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Music defines the era we grew up in

By Debbie Leffler • Jul 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

I read with interest — and a bit of envy — Joe Centers’ column earlier this month. He wrote about his recent experience at a Rolling Stones concert. I wished I’d been there.

The Rolling Stones is a band from my past, too, and I would love to see them perform. Centers wrote that they played many of their old songs at the concert, and whenever I hear those songs I am transported back to my past. Not that I’d want to go back — I would miss my children and my grandchildren and all the experiences I have had since then. But back then, there were no aches and pains of an aging body; my hair was dark and my mind was totally sharp and I had my life with all its possibilities ahead of me. Oh yes, and the music was better.

Music defines the era we grew up in. I saw Simon and Garfunkel in concert at Carnegie Hall when I was in high school – one of the highlights of my high school career. We were in the very back row, but it didn’t matter.

I also saw Peter, Paul and Mary at Madison Square Garden, and I saw the Grateful Dead when I lived in Boston.

When I listen to their music now (some of it is still on records I play, but I also listen on Pandora), it makes me happy.

Some of the musicians from my day still give concerts; I have attended a few. I saw Arlo Guthrie at Finney Chapel in Oberlin, and Yoko Ono when she gave a concert, also at Finney. I saw Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) in the village square in Oberlin.

A few summers ago, I saw Bob Dylan perform at the Toledo Zoo. His voice was raspy and I could hardly call it singing, but I knew the songs from the chords he was playing, and it was an honor just to be in the same venue he was in. As I looked around at the audience, I saw quite a few people my age who also appeared delighted to be there.

I enjoyed watching the recent movie on Netflix about Dylan titled Rolling Thunder Revue, directed by Martin Scorsese. It mostly featured Dylan’s music later in his career — but it was still good to see him, even in white face paint playing electric instead of acoustic guitar.

My husband and I went to a Goo Goo Dolls concert at Blossom some time back. We went with our teenage children, and there our music tastes intersected – even at our different life points, we all enjoyed the music.

But there it ends. I can’t say I like much of the music kids listen to now. I believe the music from my era was far superior. I think I’m being objective, but who can be objective on something like that? Maybe it is not the music itself, but the stage of life that went with it, that causes a person to bond with certain sounds.

When watching the Jeopardy Teen Tournament recently, I was stunned when, attempting one of the questions, none of the three young contestants could identify Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones in an early photograph.

“That’s Mick Jagger!” I excitedly yelled to them through my TV. Of course my yelling was of no help to them. The bright young people on Jeopardy had no idea who he was.

But I did. And I sure wish I’d been there to see him at that concert in Chicago.


Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at [email protected]

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