So I was at the dentist a couple of weeks back, and like most dentist’s offices there was music playing in the background. At first I really didn’t notice it until I grabbed a magazine and sat down to wait to be called back. Suddenly I am singing along with the lyrics - ‘Livin easy, livin free…season ticket on a one way ride…’
Yes. My dentist had AC/DC as his elevator music.
At first I had a bemused smile, thinking that my generation, born in the 50’s and 60s, had come of age. But then I gave it more thought and realized something a bit deeper - the rebelliousness of my youth has become the mainstream of today. And that kinda ticked me off. See, as a teenager in the late 70’s, I listened to that music with my afro mop of hair spastically jerking side to side, one hand holding a joint, the other with the middle finger extended. Screw you, world. This is my music, and fuck off if you don’t like it. If it’s too loud you’re too old.
Now that music is in dentist’s offices. Ugh.
Here’s a history lesson for anyone under 35. What we were listening to in the 70’s was a radical departure from what our parents listened to. As a child I was exposed to Ray Coniff, Sergio Mendez (and the Brazil ’66), and Frank Sinatra. Smooth, syrupy, comatose soliloquies of strangers in the night and tying yellow ribbons around old oak trees. It sucked. So my generation took a sharp turn away from this tripe and embraced loud, in your face noise (my dad certainly didn’t call it music, that’s for sure) about Running With The Devil, being Born To Run, and finding Paradise By The Dashboard Lights. We were young, brash, and we found something that we could tell the older generation to stick in your Herb Alpert pipe and smoke it, Pops. Every one of us would achieve nirvana bliss whenever dad would bang on our bedroom door imploring us to “TURN THAT CRAP DOWN!”
Not on your life, dad. We would turn it up to 11 in response.
Alas, we got older. And I had this fear as I entered my twenties, that one day a switch would flick in my brain and I would no longer want to listen to The Who or The Clash. That age would make me eschew this brash noise of my teens and I would settle down with some kind of flatline droll. Thankfully, that never happened. To this day, if I hear My Generation, I am still hoping I die before I get old. Nice.
Little did I realize that I was not unique. My whole generation was with me. And then, a decade or two later, it was the music of the majority. And now, in 2011, it is piped through doctor’s offices. It’s funny, looking back to three decades ago, that this would happen. It didn’t seem possible.
Who would have thought that ‘Love in an Elevator’ would become elevator music?