I was listening to the station, 70s on 7 on XM Radio while commuting home this evening and The Carpenter’s Please Mr. Postman was playing. It was a well known popular song in its day but the lyrics made me think, “Well they wouldn’t write that song today.” There are probably a lot of songs that we know and love that are about obsolete subjects and technology. Here are some. If you have any others to add, feel free to put them in the comments.
Please Mr. Postman by the Carpenters or the Marvelettes.
In this song, she is hoping the postman to has letter from her boyfriend who is so far away. Apparently he doesn’t write often enough for her that she is practically accosting the mailman. Now of course we still have the postal service today but we are less dependent on it. People also don’t do much letter writing these days. This poor girl waiting on her boyfriend doesn’t have to wait any longer. First she can check his Facebook profile to be sure it still says he is in a relationship and send him an instant message.
Kodachrome by Simon and Garfunkel.
Whatever the song lyrics are really about, the reference to Kodachrome may not be known by some generations. Today we all use digital media and it is hard to remember what it was like to have a roll of film developed.
Western Union by the Five Americans.
Western Union began sending telegrams in 1856 and the last one was sent in 2006. I never knew anyone who received a telegram. Sending an email or some other online message is preferable today. You no longer need to send a cryptic message to avoid the high cost per word.
Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.
In this song, the two lovers think they want out of their relationship so they turn to the newspaper’s personal ads. It has been a long time since I read a physical newspaper as I get my news in other ways but I would think the personal ads are obsolete these days. There are so many dating networks and even online services such as Craigslist that replaced the personal ad.
Pinball Wizard by the Who (or recorded by Elton John)
I suppose you can still find one of these game machines around but the days where the pinball machine takes up a lot of real estate in game rooms are over. The coin operated game came to us in the 1930s but pinball was present in another form as far back as France in the 1700s. Today the pinball machine has been replaced by games that are digital.
I love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett.
In the song, she says “I saw him there by the record machine.” She is referring to the jukebox and later says, “So put another dime in the Jukebox, baby.” I know these machines of music heaven are still out there. These locations are usually places that are retro in nature such as a 1950s style diner. Someone in my office found one on Craigslist and put it in his office. If you find one of these in a restaurant or a bar, it cost more than a dime to play a song now too. Some bars put in the updated model that had compact disks but Joan Jett is singing about the type with 45 RPM records.