math, recognize how many years ago that was. It’s the implications I have a problem with, the precedent being set. This is no longer the music of my childhood, not even of my teenage years. This song came out when I was a legitimate ( somewhat ) adult. Does this mean that Pearl Jam is now classic rock? Nirvana, Green Day,  Rage Against The Machine?

That just can’t be right.




33 thoughts on “That Can’t Be Classic Rock”

  1. Oh. So, so old. Still looking for Pearl Jam? I jest, I love all those bands, but I was legit really old when most of their music came out—in my 30’s. I was lamenting “new” music until I came across bands like St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats. Not exactly Nirvana or Rage Against the Machine, but really good rock/blues music.

  2. I am also a big classic rock guy, and it sounds like we grew up not that far apart. (I graduated in high school in ’89). It’s sad, but yes, the new music of our youth is now classic…whatever that means. All we can do is raise our children right. (My 4.5 year old twins can be heard singing The Eagles, Steely Dan, and as of late, America – just to name a few).

  3. Great read, unfortunatly this is going to be a debate for the rest of your life. To me classic rock is still the eagles, to my mom it’s the Beatles and Elvis, to my kids it’s Pearl Jam.
    But the best I heard was when Duff from Guns N Roses told me once his daughters considered GNR an oldies band.
    Welcome to getting old lol

  4. hehehe if GnR didn’t make the cut, then I guess the glam rock and hair bands probably weren’t found on ur stack of cassettes either.

    No WhiteSnake, or even Def Leppard? Almost seems like a waste;)

    But I hear you. Standards must be maintained. After all, I refuse to tolerate playing of anything from either Poison or Ratt.

    1. Don’t misunderstand. I love all things hair metal. I actually saw Slaughter in concert…last month. I just don’t want to admit that these songs are that old, that means I’m now “classic” and that’s not OK.

  5. It’s crazy when I hear songs, I grew up listening to, playing on the “oldies” station, or when the local news station announces the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite childhood movies. I like my mother’s saying – “It doesn’t matter how old you are as long as you feel like you’re 21.” 🙂

  6. So wait – you are not a fan of Sweet Child ‘O Mine? Oh the shame, lol! I’m kidding. I love Guns and Roses but we all have our own tastes. However, Bon Jovi all the way baby! I had my 10 year old listening Carry On Wayward Son in the car other day and he loves it.! I didn’t know that 3am was now being considered as classic rock. What? Damn that makes me feel old!

    1. I may have to edit this post. My problem with Sweet Child O’ Mine is that I can’t bring myself to consider it classic rock.

  7. I know what you mean – I’m constantly seeing videos on Facebook about songs that are twenty years old and I still think what? No way, I remember that song, it’s old. But it is because I am lol!
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

  8. You have awesome taste in music by the way. I was watching Bon Jovi Live In London on Sky Arts the other night. I remember the gig well. It was in 1995 and on my birthday. My sister went without me. Gutted! It wasn’t until I was half way through the programme that I realised that in that year JBJ was YOUNGER than I am now! That totally messed with my head! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. I also forget sometimes how long some of these bands have been around. I saw them right around 95 as well. Teg Nugent and Bad Company were the openers. Saw him again with Daughtry maybe 8 years ago

  9. Music has that unbelievable quality of taking you back to an exact time and place, good or bad. Today, now, it can also make us feel old! I try to keep up with the girls, and I have become that mom that prefers news and talk on NPR. oy vey, I’m a golden girl. Can you make that louder? xoxo #ablogginggoodtime

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