Rock and Roll’s icons such as Santana, James Brown and Led Zeppelin are some of the most well-known and influential people on the planet. Why? Well, for one thing, because we’ve heard their music over and over again. It has endured the test of time. Consider, for example, Volkswagen’s recent use of Elton John’s forty year old song ‘Rocket Man,’ to sell cars. (By the way, just to sweep away any confusion, he didn’t sing, “Burning up the room with cheap cologne.” He sang, “Burning out his fuse up here alone.” I’ll bet you’re relieved to get this cleared-up after all these years.)
Hmm, after all these years, I wonder if everybody on the planet has by now heard ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ Well, maybe not everybody. But millions of us certainly have and lots of other songs are stuck in our heads as well. Elton John pointed this out, “The words she knows the tune she hums”…Tiny Dancer.
I was reminded of Rock and Roll’s omnipresence when my wife and I visited a local state park recently. I was driving and as we rolled slowly up to the window at the welcome center, the attendant stepped out to greet us. As she did, I noticed her Beatles baseball hat. It certainly wasn’t part of the standard-issue park ranger uniform which made it stand out even more than it would have to a fellow music lover!
Jumping to a quick conclusion (my only exercise that day) I figured she was probably a fan of Rock and Roll. I leaned out the window with both arms extended and hands up, as if appealing the ref’s call in a basketball game. With a big smile I proclaimed, “Don’t mess with me because I’m B-B-B-Bad to the bone.” In an instant, the lady’s face brightened and she started laughing. Her quick reply, “I’ve heard of that one!” Three other people in the little building overheard our strange little greeting and stepped out the door to join our conversation sharing their favorite Rock and Roll songs. Within seconds, I was 4 for 4. I had connected with four people because of a common interest. This made me smile and I hoped my wife was as impressed as I was to connect with others over music.
Here’s the way I see it: I’m not sure we’re hooked on phonics but we sure seem to be hooked on Rock and Roll and we probably always will be. Consider this comment from musician Toni Braxton, “I’ll probably be 80 years old and still performing. Music is like fashion, it changes. But some things will always be the same.” One thing that stays the same is that we’re always in the mood for a melody, looking for something to make us feel alright, just as Billy Joel pointed out in his great song, Piano Man.
Rock and Roll has us hooked and we are hooked in a major way. Boston knew this when they told us, “Nothin’s gonna help you more than Rock ‘n’ Roll”…Feelin’ Satisfied. They have a good point but they’re off by a few degrees because March Madness is here. This time of year college basketball is bigger than almost everything – even Rock and Roll – but only for a few more weeks. After that, rock on!