Musical taste (in general and mine)

And I was wondering if I would have enough to do once I stopped working? I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to keep up with everything I wanted to, including writing in this blog. But now, it’s time for a new entry.

My Guy by Mary Wells. A classic (courtesy of Bing).

Most of us listened to a lot of music when we were growing up (or if you’re young enough, listen). And most of heard (repeatedly) things like “turn it down!’ and “how can you listen to that noise!” from our parents. And maybe those of us who became parents have said those things to our kids (I probably did, but I don’t think it was too often). Anyway, where I’m going with this is that a lot of the music most of us listen to is the same music we listened to when we were young. My favorite music types are as follows (not necessarily in order):

  • R&B from the mid ’60s to the mid ’70s, including Motown (ending with the introduction of disco)
  • Jazz from the mid ’50s to the mid to late ’60s (mostly mainstream, I can’t deal with avant-garde).
  • Classic rock (’60s to about mid ’80s)
  • A fair number of ’50s and early ’60s oldies

Broad strokes, but you get the picture.

So I’m pretty consistent with my profile. However, there is a lot of music outside of the above list that I like and listen to, just not as consistently. So you might catch me listening to Peaceful by Helen Reddy or In My House, by Mary Jane Girls, or What’s My Name Again by Blink 182, or I’m not Dead Yet from Spamalot, or The Trial by Roy Hargrove. I continued to listen to music as I aged and expanded my horizons. For one thing, I was a DJ for about 2 years (1984-1986, I worked in bars and at parties for a cousin of mine to make so extra cash), so I was able to keep current for a while after I stopped listening to the radio (more on that later). When my kids were growing up, they would watch music videos, which were probably at peak popularity in the ’90s. I often watched as well, mostly to make sure they weren’t watching videos that were too explicit. But at the same time, I did get to know some of the music of the ’90s, and some of it is very good (some not so much). And my younger daughter has occasionally turned on the car radio to listen to more recent pop music. I don’t think much of that stuff (too much techno and not enough instrumentation), but I occasionally hear one that’s I like. And my younger daughter also introduced me to Broadway music. I don’t love all of it, but again, some of it is great, especially live. That’s kind of same way I feel about classical; I enjoy listening to it live much more than hearing it on a CD or the radio.

With Jazz, it was a little different. I began listening to Jazz as a teenager but really got into in my 30s. We moved to New England, and I had consistently long commutes. Combine this with the proliferation of CDs and CD players and a store, Newberry Comics, which had a great CD collection, and I began rapidly collecting Jazz CDs. I would listen to one CD on the way to work and one on the way beck. I have over 100 of them now from many different artists. I don’t listen as much as I used to, but it’s nice to have a relatively comprehensive collection.

I also think that me sharing my music with my daughters exposed them to a lot of music from the past that they now like. Each of them are big Beatles fans, they both like Motown a lot. I went to see the Temptations with one daughter and Billy Joel with the other. We’ve always bonded through music. FYI, I saw Jethro Tull last year with my sister and brother-in-law (they introduced me to lots of music, and I grew up listening to my sister’s 45s). Great show. And I have a new friend who wants to share his favorite music with me (and me with him). I can’t wait to get together.

Sadly, radio ain’t close to what it used to be. When I was young, many radio stations played a good mix of Top 40 (and beyond) music. In a given hour, you might hear songs by the Grass Roots, Wilson Pickett, and the Who. Nowadays, almost every station (including those on Sirius XM or cable TV) is specialized for a single genre of music. And lots of stations have pretty short playlists which you get tired of within a few hours (there are a few, but only a few exceptions). Some people want it that way, but I would never have been exposed to the music I love now with today’s format. My dream job, if I could get it, would be to have a 4 hour radio show every day where I could play whatever I wanted. In my dream, people would actually listen to it. Maybe in future entries, I’ll post some playlists.

Suffice it to say that music has been a very important and critical part of my life. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way.

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