If I were to take someone on a musical journey through my life it would have to begin with the Beatles. When I was very young – I could not have been more than six years old because we were still living in Los Angeles at the time – our parents gave my two brothers and me our first Beatles album. This was in the late 1960s, so it would have been one of their earlier works. I don’t recall exactly which album it was, I just remember all of their faces being on it and I think it was in black and white. We listed to it repeatedly until we’d memorized the songs, to the point where even when we were not in the house listening we would swing on the swingset in the back yard singing the songs at the top of our lungs. It was childhood bliss!!
This original Beatles album was followed by several others we’d gotten for Christmas one year. At the time, it was considered parent-approved listening. My parents really were not about the pop music of the day, in our house it was all classical and jazz with the occasional Beatles or Paul Simon mixed in. However, as we got older and engaged more with our peers and started listening to the “dreck on the radio,” as my father put it, our horizons and musical tastes vastly expanded.
For my birthday one year I was given a Chic album and fell in love with Le Freak. I am proud to say, that song is on my iPod today and still gets my feet tapping! Two other albums I played nearly to the point of them turning to dust was the first Christopher Cross album and Journey’s “ESC4P3.” I cannot imagine that my parents did not get sick to death of hearing Whose Crying Now.
But the coup de grace had to have been Sailing. I would literally play that song and then play it again and again and again, for hours. Mind you, this was long before headphones! No, I would lay on the floor of my bedroom, with the lights out and the stereo speakers placed on either side of my head and listen repeatedly until I was forced out of my shared room so my younger siblings could go to bed.
Then there was the age of the Walkman – or in my case a cheap knock off! I still hail them as one of the greatest invention of all time! Not only was I free from being anchored to my shared bedroom floor, but I could listen repeatedly to whatever I wanted without feeling embarrassed for obsessing over a single song. About this time I accidentally discovered Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Boz Scaggs and Steely Dan. I was walking to school one day and sitting on a random wall was a cassette tape. No idea whose it was, but I pinched it anyway and it turned out to be someone’s “best of” mixed tape. I played that until it literally broke then taped it together and played it some more. Cassette tapes were great like that!
In high school I got Pink Floyd’s Meddle album and became addicted to the song Echoes which I would plug my head into when I sat down to draw or paint. That song remains one of the first I listen to when I want to get into a creative zone, as are an abundance of other Pink Floyd albums. Then came new wave and my obsession with ABC and Pet Shop Boys – also perennial favorites – followed by George Winston and Pat Metheny and dozens more.
Music has been a huge part of my life. It can set the tone for inspiration or pull at your soul and make you feel so deeply it astonishes you. To this day I have over 1,000 albums on my iPod (an even greater invention than the Walkman) in 34 different genres. My musical taste is as eclectic as I am and I am never without a soundtrack for my daily life.