Monday, March 7, 2011

What Is An "OLDIE"???


The topic has come up more than a few times over the years ... what exactly IS an oldie?

With the wealth of oldies fans who regularly read and participate with Forgotten Hits, we're expecting to receive a wide range of answers on this one.

Several arguments can be made ... and HAVE been over the years.

Some folks on the list will say that the REAL oldies ... the records and artists that helped to shape and form Rock And Roll Music from its infancy ... stopped the minute The British Invasion invaded our shores back in 1964 ... that Rock And Roll Music is an AMERICAN invention, plain and simple ... and NOTHING post-1963 should be considered an "oldie". They consider the onslaught of British Rock to be "the day the music died".

Others will say that it ended even earlier than that ... that once the "Founding Fathers of Rock" gave way to the "pretty boy teen idols", rock and roll music became so diluted that it ceased to exist. Other "oldies experts" will say that rock and roll music ended the day that Elvis Presley was drafted ... or the day that Buddy Holly's plane went down!

Still others will argue that certainly "The Disco Era" can't be considered (by definition) "oldies" ... they'll fight to the death to claim that disco music all but destroyed rock and roll at the time. (Yet another group of readers will remember their time out on the light-up dance floor to be amongst their happiest memories!)

Another younger faction of our list will agree that "Video Killed The Radio Star", placing the end of The Rock Era at around 1980. (Ironically, Forgotten Hits has prided itself on primarily focusing on the music of 1955 - 1979 ... The First 25 Years of Rock And Roll ... since our inception back in 1999!)

Some will logically (and / or mathematically) deduce that ANY song that's at least 25 years old MUST be considered an "oldie". (That would take us from the dawn ... and pre-dawn .. of The Rock Era through about 1985 ... and, as we've all seen, "oldies radio" has been playing more and more '80's Music on their stations ... unfortunately at the expense of ELIMINATING pretty much everything that came BEFORE that dreaded British Invasion ... thus eliminating what an entire generation calls REAL Rock And Roll Music! Had they simply ADDED to their existing playlist, we might find this interesting in an "all-encompassing" sort of way ... but instead, choosing to IGNORE the very music that started it all just seems wrong!!!)

Over twelve years of putting together Forgotten Hits, one point we've seemed to prove time and time again is that the music that MOST affected your life is probably what you were listening to at about the age of 12 or 13 or 14 ... THIS is the music that has left the most long-lasting impression on your being ... it's where your greatest affection for music exists.

With that thought in mind, a "desirable demographic" would mean that a 40 year old today (born in 1971) would most appreciate the music of 1984 / 1985. Someone like myself (born in 1953) was most affected by the music of The British Invasion ... I missed "The Early Years" of Rock And Roll but loved what I heard SO much that I went out and investigated and rediscovered this music on my own. (And fess up ... isn't there at least some small part of you would would absolutely LOVE to slap the 24 year old, lower end of this "desirable demographic" who boasts with great pride ... when something by N*Sync or Destiny's Child comes on the radio ... the groups that launched, respectively, the MEGA careers of current pop stars like Justin Timberlake and Beyonce ... "Oh My God!!! I remember this song from when I was just a kid!!!"

So with that, we're opening up the flood gates ...

Let it rip!

We want to hear from you ... what IS and what ISN'T an "oldie"???

Is it a period in time? Or is it a "state of mind"?

Is it something as chronologically simple as "anything that's at least 25 years old?" Or is it a bygone era of basic musical development?

More than a few deejays on the list will testify that they were forbidden from uttering the dreaded "O" word on the radio ... we ran through a period of time where you didn't DARE say the word "oldies" to your audience ... the general feeling was that you would be insulting them by calling them "old" ... so instead catch phrases like "The Greatest Hits Of All Time" and "The Soundtrack Of Your Life" came into fashion instead.

But the fact is we ARE old!!! But we are still very passionate about this music ... we LOVE it!!! But we ALSO consider this music to be "timeless" ... and believe whole-heartedly that it's there to be discovered and embraced by a whole new generation of listeners who will fall in love with it, too!
We were very fortunate here in Chicago to have two radio outlets that embraced the "oldies" branding ... and went so far as to boldly name their stations "Real Oldies" and "The True Oldies Channel" ... and made absolutely no apologies for doing so. The original vision of these stations was to cater to the baby boomers who grew up loving this music. We'll take a closer look at both of these stations over the next several weeks ... and encourage your comments on this topic.

Meanwhile, we'll continue to feed you food for thought ...
Are songs that belong on the oldies channels more "artist" dictated? Two immediate examples that come to mind are "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys and "You Got It" by Roy Orbison, both late '80's tracks that found an immediate home on the oldies stations. Is it because both of these artists are held in such high regard in the oldies community? Is it because these songs seem to fit in with the style normally associated with these artists?

To me, oldies is an era ... we just need to decide how much of that era we want oldies radio to capture with their play lists. So PLEASE, let your voice be heard on this. We're taking it to The Oldies Nation at large and asking for THEIR take on what does and doesn't belong on an oldies station. Maybe between ALL of us we can help to build the PERFECT oldies station ... one with enough of those "special features" to keep you tuned in all day long ... so please weigh in on this ... and know that the "powers that be" are listening!
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits