As I was munching on a bland chicken sandwich at O’Hare, it suddenly struck me that the airport music system was playing "Baba O’Reilly" in its entirety. The Who ditty was quickly followed by Supertramp’s "Take the Long Way Home" and then Led Zeppelin’s "Whole Lotta Love."
It occurred to me that what was once cutting-edge and anti-establishment has become the exact opposite. In fact, the music the "older generation" once despised is now being played for every generation in every public setting.
I remember that, when Muzak first burst on the scene, it was chock full of lamentable, non-confrontational stuff from the likes of Tony Orlando & Dawn, Barry Manilow and John Denver. One would have never, ever heard a Beatles or Stones song in an elevator or a dentist’s office.
Now, though, it’s Procol Harum, Deep Purple and The Police. So exactly when did what used to be called hard rock morph into easy listening for the masses? It’s a rhetorical question, since I’m guessing some Baby Boom decision-makers just decided one day to switch from Bobby Darin to Bruce Springsteen.
Looking forward, though, does that mean Miley Cyrus and Death Cab for Cutie will be bombarding my septuagenarian eardrums in an elevator decades from now? That’s another rhetorical question.
Either way, listening to Foreigner’s "Urgent" sure beats the Carpenters’ "We’ve Only Just Begun" any day of the week.