July 5, 2019

Writing About Music

I might not be Lester Bangs, but I do have things to say!

The #1 song on September 8th, 1974 was You're Having My Baby by Paul Anka and Odia Coates.

This was a turning point for the music world, and not for the better. From that day I was born, until I was nearly 17 years old, music was terrible. Of course there were a few exceptions, but in general, the period from 1974 to 1990 was not a great time for music fans.

The 70s

I don't remember much music on the radio in the 70's. What I do remember was from my parents vinyl collection. Both of my parents were huge music fans with different but overlapping tastes which ensured I was getting a diverse set of options. Their vinyl set the foundation for everything else.

The very first band I remember was The Beatles. Specifically, The Early Beatles, which was a collection of their very first American singles. Extremely well crafted pop songs delivered in easily consumable bite sized chunks.

Next was The Grateful Dead with American Beauty. Following quickly were several Allman Brothers albums, namely Eat a Peach and Brothers and Sisters. I also heard a lot of Traffic (Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and John Barleycorn Must Die), Jimi Hendrix (Are you Experienced), The Band (The Last Waltz) and Linda Ronstadt (everything between Heart Like A Wheel and Living in the USA).

It was a good time to be listening to my parents music from a decade earlier instead of the pop music of the day (although Ronstadt qualifies).

The 80s

My first concert was Linda Ronstadt at Radio City Music Hall in April of 1980. It was a perfect way to end the 70s and start the 80s as I started choosing my own music instead of letting my parents be the DJ. That's not to say that they didn't still influence what I was listening to. My father's copy of The Wall was on heavy rotation in the early 80s.

Then on August 31st, 1981, everything changed with the launch of MTV. For much of the country it took awhile, but here in New Jersey, we had MTV on the day it launched. A month later J. Geils band released Centerfold, which was one of the defining videos of the early MTV era. The 45 (with Rage in the Cage on the B-side) was also the first piece of music that I acquired for myself. A few months later was my second 45, Freeze Frame, also by the J. Geils Band.