Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Good Times, Great Oldies, Bad Patter

Our local sports talk radio station has inexplicably shifted more than half of its programming to syndicated oldies shows, which means that I spend a lot of time with "Keeping The Seventies Alive!" and "Your Good-Time Oldies Magazine." Over the past week, I've heard the following bits of DJ patter:

1. Outtro-ing Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" … "Somebody help her, she's falling, and she can't get up!"

2. Intro-ing Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lady," and talking about the anniversary of Dylan "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival … "Bad idea, Bob! The audience wanted to hear more songs like … 'Lay Lady Lay.'"

3. Intro-ing R. Dean Taylor's outlaw-on-the-run one-hit-wonder "Indiana Wants Me" … "If you haven't made your summer vacation plans yet, R. Dean Taylor's got a suggestion!"

Now, never mind how irritating it is that the DJ in the Dylan case didn't realize—or care, more likely—that "Lay Lady Lay" postdates the Newport incident by a half-decade. It's even more irritating that he apparently doesn't understand—or care—what the Newport moment was all about. Nor do the DJs in the other examples have any real interest in the songs they're playing. One's treating "Help Me"—a song about a woman who wishes she weren't so addicted to one night stands—as though it were a ditty like "Splish Splash," and another's treating the admittedly cheesy "Indiana Wants Me" like a travelogue.

We're used to hearing our common pop legacy repurposed for commercials, like the classic cases of The Beatles' "Revolution" selling Nikes and Credence Clearwater Revival's class-conscious anti-war anthem "Fortunate Son" selling blue jeans (and patriotic blue jeans at that!). But here we have whole radio shows that sell classic old songs to people who presumably want to hear classic old songs, and still the dudes acting as intercessories make the songs and the artists who create them seem silly and superficial.

Is it any wonder so many people are buying satellite radios?


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