1 April 2004
I have always argued that the reason the popular music of the 1960s is still around is not so much that it's better than music from other decades of that century, but that it's infinitely extensible: unlike hits more obviously tethered to their time and place, the best Sixties tunes have a universal quality to them that keep them going, year after year, decade after decade.
A brilliant example of what I mean popped up today on the Dawn Patrol. Riffing on the opening lines to "Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders ("The purpose of a man is to love a woman/And the purpose of a woman is to love a man"), Dawn Eden seizes on a notion and runs with it:
Now that I think about it, this whole gay-marriage debate would be a lot more interesting if the demonstrators at rallies would communicate only in Sixties pop songs. Homosexual couples could sing "Give Us Your Blessing," mayors eager to marry them could sing "I Know a Place," the arrested-but-defiant Unitarian gay-wed ministers in New Paltz could sing "I Fought the Law," distraught citizens wishing to uphold traditional marriage could respond with "Stop in the Name of Love," and President Bush could drown them all out with "When a Man Loves a Woman."
I've tried to tiptoe around this subject myself, although it's mostly due to morose self-absorption: every girl I've ever had breaks my heart and leaves me sad. Still, I have to admire the ingenuity that went into it, and if you're thinking maybe this is a prime example of rhetorical overkill, well, Mama said there'd be days like this.