Ode to Classic Rock and Roll

She kicked off her worn-in flip flops and shifted her skirt straight, walked until the shoreline was in view then turned up the dial on her headphones. Zeppelin, its rhythm guiding her steps, she hummed to Stairway to Heaven on a perfectly breezy, warm evening on the river.

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like classic rock and roll. What we know as the greats of yesterday whose influence and genius still inspire the imitators of today. Theirs a weapon of art, masterfully crafted with precision, poignant lyrics, and powerful guitar riffs. Theirs, rightfully so, unduplicated by anything modern music attempts; I grew up with it in my veins and practiced beats upon my steering wheel and I know not its equal.

Walking beside the water, Johanna keeps her eyes on the horizon in the distance as the song changes to Tiny Dancer, she smiles with each word from her lips, singing along with Sir Elton John. The crowds have already begun to part with the setting sun, urged on by the cooling wind upon sunburnt shoulders. Soon, she will sit alone at the bank of the Columbia River, bidding goodnight to the sun.

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. Southern Cross and Helplessly Hoping. Ramona. Sympathy for the Devil. These Eyes. Long Cool Woman. Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is? A Little Help from my Friends and Night Moves. American Pie. Free Bird. Brown Eyed Girl. Fill your playlist with songs like these and, tell me friend, won’t it make you smile? What do you feel as you listen? Feel the soul. The meaning. The purpose in the music.

The sand became colder between her toes and her phone beeped. Low battery. The sun had been on the other side of the world for about an hour and her arms were chilly. Rock’n Me began to play as the phone sounded again. Silence. She pulled the headphones from her ears and began the walk back to her car, still singing the words in her mind and tapping a finger against her phone for the drum beats. She knew it by heart.

Perhaps we are merely a product of what we were listening to when we grew up. As true as this may be for some, or most of us, I knew I fall into a strange category wherein we were exposed to all kind of music from conservative Christian like Carmen, Brian Duncan, and Amy Grant to Garth Brooks twang and soulful stylings of Roberta Flack. My parents played Classic Rock but also danced to Earth, Wind, and Fire and Steely Dan (or Donald Fagan), one right after the other. So, for me, personally, it wasn’t that my exposure was limited. In fact, I’d argue adamantly that we were exposed to more musical genres than most of the people I know – but, suppose I just paid more attention?

The ignition turned and the car rumbled to life. Her phone switched on full brightness with the charge of the battery from the outlet formerly known as a cigarette lighter, she pushed play on Spotify and let the sounds fill the speakers at full volume. “Keep on rocken me, baby…” Loudly she belted out every word, flipped on the lights and put the car in reverse. Into the night she drove, back to her father’s house. Back to the quiet of another evening back home for just a few more days.

This music is home to me. It’s traveled with me from Washington to California, from California to Texas, and from every home I’ve made along the way. Of all the ways I’ve strayed from my roots, this music has always had my undying loyalty and affection, and I honestly think I could make anyone love Ten Years Gone if merely just the way I soulfully defend the melody, the lyrics, and the heart of it so well, like a child would be able to explain to you all the reasons why she loves ice cream so much – you’d listen and want to eat it. That’s how I feel about music, and how excited I get to share it when it’s something I love.

Music today just mostly makes me sad. I’m a child of the days when it was magical and the stars aligned for a rare group of men and women, and they shaped a culture and pushed their cause on a platform of rock and roll. It inspires me, and if you allowed it its due, I am sure it could inspire you, too.

Please, I welcome your thoughts, perspective, and new ideas on anything I have written here!

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