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 by Ron Cruger
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C
Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin - who?
        If a guy, eligible for Social Security, wants to feel old just take a glance at the most popular songs of the day, ranked by radio airplay.
        Ranked number one is a song, “Firework,” by Katy Perry. The top stars in the ranking are Bruno Mars, Pink, Ke$ha, Rihanna featuring Drake, The Black Eyed Peas, Nelly and Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj.
        Now, regardless of your age, I’m sure that plenty of you have heard some of these names mentioned as you change channels on your television set. Shows like Entertainment Tonight and TMZ are always talking about Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna. From what I’ve seen, these entertainers have come into the public eye thanks to their outrageous behavior and/or comic and bizarre costumes. You can add Kanye West to the list of newsworthy and eccentric entertainers who have irritated their way to stardom.
        It’s all a matter of generations. Young people today are entertained by the Rihannas, the Gagas, the Nellys, the Kanyes and the rest. Today’s youngsters understand and enjoy the style and the presentations. I don’t.
        But, what would happen if, by some strange twist of time and space, through some “wormhole,” some of the entertainers of recent past generations would appear on stage today? How would they fare?
        Would Elvis be accepted when he made a grand entrance to the orchestra playing “Sprach Zarathustra in his high collared white, spangled, bell bottomed costume? I have a hunch not.
        Let’s picture skinny Frank Sinatra tightly gripping a microphone and singing “High Hopes.” I doubt if the kids today would greet him with wild screams and applause as they did in the 1940’s when he burst on the scene and the young girls swooned. My guess is there would be laughter replacing the swooning.
        Bing Crosby’s marvelous voice wouldn’t reach today’s youngsters.
        Think of Johnny Ray, Eddie Fisher, Pat Boone, Laverne Baker, Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney or Tony Bennett standing in front of a mosh pit of today’s youth as the warm up act for Kanye West, Rihanna or Lady Gaga.
        Think of the movie stars of a few years ago. They’d have a hard time being in crowd scenes. Marlon Brando, Jack Benny, Gary Cooper, Olivia DeHavilland, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda.
        Picture a red hot concert featuring Nelly the rap star introducing a new dance couple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They’d be greeted with embarrassing silence. The kids would be exchanging wondered glances. Fred in a top hat, Ginger in a slinky, silvery gown.
        Can you envision Lady Gaga backed by the Count Basie orchestra or Pink appearing with Cab Calloway?
        Would kids today go to a concert featuring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse?
        All of this just illustrates that times and tastes change. There is no right and wrong. There is only the passage of time and one generation’s tastes replacing another’s.
        Just don’t ask me to go with you to a concert featuring “50 Cent” or Eminem. I’d rather be home watching “An American in Paris.”