To read what's come before, just scroll back to last week! And check back throughout the week for even more on this subject ... some EXCELLENT food for thought. (Hopefully a few of the deejays on the list are listening, too!)
To answer our question, WHAT IS AN OLDIE?, some of our readers took the most basic, literal, educational approach ....
To answer your question of what is an "oldie", first I went to my dictionary and to see just what it said. It said that an "oldie" is something old and often, well known, as a motion picture or a song. Than was pretty obvious. Now I believe that the great majority of your readers are like me in that an "oldie" pertains to a song, especially the phrase "an oldie but a goody".
Now then, how old does an "oldie" have to be? One "oldie' to a person may not be an"oldie" to the next. I guess you could say a song from ten years ago could be considered to be an "oldie". If a song, say from ten years ago is considered to be an "oldie" by some people, then a song from ten or more years could be also an "oldie" Some people would say that an "oldie" is like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
Not all records are "oldies but goodies" An "oldie" say, a breakin by Dickie Goodman to a lot of people is not considered to be a "goodie" An "oldie" when heard by someone may bring back memories of what they were doing at the time the song came out, maybe even bringing back memories of] what they were exactly doing the moment they heard the song for the first time, either on the radio or on a jukebox.
A few weeks ago on the TOC, Scott Shannon played Bertie Higgins 1981 song KEY LARGO. A couple of days earlier he played Paul Davis' 1982 song '65 LOVE AFFAIR. Now assuming that one graduated from highschool in those years, they would be 48 and 49 years old, respectively. Now to those people, those songs would be considered "oldies". A song or"oldie" they remember from their childhood, primarily their highschool years. To be honest with you, I consider them "oldies" also. They may not be quite as good an "oldie" like a song from the mid to late fifties-sixties to someone like me.
Nowadays it seem that "oldie" radio stations are playing songs from the seventies. They are programming music to those that grew up in the seventies just like a few years before "oldie" radio stations were programming to those that grew up in the mid to late fifties and nineteen sixties.
So, what is an "oldie"? There is an old expression that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" An "oldie" may be various and sundry things to an individual. It will be interesting to see what your readers have to say as to what they thing an "oldie" is. I have often said that if you wanted to ask someone what their definition of a "hit" record is, ask ten people and you probably will get ten different answers.
"a popular song, joke, movie, ... old person or thing"
So, there you have it ... we are the oldies!!! :-)
Others put their own spin on defining an era ...
I just read your interview with Ron Smith, and I never realized how much you guys think like me (or vice versa...grin) ... I thought I was a loner in this world of music. I have been trying to find backers for several years (money) to buy a station and program the oldies music, songs that are never played anymore, or that never made it on the charts. I also think there is a generation of youngsters out there that would fall in love with that music IF they were given a chance to hear it. You Tube, I have discovered, is a good source for hearing songs that even I have never heard before, (and I am a retired DJ). But these are the songs I would program on a station so everyone could enjoy them either again or for the first time.
I would throw away the darned play lists that killed radio in my opinion, and let the D.J's do there thing once again. Put some real life personality in radio again and make it fun for everyone.
WLS-FM General Manager Michael Damsky hit it on the head with the younger generation finding the oldies today. I could go on and on for hours, but you get my drift.
When younger listeners today hear the music as they would in a movie, they will connect with it and either love it or hate it as we would. How many times have you heard a song and said it was the worst thing you ever heard, but you listen and it grew on you and you ended up loving it. Happened to me many times. But others I listened to and said it would be number one and it did.
Likewise the obscure songs that never made it to even the top 100, I listen to for the first time (via Youtube) and I say wow, why didn't they play that 40 years ago? Give it a spin today and let the listeners hear it. Throw out the playlists and Let the DJ's do their thing and make the programming interesting coupled with the music. I am sure there would have to be a few restrictions, but very few.
Look at the country (?) music of today and 10-15 years ago, a lot of it was just remakes of old rock songs and they had hits with it. I also think a rock and country format would do wonders. Programming oldies rock with oldies Country & Western songs, would go good together on a station. But it would have to be presented right to make it work.
Keep up the good work.
Earl (Just My 2 Cents Worth)
Hi Kent -
I can understand the dilemma of determining what "oldies" are and, after giving it some thought, I narrowed it down like this:
The term "Oldies" was used to define music that was played in the 50's, 60's and early 70's when I was growing up. And there was no doubt in ANYBODY'S mind what an oldie was or what you would hear on an oldies station. I think it was the late 70's or early 80's when many more genres started popping out of the woodwork to describe various other music (like disco, alternative, elevator).
With the amount of time that has passed I think people take "oldies" to have expanded like the term antique does with cars (anything over 25 years old). But I personally don't think music should follow suit. Oldies at the time were defining a certain sound not so much how old a song was. If it was just how old a song was why don't oldies radio stations play a mix of rock, disco, country, blue grass, polka and anything else that has reached a certain age? As you said, oldies was a baby boomers thing. What they need to do for all the music that came AFTER the oldies (what they are calling oldies now) is to come up with a different name that would encompass this other accumulation of music. What that name could be I am sorry but I have no suggestions. Well, one idea comes to mind. I had a CD collection called "Big Hair Rock" because of all the bands that used to sport those aweful hairdos back in the 80's.
Just my 2 cents
-- Buck Lam
DON'T FORGET: The brand new K-HITS launches this afternoon ... if you're in Chicago, be sure to tune your radio to 104.3 FM a little before 1:00 this afternoon ... at exactly 1:04 (get it???), they kick off their new K-Hits Format, programming music of the '60's, '70's and '80's on what USED to be Jack-FM. (Prior to that, of course, it was Magic 104, WJMK ... at the time, Chicago's premier oldies station!)