Opening my car door the other day with the stereo system still blaring away, I struck up a revealing conversation with a colleague, parked nearby.
“Christ’s that’s loud,” she said, though not particularly disapprovingly. “What is it?”
“Cheap Trick,” I replied, anticipating a blank look of non-recognition. Instead, it led to long chat about music, new and old which would have lasted far longer had our meeting not started so promptly.
“That’s a bit dated,” she said accusingly. “Move on and listen to some new stuff,” she said.
“Well actually,” I responded preparing my trump card. “It is new. I’m actually listening to Cheap Trick’s brand new album The Latest (which, incidentally, is being given away free with this month’s Classic Rock magazine).
“Bloody hell,” she came back. “Are they still going? They must be ancient now. Did no-one tell them that music is a young man’s game?”
What followed was not what I expected. It emerged that my female friend had been a big fan of Cheap Trick in her younger days, so much so that she claims to have worn out the groove on her vinyl copy of the classic Live At Budokan.
For the record, she also loved The Eagles, Meatloaf, The Scorpions, Deep Purple and its various offshoots plus Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
Quite a rock chick. But that was then. She’s……to use her own words….”moved on,” so much so in fact that she’s bought tickets to see Take That next summer – and is quite proud of the fact!
It’s not that she experienced a road to Damascus moment and now finds rock music objectionable.
To paraphrase her views, she lost touch with rock music in the years between university and marriage and then when kids came along, had no urge to turn the clock back, preferring to listen to music being played on Radios One, Two and Real.
And, she claims, there’s nothing sadder than bands almost becoming tributes of their former selves. “Led Zeppelin had it right,” she said. “Quit when you’re ahead.”
I was just about to recommend Long Road Out Of Eden, the Eagles’ album released two or three years ago, tell her that The Scorpions’ recent offerings have been up there with the likes of Lovedrive and Blackout and recommend she listens to Deep Purple Mark whatever it is, when she hit me with a double whammy.
For her 40th birthday, someone had bought her tickets to see Meatloaf at the Newcastle Arena. Had she gone the night I was there, she’d have seen him play a blinder. Unfortunately, she saw him a few months later, when he walked off stage halfway through the set after an underwhelming performance.
On that same birthday, her kids bought her two albums by the Rolling Stones – Forty Licks, covering their output over the past four decades and Bigger Bang, their only new studio album released this millennium.
The former she loved, the latter apparently makes a better coffee mat than CD.
She had all the ammunition she needed. Meatloaf? “Finished,” was the snap verdict. And the Stones? “Creative juices ran dry years ago.”
Harsh. But fair? I don’t think so and neither do you, otherwise you wouldn’t have logged on to this website.
But isn’t it a fact that this girl is very typical of so many people in their forties, for whom Stairway To Heaven, Bat Out Of Hell, Hotel California and Jumpin’ Jack Flash, provided the backdrop to their adolescent lives, are more typical than us?
Can you simply grow out of a genre? Are those of us left, an inflexible rump simply afraid to embrace change?
The answer to the second question is an unequivocal no, the answer to the first, yes but with conditions.
For a few years in the late 80s and early 90s I didn’t listen to much music and had lost touch with most of the bands I’d listened to a decade earlier. Thankfully, I rekindled my enthusiasm and haven’t looked back.
My fair friend requires a refresher course though perhaps a ticket to next month’s Meatloaf gig is not the best idea.
If she is looking for a teacher, I’ll be happy to volunteer.