Before I moved over here I acquired the Billboard Top 100 hits for each year from 1950 until 2007. During the few hours a day I haven’t been in my study group I’ve been making my way through them chronologically, loading one year at a time onto my phone. Usually, as I load the songs, I skip over the ones I’m not fond of. A few days ago, as I was loading 1966, it dawned on me that there weren’t any songs in the top 100 I wasn’t fond of. Wilson Pickett, Yardbirds, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Beatles (twice), Bobby Fuller Four, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Herman’s Hermits, Turtles . . . and those are just songs 91-100! It only gets better from there. 1966, what a year. My parents lived through it. What did I live through? Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. Great.
It’s also interesting to me how much genre overlap there was in the 50s and the 60s. I grew up listening to radio stations that just played oldies. Then my tastes evolved to classic rock so I listened to stations that played just classic rock. In my mind I always envisioned there being some definite time when rock & roll definitively ended and what we now call classic rock definitively began. In fact, though, classic rock was making inroads into popular culture while rock & roll was still going strong. I’m in 1968 right now and here is Cream right alongside the Temptations, the Doors right alongside the Supremes. It seems obvious but I had no idea. Here’s to many more years of great music!