Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Marching Memes

I was pondering memes at the local high school football game Friday night. Both bands were in full swing. At almost every break in the action either Orange or Madison would fire up a little musical snippet. Most of it was standard fare: "Louie, Louie," "Wooley Booley," "Rock and Roll (Part II)", "Another One Bites the Dust" and so on.

Kids currently in high school now were born between 1989 and 1992. Most of the stuff they were playing was popular 10 to 20 years before they were born. The tunes were used because they still elicit a response -- but why? They're not part of what students listen to now, nor are they heard that often on radio, or even commercials. Yet, somehow, everyone knows them. Musical memes.

Just to put things into perspective, keeping the same time relationships, it would be like my high school band playing tunes from the 1935 hit parade!

BTW - although both band directors did a great job, kudos to the Madison Mountaineers director for some really imaginative programming. When a penalty was called, they played War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?" and after losing 49-32 to Orange, their musical response was a Van Halen tune.
"Shot through the heart, and you're to blame. You give love a bad name."

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