By Lauren Gray
A professor, a nun and a doctor walk into a bar and one of them goes up to the jukebox and plays “Carry on My Wayward Son.” Immediately, everyone in the bar starts singing at the top of their lungs to every word, throwing their hands up and maybe even rocking air guitars. That sounds like a good time. That is what classic rock does to people.
Classic rock has survived decades for a reason. We still know who Freddie Mercury, Jim Morrison and The Beatles are. We still get excited when we are on a long road trip and “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi comes on. Heck, it is still incorporated in movie soundtracks today.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy” soundtrack was ranked fifth on the list of 2014’s top-selling albums. Classic rock is better than anything out today, and that has been proven by how it has stood the test of time. Its music tells us stories, connects with us and takes us all back to a time when life was about more than butts, money and partying.
Classic rock is more authentic. The music you hear is created with actual instruments by musicians with actual talent. There are insane guitar and drum solos such as Slash’s performance of “Sweet Child O’mine” and beautiful piano pieces like “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. The music is not a conglomerate of electronically produced sounds on a computer from someone pressing buttons. Believe it or not, voices aren’t even auto-tuned.
Good music is like wine, the more stuff you do to it, the worse the quality. Classic rock has this purity about it. It was the artists’ songs, their voices and musical ability, and only a little bit of editing that brought the final pieces together. Today’s popular music follows a wash, rinse, repeat cycle that has taken the soul out of what music is suppose to be.
Rock songs have a deeper meaning than today’s popular music. Most of what we consider classic rock was written in a time when the American people were incredibly involved in politics. This was largely reflected in the popular music. In the lyrics of most classic rock songs we heard ideas about freedom, peace, love, war, capitalism, religion and success.
“Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Coming” by Neil Young, “Abraham, Martin and John” by Bob Dylan and “Imagine” by John Lennon were all extremely political songs and, through the lyrics, tell stories and express ideas that were intertwined with how people felt.
You can hear the passion behind the ideas that these artists brought to life with their words and melodies. There were not 10 producers and writers following a lyrical formula and recording it with whichever artist picked it up. The process of how these songs were written is a beautiful and personal endeavor that is hardly replicated to the same standard that artists did during the classic rock era.
Classic rock songs are more fun than today’s music. Is it fun to twerk to “Or Nah” by the Weekend? Sure. Do you feel like a baller when “IDFWU” is blasting on the way to the party? Well, yeah. But it is all the same bumping-and-grinding, fake attitude that is only pleasant when you are heading out to the club. One of my favorite songs, “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen can be played anytime, anywhere and I will get a big smile on my face and start screaming the lyrics.
When you are walking with your significant other and you hear the words “even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey” it makes you want to just grab that person and slow dance (those are the words to “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins). Tell me you don’t want to thrash your head around and air guitar hardcore to “Break on Through” by The Doors. Plus, every wedding I have ever been to has played at least three classic rock songs at the reception because they are fun and everyone knows them.
Finally, more people respect you if you know classic rock. This sounds silly, but it is absolutely true, especially if you spend a lot of time around people who were alive when it was huge. Professors, clients and parents’ friends will almost always be excited when you mention a classic rock song. It gives you a chance to connect with a completely different generation and you will have lots to talk about when brought up in conversation.
I could go on much longer about why classic rock is the best genre, but I cannot change every music mind out there. For my fellow rock ‘n’ roll fans, I leave you with this: “For those about to rock, we salute you.”
Lauren Gray studies journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.