It’s a sad thing when we, as baby boomers, begin to feel like “old fogies” when it comes to music and the “hip” things going on in popular culture. It’s also easy to forget that the rock music and many other genres of modern music got their launch way back during the days when baby boomers were the young people changing society and it was our music that changed the world.
So it’s good for baby boomers to remember such things about their heritage and what they passed on to the music and entertainment culture today. In the song “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” by Bob Seger, the singer reviews the changes baby boomers have gone through as they go from youth to middle age and deal with pressures of work, family, child rearing and changes in health due to aging. But the end result remains the same that at the heart of every baby boomer is a rock and roller who is just as capable as ever of enjoying the music that was the foundation of their culture.
One of the things that disheartened the baby boomer generation growing up was seeing the rock and roll life style take its toll on many of the icons of youth culture and music including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Freddie Mercury. But the unfortunate demise of these music heroes does not diminish the great contribution to music and to culture down through the years. So as much as we grieve the loss of great talent, we can always celebrate what they gave to us and continue to give to us down to modern times as music continues to reference those great figures of 60s music as icons and inspirations.
But for every rock and roller who did not survive that turbulent time in our culture, we can look to great performers who did survive, overcame their addictions and went on to continue to give great music to the world decade after decade. Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie are examples of wonderful and talented music heroes that demonstrated that age and a few wrinkles don’t mean a thing. They continue to rock and roll today as hard and with as much heart as they did when they were in their twenties.
In a way “to rock and roll” is a metaphor for living life to its fullest and for staying true to your values and living life in a genuine way that never gives up on what’s important in life. That is why baby boomers have always had the greatest contempt for anyone who sells out or abandons their core principles that they espoused in youth. To sell out is to say that none of the great history of the youth revolution meant anything and we are willing to turn out backs on it. But to “rock and roll” means always going back to your roots and never giving up, even when age, and busy lives and poor health say that you should slow down and not try to live with as much earnestness as you did when you were young.
Baby boomers, even at this dignified and “mature” stage in life, should feel liberated to be able to go ahead and “rock and roll” in a real sense of the word. The Bob Seger song was a hit because it gives us permission to reconnect with our roots and express that youthful enthusiasm again. You don’t have to go to a nostalgia show to do that either. There are dozens of great rock and roll acts that are giving to the children of baby boomers (and their grandchildren) that same excitement we got from The Beatles and The Stones.
“Discovering” rock and roll all over again can be great fun for a baby boomer especially when you find a new act that has that power and ability to perform that reminds us of the acts of our youth. They are out there so just get out there and uncover this great natural resource of talent in the music and culture of today’s youth revolution.