Classic rock will always be part of American culture

By on September 28, 2005

After I heard that Cream will be reuniting and playing in the United States for the first time since 1968 for three exclusive shows at Madison Square Garden, I knew I had to go. When will I ever get another opportunity to see one of the pioneer bands in rock n’ roll history play together with its original lineup? To my surprise, my dad was able to get tickets and in the end of October I will be going to see them. But it struck me then that good music can still be kept alive in this country.

The rock scene of the 1960s and early 70’s (what we call now classic rock) brought to the world some of the most original and creative music ever created and it is relieving to see that our generation and even some younger generations are keeping this great music alive.

When I went to see The Allman Brothers Band this summer, I was shocked to see so many people my age and younger there in big groups. Maybe it was an easier way to get their mushroom fix for the week, but here I thought that I would be the young kid going with my dad to see the “oldies” band, but I wound up being in the majority age group.

It has been 42 years since The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show , which really made rock n’ roll a standard in American culture. Since then the country seen disco, 80’s progressive rock, hair bands, grunge, ska, boy bands and fake punk all try to take over the throne on top of the music kingdom. Yet ultimately, they can not.

It is important that this music lives on because it was the soundtrack to one of my most interesting and important times in our country’s history. The 60’s and early 70’s was a time when the college generation started to take an active interest in the decisions that the government made. It was the first time ever that music and current events coincided. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” is still one of the best anti-war songs ever. Any classic rock station on the radio is the soundtrack to a time in America’s history and no other music can do that. Try finding the relevance behind Simple Plan and Fabolous in 20 years.

At the end of this year, the top three grossing tours of the year will be The Rolling Stones, U2 and Paul McCartney. The Cream reunion shows are going for $5,000 a ticket on Ebay, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with The Black Crows, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and Santana all had successful tours this summer as well. This is the best sign of the music industry that the elders of rock can still pack houses and that a new generation is getting exposed to them.

Music is constantly changing. Bands and artists come and go annually, some we never hear from again (it was just a few years ago that everyone was singing that song by Vitamin C and where is she now?).

But there are some constants that will always be a part of our culture and those constants are the classic rock musicians. It is important to keep this music alive and support it because it is one of the few gateways to the past that we will always have open for us to go in and explore and see how great things once were.


About Rob Ettman