Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oldies Vs. Classic Rock

Awhile back, a Rockaholic down in PA way (hmph ... I had a Pa once. He was a good man ...) asked me a question: What's the difference between "oldies" and "classic" rock? Or IS there one?
Well, to answer that, let me ask ya this: Is there a difference between a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and a big, juicy hamburger? I mean, both are filling, but one's got a little meat to it!

Y'see, back-in-the-day, there were thousands of cool 45's twirling around the turntables, and some dynamite entertainers backing 'em up onstage.
Many were danceable, some could turn your lovin' up a notch or two, and a few could make ya wish you had a beer to shed a tear in ...

Aaaaah, then there were those whose lyrics, churning rhythm, heavy guitar bridges, and flexing vocals just got deep in your soul and embedded themselves there. They were the product of overall frustration with the establishment (man, did we ever wear out that word back then!), the war (ie, Vietnam), social injustice, or even themselves. They got deeper into everything, it seemed.
And they were by performers who we could depend on for follow-up hits. These are the true "classics".

Lemme give ya an example or two: Anybody remember Poison Ivy by The Paramounts? (okay ... I know some of our readers from UK do!) Cool, but a cover. But was their rendition classic? Now ... check out A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. Classic? In the best sense, right?? Well ... (Relic's got a seeeeeecret ...) It's the same BAND! Just years later ... with a little more meat!

Or Go Now! by the Moody Blues (with Denny Laine). Good, listenable, killer piano ... but classic? They took a little time off, then hit with Nights In White Satin, I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band) and the Relic's fave, Question. New flavor, 'cause there's more meat!

So there ya have it. Gimme your feedback, okay? What's "classic" to you? Drop a few examples while you're at it, if you wanna.

DIDJA KNOW THAT some of the Sixties hits were modified and used in television commercials back then? But they were beaten out by the famed Oscar Meyer jingle as well as the melodic-if-sparse-on-words Meow Mix melody. Incidentally, the cat in the MM commercial wasn't really singing. He was ... er, starting to ... throw up his food (really!) , and the camera dude caught his mouth movements (cats normally meow deeply before anything comes up. I think they're telling us to CLEAR THE AREA!! HERE IT COMMMMES!!) and filmed it, then duplicated it in reverse -- and spliced the parts together. Dunno who did the actual meowing, though ...


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  1. The difference between "oldies" and "classic rock" is oldies is more of a Top 40 orientation type thingy (AM radio).....and classic rock is album oriented (FM radio). The Top 40 was built on the number of 45's being sold. Back then, you didn't buy an album for one song, you just bought the 45. After about 1967 (and FM radio "underground music") people started buying more albums. The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Vanilla Fudge....things like that. Sure, the singles still sold but people were buying more albums to hear more "heady" music. That, IMHO, is "classic rock". I'll take the oldies, anytime.....

  2. I see Gary's point, but when I think of Classic Rock, I think of
    1. Hotel California Eagles
    2. Stairway To Heaven Led Zepelin
    3. Hey Jude Beatle
    4. Won't Get Fooled Again The Who
    5. Brown Sugar Rolling Stones
    Songs that are just as entertaining decades after they are released.