When someone calls my office, there’s a good chance they will be put on hold. We don’t want to put anyone on hold; it is just a necessity that arises from being busy. When people who call are put on hold, they are greeted with a short message telling them how much we regret having to make them wait, followed by the soothing sounds of Vivaldi, Wagner, Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and others.
Yes, we offer classical music on our phone system. Some people like classical, others don’t. I can appreciate anyone’s musical taste, but regardless of whether or not you like classical, the recordings are of famous symphonies performing well known compositions, they are not Muzak versions with synthesized orchestras. Why do I mention this? The other day, I called upon a company we do business with and was put on hold myself. They have some form of Muzak, which many businesses now employ. Don’t get me wrong, I am used to hearing almost absolutely everything on Muzak, from James Taylor to Classics of the 50’s and 60’s.
During times when on hold this time, however, I found myself humming along to none other than Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”. At first, I though it couldn’t possibly be, but sure enough, it was. Was I that old? Was this masterpiece of raw, rootsy rock and roll so ancient that even it deserved the Musak treatment. I hung up the phone in disgust. Apparently, nothing is sacred anymore. You see, Mississippi Queen was meant to be heard in it is original form, not condensed into a midi file and played back as though it had been originally written by the inventor of the Casio Tonebank. I had never felt so old in my life. Not only that, I was disgusted that the soundtrack to my youth had been Lawrence Welk-a-sized into fluffy, lightweight hold music. Ladies and Gentlemen, Rock and Roll has officially died.