What kids think about the Beatles

The Times have a article up about 6-9 year old listening to the Beatles and giving their opinions. It’s a nice read. My favourite bit is the review of

Mostly the kids seem to dig it.

So funny.

Love it.

I think Otto’s conclusion sums it up:

I think it is really wierd that any kids today, or for that matter, anybody born after 1960, could listen to anything done by such old men.

I grew up in the 1960’s, and, as far as popular music, we all listened to Rock and Roll, nobody I knew listened to our parents music. We listened to Elvis, Roy Orbison(Pretty Woman), Beetles, Four Seasons, Beach Boys (Surfin USA), Supremes, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, etc. who were the music artists of our generation.

Why would I have wanted to listen to Tommy Dorsey or Patti Page when instead I could listen to Elvis or the Beetles?

Why do younger people want to listen to “our” music?

We didnt.

Because it’s good? Growing up in the 1980s, I listened to the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Nick Drake, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Young, etc. I thought 1980s pop music mostly sucked.

If it’s good, who cares if it’s done by old men? Do we stop reading books just because the authors die?

I personally love listening to stuff from the 60s (the Ronettes, the Crystals, Four Tops, the Temptations, Supremes) because I just relate to it way better than anything from today. Plus if you are really interested in music, it’s always cool to go back and see the influences of the people you liked.

When I was a kid, I think I would have had a similar reaction. I just remember listening to a lot of the oldies station as a wee kid when I was in the car with my parents, and just thinking it sounded really cool.

Two reasons: one is that it’s good. The other is that you won’t shut up about it and insisted everybody else had to listen to it, too.

I’m putting that in a negative way, but I think it’s true. The fact that the Beatles and '60s and '70s rock music in general are still popular reflects Boomer dominance of culture. When that stuff was new, it was “awful noise,” now it’s music canon that all the big bands of that period were great. I listen to more old music than new music, so I’m not complaining, really. (When someone did that “Pitchfork’s top 500 songs of the decade” thread a few weeks ago, I found that not only had I not heard a majority of the top 20 songs, I hadn’t even heard of most of the artists!)

The positive side is that music is great for bringing people together, and that’s what it’s doing. My dad’s parents absolutely hated his taste in music and didn’t get it at all. But I do get it, and I like a lot of it, so we can share that.

On the other hand, it’s my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) that the rock era (50s-60s) was the first time in history when there was a generation gap in music, where there was a sharp divide between the music that young people listened to and the music their parents listened to.

I also argue the stylistic shift that occurred between the music of the 60s generation versus the music of the 30-40s generation is somewhat greater than the current generation and the 60s generation. There’s still plenty of popular artists today whose music would fit into the Beatles more so than the rock music of the 60s fit into the Big Band/Swing/Standards era of the music that preceded.

Naw, it doesnt matter if it is “good”.

I always intellectually knew that Glen Miller (my bosses favorite music… HIS!!! generation’s music), was “good”, esp since I was a musician, I could even see that Glen Miller was, as he put it, “the cats meow”, but I wouldnt have been caught dead listening to it at the local drive-in, mostly because I didnt want to .

I still “like” Glen Miller, and I like the old WW2 records like “Remember Pearl Harbor”, etc, very much so, but its not “my” music.

My parents music was “good” in an interesting sort of way, but definitely not cool, and not something I would listen to on a regular basis.

Yeah, I grew up on the Ronettes, the Crystals, Four Tops, the Temptations, Supremes, Buddy Holly, etc. …that was “our” music.

This is exactly right. And I think people underestimate how much kids in the 50s and 60s listened to the musical styles of the 30s and 40s. They might have rolled their eyes at that old fashioned stuff, but it wasn’t all rock and roll. Pat Boone was huge, and it wasn’t the parents listening to him.

The big divide nowadays are the kids who grew up on hip-hop and would roll their eyes and the R&B crap of the 70s.

And let’s face facts, there is no shortage of eye-rolling music from any generation. The rock and roll of the 50s and 60s that people still listen to is the good stuff. The really awful crap has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

I think this is a good point–it’s something I have to remind myself of every time I start to think how much better things and now all music sucks now.

As puly has pointed out, it probably has to do more with the divide between the music of the fifties/sixties and what came before it. So much of today’s music has been influenced by the Beatles that it’s really hard not to like them.

Anyway, I think the fact that it is good is what makes the difference. No one’s going to go back and listen to the old music that sucks as Lemur pointed out. People are listening to the ones who are now considered huge icons. Really good music, like good books or film or anything, isn’t constrained by time. Certain lyrics may sound dated, but a good sound is a good sound.

Some of us did . . . and still do.

NO we didnt.

Pat Boone (State Fair) was pretty much an old has been by the late 1950’s, and definitely: not cool. We made fun of Pat Boone and his white shoes. Absolutely no one tried to look like him. Pat Boone was an uncool dork. He sold his records to the old people, our parents, not to us younger people. We may have been curteous to him, but no teenager ran out to buy his records after the mid-1950’s.

99% of the time we listened to music done by OUR generation, by other kids OUR age, like the Beach Boys, the Ronnettes, the Chiffons, Connie Francis, etc who were OUR!!! age and who we identified with.

I cant even imagine any other kids back in the 1960’s wanting to listen to some old geezer from our parents day.

(I actually think its kinda creepy for an old man like a 50 year old Michael Jackson to be popular with or around 12 year old kids)

(on the other hand, I also think its VERY wierd to go to an old car show and see a bunch of old bald fat guys in all the cool cars we kids used to drive in while we listened to that rock and roll while we were crusin or at the drive-in. I still cant get used to seeing “old” guys today in “our” cars)

I’m 22 and I grew up listening to lots of music from the 60s/70s, specifically The Beatles. I fell in love with them at a young age, and it was quite a while before I even realized the modern music existed. And frankly, until I was old enough to discover and appreciate 90’s alternative/college rock, most 90’s music sucked.

I blame the influence of the older generation on us entirely as a product of car cassette/cd players. This is where I listened to the Beatles. When you grow up, driven everywhere by your parents, they can only listen to Barney for so long. So they put on music that they like that they also know a little kid would like. Which is the early Beatles material (It wasn’t until I was older that I enjoyed they’re later works.) I’m sure I’ll do the same thing for my kid.

I think this is a really creepy attitude. Is it creepy for kids to read books by old dead guys?

I’m just not sure why music is all that different from any other genre. As a kid, I initially started off buying CDs that were in the top 40 or that I saw being played on VH1 or MTV. As I got older, I started listening to more and more older stuff. I’m just not sure why music is different than any other hobby–if you’re interested in something, you look at all different aspects of it. If you see music as just something to listen to, then yeah, you’re probably going to listen to only the stuff that’s playing now, but some people see it as a serious interest.

I agree with that. In the 80s we got our first car with a tape deck. We had a tape of Chicago’s greatest hits (the older stuff, not the 80’s stuff) and Sgt. Pepper. I was absolutely blown away by those tapes, and we listened to them all. the. time.

When I was with dad, we listened to the local 50s/60s radio station. In the car or when we were working on projects together. As I got older, when my folks were in the car with me, we’d only listen to classic rock. Now that I’m “old” (30) those are my stations of choice!

I don’t get into modern music anymore. But the classics still stand up.

One thing I will mention, tho, is that mom had us listen to a lot of “soft rock” on the local soft rock station. She tells us it’s because it was the least offensive music out there. So I know an inordinate amount of soft rock :slight_smile:

Well, perhaps no self-respecting hipster would listen to Pat Boone. But Pat Boone was huge. And I don’t think it was parents listening to Pat Boone. He was specifically marketed to teenagers as a safe, white, conformist alternative to those edgy and dangerous rock and rollers like…Elvis. By the late 60s Pat Boone was finished, sure, and he was never “cool”, but he was still huge. Just like all the lame safe soft rock/country/easy listening of today is huge, even though it sucks.

I’m specifically thinking of the box of 45s that my Mom collected as a teenager in the early 60s. And there’s plenty of Pat Boone in there.

It sounds to me like you’ve got an overdeveloped sense of generational solidarity. Yeah, the generation gap was huge in the 50s/60s, what with all this kids who didn’t fight in the war, or work in a factory during the war, or survive the depression, and who grew up with free time and a few dollars in spending money.

The generation gap wasn’t a universal feature of modern life, it was a one-time event caused by the huge differences between life for people who grew up in the 30s and 40s (depression and global war, radio and horse and buggy) compared to life in the 50s and 60s (peace and prosperity, TV and cars).


Man, I must be really square. My favorite piece of music was written in 1824. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents must be rolling over in their graves knowing I’m listening to that old shit, and I bet my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents still can’t figure out why I like all that noise.