Here’s evidence that I was born at just the right time
The death of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry the other day reminds me that I was born at a culturally advantageous time.
When the rock culture first emerged, it was said that this new music appealed mainly to teenagers. That observation was reinforced in my mind by the fact that I became a teenager at the birth of this musical phenomenon. I turned 13 in 1955, the same year that Chuck Berry recorded his first hit, “Maybelline.”
All the members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, legendary British rock bands, also were born at roughly the same time as I was, and all of them were greatly influenced by Chuck Berry and the other pioneers of this new music.
But there are countless other ways in which the chronology of my maturation propitiously paralleled momentous cultural developments.
In my pre-teen years, I was a big fan of what we now call “old radio,” a medium dominated at the time by situation comedies, crime dramas, daytime soap operas and kiddie shows.
Television emerged just as my age reached double-digits, and radio programming quickly was reduced mainly to playing records and covering news and sports. The boob tube, as we called it, suddenly dominated our leisure hours.
In retrospect, I’m glad that I’m old enough to remember radio as it used to be and to have experienced both the rise of television as the dominant entertainment medium and the emergence of rock and roll as the music of my generation.
If I had been born five or 10 years earlier or later, my cultural perspective would have been much, much different.
And if you don’t understand what I’m saying…well, too bad for you.