Watching the Olympic closing ceremonies was frustrating. 2 Billion people tuned in to see a “symphony of British Music.” A more accurate description would have been: all the songs from my dad’s youth.
Don’t get me wrong: I love the Who, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen and David Bowie – but the Olympic organizers went too far making contemporary bands cover classic rock hits. The Kaiser Chiefs covering “Pinball Wizard”, Jessie J doing “We Will Rock You” Ed Sheeran having a go at “Wish You Where Here” and Beady Eye covering themselves, how postmodernly perverse, on “Wonderwall” made my blood boil.
WHEN is the media going to let these classic rock “legends” fade away. I don’t want to live my father’s musical life anymore. “Wish You Were Here”, “Imagine”, “Here Comes The Sun”, bla bla bla.
Just as those thoughts were crossing my mind, I caught a glimpse of my dad as a dance troop constructed a giant likeness of John Lennon’s face out of foam-like blocks in the middle of the stadium. His look said it all: Music of that era was more than music, and more than the “more than music” the music of my era could ever stand for. That’s when the shallowness of my own rock and roll movement began to sink in.
Compare these two moments.
On December 8th, 1980 my father pulled his semi-truck loaded with frozen timbers onto the shoulder and cried. He was in the middle of nowhere. It was deathly cold and dark as coal. My father doesn’t cry. In fact, I’m fairly certain that it is against natural law for men of his generation to cry at all; they didn’t have the luxury. Lennon’s death meant the end of a political movement and cultural uprising that benefited the hungry, the marginalized and the oppressed. To this day, Lennon’s likeness stands for equality, compassion and higher-thinking.
The day Kurt Cobain’s body was found, after he killed himself, I got the news sitting in the back of a white Volkswagen Jetta K2 turning left out of the 7-11 on St.Albert trail across from Riverside Honda. I was eating a bag of chips. Cobain has become the poster-boy for under-achieving. The man self-destructed until there was nothing left to destroy. While I believe his heart was in the right place, his legacy is that of a drug-abusing anti-hero.
My generation doesn’t have a John Lennon. My kids will never see a twinkle in my eye during the closing ceremonies of 2032 as some futuristic technology recreates any rocker from my era. We may very well be still looking at the Coke-bottle glasses, whimsical smile and shaggy hair of you-know-who. And now you know why.