by Kevin Burton
“Songs That Rock” is a Facebook page that I really enjoy. You should check it out if you like rock music. But there is one thing they do that I don’t get.
They have a lot of posts about old music, do you remember this or that, or which song from a certain year do you like best. I make a lot of comments on these posts.
For example, once I made the case for “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney being the best love song of the rock and roll era. I thought that would be an unconventional choice, but I noticed a few people agreed with me.
Today the page asked people to name any song that references outer space. I answered “Rocketman” by Elton John.
But every once in a while Songs That Rock sends me a message: “You’ve earned a top fan badge!”
‘As one of the most active people on Songs That Rock, you can now display a top fan badge by your name on the page,” it reads.
“By displaying your badge, Songs That Rock and others who visit the page can more easily see your comments.” I just got this message again today.
Well I haven’t noticed people having trouble seeing my posts. I wonder if this means my comments would be kept near the top.
The first time I got that message I thought “wait a minute, that’s not a very rock and roll kind of thing to do is it? Getting a badge?”
I mean isn’t rock and roll at least in part, about not accepting the “badges” society chooses to hand out to the “good people,” the conformists, the squares?
I imagined Tom Petty stopping by to see me, saying “Hey man, I see you got your badge. So cool! Did you get some ribbons too?”
I imagined Jackson Browne snickering.
So I have not accepted the badge.
I haven’t noticed any badges next to other people’s names on the site either. Maybe it’s the kind of thing I can only see if I accept my badge? Maybe it’s a club insider thing, like Jeep drivers honking at each other.
Once I worded a “badges aren’t rock and roll” Facebook post and of course it got blocked. Censorship isn’t very rock and roll either.
Of course by writing this blog post I have opened the box containing the question, just what is rock and roll anyway? I will now quickly close that box.
It’s a glorious question, fun to explore, but totally unanswerable.
When Eric Clapton sings “I’ve got a rock and roll heart,” you know what he means without hammering out a definition. If you chose to pursue a definition, starting with the lyrics of that song, at some length you would come up with his definition.
His definition of rock and roll wouldn’t be mine, or perhaps yours.
I am a rock and roller of the “think for yourself” camp but not of the “trash a hotel room” camp. It’s an individual thing.
I’ve often thought of baseball as not so much a game, but as a place, a place where I belong. If I’m passing a half hour with you waiting to board a plane, we can talk baseball because even though I haven’t met you before, you know all the same people I know in that place where we belong.
I am starting to think of music in that way too. But there’s got to be some attitude behind rock and roll. A badge would take away from that.