Is Video Killing Music? What You Can Do About It.

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Friday, May 15, 2009
OK. I confess. I don't listen to music nearly as much as I used to. I find myself spending my spare time watching TV shows and movies, reading, and going on line. I used to spend a lot of that time just listening. In the '70s a party meant some beer, some pot and a really good stereo with great speakers. We lived for music. What happened?
  1. Video got powerful. I grew up in a midwestern town with two TV channels, both of which showed fairly awful programs. Listening to great music was much better than watching crappy TV. I remember vividly watching my first episode of Saturday Night Live, thinking "Wow, this is really good." Now I've got a Netflix subscription and 500+ channels of video -- many of which are actually watchable. So I watch. 
  2. Radio lost its grip. In my teens, my brothers and I would listen to far-away AM radio stations so we could hear good music. Hearing "Jumping Jack Flash" for the first time was a rush. The radio was how we stayed on top of what was happening. Now it seems like most radio stations are programmed by four guys in Texas. I'm grateful for WERS, my favorite Boston college station. Without it, I'd be listening exclusively to news, talk, Garrison and stupid quiz shows on NPR. 
  3. I got old. Who knew this would happen? But not a lot of new music does much for me.
So the questions are, "How can I bring music back into my life?" and "Do I want to?" Well, I do want to, and here's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to email five people I know, sending them five recommendations of music I think they should listen to. Then I'm going to ask them to do the same for me. I suggest you-all do the same thing -- and also enter your suggestions as responses to this blog. There's great music out there. Some new. Lots old. We just need each other's help finding it...and remembering it.

Tom's Five Suggestions
  1. John Prine and Iris Dement, In Spite of Ourselves 
  2. Johnny Cash, If You Could Read My Mind 
  3. Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream For Crow 
  4. Joni Mitchell, California 
  5. Janis Joplin, Summertime
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