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Music and Baby Boomer Opinion Piece

Baby Boomers Can't Let Their Good Old Jams Go

The following post is from rockman858, who posted it in the OnSugar blog All About Music.

Today, I am here to discuss something that has been on my mind for a few years now. We subconsciously think about it almost every time we watch a major sporting event or ceremony. We sit back in our chairs while watching this and think to our selves, "Wow, I have heard this song 146 million times". If you don't know what I am talking about by now, you probably disagree, and that's totally fine. Here's my opinion:

I am starting to become frustrated with the constant catering to the baby boomers in regards to music. When are they going to modernize their ears and truly begin listening to modern music? I went to a huge street fair over the weekend in Southern California. There were all kinds of people and countless booths selling anything you can possibly think of from cell phones to modern art. All ages from 16—60 were present. And of course, like any other street fair, there was a line up of about 12 bands playing live music on a huge stage. This was the spot where 75 percent of all the people were. Every single band that played that day was a tribute band for the baby boomer era. For example, there was a Rolling Stones tribute band, then there was a Beatles tribute band, and so on. I looked around the audience and it was clear the 50 percent of the audience was bored out of their minds ( those less than 35 years of age). The other 50 percent of the audience (the baby boomers) were absolutely stoked. How can the planners of this street fair do this?

To read the rest of rockman858's post, just read more.

There was not one modern band that played. And no, it is not true that all modern bands are too vulgar for public events, look at Maroon 5 or John Mayer. Are they too obscene? No. And that is not a valid excuse. Also, the genres were so incredibly unidimensional. There were no pop groups, reggae groups, or even hard rock groups for the matter. The reason for this, most likely, is that the baby boomers were the ones buying mortgages and $20,000 dollar paintings at this event, where the modern folk was buying much simpler necessities such as a beer. This street fair is a fairly weak example, I know, but it gets the point across.


The best example that comes to mind is this last year's Superbowl where The Who headlined the show. Don't get me wrong, I love The Who and always will, but something I don't love is seeing 60 plus year old legends on stage sounding far from what they used to sound like, and playing their songs tuned two steps down because they can't hit the notes that they used to. I understand how bad ass these bands were back in the day, but my biggest point in this article is that this is a huge slap in the face for modern artists. There is so much talent out there today, yet for some reason the NFL needs to go back to 1965 to find what they are looking for. The competition for artists today, for all genres, dwarfs the competition for artists in the past with just sheer volume and different entertainment alternatives. Don't you dare throw out the Janet Jackson controversy at the Superbowl a few years ago as an argument. That is complete BS. Entertainment shall not punish the entire present music scene with one glitch. That should not even be discussed.

The Baby Boomers cannot let go of their good old jams, and won't accept modern music. There is 100 times more genres and styles today, and it baffles me how they can listen to their songs for the, literally, 1.67 millionth time and not move on. When are we going to see modern bands like Pearl Jam or the Black-eyed Peas as the headliners in events such as the Superbowl for the halftime show? . . . and don't tell me how you dislike either, that is not even close to the point.

Until the Baby Boomers can let go, the youth and everyone younger is forced to wait, bored out of their minds, while their parents have the time of their lives rocking out to songs they have heard millions of times.

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Join The Conversation
kea718 kea718 7 years
I mostly disagree with the original poster. However, my mom is a baby boomer and she refuses to listen to music I like (I'm 24 she's 56). She lumps all of it in one category and thinks it's all garbage. She won't even give it a chance. I listen to bands she grew up with, even some band I can't stand. In fact, I really like a lot of what she listens to. I admit, I listen to stuff I know she won't like (rap, hard rock, certain pop), but I also listen to music I think she would enjoy (a lot of the Indie rock I listen to I think she would actually like). It's not just her, my stepfather is that way, my aunts, most older people I've met won't give todays music a chance.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I agree with Sundaydrive. I get most new music for free, and I'm not really a fan of it. Don't get me wrong there are great modern bands, and pop artists that I really enjoy and I have been known to blast a Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles, or even Christina Aguilara tune from the car speakers, but whenever I really feel the need to rock out I have to go back to the old classics. There is just something about Kansas, Boston, Styx, The Stones, etc, that just never gets old. Maybe it's because I like people that write their own music, maybe it's because us Gen Xers don't have ears tuned to auto-tune, but most new music sounds like it was produced in a studio rather than created by an artist. Maybe I'm just don't understand the concept of "artists" that are more interested in being famous or controversial than they are in being artists. I can't imagine that either Lady Gaga or Katy Perry spend as much time writing their own music as they spend cultivating their "artistic ensembles". You might want to consider doing some research as to the number of people that watch the Superbowl that are interested in pop singers or modern bands. I'm willing to bet if they offered a poll as to which band should play at the Superbowl the Who or The Stones would bet out the Black Eyed Peas or John Mayer 20 to 1.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I'm 27 and I love the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Additionally, these two bands are not in the same genre (IMO), so I wouldn't say that having tribute bands for these two groups is "unidimensional." Also, what are The Beatles, if not a pop group? (Yes, they're better than a lot of the pop musicians of today, but they are a pop group nonetheless.) And, I am going to dare to bring up the Janet Jackson controversy, even though I've been instructed not to do so. (Although, I don't see the point of posting something for discussion if relevant points are forbidden; perhaps this was meant to be more of a rant than anything?) I mean, it's pretty well-known (and abundantly clear if you look at who has performed each year) that the Super Bowl switched to "older" (for lack of a better word) acts following the Janet Jackson incident. I mean, why would the NFL and the networks risk being fined again? You may think it's "complete BS" and yes, Viacom is a huge company, but why risk having to pay out another $3.5 million. Also, really, you think it's "punishing the entire present music scene?" That wording is a bit dramatic, don't you think? The artists featured during the Super Bowl halftime show have always been established artists, even when they were younger artists; it's not as if anyone used the show to break into the mainstream market. Additionally, I'm wondering if maybe you're not too familiar with all of the genres of the past, because there really aren't "100 times more genres and styles today." If anything, I'd argue that all of the genres today are starting to sound kind of similar. Although, if you consider The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to be the same genre, maybe that's why you think there are so many more genres today. Additionally, I know a ton of baby boomers who like artists like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, etc. Now, these artists are mainstream and not exactly cutting edge, but, in my experience, baby boomers have adapted well with the times. Sure, they still like "their music," but they like modern music, as well. Why should the two be mutually exclusive? Ugh, I keep babbling on, but, in the end, I think it comes down to fact that so-called "baby boomer music" appeals to a huge range of people. I've never been at an event where Brown Eyed Girl, Cecelia, or Don't Stop Believin' (not exactly from the 60's, but not really modern, either) was playing and less than 95% of the people weren't singing along and dancing. This kind of music is universal and has stood the test of time for a reason. There's a ton of music that was released in the 60's and 70's that hasn't stood the test of time because it wasn't good; the stuff that's still around is still around because people, young and old, still like it!
loriborealis loriborealis 7 years
"Under 35"? ...but there's also Generation X. That's the generation I'm in - I will be 39 in a week. You also mentioned Pearl Jam as a "modern band". They became big when I was 21 years old, which was18 years ago. Eddie Vedder is a baby boomer himself, having been born in 1964. Having said ALL that - I do understand somewhat where you're coming from. I think lumping everything as "baby boomer" though could have been avoided. I was born in 1971, in the middle of Gen X. I grew up listening to every form of rock imaginable - including classic rock like the bands you mentioned. I was a teen in the 80s so I also listened to new wave, punk, thrash metal, hair metal, pop -- then alternative in the 90s. I have always loved music and kind of got away from the newer stuff the last few years. It happens as you get older, for different reasons. But since music has always been one of my big passions, I have really tried the last few months to listen to newer stuff. One problem at least for me is that technology has changed SO MUCH in the last 10 years. I grew up in a time when you had vinyl albums and cassettes. CDs didn't even really become the norm until the early 90s, so I was already in my 20s. Of course, I easily switched to CD - and have ripped and burned CDs into the computer, etc., but I find the plethora of websites, etc, somewhat daunting. My preferred format is radio just because it's so easy, but I have been trying to find good websites with new music as well, because the radio format also has its limitations. I'm around 40, and that's my main issue with finding new music, is just ALL the options - and if you're out of the "scene" for a while it can be hard to come back and know where to start looking. So... that's probably a big issue for many people. Radio and the way music is distributed today is just not the same as it was. You have to do some digging and older people many times don't have the inclination to do that much digging. Things really change as you get older. So... that leads me to a question: what are some really good sites that showcase new music?? I really have been searching and have found a few, including Buzz Sugar, which I get in my RSS feed. I feel a little more "hip" with my current music knowledge than I did a few months ago. LOL! For the record, I LOVE John Mayer and have since I first heard him, around 2001 or 2002. Also even bought a Maroon 5 CD a few years ago (yay!) I also like bands like Phoenix, the Killers, Kings of Leon and the White Stripes (are the White Stripes still current? I'm so old... LOL ... but pretty much I love anything Jack White...). So anyway - it really may just be an issue of lack of access for many people. They get busy, have jobs, careers, families.... I'm one person who hung out with musicians when I was a teen/early 20s, I'm single, no kids, and even I fell out of the loop for a while. I think maybe if older people knew where to REALLY hear newer music (other than the radio, which only skims the surface of music), then there might be more of us interested in newer music. If you have any website recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 7 years
Exactly, Sundaydrive. How old is the writer? I'm almost 34 and I do not want to hear Britney Spears and the like of the "younger" music at these festivals.
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 7 years
Because its much better then 95% of the music that is being produced today. It is rather sad nowadays what can pass as music. Bands like Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Aerosmith and Boston actually have talent. They all still tour, still sell out shows, and are still making music. I doubt that in 50 years Justin Bieber, Nickleback, Katy Perry, any of the American Idol kids will still be touring, even known. If you were bored at the street festival, why stay and listen to the music? Move on to the vendors or go somewhere else. No one is forcing you to listen to their music. If you don't like it too bad, other people do. Both my boyfriend and I hate Top 40 music, and listen to mostly classic rock on the radio. I'm 24 and he's 28, so its not just the Baby Boomers who are still listening to this music.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Um, how old is the writer of this article?
Cadet Cadet 7 years
Most people I know stop their music exploration when they start having a family. It's hard to stay relevant when you're bustling behind strollers and blasting Elmo.
demarco11 demarco11 7 years
I dont think the representation of those bands is because the baby boomers cant let go. I think it's because those bands influenced a lot of what has happened in music and the tribute bands are giving them props because they've inspired them as musicians. A lot of people don't realize the effects of those 60's groups had on music until they become musicians themselves. What would have been better was to maybe throw in a song of their own into the mix. I'm sure John Mayer and Maroon 5 would tell you the influence those bands have had on them and have probably played a cover or two themselves. My mom is a baby boomer and she enjoys all kinds of music and has always been open to hearing something new. I was born in the 80's and the Beatles are one of my favorite bands. Maybe it's just the new generation that is bored with the sound, but the classics are classics for a reason...
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