As part of their Boomers @50+ feature, the good ‘ol (and I mean that in the most respectful manner) folks over at AARP gathered up a handful of prominent Baby-Boomers to highlight three of the popular arts linked to those born between 1946 and 1964. The same 76 million who “…reaped all the benefits of the postwar period’s extraordinary economic growth.” And as labeled by other gens, “The spoiled brats.”
I be one.
Admittedly, I probably match up with the latter more than I care to reveal. As P.J. O’Rourke wrote in his contributing essay:
“Yes, we’re spoiled rotten. We’re self-absorbed. And it seems like we’ll never shut up. But the boomers made a better world for everyone else. You’re welcome.”
“The boomers have been good at taking things: Mom’s car without permission, drugs, umbrage at the establishment, draft deferments, advantage of the sexual revolution, and credit for the civil rights and women’s liberation movements that rightly belongs to prior generations. The one thing that can be left in plain sight without us putting our sticky mitts on it is responsibility. Ask our therapists. Or the parents we haven’t visited at the extended-care facility.”
If I do anything on this blog, it is to examine the arts of books, music, and movies. Along with my history (or angst), with them. I confess it’s a tad self-absorbed, and so typical of my generation. With that said, I’ll add my set to the well-known contributors AARP selected for each of their Essential Boomer picks. Next up, Nelson George takes on the following with his all-star list:
Highway 61 Revisited (1965) by Bob Dylan — Nelson: “Dylan rankled folk fans by going electric, but he also expanded his audience and influenced a generation with songs that have been analyzed (and lionized) ever since.” Me: Once more, I can’t argue against a selection, or its high placement.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club (1967) by The Beatles — Nelson: “The culmination of years of artistic maturation and bold experimentation. The original rock concept LP.” Me: Two for two, and for something no self-respecting Beatlemaniac would disagree with, especially for its influence.
What’s Going On (1971) by Marvin Gaye – Nelson: “The sexy love man took on civil rights, the environment and inner-city turmoil, changing the tone of R & B, both lyrically and musically.” Me: Nelson can sure pick them as I’m in total agreement. Changed a whole outlook on an artist and music.
Tapestry by Carole King – Nelson: “King’s songs of love lost, found and wasted spoke to the Me Generation’s turn toward introspection.” Me: Let’s just go ahead and say ‘ditto’. Nelson nailed it.
Led Zeppelin IV (1971) by Led Zeppelin – Nelson: “Mystical and bombastic, acoustic and brash, Zeppelin defined ’70s rock (and FM radio).” Me: All true, Mr. George. However, for me and mine Revolver (1966) had the bigger impact.
Exile on Main Street (1972) by The Rolling Stones – Nelson: “Incorporating blues, soul, country and gospel, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards dug deep into the era’s spiritual malaise and made the Stones’ most emotional album.” Me: We’re back in sync.
Innervisions (1973) by Stevie Wonder – Nelson: “The best of a series of innovative, hit-filled albums Wonder made in a 1970s creative surge, Innervisions changed the sound of popular music.” Me: Arguably, Stevie’s finest work.
Eagles: Greatest Hits 1971 -1975 (1976) by The Eagles – Nelson: “The Southern California rock band was both romantic and cynical, diluting any sweetness with a bitter edge that reflected the compromises of adulthood.” Me: Really? A compilation album? I’ll give you something better from a Southern California rock band that wasn’t a ‘best of’ collection, Pet Sounds (1966) by The Beach Boys.
Exodus (1977) by Bob Marley & The Wailers – Nelson: “The sensual, spiritual album that helped make reggae one of the most popular musical genres in the world.” Me: I hate to pick against Bob Marley, but I’ll have to go with the album from 10 years prior, Are You Experienced (1967) by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track (1977) by Various – Nelson: “The percolating rhythms of disco captured the zest, decadence and hustling of the dance boom.” Me: What Nelson said is true, I was there. But I can’t agree to this high a placement. If boomers want rhythms and dance, look no further than Michael Jackson’s Thriller.