When did Rock and Roll transition from the anthem of rebels to elevator music?
I’ve been traveling for the last few weeks. Whether on business or vacation, “classic rock” is the background sound in airports, supermarkets and shopping malls. Restaurants and casinos have traded Montovani and 101 Strings for the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.
Light soundtracks, like at the resort pool, usually include early 60s, 80s dance tunes (Disco) and Motown hits, but for the most part the playlists are dominated by rock from the late 60s to the late 70s.
Television commercials are loaded for Boomers. Some thematic riffs are understandable. Dodge and “Smoke on the Water,” Cisco and “Baba O’Reilly, ” or Mercedes-Benz and “Green Onions.” In other cases it’s hard to associate luxury brands with their themes. Led Zeppelin for Cadillac? Jefferson Airplane for Tommy Hilfiger?
Sometimes I wonder if they have anyone over 30 (Remember “Wild in the Streets?) at the marketing agency, or even someone who actually listens to the lyrics. News flash to Wrangler; John Fogarty’s “Fortunate Son” (“ooo… that red white and blue”) is not a patriotic theme. And to Acura; “Please allow me to introduce myself” refers to Satan, not a car model.
I know you aren’t supposed to actually listen to background music. It’s a good thing. Walking down the supermarket aisle, I’ve heard “…living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine,” “One pill make you larger…, and “I woke up in a Soho doorway. A policeman knew my name.” I sometimes wonder why moms aren’t hustling their kids out of the store.
Of course, the music appeals to demographic with the highest disposable income in history, the Baby Boomers. When it stops, we can probably assume that a generation has moved on. Elevator music is an indicator of influence.
Reprinted from my exit planning blog, Awake at 2 O'clock?