“It’s Saturday” probably invokes cheers from those of you who just completed another week of work. Those of us who are retired obviously do not have that “life shift” that the weekend presents (at least I don’t), but it does present opportunities.
Saturdays have been my opportunities to share my musical tastes here with anybody who is interested, but today poses a dilemma. Due to the sad passing of Ray Thomas recently, I used Thursday to create a “tribute Post” to him. Do I now publish another Post of music? I decided against it, but the spin-off from the Ray Thomas Post did provoke some interesting thoughts in the context of longevity of music.
If you Google Classical composers, you may find a site that breaks the subject down to various time periods spanning over 500 years. Most Classical music that I like is in the Baroque period (1600-1760) through to the 20th Century (1900-2000).
Of course we do not know how many composers are not on record, but we do know that a very significant number are still being enjoyed. It is quite remarkable to think that an individual created a musical piece in (e.g.) 1600, or even earlier, and it is still being played today. Imagine creating something… anything, and somehow finding out that it was still being enjoyed 400 years later!
Ray Thomas was an integral part of The Moody Blues who, as a band, produced many memorable and thought provoking albums… but for how much longer will those same albums be played? My father loved Classical music, but would give little time to other music. Popular music was, to him, very shallow and short lived. In some cases, I have to agree with him, but whereas he was not prepared to give popular music a chance… I was.
It was not that long ago that I would have suggested very little popular music would survive beyond the generation that enjoyed it. The Moody Blues (e.g.) created themed albums which reflected the uncertainties that faced those of us born in England just after the WWII. The concern around potential outcomes of nuclear posturing by the USA and USSR, and the inequalities around the world which were then becoming public knowledge. In general, I found life in my teens and early twenties very confusing and filled with examples of hypocrisy and inequality. The threat of a nuclear war did not help matters either!
Would the next generation still be able to relate in some way to those albums? My daughter likes a number of Moody Blues tracks, but only in the context of potential for a gymnastics floor routines. Her daughter has little, if any, context that would arouse interest in The Moody Blues.
Based on the above, it would seem reasonable to assume that popular music would “die” after a couple of generations… , but things are quite different now. We have the internet!
Music is no longer lost as albums are broken, donated or otherwise disposed of as a result of circumstances, and the written music will be available as long there is a perceived market for it.
So will The Moody Blues music live on for hundreds of years. I would suggest a strong possibility because circumstances today are really not much different than the 1960’s. Nuclear war is not impossible with the USA and N.Korea posturing. and for all the progress made in the general area of equality, there is still much to do. If that sums up the progress we have made over the past 50+ years, then it would seem reasonable to assume that the next 50 years will not be much different… which makes The Moody Blues still appropriate.
Finally, and if we ever reach a point where world peace and equality becomes a reality, then those interested in analyzing history and understanding the part music played in our lives, will probably get great pleasure from The Moody Blues! Yes Ray Thomas, I do believe that you and your fellow band members will live on.