Today on the air, I speculated that the Crayola company might drum up some business for themselves by introducing a Classic Rock line of crayons. This was prompted after playing “Rock and Roll” from Led Zeppelin [IV] and recalling the gray color theme of that iconic album cover. That was the shade of the ruined wall on which hung the well-known picture of that old dude with the bundle of sticks. It’s a color famous enough to invoke a massive collective memory, and isn’t that what a company would want in order to launch an exciting new product line to a customer base that has grown up and embraced rock and roll as it’s lifelong playlist?
So, with that in mind, here’s a wish list of colors for Crayola to consider!
1.) “LED ZEPPELIN GRAY’ - In this case, it’s the primary color, since Led Zeppelin is the band that everybody can agree on (and if you know someone who doesn’t like Page and Co., be very suspicious of that individual). The cover of Led Zeppelin [IV] with its cement-hued pallor would be the shade to color with if you needed to create a cloudy day or even a blimp…or...uh, a flying Zeppelin to your art project.
2.) “WOODSTOCK BROWN” - This crayon color recalls the fields of muck at the famous 1969 festival and not the infamous bummer L.S.D. that was circulating. Once the massive rainstorms hit the site in Bethel, NY, Max Yasgur’s farm was reduced to acres of thick and oozing mud that coated blankets, sleeping bags, peace flags, and most of the hippies who were there. The taste of Upstate dirt even permeated the food eaten on site. So, Woodstock Brown really is all about the mud, and it was reinforced to a whole new generation when Green Day and their audience engaged in that massive mud-slinging contest at Woodstock ’94.
3.) “BACK IN BLACK” - There’s a lot of songs using the shade of black as a motif, also band names and albums, so selecting the right one to identify our new classic rock crayon was tough. Top considerations included “Metallica Black” and "Black Sabbath," but I went with the album that far outsold any by both of those bands. AC/DC’s famous 1980 epic is currently the second-biggest selling album in the world (behind the white-gloved one). With more than 30 million sold, I think the least we should do is give AC/DC their own crayon. For those about to color - we salute you!
4.) “WHITE ALBUM WHITE” - Some might consider a white crayon to be a stretch, but Crayola does have one of those in its (non-rock and roll) product lines. I mean, if you color a sky with your “Led Zeppelin Gray” and you decide to add clouds, you’re going to need a white crayon. Name-checking one of the most famous double albums in history and one by the Beatles is a good idea – even if that album cover started to turn dirty as soon as you stacked it in your record collection and it starting rubbing up against the other sleeves.
5.) “YELLOW LEDBETTER” - You don’t have to know what a song is about to have a color named after it. Even the guys in Pearl Jam aren’t so sure about what the lyrics mean and Eddie Vedder himself has offered a few possible meanings. As one of the most famous non-Lp tracks in rock history with Mike McCready’s awesome Stratocaster performance invoking “We’re not worthy!” chants from anybody listening, this song deserves its own crayon.
6.) "PURPLE HAZE” – Crayola has a lot of choices when it comes to this hue. I’d give it to Prince, but since we’re focusing on Classic Rock, he’ll have to be part of the Funky Crayon line (still in development). “Deep Purple” seemed natural as a choice, but no one can deny the overwhelming power of the lefty guitarist from Seattle and the anthem that announced the presence of the Jimi Hendrix Experience to so many in America. There may need to be a disclaimer with this color, though, to prevent consumers from eating the crayon in the belief that a 1967 acid buzz could result.
7.) “PINK FLOYD” - Another obvious choice that would help Crayola sell their decision to launch a rock and roll crayon line, because who doesn’t know about this English quartet that sold 250-million albums and even got along sometimes. The band’s reputation as a hallucination-inducing space-rock outfit is such that it would be even more paramount than “Purple Haze” to add it's own disclaimer, so folks don’t ‘drop’ the crayon to "get off" (not to mention the potential choking hazard)!
8.) “SMASHING PUMPKIN” - This color would be an insanely-bright hue of orange – less orange than a carrot, but more orange than an orange. Got that?
9.) “ROADHOUSE BLUE” - If you take license and eliminate the ‘s’ in blues, there are six million potential ‘blue’ crayon names out there. This 1970 ditty from the Doors excellent two-titled Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Café album, though, is our choice for Crayola to consider. Think about it – you can wake up in the morning, get yourself a beer, and go color – because the future’s uncertain and the end is always near!
10.) “RED ROCKER” - Ever since Montrose, Van Halen, and solo singer Sammy Hagar released his second solo album Sammy Hagar in 1977, with its trademark song “Red,” he’s been known as “The Red Rocker.” All these years later he’s still at it, out-singing vocalists half his age and even that other guy who fronted VH before he did. The least we could do to honor his vocal cords would be to name a crayon after him. Perhaps we could soak each one in rum.
11.) “GREEN DAY” – Another obvious choice titled after one of America’s longest-running rock trios. We’d name the color after America’s senior rock trio ZZ Top, but the closest thread I can come up with is Billy Gibbons’ skill at making guacamole, so that’s kind of tenuous. “Green Day” would be a brash lime shade to match the namesake band’s full-frontal assault and attitude, while the citrus fruit in a Corona or vodka-tonic infers the trio’s devil-may-care attitude. This would be the only crayon to be specially reinforced so frenzied artists don’t snap them in half while coloring with punk-rock intensity!
12.) “EAT A PEACH” - Do you remember this Allman Brothers Band album cover? More people probably recall the inside sleeve with the mushroom people harvesting their hallucinogenic crops. Anyway, the outside was a subdued pink-orange that, for southern-rock fans was as iconic as the Led Zeppelin album cover that started this whole thing. The 1972 double album featured the 30-minute+ “Mountain Jam;” you can do a whole lot of coloring during that song!