There's an "oldies" station, as they call it, here in Portland called KISN that I sometimes listen to with about one-fourth joy and three-fourths frustration. Growing up, there was a lot of Fifties and Sixties rock played by my parents. Though I've largely moved on to other music passions, I still have a curiosity and interest in that period. But I'm so sick of hearing the same old hit songs over and over again. When I listen to a song like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" or "Good Vibrations", it's as if I don't even really hear them. I'm not quite willing to cite the old cliche that familiarity breeds contempt, but there's a kind of numbness their overplaying does to me.
Why can't there be a radio station that plays great early rock that is fresher, and more of a discovery. There are individual community and public radio programs, of course, like KBOO's "Rockaholics Anonymous" in Portland. But I wish there was a station willing to diverge entirely from the rigid industry formula of playing hits in heavy rotation.
When I buy an album by an artist or band with an already long-established hit song, that song is usually of the least interest to me. Of course there are noted exceptions, because sometimes a hit song represents that artist's best work. I'm talking more about songs that may have been singles in their day, yet for one reason or another didn't find their way into the latter-day wave of pop culture nostalgia.
That, incidentally, is something that has always interested me: Why do some songs remain in the forefront while others don't? It's not a matter of quality in my mind. The answer, I think, is more elusive.