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The Beatles, Beethoven and Me

August 25, 2016

Well early in the morning
I’m a giving you a warning
Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
Hey diddle diddle
I’ll play my fiddle
Aint’ got nothing to lose
Roll over Beethoven
And tell Tchaikovsky the news

“Roll Over Beethoven” 

When it was being written by Chuck Berry in the 1950’s and later recorded by the Beatles in the 1960’s it was just rock and roll. Today, we’d added the word “classic” rock and roll. I recently found the “classic” rock station in my town. (103.5 The Arrow in the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area.) I often have it on when my teenagers are in the car. It’s been interesting to watch them hear some of the songs of my youth for the first time. Recently we were driving back from Southern Utah with a van full of scouts. 

Hey Dad, can we access the playlist on your iPad?

Sure. Why?

We want to listen to Queen.

Paul McCartney was once asked what type of music people would be listening to in 20 years. He replied he didn’t know about 20 years, but he could tell you what they’d be listening to in 100 years: Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin. In other words, McCartney didn’t feel that rock and roll was going to replace traditional classical music.  

So, what makes something classic? Or classical? 

I have a 1996 Lexus ES300 that I call Iron Man. (It’s currently on blocks in my driveway getting the heads reground, but the coloring is still red and gold, so sort of Iron Man.) The car has been more of a project car than anything, constantly being one step away from needing a major repair. This year, I could get special plates that designate it as a “classic.” I’ll stick with the IRONMN plate that’s on it now, but the point is that after 20 years, a car becomes a “classic” at least to the DMV. 

There have been some pretty bad cars over the years. The Edsel, the Pinto, the Gremlin. And yet, today, they are classics. Time does that. 

Look at this watch. It’s worthless – ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But, I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years,  it becomes priceless.

Rene Belloq “Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark”

And yet, twenty years later, those cars are classics. 

When I was 16, I went with my dad to help his friend move. My dad’s friend was there with his father to help his grandfather move. The grandfather was in his 90’s. He was old. But, my dad’s friend’s dad was also old. In fact my dad and his friend were old. My dad explained that “old” was anyone that was 15 years older than you are. 

The brilliant Douglas Adams, of “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” fame said,

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

– “The Salmon of Doubt”

1. Classical Music – part of the natural order

2. Computers and the Internet – yep, made a bit of a career out of it


Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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