I Got the Music in Me!


I have memories from childhood that are directly linked in my mind to songs. I’m sure we all have these, they’re part of who we are. One of my favorite toys as a little girl was my bike. It was turquoise blue with a white banana seat and a plastic weave basket with daisies on the front. I rode that bike everywhere. It was my first taste of freedom. I remember once riding too far from home and getting “lost”. I was smart enough to find a block home and knock on the door. This little redheaded lady with teenage kids let me come in and call home. My Dad came and picked me up and I cried all the way home…all three blocks.

There was a small block across the street from my house and I used to ride like the wind on the sidewalk around that block over and over again singing “Top of the World” by the Carpenters at the top of my lungs. It is the first song I can remember that stirred something in me, Karen Carpenter was a goddess! I used to babysit for the neighbor kids and at Timmy Meyers house his Mom and Dad were so cool, they had a Helen Reddy album that I played every time I went there. They had an all white living room and the kids weren’t allowed to play in there because everything was really nice but I was allowed to play albums. I loved that room and I loved their record collection. I miss records.

I can remember sitting in my basement going through my albums ad nauseum playing them over and over until my brothers threatened to kill me if they had to listen to “The Eagles Greatest Hits” one more time. Inversely it took me years to enjoy Pink Floyd again because my brother Tom played that and Supertramp until my ears bled.

My very first album I bought myself was (oh lord I’m never going to hear the end of this) Bay City Rollers. I still have it! I have my Shawn Cassidy albums too and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. I remember when MTV came out, omigosh I would have walked through fire to watch it. That was 1981 by the way, I know this because it was a trivia question last weekend.

I remember when “Afternoon Delight” came out. It was 1976 and I was eleven years old. I spent part of the summer in Massachussets with my Aunts and Uncles. I heard it for the first time there and by the time I got home I had the entire song memorized. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized how suggestive it was. It was just a fun catchy tune as far as I knew.

I had my heart broken for the first time when I was nineteen years old. I remember sitting in my car crying my eyes out and listening to “Baby Come to Me” “How Deep is Your Love” “Love is a Battlefield” *sigh*. Every love song broke my heart all over again but I wanted it and needed it and the music got me through it when my friends got tired of listening to me whine. Music is my constant. It’s there for me when I need to cry or when I need a pick me up.

My tastes in music aren’t that sophisticated and never have been. I know what I like and I don’t apologize for that. My tastes are pretty eclectic but my favorite genres are folk music and female artists. I love Sarah McLachlan and Melissa Ethridge. My favorite time in music is the late 60s and early 70s music … war protest songs, Woodstock stuff. My best friend took me to a Crosby Stills & Nash concert “Daylight Again” tour in 1983 thus began my love affair with folk rock. “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” makes me speed. Neil Young’s song “Harvest Moon” speaks to me. “Possession” by Sarah McClachlan makes my heart ache.

When Anne was little we would be driving somewhere and suddenly a song would come on and I would blast it. “Anne this is a skating rink song!” I would exclaim loudly over the vibrating speakers. “Listen to these lyrics, they’re amazing” I would tell her as “American Pie” played on the radio. My little sister who was eight years younger than me knew every word to every Steve Miller Band song, she especially liked “The Joker” when she was entirely too young to. My daughter knew the words to Meatloaf’s “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights” when she was six or seven, which completely freaked her babysitter out by the way. We wore that cassette tape out in the car. My daughter and I have this thing we can do that probably every music lover does. We can identify a song by the first few notes and we are ready!

I had this game I used to play with new people I would meet. I would ask them questions and one of my first questions was “What is in your CD player right now”. Sometimes that was all I needed to know. 🙂  I have an old favorite song that only a VERY few people know who wrote it and performed it. I have won bets from people who think they know it all about music. It was my Dad’s album and I played it over and over again. The song was on side one and it was called “Funkier Than a Mosquiters Tweeter” what a GREAT song! I’m not going to tell you the artist, find it and play it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raw and hot and bluesy.

I love music. I love all of it. Classical, pop, rap, folk, metal, mo-town …. all of it. For years I would say “I love everything but country” but I can’t say that any more. I really like Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Trace Adkins makes my knees weak with his incredibly sexy voice. Randy Travis is awesome and I have a new appreciation for country music now. I’m still not enamored of the twangy old country songs but I like the newer stuff.

I love Eminem. Yes I know that’s not a popular position in my generation and yes he’s filthy and he sings about bitches and booties and blow jobs but the guy has real talent. Anne helped me memorize the chorus to “Slim Shady” I love that song! A deep bass rap song like “Shake That” is nasty as hell but it’s sexy and an awesome workout song. I was on the elliptical once and I was in the zone. My workout partner tapped me on the arm and asked me what I was listening to. I said “SHAKE THAT ASS” not realizing of course that I was talking very loudly because my IPod was on … needless to say we laughed about that for months. The looks I got!?! 🙂

My current favorite is Irish rock/punk. I have the CD of “Once” a soundtrack in my car CD player right now, it’s by a group called “The Swell Season”. The male singer is Glen Hansard from “The Frames” and the girl is Markéta Irglová. The Pogues, The Murphys and of course Flogging Molly are all really great.  I’m not sure why I like it, maybe because no matter what, Irishmen just tell good stories. Ask my mother, she was raised by an Irishman.

I’m not ashamed, I love Daughtry and I love Kelly Clarkson which makes my daughter nuts. I still love Wilson Phillips! If my daughter ever reads this I guarantee you she is shaking her head sadly at me right now. She’s more of a music purist than me but I’ll guarantee you if a skating rink song comes on the radio she will know every word and will have to fight the urge to sing it with gusto. She might even dance to it but you didn’t hear that from me.

Music is like medicine for the soul. I don’t know who first said that but it’s so very true for me. Now I have to go practice my piano.

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