The Best Of the Greatest Hits…

Elvis Presley and Costello, Hank Williams Sr., Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Van Morrison, The Who, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Ramones, The Clash, Jefferson Airplane, The Mama’s and The Papa’s, CCR, Fleetwod Mac, Joni Mitchell, Bowie, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Bob Marley, Al Green, Funkadelic, The Carpenters, Aerosmith, Meat Loaf, U2, The New York Dolls, Peter Frampton, Blondie, Cat Stevens, Boston, The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Marvin Gaye, Elton, Dylan, Clapton, Springsteen, Floyd, Cher, Nick Drake, Curtis Mayfield, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, Cheap Trick, The Eagles, Bad Company, Patti Smith, The Steve Miller Band, Airsupply, Kiss, Supertramp, Van Halen, Dolly Parton, and John Cougar Mellencamp before he lost the Cougar.  These were the ‘Best Of’ my childhood in the mid-to-late seventies.  They were the stories, tunes, expressions, and concepts that defined my parent’s generation and shaped a musical melody within my soul. 

I just got my promo order from work – Warner Music Group – and there is no denying that while my mother’s generation, neatly filed in the form of vinyl under my vintage record player, has passed its lighter on to my generation.  The music, stories, experiences, and tunes that compiled the growing pains of my generation have graduated into yet another dying format of music – the compact disc – in the form of a greatest hits album.  The Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Michael Jackson, R.E.M., Metallica, the Beastie Boys, Soundgarden, Counting Crows, Oasis, Green Day, the Goo Goo Dolls, Alice in Chains, LL Cool J, Weezer, the Cranberries, Notorious BIG, Live, The Pixies, PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, Prince, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Pavement, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Guns ‘n Roses, Def Leppard, Run DMC, AC/DC, Whitney Houston, INXS, The Bangles, Cyndi Lauper, The Cure, the Go Go’s, Wham!, the Talking Heads, Poison, the B-52’s, Motley Crue, Janet Jackson, Eurythmics, Billy Idol, Salt-n-Pepa, A Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, Boy George, Paula Abdul, Joan Jett, Rick James, Lionel Ritchie, Tone-Loc, The Pretenders, NKOTB, and good lord Bobby Brown.  These are the musical melodies that are supposed to strike a chord in my child (the one I do not have) and perhaps the last physical form of a musical collection (known as an album) that will exist in the world. 

One-offs in a unarchived format with messages of a generation of self-entitled tones.  A greatest hits of the best of digital delusion living on some type of portable drive somewhere that merely pays my salary….that’s the download on a new generation’s legacy. 

I think I’ll lay on my shag rug, beside the records I love, listening to a CD of my youth, under the photographs developed from real film that hang above the Royal typewriter, while I read a book.

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