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First use of "classic rock"? 
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Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:52 pm
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Post First use of "classic rock"?
Around the middle of chapter 9 of I Will Fear No Evil, while still recovering from surgery, Eunice is relaxing to some music: "For an hour and more she listened to a tape of evergreens, from classic rock she had never grown used to clear back to folk music popular before Johann Schmidt was born."

It seemed to me when I came across this passage that perhaps no one had ever used the term "classic rock" before then, at least in print.

Was Heinlein the first to imagine that there'd be such a thing as classic rock?

Opinions? Facts? Both are welcome.


Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:29 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
That's a good catch, and ca. 1970 I'd bet there are very, very few prior examples of the phrase. I think Heinlein might have been "making strange" and been completely blindsided by reality.


Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:54 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
That is a good catch. I did not hear "classic rock" on the airwaves until the early nineties.


Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:01 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
What Peter said. I think I first heard the term in the early '90s as well. I never listened to much rock, so I wasn't paying attention, but that sounds right.

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Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:46 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
PeterScott wrote:
That is a good catch. I did not hear "classic rock" on the airwaves until the early nineties.
A few minutes of playing with Google Ngram Viewer got me a 1972 cite from Billboard for "classic rock" in the sense we use it today:

http://books.google.com/books?id=nCgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA52
Quote:
According to Billboard radio editor Claude Hall, one of the most important factors in bringing back awareness of the value of oldies was Bill Drake including regular programming of classic rock singles in his influential nationwide format.
This could probably be pushed further back if you looked at rock criticism in the late Sixties.

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Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:40 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
beamjockey wrote:
This could probably be pushed further back if you looked at rock criticism in the late Sixties.


So it can . . . .



_Kingston [Jamaica] Gleaner_ 8/4/1957 p 4 col 5
"A very solid beat and bounce engendered by Herb is the basis of the classic rock played by this group."

_Baton Rouge [LA] Advocate_ 12/10/1961 p 8E col 4
"When I Fall in Love, Lettermen (Capitol), Back in a "classic" rock-and-roll grove, the Lettermen fashion a tight
hollow-sounding version of an old standard."

_Baton Rouge [LA] Advocate_ 5/1/1966 p 8E col 5
"Got My Mojo Working, Jimmy Smith (Verve). A now-classic rock number is Jimmy's newest vehicle."

_Los Angeles Times_ 4/28/1968 Calendar Sec p 1 col 3
"Something stirring certainly, but then unlike the United States, classic rock never died in Britain."

_Boston Globe_ 9/5/1968 p 20 col 5
[radio station advertisement] "You'll hear the best of rock. The best of jazz rock. Soul rock. Folk rock.
Electronic rock. Classic rock."

_Boston Herald_ 12/21/1969 entertainment sec p 17 col 4
"This fall brought a bumper crop of classic rock albums."


Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:52 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
Thanks for the research. Several of these instances do seem to use classic rock in the sense used in the novel - i.e., as a genre. Perhaps Heinlein was the first to use the term in fiction?


Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:47 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
To be fair, the same ngrams chart shows that the usage increased dramatically starting 1988.


Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:02 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
I first heard/started using "classic rock" when I was just entering my 20s at the start of the Brit "invasion." [I turned 21 just in time for the 1964 elections].

[How little we knew how deeply those Brit rockers we were denigrating were steeped in '50s rock and roll as well as blues, jazz, etc. Sigh. How did I survive my 20s?!?!?!]

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Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:47 pm
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Post Re: First use of "classic rock"?
I'm betting Heinlein was more a fan of "classic ragtime." :lol:
That's very cool that you picked up on the "classic rock" reference in IWFNE. As with many things in Heinlein's writings, he seemed eerily ahead of his time - particularly on cultural issues.

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Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:42 am
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