Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids
This past Sunday, The New York Times ran a piece by Paul Greenberg where the author explained how important the Beatles were to music and pop culture to his five-year-old son. The child didn't know that the band had albums, but only knew the Fab Four from iTunes playlists.
"When the Beatles recorded their playlists, did they record them on voice memo?" his son asked, perplexed that at one time music was recorded to tape, and not the kind of tape you use to seal boxes or affix posters to a wall. The piece ends with Greenberg remembering his own Beatles experiences, and it's all really sweet and there are tears.
But it got me to thinking about having to explain the rest of classic rock to small kids. How does one intimate to a still-forming brain how Led Zeppelin could record songs like "Whole Lotta Love" and not cause an earthquake, or the swagger and sleaze of the Rolling Stones? Or how their very existence may have been riding on just the right AC/DC record?
One day I will have to explain the concepts and tenets of punk rock, the 30 forms of heavy metal, and then pop, ska, electronica, hip-hop, rap, jazz, funk and soul that I will need to have in fatherly curriculum, even as technology runs ahead of me rewriting the rules.
My head hurts already and I am not even married, plus it's hard enough trying to sound at least half-ass proficient and knowledgeable in all these things for adults on a daily basis. Once I started to even compile a list of everything a child would conceivably need to know about classic rock and roll, I started to feel feverish.
The Clash, Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Misfits, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys? Yes, I want to eventually get to them, too.
But here goes nothing.