My faith in rock was renewed once again just now as I was walking home from teaching my class. Some college students were sitting on a front porch with guitars and playing “Wild Thing” by the Troggs. It occurred to me that when my high school band played that song way back in the 1980s, it was already 25 years old. It was fun to play because it was easy and catchy and it made people dance. So on one hand, maybe it isn’t surprising that it has lasted into the current generation of musicians. But then again, that means the song is now more than 50 years old, and kids are still playing it.
When I was a teenage rocker, songs that were 50 years old were not even on my radar. Sure, these days I regularly perform songs from the 1920s. And though I may have heard some songs from that era on Looney Toons cartoons, it would never have occurred to me to sit on the porch and play them on the guitar with my friends gathered around. Rock and roll was all there was to me then, and the form had been around only 30 years. Songs that were ancient to me then were mere babes in the woods, younger then than I am now. Those same songs are now qualified for Social Security benefits.
Other music forms sometimes come more into popular focus–hip hop, neo-folk, and alt-country come to mind. But rock always sticks around, always comes back. Long may it prosper.