Recently, I entered a radio contest - 15 Minutes Of Fame, to get my chance to be a DJ. The concept seemed simple enough. The radio station was giving listeners the chance to have their fifteen minutes in the sun playing the music of their choice, with the chance to play something that hadn't been heard for a while.
The contest asked for ten songs - clearly too many, but I guess they wanted to get a feel from the applicants. Most likely it was another way to gauge the demographics of the listener base.
I thought about my selections. No, they wouldn't be a list of my top ten songs, nor just any good songs I haven't heard in a while. They needed to be unified somehow - to make a statement.
My initial list was to tell the Rock story over the journey. There would be Shooting Star by Bad Company, and Rock And Roll Aint Noise Pollution by AC/DC, with It's Only Rock And Roll (But I Like It) by The Rolling Stones followed by Rock N Roll by Ryan Adams, and maybe finishing with My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) by Neil Young.
I rejected this list. It needed to be more succint - fifteen minutes to be exact. And the Rock And Roll list deserved more respect than fifteen minutes anyway. There is at least an hour or two worth of killer tracks that should be honoured - God Gave Rock And Roll To You, It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll), and as they say on the ads, And Many More.
I decided to make it about the personal journey of the listener and not the music, in under fifteen minutes. It's a Classic Rock station, so they're playing everything from the 60's onwards. What better way to convey a love of music, and Rock in particular than from the perspective of teen years through to middle age?
I've been listening to the results of those fortunate enough to be selected, and they are all good songs. The problem is, most of them are already staple songs on the radio playlist. What's wrong with a bit of variety? What's wrong with a bit of exposure to alternative tastes? The other problem is they only take three songs. Three lousy songs, with time for about twenty seconds of intro for each.
I think it is pretty obvious by now that my list has not been successful. Never mind.
1: Thirteen by Big Star
Pop music begins at any age. Rock begins with your teens. Thirteen is a classic rock song, short, sharp, and complete with teenage angst and sexual frustration. You're thirteen, and you think everyone can see right through you. There are so many changes happening, and thoughts through your head, you think you might just explode.
2: Seventeen by The Sex Pistols
You're seventeen. You know everything, but you're not old enough to do them legally. You're bored. You're angry and frustrated. You want it all now. Parents and school didn't teach you much. Music is everything.
3: Eighteen by Alice Cooper
You're eighteen. You're out and about. You're a big shot, living it up. You can drink, drive, and vote. Hell, you can even get shot at or shoot someone. But you know you're not an adult yet, and you have a lot of growing up to do. Music helps you forget about everything for a while.
4: Twenty Eight by Tim Rogers & The Twin Set
(the video IS NOT Tim Rogers - I guess if it was more mainstream there would be a you tube video!)
Now you're twenty eight. You're still young enough to get out, but you have some more responsibility now - the job, the loan, maybe you're even married with a kid. You look forward to getting together with your mates, but it doesn't happen as much as it used to. Your cd and record collection brings back a lot of good memories. You're still young enough to dream of being a rock star. Just.
5: A Pirate Looks At Forty by Jimmy Buffett
Now you're middle aged. Yes, you've made mistakes, but you've lived a good life, too. You have some regrets, but you call them lessons now. Sometimes you shake your head in disbelief at the young folk around you. Sometimes you'd like to grab the 'You' from twenty years ago by collar and say, "Wake up to yourself! Savour every moment. Stop wasting time. Life is way too short." And now you crank up the radio in the car, sitting in the driveway, when one of your favourite old songs come on the radio. Life is different now.
Fourteen Minutes and Fifty Two seconds. Not bad...