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New Age Classic Rock?

By Azeem Banatwalla | March 5, 2010

Split Magazine: New Age Classic RockI was sitting with a friend the other day, having a random discussion regarding love, life and lip-balm, when the conversation drifted towards music. He said to me, “You know, I heard this song today, and I really liked it,” to which, I replied, “Wow, you heard that today? It released in 2000!”

Now, I don’t know about the rest of the world, maybe it’s just a psychological thing, but whenever I think of the year 2000, it somehow doesn’t seem that long ago. That is, until I count and realise that it’s just a small matter of ten years! Which leads me to ask: are Nirvana and Guns ‘n’ Roses already classic rock? In another 10 or 15 years’ time, will the youth of the next generation look back at the likes Linkin Park, and term them as classic rock?

It makes me shudder, the very thought of the seventeen-year-olds of 2023 (yes, sorry, I don’t think the Earth’s quite going to over-run by four-headed aliens in 2012), are going to run around calling Nickelback the golden oldies, irrespective of what colour Chad Kroeger’s hair is at the time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have too much against modern day rock. It’s more than decent at times, with the likes of the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, the Arctic Monkeys and countless others, churning out some really, really high quality music. But a decade or so down the line, is any of this world’s youth going to give more than a passing glance to the REAL classic rock. The ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The music that our parents grew up listening to, and passed on to us. The CCRs, the Bob Dylans, the Simon and Garfunkels, the Beatles; the bands that arguably started it all. Will anybody even know that they existed? Take for example King Crimson. One of THE most iconic and influential bands of all time. What percentage of the world’s population has even heard of, let alone, been within the realm of the Court of the Crimson King, in today’s day and age? The statistics are disheartening indeed.

The likes of The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden, because of their astronomical, even revolutionary success, would probably survive another generation, maybe even two, before fading into obscurity. But think about it. Twenty years later, when 70 percent of the kids that go up and ask their parents what “that dope musical shit” of their day and age was, the answers will invariably range from, Christina Aguilera, to Kanye West, to Limp Bizkit, and maybe, being rather optimistic, Metallica.

Make no mistake, rock music will continually evolve, and maybe even get better as the years progress, and bands will come, and bands will go. But how many will remain immortal, and how many will be forgotten? And really, how do you define Classic Rock? As stuff that our old men listened to in their heyday, or that unforgettable invention, the Wheel, if you will, without which the civilisation we call music would be completely unfathomable.

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  1. March 6, 2010, 2:23 pm staticsid

    I’ve often thought about this myself. And yes, for the generation to follow maybe Creed and Porcupine Tree which is contemporary for us, will become classic for them. It will certainly not be as drastic as “Christina Aguilera and Kanye West” :-)

    But after consuming and pondering all things music, I left behind genre biases long ago. Everyone evolves. So will you.

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