I cannot express what a huge impact music has had on my life. HUGE! And I am not a music purist. I do not have a particular genre that I stick with. I love good music. That is all. So if you hate rock or hate country or hate jazz or hate blues or hate pop this blog may drive you crazy.
There are some serious negatives to having a baby when you’re18 years old. Im sure there are. I was 27 and 29 when I gave birth. At 18 I could not have kept a plant alive much less a human being. Damn I’m 41 years old and sometimes still wake up and have a serious “oh crap I have kids” moment. But there are a few people who make it work. Two of those people are my parents. They were 18 & 19 years old when I was born. WOW! So many reasons that SHOULD NOT have worked out. But it did. They stayed happily (well mostly) married for 34 years until my Dad passed away. I did not have what you’d call your conventional Dad. He did not have an 8-5, suit wearing, office job. He did not drive a practical sedan. He did not refrain from cursing. He did not sit around and make my Mom wait on him. He did NOT do a lot of things that the other Dads I knew did. But all of the things he DID do were waaaay cool.
I got so many things from my Dad. Lack of patience, sense of humor, sarcasm (ok thats from both sides), skinny toes, a mind boggling ability to always be right (thats a tough one for other people), humility(ha), but mostly, MOSTLY from him I got a love of music. From the moment I was born there was always music playing in the house. ALWAYS. We were not exactly well off but we always had a nice stereo system and record player in the house. My Dad was a rock purist in his younger days. Im pretty sure I was the only toddler who knew all the words to Stairway To Heaven. I remember being mesmerized by the cover art for the album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. I also remember wondering where the bodies were on the “Queen II” album. I mean how did they get the heads on there and where were their bodies? It was a rock n roll house for sure. And he didn’t edit what we listened to. I remember belting out the lyrics to Eric Clapton’s classic “Cocaine”. Im sure my fairly straight laced Mother was thrilled. But even still they never really “edited” what we listened to or read. I’d like to think it was some sort of well thought out progressive parenting technique but in reality it was probably just lack of knowing any better. I mean they were kids themselves.
It was not JUST rock in the house. My Mom got her way sometimes much to the chagrin of my Dad. My Mom was a fan of John Denver, Michael Murphy, Placido Domingo…we had a ton of what you’d call “softer stuff” in the house playing as well. It’s weird now but I remember hearing John Denver sing “Rocky Mountain High” and thinking what a beautiful place he must be singing about. Yes, yes I know the dual meaning of the lyrics but the purist form of the song is about a place of peace and fresh air and calmness. And I get it now. I live it now.
On Saturdays we had chore day. And that meant music. My Dad would turn on the stereo in the garage (because everyone has a stereo in their garage) and one in the house and you would go about your Saturday chores while listening to loud music. It was awesome. Somehow, signing along to Pink Floyd made scooping up dog crap into an old coffee tin almost bearable.
I remember when my Dad bought the Joshua Tree album. He actually got it on cassette tape! He made me sit down and listen to the whole thing. He said “this is one cool band”. He was right. One of the greatest albums ever made.
Later on he reluctantly began listening to country music. He said he never would as he had viewed it as an old person’s type of music. But with time I think he appreciated Merle Haggard and Willie and Johnny. I know I do. Kris Kristofferson was another one we often listened to. My parents liked his lyrical ability. Actually I think my Mom liked his butt but whatever…
I sit today and while I am working or cleaning I much prefer listening to music than watching tv. And I’ll listen to anything. OK not anything- Justin Bieber is banned from our house but other than that- almost anything! When my Dad died I got a few of his mixed tapes. I like that they are songs he chose to put together randomly. I like that the song titles are written out in his handwriting. I like that it makes me feel like he’s sitting there singing with me. Music is such a very powerful thing. Certain songs instantly transport you back to somewhere…they make you think of someone…they make you cry…they make you sing loud…they make you happy. When I hear “Lord Have Mercy Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” by Conway Twitty I see my Grandad laughing & signing to my little sister. When I hear Luke Skywalker I think of sneaking out of my house in 9th grade. When I hear Taylor Swift I think of the concerts with my daughter & our dear friends Sanjana & Meera. When I hear Nine In Nails I remember my brother’s stupid goth phase. When I hear anything alternative I think of when I met Patrick. When I hear Paper Boy’s “Ditty” I think of college and my roommate, Jessica. And when I hear Bob Segar sing anything I see my Dad. On his Harley.
I wish I could explain how completely and utterly grateful I am to have had the parents I had. To have had the “not quite conventional” Dad I had. Mom was always more reserved and mellow (believe it or not). Dad was always outspoken and loud. Yin and Yang. It worked. Thank you for not editing what we listened to or read. Thank you for knowing we were capable of deciphering lyrics from reality. Thank you for treating us like people rather than babies. Thank you for teaching us that music is awesome. Music is cool. Music is powerful. You had 3 pretty great kids if I do say so myself. You obviously did something right. (Theres that humility of mine).
“THERE’S A FEELING I GET WHEN I LOOK TO THE WEST AND MY SPIRIT IS CRYING FOR LEAVING” ~Stairway To Heaven, Led Zeppelin