Music’s been a staple of my life since the toddler years. Mom played piano, Grandma played the organ, and Grandpa delighted in teaching songs to his grandchildren. I’ve sung all my life, and played guitar since I was 18. Here’s a musical glimpse into past decades:
1950s – Early ’60s
Grandpa sang haunting renditions of “The Streets of Laredo” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” — songs that provided fodder for building “lookouts” in the yard, and fences out of tree limbs to contain “herds.” For a long time, though, I was afraid to gaze at the sky. No visions of red-eyed cows for me!
On TV, there was “The Perry Como Show.” Perry’s song “Catch a Falling Star” found me, at age seven, no longer afraid to look at the sky when I could possibly catch a star and put it in my pocket.
More savvy in 1961, when Del Shannon’s “Runaway” hit the airwaves, I sensed the slivers of teenage angst. By the time “Louie, Louie” hit in 1963, we “scandalous” children of the ’60s never looked back.
Mid-1960s – 1970s
Most baby boomers will boast that our generation had the best music — from folk to heavy metal. At 21, I was singing and playing guitar with a friend at the University of Florida. We were The Stairwell Sisters (since that’s where we practiced). I remember performing “Lay, Lady, Lay” — the lyrics embarrassed me, but the melody’s so pretty.
Once again in the stairwell, this time cramming for a final, I knew I was one of the first on campus to hear Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.” I woke up dorm mates insisting they had to hear the song. Florida girls like bullfrogs.
In 1974, pregnant with twins, I managed to boogie around the apartment to Grand Funk’s version of “Locomotion,” entertaining my husband no end. I think my babies liked it, too.
1980s and ’90s
The Tears for Fears’ hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” prompted one daughter to burst into song at the top of her lungs during a road trip. Both daughters and I sang Sesame Street songs as well as more edgy pieces, like Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You.” I also developed a secret love for hip-hop (simply called “rap” back then).
The 21st Century
Reflecting on the variety of music I’ve enjoyed over the decades, I wonder if my eclectic tastes signify an open mind toward all things artistic, toward all humans. Because I haven’t even mentioned my life-long love of Motown, Chopin, and Hank Williams, Sr. (how can one not like “Lovesick Blues”?). Okay, I’m not crazy about opera, harpsichords, or pipe organs (unless scary movies are involved).
I’m looking forward to hearing new artists during my golden years, while never forgetting the timeless music of our country’s past … like Major Glenn Miller’s “St. Louis Blues March.”
More from this author:
How to Relieve Stress and Have Fun: Sing Your Life
Part-time Singing Gigs: Fun and Profitable
The Beatles Revived Spirits and Sparked a Revolution