Friday, February 18, 2005

My Music History, Part II: The High School Years

By the time I reached high school, my metalhead days were softening a bit. I still listened to it, but I realized that high school girls were not really that into the whole heavy metal scene. So I began listening to other stuff such as pop and alot of classic rock. I first discovered classic rock through the radio. The two main stations I listened to were 101.1, WGIR ("Rock 101") and 107.3, WAAF. Rock 101 was mostly classic and hard rock and WAAF was mostly the same but a little bit harder. It was on these two stations that I was exposed to such rock and roll luminaries as Led Zeppelin, The Who, the Stones, Aerosmith, and all the other classic rock icons. Although my musical tastes have changed considerably through the years, my appreciation for classic rock has never wavered. I still love all the classics, but don't listen to them much anymore as they're just waaaaay too overplayed. The problem with classic rock is that they're just not making anymore of it, so you hear the same 100 songs over and over. I mean, how many times can one person listen to "More Than a Feeling" and "Dream On"? Here are some classic rock songs that I taped off the radio and listened to quite a bit:

Baba O' Reilly (The Who)
Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Night Moves (Bob Seger)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
All Right Now (Free)
Anything by the Doors
Ramblin Man (Allman Brothers)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Life's Been Good (Joe Walsh)
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)
Don't Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult - cowbell and all!)
Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones)
Dust in the Wind (Kansas)

My musical road took another major detour in high school; rap. Somewhere around 1985, I heard Run DMC's "King Of Rock" and was blown away. I didn't exactly start wearing a Kangol and a clock around my neck, but I did start listening to alot of rap. Back in the mid 80's, there was no such thing as "hip hop". It was rap, and there wasn't a whole lot of variety. Sometime in '87 or '88, I heard Elton John's "Your Song". I'd heard it a hundred times before, but it had never sounded so beautiful before. Apparently my musical tastes were evolving yet again; thus, began my Elton John phase. For some reason, I started listening to more and more of his stuff and the more I heard, the more I liked. I'd always avoided him because he was a well renowned pillow biter and when you're a guy in your early teens, that kind of stuff is to be avoided at all costs. I guess as I got older, I was able to separate the music from the man enough to realize that he was an incredible musician who produced some fantastic music. "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road" became my favorite song for a while. And I used to write the words to "Your Song" to just about every girlfriend I had (hey, when you're 16, that kind of stuff is considered romantic). Following the trend, I became a pretty big Billy Joel fan too.

Oddly enough, I also had a very brief Oldies phase during high school. There was an oldies station in Boston (Oldies 103) that my mom used to listen to and I started finding myself singing alot of the songs and even ended up buying a few oldies tapes. There was actually alot of good, innocent music that came out of the 50's and 60's.

The other big musical revelation I had in high school was U2. The Joshua Tree came out my sophomore year and I was addicted to it for quite some time. It was then that I developed a love affair with all things U2. When "Rattle and Hum" came out my senior year, I saw it in the theater, bought the soundtrack, the movie on videotape, a t-shirt, and wore them all out.

My senior year of high school brought yet another new musical phase; classical - and more specifically, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I had a class called "Music Appreciation" where we studied the classical composers. Had I been a bit younger, I probably would have had a closed mind to that stuff. As it was, I took to all of it right away, but none as much as Mozart. His music just floored me. Prior to that, my only exposure to Mozart had been the 1984 classic "Rock Me Amadeus" by Austrian rock star Falco. After watching the film "Amadeus" in class, it quickly became one of my all time favorites, and remains one of my top 5 to this day. I've seen it so many times I can actually recite the lines along with the actors all the way through. My favorite Mozart piece is his Symphony #25, which plays at the beginning credits of the movie. Everyone has heard it, it's one of his most famous, but I still get a jolt everytime I hear it. If you like Mozart, I highly recommend the Amadeus soundtrack. I still love classical music, but Mozart is the only one I still listen to with any regularity.

Stay Tuned for Part III...


Ed Abbey said...

Your musical tastes are as eclectic as mine. I have always like Elton John's music though like you I kept that to myself in my teenage years. Then one day in college, I saw a used John Denver CD at a store and picked it up for just $5. He too was considered "uncool" in my teenage years and so I had passed on his music. But that day, I found someone who really spoke to me and he has all the years since. Keep writing Rik! The memories feel oh so good!

Rik said...

Ed: Yeah, I like alot of John Denver's music too. In fact, he will have a special mention in a future "Music History" post, but I won't ruin the surprise...