I am a baby boomer. My generation spans 1946 -1964. I am not sure what defines those years and who decided them but that is the deal. I was born in 1959, as the 50’s were ending and the 60’s were making their way into the world. I was four years old in my babysitter’s basement while she cried and ironed clothes, watching a funeral on the black & white television. I knew something bad had happened but was too young to understand that President Kennedy had been assassinated and everything was about to change in America.
As a 5 year-old in 1964, my dad brought home a 45 RPM record for my record player. It was by a new band called “The Beatles’. I had no idea who that was but I listened to that record over & over, “A Hard Day’s Night” w/”Should Have Known Better” on the B side. Television became color. Our party line telephone went to a private line. The Wizard of Oz became the movie of my childhood. As I became a pre-teen ”The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family” became Friday night TV fare and my bedroom was wallpapered in posters of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the new kid’s movie.
The music, TV shows and movies were a huge part of my life. I dreamt meeting these larger than life heroes, being like them and being them. Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine helped me keeping those dreams alive with their stories and photos of my idols. As I started in my teen years, my tastes started to change along with the new music in the late 60’s and 70’s. Artists like David Bowie and Todd Rundgren were wild and interesting. Watching the Midnight Special became a weekend ritual. Bands like the Eagles and Aerosmith were making the airwaves. Radio was everything to a teenager connecting to the outside world. Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40″ kept you in touch with what everyone was listening to.
As I left my teen years behind coming into my 20’s, it was the 80’s. TV had transcended into the world of cable. The fateful day of August 1, 1981, was something that none of us had imagined would be life changing – MTV! Wow, music on my TV 24 hours a day. Mini-movies by your favorite artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, Hall & Oates, Whitney, and George Michael & Bowie. You couldn’t miss a “World Premiere Video” or Alan, Mark, Martha, JJ and Nina right in your living room with their cool clothes! It brought your musical world to a much more personal experience than voices on a radio. It tied music, fashion and movies together. There were videos from movie soundtracks, MTV Video Music Awards and live concert events like “Live Aid”. Films becoming sequels, trilogies and endless numerals. Star Wars, Rocky, Beverly Hills Cop all became part of the MTV world.
As my 20’s rolled into my 30’s, MTV and I both changed and parted ways. It was simply time to move on. For us boomers, the 70’s and 80’s were a time of growing up and fun. We loved watching our idols and now as we age on to our 50’s and 60’s, it reminds us of some of the best times of our lives. Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Sweet nostalgia for the good old days of youth…
The year of 2016, has hit our boomer crowd particularly hard. It brought mortality to reality in a very unsettling way. Some people our own age, some that we grew up watching and listening to left us way too soon. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, George Michael, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Muhammad Ali and Debbie Reynolds are just some of the luminaries that left their trademark with the boomer crowd. People who were and are larger than life. These people touched our lives and souls with their music, movies and sports. Our own real life Major Tom.
We are all better for having had them here, even for the short time some of them stayed. They brought light and hope to all of us in their special ways. They made us think, helped us dream and sang us a beautiful melody. As a boomer, I feel lucky to have experienced all the changes in technology and the world during this time in history. I will miss these wonderful stars but glad they were here in my time. Feeling nostalgic? Absolutely! I am also having some “Faith” for the future in 2017! “May the Force Be With Us All”
photo by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography