Lately I’ve been listening to the original version of Cream’s “Crossroads” a lot. I first heard that song in 1988 or so, as it was on one of the first CDs my family ever bought. It was on an Eric Clapton four CD box set by the same name. As you might imagine, I listened to those CDs a ton in my teenage years.
As an aside: the version of “Crossroads” I’m talking about is a live recording. As the band finishes, you hear applause and then somebody says “Eric Clapton [something] on vocals”. I’ve always wondered who says that? Bassist Jack Bruce, maybe?
“Crossroads” is track three on disc two (unquestionably the best of the four CDs). It’s followed by a mid-tempo Cream tune called “Badge”, which starts with a nice rolling baseline and some crunchy chords.
Every time I hear the end of “Crossroads”, I expect to hear the start of “Badge”. This is true even though I probably haven’t heard that particular combination of songs for ten or fifteen years. I’ve probably heard “Crossroads” followed by other songs at least 50 or 100 times since then. And yet I still have that aural expectation embedded in my brain. The pattern doesn’t seem to get broken. Odd, eh?
Another example is that my family’s LP of “Sticky Fingers” had a scratch on it, so I always expect to hear a little glitch or skip in the second chorus of the Stones’ “Brown Sugar”. I’m sure everybody has such formative listening patterns. What are yours?
Also, will the iTunes and MP3 generation–people under the age of, say, fourteen–be free from the Next Song Syndrome? They may never have bought a CD, so they may not acquire the same sort of listening patterns.