It’s an exciting time for fans of Classic Rock bands that have stood the test of time. While I must acknowledge that there are people we all know that don’t enjoy classic rock any more, those of us who do, have an appreciation not only for their artistry and musicianship … but the fact the best of this genre are still relevant today. I’m talking about bands like Rush, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, The Steve Miller Band, Aerosmith, and I could go on. These bands never sold out. They remained true to their music, honed their craft over time, and have a loyal fan base. This doesn’t happen by accident. It was a combination of what was happening in our culture during the late 60’s and 70’s, as well as being inspired by the music legends of that time, who sowed the seeds of what we know as “classic rock” today. I can’t help think that if mobile phones and video games had been around during the 70’s, this music wouldn’t have been made. Let’s be honest. Great musicians spent their youth focused on building their skill and ability in the physical world. They taught themselves how to play an instrument learning their favorite songs. That takes passion, commitment, and time. They built a solid foundation in their craft that has stood the test of time.
So why is it such an exciting time? Well, simple. We are in what feels like a gold rush of anniversary releases and collections that started back as early as the mid-90’s, and is ramping up to some special releases this Fall. Two of my favorite albums are coming out within a week of each other. First, The Eagles will release Hotel California 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on November 24. One week later, Rush will release A Farewell to Kings 40th Anniversary on December 1. Can you believe that? How did 40 years fly by so fast? As fans, it is amazing to think we can still get excited about remastered releases like these after all these years. Maybe we are getting more nostalgic. Or maybe it is because these songs have become a part of our lives and the added bonuses, including live performances, and previously unreleased material simply add value to what we already love so much? The answer may be different for each of us. But one thing is for sure, evidence of the timeless quality of classic rock legends is that new generations are coming into the fold and claiming this music as their own.
Another aspect of why rock is still relevant today is the popularity of vintage hifi. Most audiophiles grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, and are now in the stage of life where it’s possible to own a stereo system as good or better than dreamed of back in high school. For audiophiles with better systems, listening to remastered albums can be a journey of musical rediscovery. For younger generations, vintage audio is an affordable way to enjoy an “old school” cool system that fits the vibe of the used vinyl they are collecting. If there wasn’t great music to enjoy on these systems, there would be no point to any of this. However, the last ten years has seen a surge in the popularity of vintage audio and vinyl. The evidence of this can be found in three areas: popularity of online audio forums, the popularity of Record Store Day around the world; and the viability of maintaining audio gear by DIYers and repair shops with seasoned techs that service, repair, and restore hifi gear.
While this site focuses on vintage hifi, it’s important to note the importance and popularity of tubes and modern hifi. We could be in for an interesting decade to come for two reasons. First, the audio gear and accessory market is strong due to the healthy demand for physical music formats. Second, we are witnessing the passing of some of our rock heroes. According to The Guardian, “sales of vinyl in 2016 reached a 25-year high … the first year that spending on vinyl outstripped that spent on digital downloads.” A key driver in this was the deaths of music legends like David Bowie. He had five albums posthumously featuring in the top 30. Life is precious, and we don’t know how long we have on this earth. But while our music legends live and continue to perform and live out their craft … let’s do our best to appreciate them by supporting them when they come out with new albums. Not only does this let record companies know that this gold rush can continue a little longer, but it also sends the message that we place a high value on their impact in our lives over the last 40 years.