They say that everything comes around full-circle. What was once new and fashionable will reappear sometime in the future. I believe it. After all, I played with Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake when I was a kid. My fourth grade students are always shocked to learn that these characters aren’t new, and are in fact, old. Because to them, while I may not be as old as other people they know, I’m definitely not young.
I’ve noticed something similar with music. Musicians I used to adore, musicians I used to dress up as and dance around the house belting out their lyrics are not new any more. Consequently, their songs are played on different radio stations than they used to.
In Los Angeles, KRTH was known as an “Oldies” radio station. I used to hear the Beach Boys singing about “California Girls,” I’d hear the Beatles asking for “Help!,” and I’d hear Chubby Checker encouraging us to “Twist!” It was the station my family listened to in the car. KRTH played songs we could all agree on. Oldies are fun songs; many of them are ideal for group sing-alongs. These songs have lasting-power.
Now, KRTH advertises itself as playing “The Greatest Hits on Earth!” Those hits, include songs by Madonna and Michael Jackson - songs that I was listening to when I was in elementary school. Now, I’m teaching elementary school, driving to work, listening to songs that I used to own on cassette. (I sound like my mom, discussing her 45 records and 8-tracks for her Ford Pinto).
Have I gotten old? No. Older? Yes. And, truthfully, it’s rather unsettling. I’m not getting older the way I thought I would. I thought I’d feel older. I don’t. I’m still terrified of earthquakes. I’m still in awe of rainbows. And I still dance and sing to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” The songs I liked as a kid, I still like as an adult. I’m just hearing them on different stations. As my husband reminds me, these songs are 20+ years old. That designation, by themselves, make them “Oldies.” Oldies, part 2, because let’s face it, “Billie Jean” isn’t as old as “Peggy Sue.”
So, I can look at this from the glass-is-half-full perspective. I can find a multitude of songs I like, from across the years, on one radio station. Less channel-surfing, more singing.