Years ago, I remember sitting in my friend Noah’s living room with a bunch of his friends ripping bongs and listening to Dark Side of the Moon. They were discovering the same beautiful, deep, and musically compelling album that I had discovered when I was their age. By the time I was first getting into Dark Side of the Moon, the album was already almost 15 years old. Another 15 years after that, a whole new generation was discovering it’s magic. Noah and his friends were all students at Berklee, and are great musicians themselves. They have since relocated to NYC, and the name of their band is The Dig if you want to check them out. It was a testament to the genius of Pink Floyd that these students of music would sit around and listen to that album over and over for days, just as I had with my friends when I was their age. Re listening to it with them was a wonderful circle of life moment and all that happy horseshit, but it was also amazing how fresh the album sounded after 30 plus years. As a side note, thank you Noah for burning me a copy of Dark Side of the Oz. Synching up the beginning of the album and the third MGM lion’s roar can be so tedious…..
Great music is timeless. It appeals to people of all ages and walks of life all over the world. Certain music seems to hit home at specific ages. I think everybody went through a Zeppelin phase in high school (although that “phase” has lasted a lifetime for me!). I don’t think I’ve ever been at, or near, a college keg party without hearing at least one Steve Miller song. And eventually everyone mellows out enough to realize the understated genius of Willie Nelson (if they have a scrap of good taste, that is).
Today I was reminded of the generational phenomenon of good music when I saw that my friend Sarah, who is in her mid 20’s, just clicked on facebook that she “liked” Queen. They are such a great band on so many levels, and it made me feel good that their music was living on in new generations. Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 was one of the most intense live shows ever. In particular, Radio GaGa was a stand out. Lady GaGa took her name from that song, and I hope all her fans check out Freddy Mercury to see what an over-the-top rock star glam queen really looks like. Radio GaGa was written by Queen’s drummer as a tribute to radio, which was a dying medium in the early 80’s thanks in large part to MTV. It is extremely fitting that the first video ever played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Radio GaGa is a touching love song to sitting alone as a kid listening to radio and to musical inspiration in general. Hearing a man like Freddy Mercury belt it out is quite stunning considering the fact that his entire life he felt like an outsider and a misfit, until he found salvation in music. When he took the stage he was a rock god, and hearing 100,000+ people cheering and singing back and forth with him is spine tingling.
Freddy Mercury and all great music will live forever. Amen.