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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Steven Hyden is writing a book about "classic rock".
It’s interesting because you have oldies, which in the traditional sense meant like mid-50s to mid-60s. The dividing line between classic rock and oldies would be Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I remember growing up that the oldies stations would play Beatles up until Sgt. Peppers, and the classic rock stations everything after. What we have to recognize immediately with this is that it’s a format made up by radio programmers. It’s not a real genre. It was made up to reach a certain group of people: white men between the ages of such and such. For me, I’m going to try and pin it down to a more specific definition. I don’t want to get too much into that as I’m still trying to figure it out. But for me, classic rock begins with Sgt. Peppers and ends with an album in the late 90s that I’m not going to name yet. I’ve picked a specific album I’ve decided was the last classic rock album.
It seems to me that one way to define the end of the "classic rock" period would be to ask, what was the last mega-selling rock LP? I'm honestly not sure what the last vinyl rock record I bought was-- before, I mean, moving to CD. I still occasionally buy vinyl, but you can track the shift in my taste from rock to jazz pretty accurately by looking at what predominates in which format on my shelves. One candidate for the last classic might be 1984's Born in the USA, but I think maybe my record collection moved from LP to CD with They Might Me Giant's 1990 Flood.

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