It’s a “Classic”!!

“It’s a classic”!! 

Now there’s a phrase you hear a lot.

Most frequently to describe something that is assumed to be timeless. 

Something that is just as good … no, wait …  BETTER … today than it was when it was first produced.

For example, many of the automobiles and a great deal of the songs produced 40 years ago are still regarded as some of the best ever.

Not only by the generation who enjoyed them in their initial phase, but by the generations that have followed.

I don’t believe we will see cars produced today designated as “classics” in the future.  They will certainly become “antiques” after the required length of time, but “classics” … nah.

Thirty years from now, it’s very doubtful that car makers will be producing a new version of the Nissan Maxima or that a mint condition restored Ford Taurus will fetch top dollar at auction.

We certainly know what “classical music” is because Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc. have stood the test of time.  But, what will define classical music 100 years from now?  People may still be listening to and appreciating Tchaikovsky, but what new genre(s) will have been added to the vaults of classical music?

Will people still appreciate music from the 1960’s and 1970’s generations from now?  And more to the point, is the music from the decades following somehow less substantial, less timeless than that from what is now known as the Era of Classic Rock?

Am I being snobbish to assume that the cars and the music of my youth are the benchmark for the term classic to future generations?

Perhaps … I don’t know.  I suppose I’m prejudiced and maybe it will take another 2-3 decades before any of this is sorted out.

But, looking back, did people in the 1940’s  regularly listen Dixieland and Ragtime music instead of Big Band?  Did people in the 50s pine for Big Band when Elvis hit the scene?  I know that personally, I dropped Elvis like a hot potato when the Beatles hit …  and I never looked back.

Those genres were still popular, but only in a nostalgic sense.  I don’t think people still saw music from those periods as relevant or timeless in the sense that music from the 60s and 70’s is viewed today.

What is it about the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and dozens of other classic rock artists that still generates excitement among not only those of us who lived through it, but the younger set who passed through  4-5 musical phases since and are still willing to help keep “classic rock” radio stations profitable.

And what causes our pulses to race at the sight of a restored 1964 Mustang Convertible while being passed by 1994 Mustang mainly inspires yawns?  Why are car manufacturers busily designing and producing the new Chevy Camaro and the new Dodge Challenger? 

Why not the new Ford Grenada??

Will future generations enthusiastically support radio stations that feature music from Madonna or Backstreet Boys?  Will they search in vain for the perfectly preserved  Honda Accord or Toyota Camry?

In short, will they ever have a reason to utter the phrase … It’s a Classic???


About Judson

Late bloomer ... aspiring writer and musician.
This entry was posted in history, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to It’s a “Classic”!!

  1. herby says:

    I think people like Madonna, Cher and Elton John might become classics. I base this merely on the fact that they have stood the test of time within contemporary culture. I remember listening to them in the 1980s (or was it the 1990s) and they are still around today. I think they reinvented themselves enough to last the distance of time. They are already being emulated today (I think Lady GaGa’s music reminds me a lot of Madonna’s).

    I totally agree with you about the cars. Can we add motorbikes to that list – who’s going to restore an old CBF250 or GS650 in the future?

    I wonder whether the throw-away / instant fame nature of our current culture means we are selling ourselves short of creating any real lasting classics. In the area that interests me most (writing) I worry whether any real classics will be published anymore and how we will identify them between the hype of books that are made into movies and through the multitude of self-published titles (some of which I think will actually become classics despite their humble beginnings).

  2. nrhatch says:

    Interesting post.

    I’m not sure why “classic rock” is classic. It reminds me of a younger, less jaded “me” but that doesn’t explain how it inspires new fans?

    I love my Honda Accord, but I don’t see it becoming a “classic” car.

  3. My sons like “classic rock” just as much as I do. I agree. It goes deeper than nostalgia I think. but, I’m not sure why either.

    Hondas and Toyotas are wonderful, dependable great cars … great value for the money. But, when you see a classic car, you usually can immediately ascertain the make and model year from blocks away. today, all Hondas and Toyotas and Fords and Chevys and even BMWs basically look the same at a distance.

    — Judson

  4. nrhatch says:

    Maybe because the music resonates with listeners at a primal level?

    In any event, “Born to be wild,” is very different in taste and texture from “Oh, My Darling Clementine” or “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers.”

    • Judson says:

      You may be on to something. I know that I do get a distinct “tingle” in my spine whenever certain songs come on … totally involuntary, but always expected.

  5. lesliepaints says:

    Oh, sure, every generation has their timeline of memories that mold their vision. Some so sweet they can’t help but think of them as classic. Music, an old car, a newsreel of a time like that does that for me. Why would it not be the same for my children and grandcildren? Whenever a multitude respond to one of these memories? I like to think of them as potential classics.

    • Judson says:

      You make a good point … all humans probably perceive their own creations as “classic” …

      I suppose only time will tell if their perceptions become reality.

      — Judson

  6. I have often wondered which music, of the newer variety, might hold some value to future generations…much of it seems disposable.

    • Judson says:

      Thanks for visiting! I agree. It’s hard to imagine some of today’s music still being around in 100 years. But, that’s what my parents said about the Beatles almost 50 years ago. To me there is something timeless about a lot of the music of the 60s and early 70s. Maybe I’m just prejudiced to my own era. who knows. Time will tell.

      — Judson

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