I'm not one to listen to the radio much these days. I typically prefer my iPod. However, yesterday I flipped on the radio in my car and found myself listening to WOGL in Philadelphia. If you are not familiar with WOGL, it has been Philadelphia's oldies station for a number of years. Imagine my surprise when they played the song "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins. If you don't know the song, it was a hit from the movie "Top Gun", which came out while I was in high school, in the eighties. The last time that I listened to WOGL, they only played music from the sixties and seventies. So, imagine my further surprise when I heard the radio station play one of their promotional stingers, in which they proudly announced that they play music from the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
This, obviously, must be a mistake. Since when was music from the eighties considered oldies? That can't possibly be right. How could anyone call "Danger Zone" an oldie? Or what about "Freeze Frame" by the J. Geils Band, "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors, "Tell It To My Heart" by Taylor Dane, or "99 Luft Balloons" by Nena? Those are not oldies. The music that I listened to when I was growing up can't possibly be oldies. To me, oldies had always been the songs of the Beatles, Sam & Dave, the Beach Boys, and Elvis, not Genesis and Journey. How can WOGL possibly call my music oldies?
Every day when I look in the mirror, I see the signs of aging on my face. I see how much time has changed me. I don't need some radio station in Philadelphia reminding me that the music that I loved in school is now old enough to be classified as oldies. Could this have been what my parents felt when the music of their generation became oldies?
The feeling is similar to that which occurs when, twenty years later, you watch a TV show that you loved as a child, and suddenly can't understand why you ever loved the show in the first place. I had this experience a few years ago with "The A-Team", "The Greatest American Hero", and "Knight Rider".
I think I much preferred it when they called music from the eighties "Retro". It seemed less old. But, now the label of Oldie seems hurtful somehow. Oldie implies that something is out of date, a relic, or ... old. Were the eighties REALLY that long ago that they are now oldies?
I wonder what that makes me.