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For us "Entertainment for Seniors" players

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  • For us "Entertainment for Seniors" players

    On my way to play a gig at a nursing home this afternoon I was doing some math in my head.

    I'm working on this assumption, that most regular folks absorb the music they'll remember forever between the ages of 15 and 30, does that seem reasonable?

    That gives the following chart. Column one is the audience's average age, column two is their birth year and column three is the years their "Imprinted Songs" are from... You know, the ones that even get them singing along in the so-called "Memory Units":

    100 1918 1933-1948
    95 1923 1938-1953
    90 1928 1943-1958
    85 1933 1948-1963
    80 1938 1953-1968
    75 1943 1958-1973
    70 1948 1963-1978
    65 1953 1968-1983
    60 1958 1973-1988

    I've been noticing how well the 50s and 60s music has been doing in these venues.

    And of course noticing when I'm in the Memory Unit myself in a few years, some kid will be making a hundred bucks playing Zeppelin's Greatest Hits while I snooze in the corner!

    sk

  • #2
    I just did a seniors' luncheon function for about 200 folks (with a trio). They were "younger" seniors 65 to 75 years old. The big tunes were: Route 66, Sunny, Dock of The Bay, Girl From Ipanema, Fly Me To The Moon, Jamaica Farewell and so on. Most of those tunes were big around the mid-sixties. One thing to note however, is that some songs (like the aforementioned) stay popular for many years, and some never really go away. In fact I recently had a mother at a hotel lounge come up and thank me for playing Route 66 - it was her nine year old son's favourite tune.

    My take: if you learn the right songs, you don't even need to do much song switching. Songs like Wonderful World work for all ages because it was popular with all ages when it came out, and it's still popular today.

    I do like the imagery of snoozin' to Zeppelin...
    Last edited by Shaster; 05-18-2018, 05:00 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Kids under 12 or so don't yet have a set of this-defines-me songs and seem to have more open ears. Doesn't bother them that they haven't heard it before or that I look like grampa.

      skmarshal, I think you can extend the beginning year a fair bit further back. First, everyone gets subjected to their parent's generation of songs. And even though we may go through a phase of mocking them, eventually they get drawn into the old memory hole. And then there are the songs that show up in recent media -- "Me and My Shadow" was apparently featured in some TV series recently and far-too-young people recognise it when I play it. Or successful covers, either as camp/retro like Taco or, like Otis Redding's fresh take on "Try a Little Tenderness" (or Three Dog Night's cover of *that*) as a complete rethinking of the song.

      In addition, the process of acquiring songs was different back then. My 90-year-old aunt remembers and treasures songs back into the 1910s from listening to them at the "fish camp" where there was no power, on a windup gramophone. You didn't throw out old 78s!! There are summer camps and other organisations that freely recycle old songs at meals and campfires. I know "Down by the Old Mill Stream" from camp, not because I was alive in 1914. And then there was the ASCAP strike in the 40s when everybody recorded Stephen Foster (1850s) songs. etc etc

      There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

      Comment


      • skmarshall
        skmarshall commented
        Editing a comment
        Pogo - I completely agree. I see over and over that the last songs to go are the ones they heard from their parents (and older siblings too, I expect).when they were too young to really make judgments about what they were listening to.

        Which also explains why I'm hearing "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis in my head right now (My Mom's favorite song)
        Last edited by skmarshall; 05-19-2018, 07:58 AM.

    • #4
      I teach guitar once a week to a group of six people who's age range from 20 through to 60 and I teach a new bit of theory/technique , maybe a new chord etc and then a song, maybe just the intro or chorus that incorporates it.
      The night before I think long and hard about what song to use because of the age range. I have found that anything by the Beatles is safe and even got away with The Black eyed peas. But have judged it wrong a couple of times and been met with blank faces. Mostly though a strong melody regardless of era seems to be a winner.
      Last edited by steve mac; 05-19-2018, 08:29 AM.
      Cheers Steve

      Comment


      • #5
        I have made a living doing these gigs since 1985. Not so much nursing homes, but retirement communities, yacht clubs, country clubs, and a few nursing homes (I don't pursue the nursing home end of the business).

        Right now, 1940s standards don't cut it anymore. Towards the tail end of that era a few years ago, someone came up to tell us "Harry James Is Dead".

        Elvis is about the upper fringe of antiquity. Beatles through the 1980 with "crossover" songs from the 21st century like "Blurred Lines" and "Uptown Funk" mostly for the ladies who want to deny their ever-evolving maturity.

        Remember, some day, in the future, the people in the nursing homes are going to want to hear EDM and Rap. There will be shriveled up people with tatoos in their wrinkles saying "They don't write good music like the stuff that Eminem, Dr Dre and Nicki Minaj did anymore.

        I'll be retired.

        Notes
        Bob "Notes" Norton
        Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
        Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
        The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

        Comment


        • steve mac
          steve mac commented
          Editing a comment
          You'll never retire 😂

        • daddymack
          daddymack commented
          Editing a comment
          hopefully by then I will have shaken off my mortal coil...

      • #6
        Some places I play at have residents 90-100 years old which is OK by me because I like music from the 20s-40s. Sinatra and similar artists go over with this crowd. And it took me a while to realize that 60s-and even some 80s music works for those in their 70s-80s. They aren't much older than me really!
        BD

        Comment


        • #7
          I'm constantly reminded that the musical tastes of musicians - not to mention normal people - varies by age, but also by geography. I've moved from suburbia to a small town and the difference is dramatic. I've also found that people who are five years older or five years younger may have been interested in very different styles. IMHO, it boils down to picking songs that suit your style. I listened to a lot of R&B, blues, and pop/rock of the late 60s and am grateful that the Rollings Stones 500 greatest hits list apparently considers that to be the highlight of musical output.

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by senorblues View Post
            ... and am grateful that the Rollings Stones 500 greatest hits list apparently considers that to be the highlight of musical output.
            Always remember that "Sympathy for the Devil" is a *piano* song.
            There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

            Comment


            • senorblues
              senorblues commented
              Editing a comment
              Clarification - the magazine, not the band - https://www.rollingstone.com/music/l...-time-20110407 . . . although that song is included.

            • pogo97
              pogo97 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah. The RS "Top ****s of all time" lists are interesting reads and useful for repertory but you can't take them too seriously. Pop music journalism is basically pop music marketing.

          • #9
            I only perform one Elvis song "Girl of my best friend" (mainly because I use the looper to do the Jordenairs backing plus it sounds good with my improvised lead) the other night chatting between songs, as is my want, I asked if there were any Elvis fans in the crowd, which where all 50 to 70 year olds. One shouted back "which one? Presley or Costello" this lead to shouts for Costello which was refreshing to say the least.
            My biggest problem is when playing to wide age ranges from children thru 70 plus. So I have a few songs that have been covered time and again in the charts so some remember them first time around and others when covered by some boy band years later. Songs that feature in movies are always good. These days I am often lead by the looper i.e. If I can "fill out" the tune quickly and easily with it. Loopers are still relatively unknown around here.
            Cheers Steve

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by skmarshall View Post
              &lt;...snip...&gt;
              100 1918 1933-1948
              95 1923 1938-1953
              90 1928 1943-1958
              85 1933 1948-1963
              80 1938 1953-1968
              75 1943 1958-1973
              70 1948 1963-1978
              65 1953 1968-1983
              60 1958 1973-1988&lt;...&gt;
              It's my experience that this chart is about 3-4 years off.

              At least here in the US the kids start imprinting by 11 or 12 years old and continue until they are about 25. By 25 most are out of college and/or having children.

              Notes
              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

              Comment


              • senorblues
                senorblues commented
                Editing a comment
                Agreed. I was listening to the radio when I was 11 and stopped listening to Top 40 at 24.

              • skmarshall
                skmarshall commented
                Editing a comment
                I think you're right, And also a few extra years even farther back to account for the "older brother/sister effect". My brother was seven years older than I, and had a big green box full of 45s that I'm sure are all floating around in my head somewhere.

            • #11
              i feel youre overthinking this thing...
              Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

              Voltan is correct.

              Comment


              • Notes_Norton
                Notes_Norton commented
                Editing a comment
                Depends on your gig. We do a number of gigs, and the first thing I do is size up the audience. I look at their age, their style of dress, their shoes, and how they present themselves to the world, and then I choose what songs to call first. Once I call the first song I take in their reaction to it plus all the above to call the second one.

                I want to get more gigs than my competitors by being better than they are in every way but still maintain my price. I do that by playing the music, dressing, calling the songs, and everything else to the best of my ability.

                Notes

              • Voltan
                Voltan commented
                Editing a comment
                zappa never even used a song list... never gave it a single thought until on the way to the venue from the airport... on the way to the show he observed the billboards and local advertising then based the show on the relative intelligence level of the general population in that area... he seems to have been hands down, superior to anything close to competition... like you say it all depends on your gig and for me, being totally spontaneous, creating everything with the audience in the moment keeps my phone ringing for gigs to where im turnng them down.

            • #12
              At 65 my favorite period for music was the late 60s when I was a young teen. But I also can relate to early 60s that my siblings listened to. Also, the during the 70s being between 17 and 27 I liked a lot of that music and also lots of 80s music. From 1990 on there were some major changes in pop music that I didn't care for - Rap and Alternative.

              So I calculate folks that are 20 years older than me (85) will like some 50s and 60s, not just 30s and 40s. But profiling individuals and guessing what their favorite music is doesn't always work. This is apparent when they make requests that you'd never think they would make.
              BD

              Comment


              • skmarshall
                skmarshall commented
                Editing a comment
                A woman who was 80 if she was a day: "Can you play Jessie's Girl?" So I asked the rest of the folks if it was OK if we "Rocked Out for a minute" of course they were all yup yup yup. Jessie's Girl at a volume that doesn't really require a mic is ...interesting.
                Last edited by skmarshall; 05-31-2018, 11:00 AM.

              • pogo97
                pogo97 commented
                Editing a comment
                I'll bet "Jessie's Girl" worked just fine. It's a nice hooky song with a strong tune and a story. If it was from 1936, I'd probably play it myself.

              • daddymack
                daddymack commented
                Editing a comment
                Pogo, for you to cover it, it would have to be called 'Jesus' Girl' by Mary Magdalene, so you'd know it was Public Domain
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