Some music holds up a lot better than others

There are always big iconic hits to mark your musical progression.  They are like touchstones, they let you say “that was a great time/genre/band and maybe it was.  Or, maybe, it was an

Styx in the 1970s

anomaly, a kind of freak musical accident that produced something great.  Perhaps it’s just your nostalgia that elevates it beyond it’s station.  How can you tell?  Well, there isn’t a definitive answer.  Music like a the arts is subjective, but if you are honest with yourself you can probably tell the difference between the red herring and the surf n turf.

Here is my litmus test: take a song that you like that has been around for at least 7 years.  Find the album on which that song debuted and listed to the whole thing.  By the time it’s over you will know if that artist was making a real contribution or pulled the lever and came up lucky.  At some point this won’t work anymore.  The classic album is supplanted by the “EP”.  Often this “record” has 3-5 versions of the same song and that’s it.  But for now, I think it works.  I have been digging into my collection lately an am sometimes surprised at the effect of time on some of the records in both a good and bad way.  As an example, I think some day 100 years from now, there will be a kid listening to Steely Dan because he heard some current artist do a rendition of one of their songs.  On the other hand . . . Styx (who I was a big fan of) will probably fail to leave even a breadcrumb trail through popular music.

I was prompted to write this after just listening to Dire Straights (the name of the album as well as the group).  It was their debut album and released in 1978. In my opinion, it as stood the test of time and made a contribution.  The big hit from that album was “Sultans of Swing”.  There is a re-mastered version that was released in 2000.  I will leave you with a selection from that album the song is the same age as Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl 

Dire Straits ~ Dire Straits ~ 08 ~ Wild West End

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