Generation X and Musical Milestones


As a rock music lover, I used to enjoy getting my music updates on MTV News. I haven't watched MTV in a while. Truth be told, I don't even know if MTV still has a news segment. Or what Kurt Loder and Tabitha Soren are doing these days. I really miss them and their updates. But I digress....

Recently, I saw a promotion for the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. It will air on HBO on Saturday, May 31st at 9pm (ET/PT). In previous years, I had not tuned in to the induction ceremony except to check out some of the live performances. That changed for me last year with the induction of Heart and Rush. These two groups have always been among my favorites. They introduced me to a life long passion of rock music.

On my 9th birthday, I received a five speed bicycle and a transistor pocket radio. Heart's "Crazy on You" was the first song I heard when I turned it on. The radio had a little strap which I attached to the handlebars of my new bike. If I happened to miss "Crazy on You" during the afternoon, I would wait another hour until it was played again. Then I would hop on my bike and cruise around the block...pedaling faster as Ann Wilson hit her high notes.

A few years later in junior high, my music teacher developed an innovative way to teach rock appreciation. It was called Lines from Lyrics. Student volunteers brought their favorite current albums to class. Then she would compile worksheets with lyrics from the songs. We would ponder what the songs were trying to tell us as we answered multiple choice and essay questions. For me, Rush's Permanent Waves stood out as the best album studied that year. My favorite lyric was "You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill. I will choose a path that's clear. I will choose freewill."

Nirvana is one of the groups inducted this year. Although I am glad that a group from Generation X is being honored, it is a lot to digest that my peers in rock bands have met the minimum requirement of 25 years since the release of their first album. But time has marched on since I bought Nevermind, attended the first Lollapalooza concert, or owned my first cell phone (which resembled a walkie-talkie).

My friends and I occassionally discuss various reminders that we are getting older. This induction ceremony is it for me. But age can be what you make it. Lately, I have been listening to  the  local alternative station. I enjoy The Neighbourhood, Foster the People, Arcade Fire, and Kings of Leon. I can't help but smile when some of the recent songs include guitar solos reminiscent of the early 90s.

Heart will be on tour this summer and they will be performing near my town. I don't want to miss this show. Somewhere in my home, packed  away in a box, I may find that transistor radio.

Karen Y. Brown






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