My brother and I grew up on healthy doses of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton, to name a few. My father had these artists on vinyl albums, tapes, and later, CDs. Now that he’s gone, I smile when I hear “Gimme Shelter” or “Tangerine,” remembering him with bittersweet emotions. My father respected the great discipline, hard work, and endurance of those who created these classics, and frequently commented and wrote about the incredible journey of such artists: failed business partnerships and manipulation, financial loss, journeys on the road that lasted for months on end, and strained personal relationships.
I’m reminded today, after hearing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the The Rolling Stones, that we often forget the work that went into creating something timeless. It’s easy to hear a song, maybe one that may now be associated with marketing a Fortune 50 company, and forget the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it. Today we expect success to be instantaneous, with prizes given for any half-hearted attempt to complete a task, and praise for just showing up.
Maybe your list of “classics” differs from the one that I describe here. After a brief stint in the world of Top 40, I entered a U2/REM phase, which redeemed my father’s faith in my musical tastes. It was their difficult paths to success, more than their music, that my father often applauded.