The Grey Pound – Baby Boomer Guitar Lessons

By: Pete Farrugia

It’s possible that some of my fellow guitar tutors may have missed a trick. In these recessionary times, it’s important to maximise your earning potential. While we all get excited by nurturing promising young talent that may one day become the “next big thing,” I’ve had considerable success pursuing the “Grey Pound.”

I’m talking about the baby boomers, those born during the gradual economic boom after the Second World War. The oldest of them are pushing 70 now. The big advantage of the soon-to-be-elderly to those of us selling services is that they’re just about the only generation left that grew up in times of full employment with relatively high wages and low prices.

Therefore they have savings, and having mostly retired, or at least slowed down their careers, they have plenty of leisure time. Many of them dreamed of learning to play an instrument in their younger days, but education, work, and families somehow got in the way.

This is exactly the generation that was young during the boom in popular music in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The rebellious pop-stars of those days, like those “British Invasion” bands The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Who, etc. are also members of that generation. Some of them are now respected, knighted and honoured members of the establishment.

Many of them also remember the pop music of their childhood, heard mainly on the radio. British and American, pop, country, R’n’B, skiffle and of course rock’n’roll.

So, in addition to modern rock such as Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, I’ve found it wise and profitable to build a repertoire of baby boomer hits.

Here are some examples, in a range of genres, and suitable for a range of ability levels.

You may need patience, especially waiting for arthritic fingers to change chord, but no more so than with teenagers who find their Xbox more appealing than practising their scales!


Baby Boomer Guitar Songs

Andy Williams – Moon River

B.J. Thomas – Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

Billy Fury – Halfway To Paradise

Bobby Darin – Dream Lover

Buddy Holly – Oh Boy, Peggy Sue, That’ll Be The Day

Cass Elliot – Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Conway Twitty – It’s Only Make Believe

Dave Berry – The Crying Game

Del Shannon – Runaway

Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill

Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart

Jim Reeves – He’ll Have To Go

Lesley Gore – It’s My Party

Peter, Paul And Mary – Leaving On A Jet Plane

Sam Cooke – Only Sixteen

The Chordettes – Mr. Sandman

The Everly Brothers – All I Have To Do Is Dream

The Four Aces – Heart Of My Heart

The Inkspots – Whispering Grass

The Kingston Trio – Tom Dooley

The Platters – The Great Pretender

The Seekers – The Carnival Is Over

The Shadows – Apache

The Weavers – Clementine


To learn more about Pete and his guitar teaching and playing, please visit thePete Farrugia Homepage and the Pete Farrugia Facebook Page.

2 thoughts on “The Grey Pound – Baby Boomer Guitar Lessons

  1. I belong to that generation myself, & like many of my age I came back to guitar after a 20 year layoff due to family, work, etc & was thrilled to hear the music I’d missed out on in the intervening years. I’m playing Hendrix to Satch, Carlton to Knopfler. Don’t assume we all want cheesy ballads! Much as I loved the 60s & 70s music, I don’t listen to much of it. My personal favourite era was mid 70s West Coast, so Doobies, Eagles, Jackson Brown, Steely Dan, Robben Ford, Joni, James Taylor etc would be much preferred.

  2. The baby boomers I’ve worked with seem to be into just about everything, especially the ones into ukulele. They seem to like the challenge of covering unlikely genres.
    Some of the children actually like older songs like Stand by Me. I think they sometimes cover them on X Factor type programs.
    I just find what people like and do a mixture of their choices and mine. Quite often their recommendations are new to me but it really broadens my experience.

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