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Alternative Today, Muzak Tomorrow 

To the editors:

Couldn't help but notice somebody being mad at Bill Wyman & his XRT article, (Ted Romne, 7 Dec. 90--Letters). Hate to jump to a critic's defense, but it was a pretty good article; the history of the station alone made it worth printing. However, Ted makes an interesting point which underlines the contradictory nature of "alternative" music. In 1963, the Beatles spearheaded the alternative movement, re-working various forms of American & British music, clothing it in nice suits, & creaming the record charts. Remember, they were turned down by every major British label before finally being signed; most labels found them "too coarse", "not marketable", etc . . . the same kind of stuff most musicians hear from the labels today. Of course, now the Beatles are the staple of every classic rock format in the world.

Ted, you are right. You get old & your alternative favorites become mainstream idols. I'm sure REM fans scratch their heads at "Superman" or "The One I Love", just as Poi Dog Pondering fans will be a couple of years from now when their faves are smoking the charts with their latest. The Band was once the "alternative" to all the psychedelia on the airwaves in 1968. I recently heard "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" on Muzak. Little Feat stood tall against mindless art-rock in the early 70's--now they're a Lowell George tribute band. Elvis Costello, Midnight Oil, Vanilla Fudge, Vanilla Ice, they all start as "Alternative" & they all end up Top 40.

Ted, it's a tough life. You grow up, you get old. Your alternative life style becomes mainstream. Your alternative tastes play in Peoria. You'll be sitting somewhere 20 years from now listening to your 4 disc Blake Babies compilation, and you'll be feeling a lot like everybody else. Including me.

Pat Brennan

E. Hubbard

PS: Be nice to Bill Wyman. He's really got it rough.

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