Nov. 24th, 2008

heron61: (Heron - about me)
The local radio station that that [livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I listen to most has been around for 40 years and has a truly impressive collection of music. They periodically do wonderful month-long stunts like playing all of their songs in alphabetical order and suchlike. In honor of their 40 year anniversary, they are now playing music solely from one year, starting in 1968. Today, they are up to 1978 – which is the year that I started listening to music in a serious fashion. I'd previous discovered Al Stewart (when my mom joined a by mail 8-trac tape club to go with the player we'd gotten, and asked if I wanted any).

However, my introduction to music mostly came in the late Fall of 1978. On Friday, when we were studying the 18th century, the teacher of my High School English literature & history class offered everyone who could write a poem (in a form that I don't remember, other than that it was in heroic couplets) about some event in that era an automatic A on the next exam. Naturally, most of the A students, myself included took this as a challenge and proceeded to spend the entire weekend writing it (studying for the exam would likely only have taken 2-3 hours). In any case, I had recently started listening to the radio, and a local station was playing a history of rock, starting in the 1950s. I spent the weekend listening to that and writing the poem. I don't remember anything about the poem, but the basic history & structure of rock music I learned that weekend remains with me to this day.

I find it fascinating how I remember songs from different eras and how songs from different years differ. 1968 was clearly a year that has not survived well – I recognized little from it, and hear them on the radio very seldom. In vivid contrast, many songs from 1969-1973 are widely known and can still regularly be heard on the radio. However, personally, before 1975 or so, all of the songs seem a bit alien to me – I was a young child during the Vietnam War, and I didn't listen to the radio very much. I do remember learning and singing a few in grade school and in my Junior High choir though. However, from 1975 & especially 1976 onwards, I know all of the songs – both good and bad. Many of them have remained far less popular and less frequently played than the ones from '69-'73, but I know them well. I don't remember the last time I heard Crosby, Still, and Nash's Cathedral , but I still remember being 17 and hearing it for the first time. Billy Joel, the Moody Blues, Crosby Stills & Nash, Electric Light Orchestra, Heart, Warren Zevon, & Al Stewart were the music of my youth – I still regularly listen to the last two (and occasionally listen to both Heart & Crosby Stills & Nash), and saw Al Stewart in concert in September. Even the annoying and ubiquitous "musical wallpaper" of that era remains vividly familiar to me (the same is also true of music from the mid to late 1980s).

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