A few years back, I received a wonderful email from a young lady who went by the name of Ashley Sunshine. She was thrilled that her local station had actually played a song by Wanda Jackson (and 97.7 the Beach is what’s called adult contemporary…Taylor Swift, Bryan Adams, Adele).
Ashley was in her mid 20s. Wanda’s heyday was the late ’50s though she has cut new tunes with Jack White.
During my maraca-shaking nights with the London, Ontario rockabilly band The Black Holes, I did my thing before audiences that often consisted of college kids or young adults. They were into rockabilly, Wanda, Sun Records-era Elvis, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran.
Now, I do realize my show appeals to those who were teens in the ’50s and enjoy reliving memories of hot rods and jukeboxes. I am grateful for their support. But, I have gone out of my way to separate the Rock and Roll Riot from the moldy oldies programs. I didn’t want it to be a sock hop for old people. No “Remember this one from ’57?” for this cat.
Mainly because I wasn’t alive then.
But Ashley and those college students in London prove that great rock and roll endures. If you are a genuine music lover who wants more than the crap that the remaining, dying major record labels throw at us, you seek out the classics and even the obscure from previous generations.
Wanda Jackson only had one top 40 pop hit, the awesome “Let’s Have a Party” in 1960. But rock and roll fans, whether they’re 25 or 65, know who she is and that bodes well for the future.
And Jackson’s “Funnel of Love” was used during the closing credits of a current TV show that young folks (and yours truly) love, True Blood.
To quote Danny and the Juniors, rock and roll is here to stay. It may not rival dance pop, hip hop or electronic dance music in terms of chart success or radio play but there are enough young rockers willing to keep it alive.