Just the other day I found myself in a conversation with my coworkers about classic rock vs. oldies. Is there a difference? In my opinion, there is. And it has less to do with the age of the song than the feel of the song.

Some songs work for both formats. Most of the songs from The Beatles do, some of the songs from the Rolling Stones do, but not all of them. Some Jimi Hendrix songs crossover, but not all of them. It’s hard to put into words, but I’ll try.

It has less to do with the age of the song than the feel of the song.

For instance, the other day I turned on an oldies station and they were playing Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. Is it old? Yup. Is an oldie? Not in my opinion. And even though it’s one of my favorite songs, I turned it off. Because I turn on the oldies to hear stuff like The Monkees, The Turtles, and all of those top 40 hits that remind me of my childhood. Songs like Brandy from Looking Glass and Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations. And Motown. I don’t expect to hear Neil Diamond on a classic rock station, but I love to hear him on an oldies station. Aqualung by Jethro Tull? I love it on classic rock, but I cringe when I hear it on oldies. Why would the same song get two reactions from me? The age of the song is right for oldies, but the feel is not. That’s just my opinion.

I think there are a lot of people from my generation that would agree with me. But younger or older people have different memories from different eras and their idea of oldies is probably quite different from mine. I don’t know too many people under 70 that like doo-wop music, and lots of people over 70 consider doo-wop to be oldies. I imagine someone who grew up in the 80s might consider New Kids on the Block oldies. Yikes.

So what do you think? What is the difference between an oldie and a classic rock song? The feel of the song? The age of the song? The age of the listener?

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