In the world of pop music, the game usually belongs to the younger crowd. In act, during the 60’s, one of the most favorite sayings of that generation was to ”Never trust anyone over 30.” That was because styles, political views and especially music was being created by people in the 20’s and younger.
Attempting to remain relevant when you are older, when the whole world wants young and fresh faces, may seem like a losing battle. Older performers are said not to be “with it,” that they are “dinosaurs,” or that they “don’t have a clue,” when it comes to the wants and reasons of the younger generation. But throughout pop music history, that isn’t always the case. Some of the older generation, at the time, came up with some of the best pop songs ever recorded when they were well past their prime.
Take for instance, Dean Martin. Dean was a crooner from the 40’s and 50’s, who by the 1960’s, was pretty much on his way out. Unless you were advanced in age, at that time, no respectable young person would dare to listen to a Dean Martin song. That is until he came out with “Everybody Loves Somebody” in 1964. This was the year when the Beatles had taken over the pop charts, but Dean took it back with this song.
Another former icon was Chuck Berry, who at one time was one of the originators of rock and roll in the mid 50’s. But by the early 70’s, his star had faded and he was resigned to doing passe’ rock and roll shows of outdated music. All of that changed when he dug up an old tune called “My Ding A Ling” which vaulted to #1 on the charts. Although Berry’s reputation as one of the originators of rock and roll took a hit when he played this song, he laughed all the way to the bank.
There are many other instances of seemingly over-the-hill performers or musicians, who can pull it all together, and be a part of something epic that crosses over from older to younger and back again. The famous dance tune of the 90’s called “The Macarena” was penned by a couple of guys in their 50’s. Meat Loaf came out with “Bat Out Of Hell 2” 25 years after the original “Bat Out Of Hell,” and the new album became the originals equal in sales and appeal. Even music legend Leonard Cohen came out with a new song called “I’ve Got A Secret” that puts this 70-something year old tune-smith back on the musical charts.
Perhaps the latest, greatest and most funky song around right now is “Bad Dancer” by Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Yes, THAT Yoko Ono, conceptual artist, wife of John Lennon, mother of Sean Lennon and all around hipster. This new song makes and keeps Yoko Ono relevant, even though she is 80 years old, and counting. And if Yoko is this good with a song in this genre’, we can only wonder how John Lennon himself would have embraced this form of modern music, and made it his own.
Here is the great Dean Martin and “Everybody Loves Somebody” along with some terrific boozy banter, back in the day.
Chuck Berry doin “My Ding A Ling.”
The incomparable Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band with “Bad Dancer.”