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July 9, 2012 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Please help me build a playlist of music for a 56-year-old! I'm dating an old(er) guy, and he's smokin. Yay! But classic rock is so boring, and now I'm trying to pick some music....

My taste runs to K-pop, hiphop, and Top 40 dance. Which is FINE, not ashamed of my music, but maybe something more from his era?

Checked wikipedia for 1972. I do like the Stones but everything has been played eight zillion times. Neil Young makes my ears bleed. What artists might appeal to an older guy who's well-educated and seems to have pretty good taste? Yes I will ask him, eventually, but this is more a "oh her Pandora station is awesome" thing to show I'm more than my Nicki Minaj. Talking Heads? Disco, maybe? Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
awesome early '70s stuff, off the top of my head: Faces (and Rod Stewart solo), Big Star, Van Morrison, Badfinger, David Bowie, New York Dolls, Brian Eno, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney & Wings/George Harrison/John Lennon, the Who...
posted by scody at 12:05 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Wait, so do you know that his preference is for classic rock, or are you just assuming that based on his age? And what is your goal here - to expose him to something from his "era" that you think he doesn't know and might like, or to impress him with your knowledge of said music?

A guy who likes classic rock probably won't be much into disco. I'm just confused about what you're trying to do here.
posted by amro at 12:07 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Listen to the music that defined the era. He became a teenager during the days the world changed. Bob Dylan to the Beatles and more. Woodstock and beyond. Look beyond the repetitive "classic rock" being fed to us these days and sample the music. Joplin, Doors, the Dead, Hendrix, the soft songs asking you to put flowers in your hair before going to San Fransisco or the one that didn't need no education. No Disco. You can go back a little to Elvis even or forward to the Yellow Submarine.

posted by infini at 12:08 PM on July 9, 2012

What artists might appeal to an older guy who's well-educated and seems to have pretty good taste?

You really should ask him first. Don't be direct, just sort of discreetly talk bout music from that era and see what he says, what makes his eyes light up. After all, you want to make him happy, right? So probe around in the prostrate of his mind, see what rocks his world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:08 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't mention what he's into. Not all old folks (I'm one, sort of) are big classic rock fans. Try some R & B from the 60s and 70s - you might even find some common ground with your guy. Al Green, the Staple Singers, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Etta James... any of these artists should get a good Pandora station going for you. Also try the Clash and the Buzzcocks if you have any reason to suspect that he might like '70s punk.

There are some criminally underplayed Rolling Stones records, mostly from the Brian Jones (Beggars Banquet and before) era. Check out the soundtracks to Wes Anderson movies for hints on this.

Also: the Kinks. It would be good if everyone listened to the Kinks.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:08 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

So probe around in the prostrate of his mind, see what rocks his world.
Dibs on this metaphor.

You could play some of these songs and see which ones get him humming or tapping his feet. I was out with someone in his car and I now have an idea that he likes the music of our youth based on which songs he turned the volume up for or sang along with.
posted by infini at 12:11 PM on July 9, 2012

I'm 52 and would be willing to listen to almost anything that you made for me.
Well, except for that Skrillex dude. Sorry.
I vote for mixing it up!

Some of your favorites, some of the 70's new wave, 80's new wave, some 90's grunge, some disco, some funk, some soul - just let your imagination run wild!

Use the CD as a discussion starting point. That would be awesome.
I'm a big fan of RDIO for learning about new music and discovering older music.

posted by THAT William Mize at 12:15 PM on July 9, 2012

I do like the Stones but everything has been played eight zillion times.

Songs from Exile on Main Street (1972) are not very well known, are rarely/never played on the radio, and are some of the Stones' best work.
posted by goethean at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2012

You could introduce him to some new stuff that sounds like classic rock. The Black Keys and White Stripes come to mind.
posted by jabes at 12:22 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

John Prine, John Hyatt, Old 97s, Raul Julia, X-pensive Winos, Midnight Oil, Dire Straits, Little Feat, The Band, and on and on.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

> awesome early '70s stuff, off the top of my head: Faces (and Rod Stewart solo), Big Star, Van Morrison, Badfinger, David Bowie, New York Dolls, Brian Eno, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney & Wings/George Harrison/John Lennon, the Who...

I (who just turned 61) second all this, except for Paul McCartney & Wings/George Harrison (hey, I'm a John guy). But I also second finding out what he actually likes rather than assuming he's defined by his g-g-generation. (My guess is that he's not going to like K-pop or Top 40 dance; hiphop is 50-50.)
posted by languagehat at 12:31 PM on July 9, 2012

I asked not too long ago about some less known but worthwhile tunes from the mid to late Seventies. You might find the replies helpful.
posted by Dragonness at 12:46 PM on July 9, 2012

Motown? Four Tops, Spinners, Aretha, Tina Turner...
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:46 PM on July 9, 2012

I think it's a bad idea to assume because he's of a certain age, he has certain musical tastes. I'm not much younger than him and my playlists include hiphop like Kanye and Jay-Z, adult alt like Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers, some Top 40, reggae, classic rock, etc. Instead of trying to wow him with your musical tastes, maybe it would be more fun to exchange favorites. You might be surprised by what he already likes!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm 26 and constantly get made fun of by my friends for not knowing that such and such recent song is by so and so. There's at least a good two year delay on my having heard a song, and generally only then it's because it's been used in a commercial or something.

So. I, with my boomer-dude tastes, like:

The Small Faces
The Kinks
Uriah Heep
The Who

Do with that what you will.
posted by phunniemee at 1:00 PM on July 9, 2012

I"m dating a 51 year old who loves the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach and Karen Carpenter and oh, yeah, Midnight Oil. I burned him a bunch of CDs (yeah, I know, for a theoretical computer scientist, he hasn't made it quite into the 21st century.) As far as I know, he hasn't listened to any of them but he did LOVE a set of MP3s from the Kenny Everett Video Show with the world's worst songs on them.

Go figure.
posted by b33j at 1:34 PM on July 9, 2012

That is to say, I burnt him a bunch of CDs with music I thought he'd like based on his tastes, that he might not have listened to.
posted by b33j at 1:35 PM on July 9, 2012

As a listener of a similar age my older brother was heavy into Disco. He could give two shifts about Classic Rock. OTOH a cousin of the same age is all about Prog. King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, etc. So going by age alone is a crapshoot.
posted by Gungho at 1:49 PM on July 9, 2012

The notion of "Music for a 56-year-old" makes about as much sense to me as "Food for a 33-year-old." It's presumptuous to assume that he will be stuck in the 60s, and doubly so to think you will be able to teach him something about music from that time.

I'd nth the suggestions to just make a playlist of songs you like that you also think he might like, based on what you know about him. (Which is presumably more than just his age.)
posted by TonyRobots at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

My guy is 54 and I'm a GenXer. He is a huuuuge blues fan. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf on up to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Classic rock is a very small part of his repertoire (Just like hip-hop is a small part of my repertoire, even though I'm a GenXer.)

Ask him about his tastes and plan accordingly.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2012

Damn it b33j, that's your Bacharach example? THAT?

This is god damn Burt Bacharach.

So's this.

Hell, even this!

Streisand doing Close to You. Christ on wheat toast, what's this world coming to?
posted by Naberius at 2:27 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

In that age range, he could easily also be into early punk rock. Are you sure he's a classic rock guy or is that just an assumption based on his age? Tread carefully, you could end up making an embarrassing mistake with your assumptions.
posted by quince at 2:36 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

seems to have pretty good taste

Depends on who you ask. Someone who loves black metal will probably think someone who loves euro dance has "bad taste" and vice versa. Not "everything from the 70ies" will appeal to someone who grew up then. Maybe he thought his generation had awful music and was glad when the 80ies arrived. Who knows? You, after you asked him.
posted by MinusCelsius at 2:36 PM on July 9, 2012

He's 56, so he turned 20 in 1976.

Right about the time The Ramones invented rock and roll! ;)

(Other suggestions: Bowie (Ziggy, Lodger, Low, Heroes), Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Pere Ubu, Dead Boys, Stooges)

This list assumes he actually gave a damn about music in the 1970s. If he didn't, well....

Just put "Frampton Comes Alive" and Styx's greatest hits on shuffle.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:59 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a year younger than him. If you made any assumptions about my musical taste based on my age I would break up with you.
posted by Wordwoman at 3:08 PM on July 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

I can't tell if this is "help I want to impress him!" or "help me find some common ground!"

Option A:

Pretending you like things he likes to impress him feels like you're a bit desperate to prove something, and probably won't stand up under scrutiny. Actually being interested in and talking to him about what he likes, well that's much more interesting. I know, it doesn't have the whole "see, we're soulmates!" vibe to it, but c'est la vie.

Option B:

Bands listed above are a good start, experiment with some funk, soul, jazz, and disco if you're looking for something that is not only from his general era, but also heavily influenced the music you like now - those will probably be easiest for you to learn to enjoy. But if he is exclusively a classic rock guy (and that's not just a guess on your part), I'm guessing he won't be that into any of those. My experience with "classic rock guys" is that's pretty much the only thing on their playlist.
posted by chundo at 3:17 PM on July 9, 2012

I know lots of people that age who listen to music from now all the way back to classical composers. My dad was like that, and so am I. Pick the music you enjoy the most, and share that with him. Ask him to do the same. See what new favorites come out of that for both of you, because truth be told, in this day and age the music is more important than the time period, and all living people have equal access to/similar exposure to music from all previous time periods anyway.
posted by davejay at 4:34 PM on July 9, 2012

Modern Lovers
Velvet Underground/Lou Reed
posted by brujita at 4:51 PM on July 9, 2012

Even assuming that this mystery man's age is a solid guide (which is not a good assumption; I'm in my mid 30s, and I like 1991's music just fine, but I'm equally fond of 1978 and 2000), what a minefield.

Someone whose favourite music was recorded in the early-to-mid 1970s could plausibly enjoy (one or two, but very likely not all of):
- Glam rock (T-Rex, Ziggy Stardust era Bowie)
- Outlaw Country (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings)
- Krautrock (Can, Kraftwerk)
- early Heavy Metal (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple)
- Southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers Band)
- Funk (Parliament, Funkadelic)
- Proto-punk (MC5, Iggy and the Stooges)

And that's not intended to be exhaustive. He could be a Deadhead or a Zappa fan or into jazz or so many more things.

If I happened to be dating someone much younger who was genuinely interested in learning about (from my era) L7 or Bad Religion or NWA or The KLF or whoever, I would find it incredibly appealing, and sharing my favourite music would be a really pleasant way to spend time. If they tried to be a poseur about the music of my adolescence, I would find it totally off-putting.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:07 PM on July 9, 2012

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