I’ve always understood the concept of “generations” but never gave much thought to the date parameters until I began to think of what I might write in response to this prompt. A quick consultation with the Great Oracle Google, and I’ve got what I need – a definition I could use for a generation immediately younger or older than me. So for the purposes of this post, and to allow me to include a song I really like, I’m choosing to look at the post WWII baby boomers e.g. those who were growing up in the 1950’s and came to adulthood during the 1960’s.
I don’t think it is necessary for me to go very far into the huge cultural upheaval that took root in the 1950’s and blossomed in to the crazy, heady days of the 1960’s. What beats me is how, in that period, so many young men and women managed to break out of the confines of propriety and austerity that had marked their parents lives, or how those same people, in their teens and twenties, were able to craft original art and music that still resonate with a young audience half a century later, and continue to wow their original audience. For example, I wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to anything my parents listened to in their youth, but my 20-something nephew has appropriated my entire collection of The Kinks, Beatles, Stones, Hollies, Yardbirds, John Mayall, The Who, Hendrix, Them, The Doors et al, much of which I had previously appropriated from his dad. My niece’s two little boys were not averse to the odd antique power-chord when they came to visit either.
As for that song. What else would fit in with the topic of this post but The Who’s “My Generation”? Back in 1965, 20 year old Pete Townshend condensed an all-pervading sense of resentment against embedded concepts of authority and perceptions of age into 3 minutes and 18 seconds of raw power, with Roger Daltrey spitting out “I hope I die before I get old”. How can that pair of old war-horses manage to perform this particular song so many years later and still retain the song’s and their own credibility? Because it’s still about concepts of authority and perceptions of age, of course.
So what have I learned from these representatives of the generation before me? It’s quite simple, really – regardless of chronological age, you don’t need to adhere to 1 Corinthians 13:11 – you can remain true to the values you developed in your youth.
Now enjoy Pete and Roger demonstrating that they still don’t fit into the concept of “old” that Pete wrote about 49 years ago.