You’re probably not an American if you don’t swear allegiance to “Pinball Wizard,” “Bad to the Bone” or “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Classic rock doesn’t get much classier than those tunes, and rock stations won’t let you forget it. And that’s the problem. I recently cancelled my SiriusXM subscription, so now I’m dependent on commercial radio for times when I don’t feel like cranking up my iPod. Classic rock radio sure is comforting, and some of the timeless songs in their repertoire duly deserve their immortal status.
But how many times can you hear “Stairway to Heaven” or “Brown Eyed Girl” before diving for the scan button?
Rock radio programmers should take a voluntary vow to leave a some rock staples off the set list for a spell. All it would take is six months without “All Along the Watchtower,” and suddenly the song will feel fresher than it has in decades.
Of course, that means falling back on deep cuts, the kind of music that strikes fear into the heart of your average radio programmer. It also could allow deejays to spin a few of their personal favorites. Who knows? Maybe audiences will find a new appreciation for unsung acts like John Hiatt and John Wesley Harding?
Some classic rock tracks don’t require any hiatus. I could hear The Kinks’ “Lola” in an eternal loop and smile from ear to ear. And any ELO song is guaranteed to make me drive at least five miles per hour faster than I should be driving. Sorry, Mom.
But some songs simply need a break. They’ve been hard at work for three to four decades. They deserve a vacation, and they’ll come back refreshed and ready to entertain us again.