Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids

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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.



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12 comments
a-ramak
a-ramak

Hey Craig, what would you tell your kids about Journey?

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

The blog post that launched a thousand debates.  Seems like just another list, but the 'introducing classic rock to a kid' spin is cool.

 

Might start with 'Rocket 88', the Sun catalog, old time Gospel, then move through Buddy Holly to the lull before the Beatles (Paul Anka, et al) ... but that's just another route to take.

 

Nice Friday topic - Thanks.

colby.a.louis
colby.a.louis

I would like to express my gratitude for the tactical absence of bands like Boston, Golden Earring, RamJam and the Mick Jagger solo stuff. Kids don't need to know about that.

 

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Not blessed with kids, (and having a terminal allergy to the adoption process) I truly enjoy the experiences of other parents. I live next to a cat old enough to remember being too broke to go to Beatles/LedZep/Jimi shows. His teen kid raids the LP box and quizzes him on the music. That was me with the old man's books, (not magazines, trust) and I grew up reading Hemingway, Faulkner & Sinclair. I believe there's not a lot of explanation needed. Your kids want to know what you are/were into and they'll "get" the music or they won't and no amount of explanation will make a difference. Fun article, Mr. Hlavaty.

WraithofKhan
WraithofKhan

@hprocksoff I try to do this with my kids. Actually was working on female rock musicians to share with my daughter.

wildheartrocks
wildheartrocks

@WraithofKhan I could totally help you with that one: Heart, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Kim Gordon, No Doubt, Christine McVie etc etc etc.

christinalynn
christinalynn

 @a-ramak mine? Greatest female-fronted rock band ever. Now what would he say about Stevie Nicks' solo work is what I wanna know!

wildheartrocks
wildheartrocks

@WraithofKhan I'd also recommend Kate bush and Florence and the machine

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