Rapping on Records - What grooves ya.

I once tried to explain to a teen-ager about time, and how it tends to pass, and how things that once seemed the height of coolness would eventually be hilariously silly. This is a waste of time. Your average teen believes him or herself to be the ultimate arbiter of cool, and that this will never change. Patience is all it takes to show this to be wrong.

A teen hasn't lived long enough to see anything slide from hep to horrible. The world is exactly as they've always remembered it to be, for the entirety of their conscious memory... for all the sixteen-odd years they've been around. But, in order to have something to rub in their faces in years to come, we need a record of their past trendiness. This is the value of teen magazines. They track every flavor of the month. They're not meant to be relevant for more than a few weeks. If they manage to survive the basement or the recycler, somebody will buy one in an antique store (or simply pay a brigade of weirdos to retrieve them from an antique store for him), and then the shitgiving can begin.

Behold Rapping on Records, from a 1969 issue of Teen Magazine (this thing really is a gold mine), in which readers review the hottest records of the moment. All the greats are here: Neil Diamond (real name "Neil Diamond"), Blind Faith (real name: Blindworth Faithowicz), Jimi Hendrix (real name: James Handrixstien), Dave Mackay & Vicky Hamilton (who???), The Archies (real name: Archibald Hitler), Mirielle Mathieu (real name: Frenchie LeFoo).

Observe the insistence on spelling words exactly as one pronounces them. I would argue that it takes more time to carefully omit unpronounced letters and replace them with an apostrophe than to simply type the word as it's meant to be. But, youth culture has never been concerned with simplicity or making sense. It's about alienating those not in the know, and insularity. At the time, parents would freak right out if they read a music review about "what grooves ya". "They're using unconventional English! Where's my medication???" Many monocles fell into cups of tea over such subversive slang as we find here. The Kids were ready to change the world! Pity changing the world requires actual work, and hippies weren't into work.

Now go show this to your parents and laugh at them. Actually, by now, teens who read this magazine are in their fifties or sixties and they already know how silly all that groovy talk was. So, it will be no revelation to them. Time makes fools of us all. When I was in high school, parachute pants were The Shit. Good thing my mom wouldn't buy me any.

Click for big.


Richard Mahler said...

Your Mom saved your butt! No photos of Phil wearing parachute pants! You thought she was mean and trying to ruin your life but she knew.

Steve Miller said...

Howzabout the other way around? What was un-cool now having gained respectability, if not out-right adulation? Yeah, Beach Boys, I'm talkin' about you! Sun, surf, cars and girls became laughable when British prog rockers* arrived... but today, Brian Wilson is recognized as a god, true, a minor one...

Jimi Hendrix told us, "you'll never hear surf music again." Turns out he didn't know quite as much as HE thought (that's why the CIA was able to take him out so easily). But he was right about Mike Love and Al Jardine -- they're still turds.

BTW, Zager and Evans were never cool.

*I confess. I was VERY wrong about most of these guys. I've made up for it though, I never listen to anything other than late '60s soul (barring huge chunks of the Motown catalog, still unlistenable).

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Returned to coolness: Nerdy eyeglasses.

Thank, gentlemen!


Post a Comment