Classics Gain New Fans Thanks To ‘Guitar Hero Effect’

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Those of us who consider ourselves diehard classic rock fans may be tempted to borrow from a well-known track by The Who that says, "The kids are alright."

image I will admit that I was rather unimpressed with the whole "Guitar Hero" concept when I first heard about it. Much like cartoon dad Randy Marsh on South Park, I thought time spent with a toy guitar in front of a TV screen would be much better spent learning how to play a real guitar.

Despite my earlier reservations, and the fact that I still do consider time spent with a real guitar more valuable than with a toy, there do appear to be some good things coming out of this whole "Guitar Hero" craze.

Beyond providing some good clean fun for folks who don’t have a desire to learn how to play a real guitar, games like "Guitar Hero" are creating a whole new generation of classic rock fans.

The proof is in the numbers. Figures from Neilsen SoundScan, a company that tracks both digital music downloads and music sold through more traditional outlets, sales of the Aerosmith single "Same Old Song And Dance" rose 136 percent the week after "Guitar Hero III" was released and then exploded to 400 percent the week after the Christmas holiday.

Class rock artists also seem to have found new appreciation for this generation of games that allow just about anyone to feel like a rock star on stage in the comfort of their own living room.

How badly do some artists want to have their songs featured on a version of "Guitar Hero" or "Rock Band?" Well, the Sex Pistols were willing to return to the studio to re-record "Anarchy In The U.K." because they did not have the original master recording and Living Colour went into the studio and re-recorded the guitar solo on "Cult of Personality" because it was considered too easy.

Parents around the country are reporting that their kids are embracing a lot of the classics many of us baby boomers grew up listening to after being introduced to the music by playing one of these games. Something that should help classic rock endure well into the future.

In closing, I offer a tip of my hat to the creators of games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band." I can’t think of anything but good things to say about activities that help keep classic rock alive for future generations.

For more on this story, check out MSNBC.

3 Comments

  1. Joe March 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Amen!! If it keeps our kids immersed in classic rock, that’s a good thing.

    Joe’s last blog post..Chaos and Anarchy: Jefferson Airplane

  2. Angi August 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I’m far from being a kid (I’m 34), but I remember listening to these songs with my dad when I was a toddler. I didn’t realize how much of these songs I had ingrained in my subconscious until I got a near-perfect first-time score on Boston’s “Foreplay/Long Time” while playing Rock Band the other night. I had forgotten how much I loved listening to these songs with my dad and how much they shaped my life. I just read the song list for the new Rock Band game coming out in November and much to my delight, Jethro Tull is listed. I cannot wait.

    And as a folk guitarist, I will say that the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games make for good general finger exercises. I do hope that, in the future, these games WILL spark the inspiration for kids to learn to play guitar for real.

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