Ok, let’s be honest. Were you listening to Jimi Hendrix out of the womb? Did you start your musical appreciation with The Velvet Underground? Were your first words, “Turn that easy listening crap off. Mommy!”? Because for me, it’s No, no, and no. I didn’t start out this cool…cool being a relative term and all. I grew up listening to what my mom put on the stereo or what my best friend’s mom played on the kitchen radio.
Despite the face that almost everyone in my family (well…not my dad) is musical to some extent, we really didn’t obsess over music during my childhood. Granted, my oldest brother is enough older than I am for me not to really have been exposed to his music during my most formative periods but later he would introduce me to some good stuff. But the only thing I really remember him listening to when I was little was Olivia Newton John. Not that Grease stuff either, the Please Mr. Please stuff. And my mom was all about Jim Croce and Paul Simon.
I didn’t grow up on the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, although someone in my house had a copy of Let it Bleed because I remember being amazed by the cover…still am. I suspect my mother still wouldn’t be able to name all the members of either band. My dad listens to Wagnerian opera, John Philip Sousa, Beethoven and Japanese drummers. I did hear a lot of marching band music…a lot. But that was pretty much it. So when Facebook added this “Five Albums that shaped you” thing…well…you want to see what really shaped me? Because now I listen to music, all kinds of music but then…
Yeah, that’s right, you see what I am talking about…you recognize some of those, don’t you? And if you are that much cooler than me, well let me illuminate you as to what the hip kids of the early 70’s were listening to. From left to right you have: The Muppet Movie Soundtrack, The Monkees, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band MOVIE SOUNDTRACK (i.e. NOT THE BEATLES), Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Theme and Variations, The Purple Puzzle Tree, Supertramp-Breakfast in America, McCartney II, K-Tel’s Songbird collection, Donny Osmond’s Singles and Shaun Cassidy.
You heard me. That’s what I listened to. And I am only slightly ashamed. Not really ashamed, just…well…honest. I was shaped by easy listening, kids Christian education albums, and bad movie soundtracks (The Muppet Movie was not bad, Sgt. Pepper was…not good…oh, and I forgot the soundtrack to the Raggedy Ann and Andy movie!) not the White Album. Don’t get me wrong, I love the White Album but I am guessing I never heard the whole thing until I was…in college maybe?
I remember listening to the radio. I remember Terry Gibbs, Eddie Rabbitt, and Crystal Gayle. I can probably sing you all the words of the “Piña Colada Song” or any number of Barry Manilow tunes. I listened to Super Chicken on the radio and I listened to the Kingston Trio at Christmas time. I LIKED ABBA IN AN UNIRONIC WAY. I STILL DO!
As a pre-teen and teenager, I was exposed to a lot more music. I played in the jazz band, the marching band and the concert band. I danced to disco, classical and showtunes. I watched the Muppet Show and learned about Alice Cooper (whom I later met). My friends and I bought Queen albums and I won an 8-track player in a contest and got Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac and the REAL Sgt. Pepper for Christmas that year…on 8-track, yes.
I get the idea behind that little Facebook app and I tried to turn it into “5 albums that mean a lot to me” or “5 albums that I could listen to right now” but it didn’t feel right. It felt…dishonest. It felt like a betrayal of all that was good and pure and Osmond in the world.
And as for those albums in the picture, I own three of them on cd. But there are a few more I will get eventually…I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which ones.
For the record, the K-tel Songbird album playlist is as follows:
Every Woman in the World-Air Supply
How ‘Bout Us?-Champaign
Together-(I think it’s by a band called Tierra but I can’t read the printing)
Biggest Part of Me-Ambrosia
SIDE 2 (THERE WERE TWO SIDES!)
More Than I Can Say-Leo Sayer (I still love this song)
Looking For Love-Johnny Lee
The Winner Takes it All-ABBA
Fool In Love with You-Jim Photoglo (Can that be right? Photoglo?)
Killing Time-Susan Anton and Fred Knoblock
Her Town Too-James Taylor and JD Souther
Somebody’s Knockin’-Terri Gibbs