Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Fractured Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.
Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!
Music. It’s been a part of my life since Day One. My grandfather played music for us all the time. Live music. He could play just about any instrument. And he did. But at home, I recall our little Fisher Price Music Box record player with the five plastic records and songs like “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Edelweiss”. We also had a regular record player and I’m pretty sure I drove my sister crazy with my endless playing of “Waltzing Matilda”. Of course, that all changed when she got me hooked on Bobby Sherman, the Partridge Family, and the Monkees. Yeah, I listened to all that. I sang along, daydreamed about meeting my music idols, and kept the music playing as often as possible.
Still, despite the records and all, I’d keep going back to the time spent with my grandfather. There was something about the interaction, sitting side-by-side at the organ and being taught middle C, how to play “Alley Cat” (when to chime in with “meow”), and then having little concerts for my grandmother after a lesson. Records didn’t and couldn’t compare to that, but in a way, they served as an extension of the musical education my grandfather gave us kids.
Like any kid, however, I grew up to develop some diverse musical interests. My older sister (once she hit her teens) introduced me to Tommy Bolin, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Fleetwood Mac, et al. (At one point, she took me to see Pablo Cruise at the fair.) Then there was my own exploration into rock and I’m sure my parents rolled their eyes as I placed Blondie’s Parallel Lines on my Christmas list, but they bought it for me anyway. Back then, I’d also walk down to 7-Eleven and buy lyrics magazines (they had those!) along with my teen mags and the occasional 45.
Because I had a big sister, I oftentimes found I was ahead of the curve musically. And I definitely wasn’t afraid to branch out. I’d listen to the local college radio station or watch Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and soak up everything I could. I discovered Frank Zappa, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, John Cougar (back when he went by that name and I became a fan of his version of “I Need A Lover” instead of Pat Benatar’s) and a million other bands that my friends had never heard of.
I’d go to dances down at local swim and tennis club (that’s SoCal for “rec center”) and request songs from bands the DJs didn’t know. Same thing with mainstream local radio stations (there were nights when I couldn’t get the college station because of where we lived). I’d call, I’d ask, I’d beg and plead and the DJs had nary a clue. Eventually they caught up. As did my friends. I stayed somewhat ahead of the curve until just after high school, when I got too busy to pay attention. (Notice how I virtually ignored any dabbling I might have done with disco beyond anything that appeared on Parallel Lines? Yeah, I did that on purpose.)
At some point, work (and money) became more important than music. Oh, it was there in the background. I was still buying albums and tapes like crazy, with Cheap Trick and Jimmy Buffett (an unlikely pairing, but whatever) leading the race more often than not. Concerts weren’t a priority unless I went with a boyfriend (to see Buffett, the Who [their first Final World Tour], John Cougar [Sky Show], Simon & Garfunkel [1983...and I was so sick with a fever of 103 that I remember very little of the show] and more than I can recall thanks to faulty wiring in my brain). It wasn’t until I got tickets to see Fleetwood Mac and took my sister (yes, my big sister!) to the concert, that I once again felt that surge, that thrill of live music run through me the way it should. First, it was the fact that I took my sister. Second, it was because I took my sister. But there it was. I had started that concert thing again and I went every chance I got.
At some point, I saw Bob Seger twice in one week. Once in San Diego, once in Los Angeles. Rod Stewart…I could have seen him every night of the week and been happy. The thrill of live music was in me and I couldn’t not go.
I also went to a few concerts down at the old Bacchanal (it’s now a computer store). The best of all shows was Mick Fleetwood (swooooooooon!) with Pete Bardens. The worst: Tanya Tucker. Don’t ask.
It makes me a little crazy to think of how much music there’s always been in my life and how much I have missed out on because of work, finances, kids, or just plain occasional disinterest. But there it is.
Now, music is often at the center of what I’m doing to the point where I’m so busy doing things, that I miss out on the actual performance. That’s sort of what happens when you’re helping out behind the scenes. Still, I work to find a way to get my fix and I’m very fortunate to have friends who make that possible (you know enough people in bands and there ya go).
For me, the real reward with music is being able share it with others. I love to bring music of all types into my children’s and friends’ lives. Even my mom and dad and I (I was going to say “play musical CDs”…as in “musical chairs”, but that’s silly) occasionally share music. It’s nice to have a broad enough love of music where that can happen. That’s what I want for my kids. They don’t have to like everything I like, just as I certainly didn’t go for everything my dad played (Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights and anything Chuck Mangione, anyone?). But it did give me a foundation, as did my grandfather’s big band, ragtime, dixieland music did from which to grow, and somewhere I could return for comfort and familiarity. I want my kids to have that, too.
Boy, when I get down to it, I can ramble, can’t I? And this certainly isn’t as eloquent as I’d like it to be. Whatever. It was absolute free association that drew me through it beginning to…well, right about here.
So what about you? When you think of records, what comes to mind? Play along on your blog and Remember When. Hit up Mr. Linky to add your story so we can remember along with you.