Today’s society seems obsessed with putting helpful labels on each other. In recent years historians have made a sport of naming certain generations so we could better appreciate one’s proper place in history.
We have the Lost Generation, describing those who fought in World War I and the Silent Generation, those born during the Great Depression but too young to serve in World War II.
In 1998 Journalist Tom Brokaw took the naming game upon himself when he penned the blockbuster book titled The Greatest Generation, which celebrates the legacy of those who served and sacrificed in World War II.
Since then we’ve christened their children with probably the most famous of names – the Baby Boomers. But then, as exciting as Baby Boomers sounded, we went on a lame streak based on what we could easily call the Alphabet Soup generations (Generation X, Y, and Z).
This officially stops now. From now I’m herby claiming the title of the Coolest Generation for all my friends and me.
Yesterday while walking along the beach with my wife we passed a group of young men lounging (fishing, talking, watching the scenery) when we couldn’t help but notice music from the classic rock band Boston blasting in the background. Considering this song hit the charts in 1976, this is the equivalent of using nearly 40-year-old music as the backdrop for your day at the beach. I don’t know about you, but this did not happen when I was in my twenties.
Add that to the fact a few minutes later I watched a 70-year old man wade in from the surf with his grey beard contrasting a black t-shirt promoting the Beatles. Later that afternoon, while walking to dinner, I spotted a woman old enough to have teenage grandchildren sporting a concert t-shirt from The Police’s 1983 Synchronicity tour.
Then came the man taking his grandkids for ice cream wearing a tan concert t-shirt from the current tour of one of the 1980’a most successful arena bands, Foreigner.
The simple fact is, people of my generation saw all the coolest bands. Never has a single generation spawned a sound that became the welcomed soundtrack of future generations like we did from the 1970’s to early 1990’s.
We are quite simply the coolest generation of all time.
Several months ago my son came home from college excited about an artist he’d recently run across.
“Dad,” he said, “did you ever listen to a guy called Bob Dylan?”
Granted, my generation, the now aptly titled Coolest Generation, did not change the world with technology as our children are doing nor did we create world peace. But we did invent the soundtrack of music for generations to come.
This year the Rolling Stones will celebrate 50 years of changing the musical landscape. Bob Dylan is now 71-years old and the Allman Brothers are still selling out venues around the world.
Yes, I saw everything from The Who to the Ramones live in concert. I’ve even stood near the front of the stage before Bruce Springsteen hit the big time.
So with apologies to Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven, you may be the king of the classics, but those of us who grew up with a front row seat to what was to become classic rock, we are the coolest generation of all time.
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