Friday, December 15, 2006

Classic Rock and New Music

We all know the success of the Classic Rock formats in most of their incarnations (Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Classic Rock that Rocks, etc). One of the hallmarks was the purity of making sure that Classic only meant old songs. If old artists happened to release a new CD for the most part the Miller Lite Man Law Board of programmers always voted it down and declared ‘Good Call.’

There is ‘other evidence’ all over the place that 25-54s are still following veteran Classic Rockers as they continue to extend their careers. No doubt we’ll see more evidence as George Martin and his son Giles release their re-mix of Beatles songs on the Love CD. In 2006 we saw a number of Classic Rock vets still in action with some very strong CDs:

The Who

The Stones

Bob Seger

David Gilmour

Eric Clapton and JJ Cale



Def Leppard

Are just a few and we still have leftovers from 2005 from U2, McCartney, Robert Plant, Santana and others that sold well or at least aroused a curiosity in the 25-54 audience.

The Beatles release will likely be the biggest news here and will probably only receive a little airplay and a few ‘special segments’ in the format. Listening to the pre-release tracks like Lady Madonna, Octopus’ Garden, and the haunting slow demo of While My Guitar Gently Weeps all re-vamped with complete re-mixes is fascinating and haunting all at the same time. Why can’t we play this with enough frequency to reach the large Classic Rock audience?

Really it’s gotten to a point where Classic Artists are taking their songs and talent elsewhere. Bon Jovi is trying to breakout at Country and even taking a strong presence at next year’s CMA. Mellencamp writes a good song and sells it to Chevy instead of trying to keep his career alive in radio. Even the Beatles/George Martin have gone to Vegas with the Love CD, it’s really a soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil show.

Santana has teamed up with Pop stars and gone to pop/CHR/hot AC for most of his return. The Stones and McCartney have staged their huge comebacks on the concert stage with the most successful tours in years. Dylan did a cameo in Victoria Secrets spots to keep alive. The Who’s classics in the CSI series no doubt at least allowed them to show up with their new CD. Seger’s gonna try the talk shows and a tour for his comeback.

Other media seems ready to jump in and support the on-going talent and efforts from the Classic Rock Vets. Yet, the centerpiece of radio’s link to these artists remains pretty silent. Maybe a resolution for the new year??? Maybe a new idea as we cue up ‘Start Me Up’ for the thousandth spin???