In the morning, for the two hours I am inside the office, preparing my route for delivery, I am forced to listen to the local oldies station. While occasionally they play a good tune, for the most part it is a repetitive mix of lame pop music: a lot of Bee Gees, Billy Joel, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Elton John, and the rest.
The best thing one can say about the station is that it is really local, not Clear Channel. Clear Channel would never be so unprofessional as to play “Brown Eyed Girl” twice in the same hour, as I have heard this staion do.
This inspires a lot of mockery in the office, and every time they play “Crocadile Rock”, one of the worst pop songs ever, there is a collective groan.
But the weird thing is that a lot of the music they play, which I now loathe, I once actually liked. It’s just that not a lot of music stands up well to 40 years of repetition. When my son Patric, who is 15 and a really good guitarist, said “Dad, I can’t believe you don’t like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ” I answered “Actually I liked that song the first 30,000 times I heard it.”
But some songs do hold up very well. Jimi Hendrix’s version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, for example. I have been listening to this song for what, 44 years? Yet whenever I am in the car and it comes on I crank it up. My son says, and I agree, that this is the best electric guitar playing, ever. It never gets old, this mastery which appears so effortless. And no, the oldies station never plays this, or anything by Hendrix:
To realize the genius of this song, you really have to listen to the original, by Bob Dylan. Hendrix’ interpretation of this tune is brilliant: