Mars, Chilli Peppers vs. Plant, Zeppelin: Caching up on my music

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

TIt’s been a long time since I sat way up in the balcony and watched Robert Plant try to belt out one of Led Zeppelin’s timeless tunes. It’s been a very long time.

I wasn’t around for the Beatles invasion, but now that 50 years have elapsed since the Fab Four appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, it hits home how stuck in the past I have become when it comes to contemporary music.

And then came the Superbowl halftime show. Bruno Mars wound up doing a killer show, and being the Superbowl, you know that they don’t book lightweights to perform.

I had to find out who Bruno Mars is. Sure, I listen to all types of music, but over the decades, I have stopped making it my life’s mission to keep up with the latest performers.

Back in my teenage years, and even my 20s, I was like a walking encyclopedia when it came to many groups and performers. Then came a career and kids, and keeping up with all of that didn’t seem important anymore.

As soon as Mars (that is a really awkward last name) started singing, I knew who he was. I’d heard the songs. They were pretty good. On American Bandstand, he would have gotten an eight or nine.

I may even buy his albums. I forgot. They are not really albums anymore. They’re downloads. Or, maybe they are downloads of albums.

I could buy the CD, but it is so much easier to just download it. Maybe that’s why record stores went out of business. First they quit making records, and then the downloads came along.

I always look for the $5 downloads, and I most often buy the greatest hits of some 70s band or singer. I think I got most of them by now. They’re sitting on the cloud and in my smartphone.

We have come a long way from the days when we listened to the albums in a little booth in the store before deciding whether to buy them.

So, I really like Bruno Mars, even though his last name is weird. Who would name their kid Mars?

He reminded me of another musician named Robert Plant. That’s another weird name ... Plant.

Different era, different style, but same energy, talent, success.

What has changed are my priorities. That teenager in the nosebleed section listening to “Stairway to Heaven” is long gone, replaced by a father and grandfather who just is not in tune with the current music scene.

I’ve had my good times, bad times.

So, I was enjoying Mars when some shirtless guy jumped out and starts singing.

Now, wait a minute. I just caught up on Mars, and now this. I needed help.

Good thing that many of my friends were watching the game also, and were commenting on Facebook. It was like a football party without the party.

“Who is the shirtless guy?” I posted.

“...from the red hot chili peppers,” a friend replied.

I know that it’s grammatically incorrect and the name of the band should be upper case, but it’s Facebook.

“I guess I’m out of the loop post Led Zeppelin.” I replied in a full sentence.

Another friend went on to say how he liked the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and plays their music really loud.

OK. Now I had to find out who are the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

With all this talk about music, I am tempted to fire up the old record player and play Led Zeppelin IV really loud, or some Rolling Stones.

But not the Beatles.

I know that it’s their anniversary, but I got my fill of their music a long time ago. I like them, but maybe just once a year.

The night I saw Plant, he had laryngitis and sounded like a frog. And, we didn’t care. The sound system was lousy, anyway.

I’m not a music critic, but I could play one on TV.

And, I did see Ted Nugent perform “Cat Scratch fever” at the Academy of Music in New York City in the 1970s.

How many of you can top that? I thought so.