Son Endures Vintage Music Education

By Jacqueline Miller of

Yesterday at a Waffle House restaurant in Indiana, Mason Mueller, 11, selected two unlikely songs for a person of his generation: “Take on Me” by A-ha (1985) and “Rains in Africa” by Toto (1982).

The Waffle House staff and customers were visibly surprised by the boy’s selections. “We were expecting Imagine Dragons or Drake, something like that,” says waitress Abby James. James asked the child, “How do you even know those songs?”

Mason’s mother, Amanda, explained the family has a legacy of appreciating vintage music. Amanda herself learned all the words to Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” when she was a child, and she knows more Hall & Oates and Air Supply tunes than she cares to admit.

At a recent school party, Mason requested M.C. Hammer’s 1990 hit single, “U Can’t Touch This,” which teachers refused to play, citing that it was inappropriate for the fifth-grade audience.

Mason then requested Rick James’ similar, preceding composition, “Super Freak.” This request was also eventually denied by school staff, though Mason’s teacher had to consult the vice principal, since the 24-year-old teacher had never heard of “Super Freak.”

Eventually, the educators allowed him to play Men at Work’s “Down Under” from 1980 and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” from 1986.

Like the Waffle House patronage, Mason’s elementary school staff were startled by the boy’s familiarity with music from the 1980s and 1990s.

“My mom listens to old-people music,” Mason explained with a sigh.


About the Author

Jacqueline Miller is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Scary Mommy and Her View From Home. She lives in the Midwest and uses a pseudonym for her family’s privacy. Find her at and on Facebook.