So, as noted previously, I’m interested – here on the threshold of a new year – in the idea of exploring my past through music. I’ll refer you to that previous post for the whys and hows of this little project. But right now I just want to jump in!
Where to begin is the question.
After some pondering, I’ve decided to start at the very beginning.
Though that means, by default, that this post is going to be less about thoughtful, contemplative evaluation and insight and more about ridiculous, embarrassing admissions.
It’s absolutely unavoidable. I’m not planning my content out ahead of time; I’m just writing and seeing what comes out. But with the years I’m going to cover here? Unavoidable.
So, the first music I ever remember listening to was a Dionne Warwick record album of my parents’ that I remember liking because the album cover was embossed with all of this shiny, mirror-like gold. I thought that was very cool and sophisticated. (In my defense, I think I was probably four or five.)
My mom and dad weren’t much into music, didn’t play it around the house or anything as we were growing up. I’m kind of jealous of the kids who talk about their first musical knowledge coming via their parents’ cool record collections! I don’t even know when the record player and the Dionne Warwick album disappeared – but very early on.
I do remember that MY very first music player was a Walkman that played cassettes. I don’t know how old I was when I got this thing. Nine? Ten? It was a Christmas present.
I know that my first tapes (gifted to me that same Christmas, to go along with the Walkman) were: The Pointer Sisters, Neil Diamond, and Michael Jackson. (Cool!) I don’t think I was especially into any of these; they were my parents’ choices. (How they settled on those three I have no idea.) But I liked them well enough to be proud to have them.
I don’t remember what albums they were. I do know that the Neil Diamond contained this song:
I could wallow in this coolness for a while longer, but I think I’ll fast-forward to seventh/eighth grade. These years marked the height of a pretty intense Bon Jovi fandom.
It was that time of life when the singer being cute is just as important as the music being played – and I had the requisite huge crush on Jon Bon Jovi. (Though I did occasionally vacillate between him and Richie Sambora; I was fickle like that.)
Here’s a Bon Jovi video I liked a lot, once upon a time.
I’ll just add that, as I went to grab this from YouTube, I watched it – for the first time in YEARS. And I have to say, it kind of made me happy! It’s so funny, to look at the things you used to think were cool with older eyes. I can’t say that I think these guys are particularly “cool” now (that hair!!) But I do totally remember, watching them now, what it was about them that I found so appealing as a kid. The energy, the fun they looked like they were having – and yeah, Jon Bon Jovi back then WAS pretty cute. He looks kind of innocent in this video – just a happy guy, having fun. Totally un-intimidating for a pre-teen girl to crush on.
And I remember thinking the red leather pants were kind of sexy! (And thinking that was NOT an observation to make to my mom.)
My Bon Jovi-love lasted a while – my admiration for the music being prolonged beyond its normal lifespan by the crushing. I remember starting high school and feeling like it wasn’t cool to admit to liking them…but I still kind of did, at least in the beginning.
By the end of high school thankfully I’d moved on to liking music for the music’s sake, not because the singers were cute. I could talk about that now – but I think, in the interest of getting all of the ridiculousness out in one post (and thus freeing myself to talk about something actually substantive in the next one!), I’ll instead jump from Bon Jovi to my other big crush-inspired bit of musical fandom.
The focus of that would be Jack Wagner – or should I say, Frisco Jones, of General Hospital. He was cute, he was a spy, he was constantly involved in dramatic (and romantic) adventures…and to top it all off, he sang. Jon Bon Jovi (whose music I was already growing away from) simply couldn’t match up with that.
My intermittent crush on Frisco Jones lingered long enough for me to be quite happy when, when I was in college, he joined the cast of Melrose Place. (Jack Wagner, not Frisco, sadly. Though I seem to remember that Jack Wagner’s character on Melrose was fun to watch. I can’t remember his name now…)
Anyway, here’s a song from my old Jack Wagner tape.
WOW…just thinking about this stuff and the utter vapidness of my young brain is making me laugh. It’s embarrassing…but it’s also hilarious. (I’m not sure which is stronger at the moment!)
And this is probably a good time to end this post – because nobody who’s read this far is going to be able to take anything else I might have to say seriously at all!
If I want to say anything substantive – and I definitely will as I continue on with this little series – I think it needs to be from within a post that contains no references whatever to Neil Diamond or Frisco&Felicia.
On to college and beyond in the next post…