Friday, October 21, 2005

Old-Time Music


In 1965, a song written by John Sebastian was released as a single by Sebastian's band, The Lovin' Spoonful, on Buddha Records.

In 1965, the number one movie and the Oscar winner for Best Picture was The Sound of Music by the recently departed Robert Wise (although my suggestion if you want to pay him a tribute, is to check out the underseen The Body Snatcher which was just recently released on DVD).

In the tune, Sebastian asks the question, "Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart? How the music can free her, whenever it starts, and it's magic, if the music is groovy and makes you feel happy like an old-time movie." You recall that, correct? Or at least I've made it clear enough?

So, I got to thinking... What would John Sebastian's reaction be if you were to, in his presence, refer to The Sound of Music as an "old-time movie"? Ok, it's not the best example, but feel free to substitute a "hipper" movie from 1965 if it's necessary for you to make sense of the question.

Now, if he's like most Baby Boomers I've met, he would have that reaction as if you were talking some serious crazy talk. Even now that the average Baby Boomer has made it solidly into their 50s, there's still a weird assumption that they're 14 years old and their music and movies still define the Hit Parade.

But I came to think, that song celebrates its Ruby Anniversary this year (that's 40, for those of you who don't have your anniversary gifts memorized). How old were the alleged "old time movies" that were being evoked. 40 years prior to the release of that record would have been the Golden Age of Silent Films. Would you assume he was referring to the semi-experimental films that preceded that time? It has certainly never evoked that for me.

I admit, it's quite likely that he's been standing on stage and had this thought well before I did the other day. Maybe it was at The Lovin' Spoonful's much belated induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Who knows? But I'll bet dollars to doughnuts, a wager that held a lot more weight in 1965 when one could get a dozen doughnuts for less than a dollar, he has a lot of fans who've never had it.

For whatever that's worth...


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