For me that meant the likes of Elvis and Chuck Berry and Little Richard and, because I'm from Texas, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams and, a little later, George Jones.
Maybe that's why I never got Michael Jackson's music - he was long after my salad days.
What I thought of when he died was not his music, but the weirdness - the grotesque facial surgery, the Halloween costume attire, the drug rumors and all the rest.
That's just me, of course.
Jackson and his music meant a lot to many people. Thirty-one million people watched his memorial service. It was news, all right.
But before we declare this some sort of never-before-seen outpouring of emotion and national affection, just a little context:
"American Idol" draws close to 30 million on a good night.
More people actually tuned in to see the burial service for Ronald Reagan than saw Jackson's memorial service.
A far greater audience watched the presidential debates.
And while it is true that an astonishing 1.6 million people registered for a lottery offering free tickets to Jackson's memorial service, a lot more people - more than two million - took the trouble to make their way to Washington to see, in person, the inauguration of America's first African American president, even though it was on television, too.
Somehow I find that reassuring.