My mother owned a baby blue Pinto hatchback back in the late 70’s. It had no AC and only an AM radio. Power nothing, of course. I vaguely remember having to peel myself off the vinyl and cloth monstrosity that made up the back seats.
Truth be told, I actually remember sitting in my car seat back there too. It was white with black straps. And plain. Everything back in the 70’s was either garish or plain, though only God knows why. Like if it didn’t look like psychedelic bird shit, it just wasn’t fit for the kitchen or something.
For some reason, my dad always got the “good car”. The one with AC and an FM radio, and heavens! An 8-track player. Eventually a tape player. But my mom always got stuck with the econo-box special of the time, whatever that was. Which seems kind of stupid, if you think about it now. After all, my dad just had to drive to work – and the car sat in the parking lot. My mom was the one stuck hauling the kids around to different places and running errands all day. A little AC would have come in mighty handy, let me tell you.
The AM radio? Eh. Is all I can say. Neither of my parents really listed to much music while we were growing up. I just don’t think it was all that important to them. My dad pretty much relegated himself to nothing but classical when he did, and the AM easy listening was all I was getting with mom. It left me with a steady diet of mellow Bee Gees, Beatles and God save me, Air Supply. And that was pretty much it. Maybe some oldies tossed in there for good measure. (Oh! Mom *did* own a Judy Collins 8 track. And that chick with the crazy-long hair – what was her name? “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue??? Crystal Gayle, that’s it!)
Kind of depressing. really. No Zeppelin. No Rolling Stones. Nothing with a “jungle beat”. (Mom had sensitive ears, I guess.) I owned two record albums. The Ghostbusters soundtrack and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. (Yeah, I was surprised when my mom bought that for me too. LOL) You can commence laughing your ass off at me now.
Eventually my brother and I both got our own boomboxes, and then walkmen, and then CD players. The portability of music is what became so important, the ability to make your own mixes, to have greater control over what you wanted to listen to.
My iPod has just under 15,000 songs on it right now. All genres. All styles. It’s constantly on random shuffle. And I’m constantly looking for more.
But more to the point – with the ability to download or purchase nearly any song or album ever made, music isn’t really about generations anymore. Sure, I still listen to the radio at times, but I’ve stopped wondering if 80’s music counts as oldies now. It’s like gapless play over decades.
And how cool is it to be driving around with the kids and go from David Bowie to Altan to Rob Zombie to Poison to Darude to ABBA to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack in the span of 15 minutes? The kids certainly seem to enjoy it, anyway.
But maybe it’s just the AC that’s the thing.