Thursday, September 8, 2016

Eyeing Niblets corn with bad intent.

So I was in the supermarket the other day, during the day, and the PA played "Baba O'Reilly" and "Aqualung."


I question their selections.

Nothing against these choices as great songs of RAWK. But they hardly seem to fit the genteel atmosphere of weekday morning supermarket browsing. For "Aqualung" in particular, any song that mentions snot is not really a good one for food sales. Never mind "eyeing little girls with bad intent."

I guess the rock musicians of 1971, when those songs were released, would be sad that their music was now being played in the supermarket, but perhaps gladdened by the fact that I at least find it inappropriate.

I know I complained about all this just a few months ago, but I must reiterate that classic rock is not always a good choice for retail ambiance just because it fits the demo of certain shoppers. Even here in the Hudson Valley, where everyone I know over the age of sixty claims to have been at Woodstock. It's like all the Frenchmen who claimed to have been in La RĂ©sistance after the war. If everyone who claimed to have been at Woodstock had been there, millions would have been at that stupid mudfest, and, cut off as they were from food, water, and sanitation, the fatalities would have been in the hundreds.

So even if our area boasts a higher-than-typical fan base for the songs of that era, they are still not a great choice for middle-class food service.

I got to wondering if, in 1971, supermarkets were playing music that came from 45 years earlier---which was 1926. Ha! I laughed. And yet, it was entirely possible. Albums of old standards remained popular---old standards like "Bye Bye Blackbird," "I'm Sitting on Top of the World," and "Baby Face," all hits in 1926. In fact, "Baby Face" became a disco hit in 1975. The ragtime music of Scott Joplin (d. 1917) became very popular thanks to the 1973 movie The Sting. And 1900s nostalgia was huge in the 1970s. Every ice cream parlor had stripes everywhere and those spindly wrought-iron chairs.

So you could hear 45-year-old songs in the market in 1971. The difference was that you wouldn't hear the original, scratchy, low-fi 1926 recordings. You might hear "Always," but perhaps as a Muzak instrumental, not by George Olsen.

But the main difference: Amazingly, none of the hit songs from 1926---not a single one!---featured the word snot.

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