The everlasting power of the song
I’m typing this while watching Brit Floyd on PBS. Well, at this very moment, PBS is annoying us all with another pledge break.
It’s a recent concert performed before thousands of people at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado. Why would that many Floyd fans pay for a Pink Floyd tribute band? Granted, Floyd hasn’t toured with Roger Waters in over 30 years and without Waters, it isn’t Pink Floyd. And the real Floyd members are old. Everyone in Brit Floyd looks at least two decades younger than Waters and David Gilmour.
I’ll answer my own question by saying, “It’s the material, stupid!”
The songs from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall mean so much to the Floyd faithful that they’ll happily shell out $75 a ticket to hear note for note renditions of Money, Time, Another Brick in the Wall and Have a Cigar played by relatively young hot shots instead of senior citizens.
In the near future we could see a version of KISS without the two remaining original members, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (who, by recent accounts, can’t get the job done vocally anymore). Or some young dude dressed up as Alice Cooper singing School’s Out, carrying a boa constrictor on his shoulders and getting his head lopped off night after night.
And people will pay to see those acts.
Not me, but other people.
Great songs endure. Reality shows promise to deliver the next superstar but those wannabes only sound good recreating songs we’re familiar with. Carrie Underwood has had Nashville’s finest songwriters supplying catchier-than-hell numbers for that big voice but most Idol hopefuls faded soon after their respective seasons ended.
A strong voice or competent musicianship don’t lead to stardom. They lead to weekend hobby. I’m sounding like Bob Letsetz but he often says the same thing and he’s bang on.
Somewhere tonight, a bar band is playing Johnny B Goode. Chuck Berry wrote it 55 years ago and it’s still on many playlists because it’s a great fucking song, fun to play and it gets the crowd going. Somewhere a young jazz singer is recording standards by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra or Billie Holliday.
Sorry, I have to sign off. After the next pledge break, Brit Floyd is performing Comfortably Numb. I love that song!