A few weeks ago at lunch, lovelyleslie41 and I were eating with a few fellow co-workers and the subject of music was broached. We talked about the music that comes on the radio and one of the gentlemen said he doesn’t listen to the radio. He mostly listens to the music his father played as he was growing up. Another co-worker chimed in that a lot of the music he listens to is from his childhood. What a great post idea, I thought: music from your childhood and how it has affected your life. We requested help from our co-workers and what we have for you is a group of stories about life, music, and how the two intertwine.
ladyluvlylocs: You Are Everything by The Stylistics, Stay in My Corner by The Dells, Somebody Loves You by Crystal Gayle, Crazy by Patsy Cline, Black Water by The Doobie Brothers, Too Much Time on My Hands by Styx, I’ll Write a Song for You by Earth Wind and Fire, Funkentelechy by Parliament, and (Not Just) Knee Deep by Funkadelic, Bolero by Maurice Ravel, Them There Eyes by Billie Holiday, Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
- Inspired by: Parents, uncle, and older sister
- Love of music is a family trait. In my home we listened to all types of music; from my early childhood, I mostly remember soul music. I vividly remember Sunday mornings, my mom cooking and cleaning the house, with music from The Stylistics, The Dells, and other great soul acts keeping us company. My dad would walk through the room singing along and my sisters and I would be shocked to hear him sing. Then out of nowhere, Mom would throw in some Crystal Gayle and Patsy Cline for good measure. My uncle, her younger brother, listened to a lot of rock music. My sisters, cousins, and I would ride around with him in his Jeep while he blasted The Doobie Brothers and Styx. My mom and her brother were the only Black people I knew who openly listened to “white” music. That knowledge and feeling, that good music is good music no matter who makes it, stuck with me. He also had, to me at the time, an almost crazy obsession with Earth Wind and Fire and Parliament/Funkadelic. My older sister has probably had the biggest influence on me, musically. She was in a world her own, when it came to music. I didn’t know any adults listening to Ravel, let alone teenagers. She got me into Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, then Classic Rock bands like The Who and The Beatles. She used to go to the record store, look at the cover of a single, and just buy it, having never heard it! Very risky. Our house was filled with music we might have otherwise never listened to, if not for my sister.
lovelyleslie41: Kentucky Rain by Elvis Presley, Faith by George Michael, ABC by the Jackson Five, Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson, Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard, Hang On Sloopy by The McCoys, Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las, It’s My Party by Lesley Gore, I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany, My Prerogative by Bobby Brown, My Name Is Not Susan by Whitney Houston, Got My Mind Set On You by George Harrison, Cool It Now by New Edition.
- My parents played country, and oldies.
- My older sister introduced me to R&B, pop, hip-hop, and rock. Music was a staple in our household growing up. My mom had lots of albums and 45′s that we would listen to over and over again. If we didn’t have the stereo on we were watching MTV (back when they played music videos). I remember when I was a little girl riding in my dad’s car listening to Elvis and when Kentucky Rain came on I used to sing the background vocals at the top of my lungs.
My older sister listened to R&B artists such as Babyface, Bobby Brown, Al B. Sure, Whitney Houston, and New Edition. This influenced me because my big sister was my idol and I wanted to listen to all the cool music she listened to. I definitely give credit to my family for my eclectic musical tastes and for my love of music today.
VC: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
- Inspired by: Family and homesickness
- I was back packing through Europe with a brother and sister in 1979. We were away from home for an entire summer. In fact it was the first time I was ever away from home for any length of time. I became very home sick and depressed. My baby sister was born that same year and I missed her very much as well as the rest of the family. After riding on a packed train for hours, having to sit on the floor, from Paris to Munich we hopped off at the station and there was this guy playing “Here Comes the Sun” on his guitar! Listening to the song gave me a warm feeling and assured me that everything was going to be all right. I have to say that has to be my favorite song!
MC: It Never Rains in Southern California by Albert Hammond
- Inspired by: Technology
- When I was maybe six or seven, in the ’70s, I was the proud owner of a Close-n-Play. It’s a battery-operated, hand-held record player that (ideally) plays without skipping even if you hold it vertically, as you would a briefcase. I had only three 45′s, which was the only size/speed record the Close-n-Play played. Rubber Duckie by Ernie; I Think I Love You by the Partridge Family; and It Never Rains in Southern California by Albert Hammond. I always gravitated toward the last one – a suicide note of a pop song that keeps the toes a-tappin’. Wherever I carried my Close-n-Play, I felt like the most important and technologically advanced person in the room. I’m looking to buy one even now, if you hear of anyone selling one.
NL: I’m a Believer by The Monkees, Cruella de Ville, Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, I Need You and Carry Me Back to Memphis by America; other artists: Talking Heads and Prince
- Inspired by: Life
- Back in the day we listened to 45s and we had a little record player in our family room. I have three sisters and we would sing and dance to the music. The ones I remember the most were I’m a believer by the Monkees, Cruella de Ville from Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmations and Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from Walt Disney’s The Aristocats. If you fast forward a few years, my first concert was America at Blossom and I went with a camp group and the songs I remember singing over and over were “I Would Give Everything I Own, ” “I Need You,” and “Carry Me back to Memphis. By High School we listened to a lot of Talking Heads. Now you know why I am the person I am today! My freshman year of college it was your friend and mine—Prince!
AR: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
- Inspired by: Whitney Houston
- It was the first song I knew all the words to. This song made me want to perform.
ML: You Got It by Roy Orbison, I Will by The Beatles or Alison Krauss, Earth Angel by The Penguins, Bad (CD) by Michael Jackson; other artists Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, The Traveling Wilburys, Patsy Cline, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, New Kids On The Block
- Inspired by: Not sure, just a love of music
- I’ve always been a huge music fan, though my parents were not really, so I’m not sure where it came from. There are too many songs that have memories for me to list, so these are all from my young childhood. I have a few all-time favorites that make me super nostalgic. My family would always sing in the car on long trips…Roy Orbison – You Got It, The Beatles (or Alison Krauss version) – I Will, Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, The Traveling Wilburys, Patsy Cline, and pretty much anything on the oldies station. My grandmother had given my sister and me all my Dad’s old 45′s and the one I remember getting all moon-eyed and playing over and over again was Earth Angel by The Penguins. Michael Jackson’s Bad was the first CD I ever owned so whenever I hear anything off that album I shoot back to being 9 years old making up dances in the living room. I also loved Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, and New Kids On the Block (Jordan was my favorite, but I’d settle for Joey because we were closet in age!). Most songs I hear I can place with a memory so can’t even begin to start in on the middle-school/high-school/college years – it would take me forever! I often wish I could remember everything else in my life like I do song lyrics.
AR: Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band, Everytime You Go Away by Paul Young (or Hall and Oates) Aenima by Tool; albums: Under the Pink by Tori Amos, The Downward Sprial by Nine Inch Nails, and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins
- Inspired by: Mother; youth and life
- When I was growing up, my mom listened to soft rock in the car. Of course looking back, I recognize the horror of this, but in reality, with that being all I knew, I enjoyed it. Some funny anecdotes from that time were that I loved singing along to Afternoon Delight and thought it referred to ice cream and that I sang along to Everytime You Go Away (I’m not sure which version, Hall and Oates of Paul Young) and finished the chorus “Everytime you go away you take a piece of MEAT with you.” Which only makes sense if you are going camping or on vacation. Anyway, the real music of my youth was Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails. I discovered both in middle school and they carried me solidly through high school and the first part of college. I don’t remember exactly how I discovered them. I think NIN came from an older cousin and Amos came from a peer, but both were emotionally charged, honest and angry. My favorite albums were Under the Pink for Amos and The Downward Spiral for NIN. I still count these albums among my favorites today and I sometimes still get goosebumps while listening to certain tracks as my understanding of the meanings behind the songs changes as I mature. Tool is another favorite and I think Aenima would be the favorite track there. Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie were CDs that I wore out as well.
HD: Is It Still Good to You by Ashford and Simpson, This Time I’ll Be Sweeter by Angela Bofill, Never Giving Up by Al Jarreau, Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, Down by the River by Buddy Miles, Never Knew Love Like This Before by Stephanie Mills, Look of Love by The Tymes, Close the Door by Teddy Pendergrass, For Your Precious Love by The Impressions with Jerry Butler; albums: Second Childhood by Phoebe Snow and Transformer by Lou Reed; other artists: Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock
- Inspired by: Youth
- I was young and when you’re young, you love everything! The music was wonderful and when I hear it today, it brings back great memories.
KS: Artists of The British Invasion; She Loves You by The Beatles
- The British Invasion
- It was the sixties – the English invasion. The bands had long(er) hair, fabulous accents and sang songs like “She loves you” yeah, yeah, yeah whooo! My next door neighbor had a bubblegum card with Ringo playing his sparkly blue drum kit (Premiere I think). It was all over for me from that point on. I wanta ROCK!!
NZ: Blowin’ In the Wind by Peter Paul and Mary
- Inspired by: the music
- I heard this album when I was young and it inspired a love of folk and traditional music. The harmonies are beautiful and they were an artistic voice for social justice.