This page is dedicated to all the music that I came of age to in the '70s as well as music I've come to appreciate.
As a child of older parents, I grew up listening to the sounds of the big bands - Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey as well as the orchestras - Lawrence Welk and Guy Lombardo. I remember every New Years Eve my parents and my grandparents spent the evening with some of my grandparents' friends. We watched the New Year come in as we watched Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadian Orchestra. I can still hear the sounds of the orchestra playing "Auld Lang Syne".
Each Saturday night of my youth and teen-age years, we would visit my grandparents. Their set was tuned to Lawrence Welk. I heard polkas and other orchestra selections. I probably grumbled a lot that it was "old people" music, but I really think I would have missed it if I'd been without it too long. This past summer, we had the opportunity to visit my mother. While there, she turned the television to a cable station replaying old Lawrence Welk "classic" shows. It was even fun to sit there and listen as well as view the scenes that I remember from my younger days.
My first record player was a mono child's player. And it played records. We hadn't even thought of CDs yet! My first 45s were Disney songs, rhymes, and marches. As I got older, I discovered the stereo system in our basement. It was a large object and took up one whole wall.
I had heard of the Beatles and Elvis Presley but I wasn't "into" music. In fact the only singer I really liked then was David Cassidy. I'd discovered him via the Partridge Family which I watched religiously every Friday night. I was only ten years old. Then my mother brought a co-worker and old friend over one afternoon along with her two daughters. The older one - about two and a half years older than myself - was into the Osmond Brothers. At that time I thought Donny was pretty "bubblegum". Soon I found myself absorbed in magazines called "16" and "Spec" as well as "Tiger Beat." I heard all of Donny's solo albums and all of the Osmond Brothers albums. I still wasn't "into" Donny. The middle brother was the one that I had the crush on. Merrill was ruggedly handsome and his voice was pure silk. When "The Plan" was released - based on the Osmond's religious expressions - I found myself immersed in the lyrics and melodies. They had a single on the radio called "Darlin" and when I listened to Merrill's voice, I dreamed that he was singing only to me. So when the morning came that the radio DJ announced that Merrill was engaged, I lost it. Yes, I was pretty foolish, but I cried harder and harder. My poor mother probably thought I was silly, but she was very comforting and said the right things to soothe my young aching heart. I did get over it.
By then there was other music that I was listening to. My older friend had also introduced me to the spooky strains of Alice Cooper. I read everything I could find about this misunderstood musician and became one of his biggest fans. I debated with everyone who chose to think that he and his on-stage persona were one and the same. By the time I got done, my mother was convinced. She said that as long as she didn't have to look at him, she could listen to him. That was success in my book!
The first time I saw his picture in one of my teen magazines, I was deeply, madly and with all my heart in love. He came from Australia and he was just over twenty. His name was Rick Springfield and for years and years he struggled to become known as a serious musician. I was among some of his first American fans. I watched his first appearance on "American Bandstand" when he played "Speak to the Sky." I watched his "Mission Magic" cartoon show on Saturday mornings for the short time it was on. I read everything that had his name in it. And to this day, I still have the scrapbook I made over many years. It was Rick who was the inspiration for my first of what many now call "fan fiction". Back then I called them "stories" and as they got longer and longer "books". I have boxes filled with them - still. I followed Rick's career through his contract player days when he appeared on "Wonder Woman", "The Incredible Hulk" and "Rockford Files" through his days as "Dr. Noah Drake" on General Hospital. I saw "Hard to Hold" and bought the albums. I rejoiced when his first albums were reprinted. Then many years ago - when record albums were still being made, I found one of his in the store that had been recorded many years prior to that. There was a song on it called "Gueneviere" - my heart stopped and I had to have the album. I listened to that song until I think I wore the record out. For back then I had plans to change my name to "Gwen" - therefore I thoroughly believed that song was mine! I've continued to follow Rick's career now that he is being taken seriously with his Las Vegas show "EFX". I will always be a fan. (My Review of my first Rick Springfield concert!)
I had just turned twelve when I was at my best friend's house. She showed me the new record from an up and coming rock group. The album was her sisters. The lead singer was powerfully sexy. His voice rocked me. The group was Aerosmith and the lead singer - Steven Tyler. I've been an Aerosmith fan since that day - almost 30 years. Through their doping days and the days when the band wasn't really recording anything worthwhile. Through their sober return with "Permanent Vacation". In fact for my birthday this year I got their new album. I've read the books and stayed away from the "tell all".
The first time I saw him, I found his "geeky" look enduring. And as soon as he opened his mouth, my husband proclaimed him the "winner" or pretty darn close to it! The singer was Clay Aiken and the show was the second season of "American Idol". I hadn't followed the first season until the very end when it was down to Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini (my money was on Justin) so when the second season started, my kids were enthralled from the beginning. And I have to admit so was I. Every Tuesday (with few exceptions) we were all glued in front of the TV watching and listening and predicting. Clay was transformed into what can only be called an "idol". The highlights in the flat-ironed hair. The wink of those gorgeous eyes. Even though Simon said he was better suited for Broadway and sometimes gave him harsh criticism, Clay was ever the gentleman during the critiques. As the show progressed leaving just him, Reuben Studdard and Kimberly Locke, we all still predicted Clay. We all liked Reuben as well and I was predicting that no matter which one of them really "won" - they would all be winners somehow. When Clay sang Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire" - I got goosebumps and felt my insides turn to jello! What a powerfully moving song. When he took second place, I wasn't disappointed for I knew that he would still go far. I bought his CD single the day it was released and intend to get the full length CD "Measure of a Man" when it is released. It was interesting to watch his single soar to Number 1 above Reuben's and stay there for several weeks - especially in the Dallas area.
Through my friends and acquaintenances in Junior High and High School, I also developed other tastes in music. I became pretty well rounded in rock and roll - from pop to hard rock. Below is a list of those groups and artists that I was fond of:
- John Denver
- Neil Diamond
- Bay City Rollers
- Shaun Cassidy
- The DeFrancos
- Tony Orlando and Dawn
- Beach Boys
- The Carpenters
- Captain and Tennille
- Helen Reddy
- Led Zepplin
- Judy Collins
- Sarah Maclachan
- Goo Goo Dolls
- Huey Lewis and the News
And many more!
Concerts - the first concert I attended was an Osmond concert. I was going in to Junior high school. My mother took the day off of work and took me and my older friend and her sister to Columbus. It was the Ohio State Fair and they were playing in the grandstand. I think we stood in line for three hours among a writhing mass of teen age girls. Once inside, it was pure bedlam. We all crowded onto the track. Not only were we standing on chairs but we were standing on double and triple chairs. I finally got a good view of Donny. My next concert was an Aerosmith concert. I was a freshman in high school and there was no one I knew who drove. Plus my mother was not about to allow me to go to a rock and roll concert by myself at my age. So she had my brother go with me. My brother who was twenty one years older than me! We sat at the very top of the arena - against the wall. They didn't have big screens back then. What you saw was the best you could hope for. The music was loud and I could feel it deep inside of me. I remember as we were leaving some girl grabbed my brother and said "Great Hair". Then she proceeded to start touching his hair. He thought she was pretty weird. But we always laughed about it in later years. I saw Aerosmith the following year with a girl friend of mine. That was followed by several more Osmond concerts. The one I saw with my niece and a friend at Hara Arena in Dayton will always stand out in my mind. We got there early and got to talk to Mr. Osmond (the father) before the concert. He was out on stage making sure everything was okay. I was a horrible photographer back then. All I got were the top of the stage or the top of their heads! I saw John Denver in concert many times while he was living. It was always a real treat to hear his tenor voice. In my senior year, I saw Boston in concert twice within a month of each other. The second time I saw them, in Cincinnati, has always been a secret that even my mother kept. For reasons that I will still not divulge here. My first Alice Cooper concert was when I was a junior. Two friends went with me and after the melee that occurred as we fought our way into the concert, we had a wonderful time. It was everything I knew it would be. The theatrics, the music, the showmanship, the performer! My two friends - not fans before the concert - were won over by the end. I went to my second Alice Cooper concert in 1987 - on my daughter's fourth birthday. He was appearing at one of the concert halls on the grounds where the Texas State Fair is held. Once again, I was not disappointed. When I was a sophomore in high school, several of my friends were into the Bay City Rollers. I was determined not to get mixed up in what was then called "Rollermania". Somehow my resolve didn't last. I found out the Rollers would be in concert at Hara Arena in Dayton and asked a friend if she wanted to go. Boy, was that a stupid question. Somehow I was always roping my mom into being the chauffeur so she dropped us off a couple hours before the concert. We stood in line with many pre-teen and adolescent girls waiting for the five men to appear. While waiting we learned that Pat McGlynn (the newest Roller) had been "let go" - that it would just be the four - Les McKeown, Derek Longmuir, Stuart "Woody" Wood, and Eric Faulkner. I had decided that Les was the Roller I really wanted to see. After some trauma after the doors opened - glass had broke and my friend was sure some had flown into her eye and saw the nurse on duty - we got second row seats. Perfect view! Les was in fine form and his voice was pure heaven. I left there a Roller fan for life as well as a "Rollermaniac"!! As I've gotten older and a lot more frugal - I find it hard to pay the price requested now for concert tickets. I did take my oldest daughter to a concert that one of the local radio stations put on every summer. It featured Cher (lip syncing), All Four One, and some others. It was a good concert outdoors. But trying to get out of the parking lot and driving the horribly busy high way, I realized why I choose not to attend many of them. I miss the live shows and the music that sears the soul. Someday I'll get a chance to see my favorite performers in concert again.
Songs that have impacted my life somehow: