Wednesday, July 11, 2007

When Dinosaurs Roamed the (Live) Earth

Longtime readers know that I enjoy rant against the Machine every once in a while, and I found a bit of that today at this post by Don Surber, where he notes that many of the performers at last weekend's Live Earth concerts were quite a bit farther removed from their heyday than the artists at, say, Woodstock:
Andy Williams didn’t play at Woodstock. He was 41 that summer.

Ray Charles, then 38, wasn’t invited either.

And at age 52, Dean Martin certainly wasn’t.

So what were and Jon Bon Jovi at 45, Madonna at 48, and ex-Pink Floyd Roger Waters, 63, doing headlining a rock concert? None of their top hits were within a decade of the “Live Earth” concert. Williams, Charles and Martin each had released his signature recording within a few years of Woodstock.

In fact, Pink Floyd’s hit — “The Wall” — is as contemporary today as “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” was in 1969.
A lively procession of comments follows, with some people lamenting that today's music is lacking in quality compared to the music of "their day" (which prompts another commenter to say "Geez, people, you all sound like your parents"). There's also a good discussion of the fragmentation of popular culture over the past several decades. When someone mentioned that a few of the so-called dinosaur performers had indeed produced hits in the past few years, it prompted me to chime in:
What’s a “hit” these days? Do people actually listen to the radio anymore (after all, it’s the same station all over the country, owned by one or two companies). I thought people just listened to bands that they found on MySpace or downloaded off the Net.

(Tongue halfway in cheek here, but it does speak to the fragmented state of today’s entertainment; just like it’s doubtful that the whole nation would watch the same TV program, it’s even more doubtful that anyone’s listening to the same music anymore.)
. The flip side (pun slightly intended) of all this is that today's technology allows younger people to have easy access to older music, which helps explain the preponderance of 15-year-old Pink Floyd fans even now.

And the debate over why so many "older" performers were at this concert produced at least one good Rant Against the Machine, from commenter "lovechild:"
Anyone who is surprised that BIG BUSINESS is out of touch with the populus [sic] must be high. [...] [A]ny time Suits get together and try to figure out what the young folks want, you know it’s going to be a disaster. If they had more sense and perhaps therefore less money, they would know to put this kind of decision-making in the hands of college students — let them submit votes for a band/performer and take it from there. One of the great things about the old mega concerts was that you heard all sorts of new music — now all you get is prefab canned crap. Some days I feel like veal.
Read the whole thing, including the comments; there's a lot of good stuff in there. I'll close with one from "Captain Scarlet":
There’s a real valid argument to this piece. Regarding the contemporary relevance of much of Live Earth’s roster: think of it in terms of the huge bucks veteran acts are getting for touring on albums nobody buys. Someone (I wish I could remember who) once said, “whenever a band says, ‘here’s something from our new album’ they might as well be saying, ‘you can all sit down or go to the rest room now…’”
Well said.

It's 7/11: Have you gotten your free Slurpee yet? (I probably won't get one, since the only 7-Eleven in my neck of the woods got closed and razed a while back, after only a few years in business.) And over at, Lileks and the commentariat (myself included) are discussing odd names for convenience stores. (My two contributions: Sac 'N' Pac from South Texas and Loaf 'N Jug from Colorado.)

It was their Luckey day: I talked the other day about weddings on 7/7/07, and now it turns out that a family whose last name is Luckey had a baby born on that day as well.

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