I had the Rolling Stones playing on the radio this morning in the Jeep.
I was driving my two lovely young daughters, ages eleven and nine, to school on my way to work.
The song was Honky Tonk Woman, and the school is only two and a half blocks from our house. My two little princesses could easily walk – but every morning – even beautiful warm spring mornings like this morning – I drop them off on my way to work.
It's two and a half blocks out of my way.
Now I like this song. Who doesn’t like a good Rolling Stones song? At home – the Stones are littered all throughout my playlist that we listen to downstairs playing pool and hanging out, and they seemed to like it – sometimes they even dance to it.
But this morning, as we approached the front of the school – packed with kids milling about waiting for the bell to ring, my eldest Alannah asked from the back seat of the Jeep …
“Dad, can you turn that off, we’re almost there”
“Huh? Why? Don’t you like the Stones?” I asked.
“Daaaad … please … c’mon”, replied Alannah in that eleven year old diva ‘no-you-di-int’ type of hip hop attitude.
Ashley-Ray, sitting in the front seat, reached over and pressed the on-off button – and the car went silent.
“Hey … what’re ya doing?”, I asked as I pulled the car over for them to get out and join a group of their friends. I reached back over – like any good father would do … and I turned my Stones song back on. And I turned it up just a bit …
“Daaaaad .. hmmmph …“,moaned both the girls. The car doors closed as my daughters rolled their eyes and explained to their friends that … well … their Dad just isn’t that cool.
And I drove off thinking … since when did the Rolling Stones become .. un-cool?
I know they are in their seventies now … but this was the original song.
“... she blew my nose and then she blew my mind ...” screamed my car radio as I drove away – now with the windows down.
As I turned the corner to get on the main street, I wondered to myself “What the hell happened?”
When did the Rolling Stones become un-cool?
Do they have to rename the magazine?
Now I will grant you, at the age of fifty, I am older than most if not all of my daughters' friends' parents. In fact, quite often when we are out – there inevitably is someone who will comment
“Isn’t it nice that your grandfather brought you out today.”
And all three of us get a kick out of that and we play along, so as not to hurt anybody’s feelings.
But this is the Rolling Stones we are talking about here?
Their music – their rock and roll has passed the test of time better than even the Beatles.
They are so cool they made Elvis look like Evil Kneivel without a motorcycle.
And the only guy who was cooler than Elvis Presley was Johnny Cash.
My Dad loved Johnny Cash. He never cared much for Elvis.
When my brother Paul and I were little boys in Jackson Michigan, younger probably than my two daughters now – my Dad would play his Johnny Cash Albums on Saturday nights – and my brother and I would dance around the living room – using the old top to a crystal whiskey decanter as a pretend microphone - and we would sing all the lyrics to all the Johnny Cash songs.
Even Cocaine Blues.
Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin' forty-four beneath my head.
Okay – that’s kind of violent – especially when you realize he sang it in the early sixties –
Dad loved Johnny Cash He never cared much for Elvis. And he never really got the Rolling Stones – they were a bit young for him.
“I don’t really like that boom-boom bang music” he would say.
I remember one time, Dad had an old Johnny Cash 8-track tape in the car that we would listen to … and we would all sing along to. And I remember him pulling up to the school one day to drop me off – while “I Walk The Line” was playing, and I reached over and I turned it off when we pulled up in front of the school.
Funny, I don’t ever remember thinking Johnny Cash wasn’t cool. I guess I thought I wouldn’t be cool if my friends saw me listening to Johnny Cash.
I guess it makes sense after all.
You know what’s really funny? My little girls like Johnny Cash too.
Only I don’t think they know all the words to Cocaine Blues.