No Minister

It would not have been possible…

with 5 comments

… in my youthful years for a song from 1934 to suddenly land in a #1 chart spot in 1977, even for a day.

It would have been incomprehensible. The laughter and scoffing from my peers, and the radio DJ’s and record shop owners, would have been more than sufficient to prevent such a thing.

Yet the equivalent happened just the other day when the single Dreams, a huge hit for Fleetwood Mac in 1977, hit #1 on the US iTunes daily streaming chart:

‘Dreams’ has been streamed a whopping 8.47 million times in the US in the last week alone, which beats the previous high of 3.83 million in September. The song returned to the UK charts last week and was sitting at Number 85.

And it helped to also surge the monster album, Rumours, from which the single originally came:

The band’s legendary Rumours album reentered the US Top 40 for the first time since 2013 and was sitting at Number 27, while in the UK it was at Number 22.

Even more extraordinary was what was driving this; a TikTok compiled by one Nathan Apodaca, (aka Doggface208) who videoed himself skateboarding with just a phone while swigging from a bottle of cranberry juice and apparently just enjoying life. He must have been singing the song and then decided to add the music before uploading it for the usual ultra-short TikTok video.

It’s hard to say why this took off. As one commentator said, “This is a whole vibe“. There have already been parodies, including a Canadian guy chugging from a bottle of Maple Syrup.

And to make it truly strange, this is all happening while vinyl records make their comeback as well, as I wrote about here with, Our Retro Future. But obviously it’s not just the old technology that’s retro with new music but modern technology that has pulled the music of the past into the present.

Yet is it just the technology? This song and album predate iPods and MP3 players, let alone the world of iTunes and Spotify streaming. It’s from the tape and vinyl era, so there has to be something cultural about this as well, otherwise we would have already seen songs from the 1930’s, originally pressed in little vinyl singles, also getting streamed, and we’re not.

Perhaps it’s just that the people of that time did not have the technology to retain and then constantly play the music of their era around the house in the presence of their children, as parents like me have done from the start. My kids have hoovered up a ton of “my” music from the 1980’s into their playlists: it’s a little strange to pass one of their bedrooms and hear the booming, clashing, sounds of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, with the dulcet tones of Ian Curtis, as well as countless other tunes from a time before they were born.

Admittedly I’ve also used iTunes to access a past my parents may have known about but never passed on to me, as I enjoy Frank Sinatra, Elle Fitzgerald, The Andrews Sisters and others from the 40’s that I would never have listened to as a teenager.

But to my Millennial and Gen Z kids this great cultural and generational mashup is all perfectly normal, as two of them told me:

We’re culturally vibrant 😉. I choose to see this as the beginnings of a cultural reawakening.

And…

Listen, that song is a banger, as my peers would say. I would just like you to know that the Tik Toks have that song because people my age love it, not the other way around

Turns out that Mr Apodaca lives in a RV that can’t move and which has no running water. And yet he’s living the dream and the makers of that juice gave him a new truck the other day, while strangers on the Internet rang up thousands of dollars of fundraising for him on PayPal.

It underscores the notion that Stevieness is accessible to us all.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 10, 2020 at 4:42 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Incredible. Listened to it at intermediate school age.

    John JohnO

    October 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm

  2. Yes, it would have been possible it’s just that you missed it. Amazing Grace written in 1779 was the top hit in 1972.

    Quidam

    October 11, 2020 at 2:40 am

  3. The difference is that in the 1930s the popularity of a song was measured in sheet music sales not record sales.

    The famous rock band Deep Purple toll their name from a extremely popular song of the 1930s often played by the Grandmother of one of the founding members

    The Deep Purple song was I believe recorded by brother an sister duo in the early sixties and won a grammy

    In fact that is worth listening to

    Andrei

    October 11, 2020 at 9:04 am

  4. If you think about it, fashion has basically stopped. The changes from one decade to the next are now pretty superficial.

    If you look at photos of typical young adults around 1960 vs 1970 vs 1980 vs 1990 you see huge changes, but there’s very little difference from then on. Pictures of yoofs from 2000 could easily pass for having been taken yesterday (in terms of clothing, hairstyles etc – obvs no-one in the 2000 photo would be gawking at a phone).

    I think it’s an outcome of the invention of the teenager in the 1950s. By the mid-60s pretty much every western country had pop culture, so kids born from the 1990s on have mostly been raised by parents who understood pop culture at least as well as their kids do. There’s nothing to rebel against.

    Psycho Milt

    October 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

    • Case in point: my daughter in high school years ago sneering at kids wearing Ramones t-shirts (The Ramones were a 70s punk band from New York). “They don’t even know who The Ramones are” she said, knowing full well who they are because her dad plays their ancient music on the stereo. The kids wearing the shirts indeed had no idea who the shirt was referring to but knew very well what cool looks like. When I was a kid that wasn’t something we thought about our parents’ culture, because our parents didn’t know (or care, perhaps more importantly) what cool looks like.

      Psycho Milt

      October 11, 2020 at 9:28 am


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