Saturday, September 23, 2006

Riders On The Storm


Today I began going through my hard drive and my
iPod, trying to sort though songs and albums, getting
ready for my trip down to The Ice. I came across a
huge file holding the Top 100 songs from 1960 to 2000.
Not just 100 songs total, but 100 songs from each year.
I was pretty amazed, not only by how much good music
has been put out over the years, but how much garbage
has reached the airwaves as well.
The first song I can remember listening to was "Riders
On The Storm" by the Doors. I was probably five years
old, listening on my little transistor radio with the
earplug in my ear, lying on the couch in the living room.
(Yes, I was a geek back then too). I remember other
music, but not specific songs from before that. My parents
used to take me out in the convertible at night when I
wouldn't go to sleep when I was even younger. The radio
was on in the car and for some reason, Petula Clark keeps
popping into my head...brrrrr. Lynn was heavily influenced
by the Beatles and the first song she remembers was Volare.
I thought I was the coolest five year old around when I had
a Sergeant Pepper Blue Meanie sticker on my tricycle seat.


I grew beyond the "Close and Play" age and began to be
influenced by my brother's music. Of course I didn't know
what an 8-track was or how it worked, but I really liked the
cover from Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy". Puberty
hadn't hit yet, but I thought it was very cool...or at least
as cool as a ten year old could think album art was. Alice
Cooper, Pink Floyd, Black Oak Arkansas...they all entered one
ear and out the other. Hey, I was ten...music wasn't as
important as baseball, bikes and being annoying to my sisters.


I was one of those people who actually had a cassette player
before I had a turntable. Panasonic was my hero and since
Earth Wind and Fire advertised for Panasonic, they joined my
musical adventures. Of course I had no idea what they sounded
like, but they had cool costumes and advertised for Panasonic.
They MUST be good. "Ghost in the Machine" was the first cassette
I ever bought. Pretty heady stuff for a 15 year old. This New
Wave music was cutting edge. I had no idea what a "Sting" was
but these Police guys...their music was good.


My senior year of high school I finally got a turntable. In fact
a whole stereo system. I was in the big league now. We drove all
the way to Aurora Illinois to pick up this ultra cool component
system made by Fisher. I think it cost 200 dollars of my hard
earned dishwasher money. And what do I do? I go out and buy
"Escape" by Journey. I was a HUGE Journey fan in high school. I
remember how disappointed I was when some friends went to a Journey/
Bryan Adams concert and didn't invite me. I was crushed. However
my Journey fascination ended several years later when Steve Perry
went solo and sang really bad songs on MTV. Ugh.


One of the best jobs I ever had was working at the counter at
Von's Records and Tapes in West Lafayette while I was going to
school at Purdue. I loved that job. Of course most of my
paycheck when back to the store, but it was worth it. One day,
my boss, Charlie asked everyone to stay late because we were
changing around the bins in the store. Why? we asked. Because the
CDs were coming in and we had to make room for them. WOW. What
was this thing called a CD? I had no idea. It was like Henry Ford
saying to the carriage maker, make room for the automobile or
Mugg the boss caveman saying to Ugg the worker caveman...throw away
that raw meat...make room for fire. In a matter of hours, the
store's name, Von's Records and Tapes was obsolete. Of course I
had to have them. I even bought a Sharp cd player for $250. What
a bargain I thought at the time. Especially with my discount.
The first cd I bought...The Wall, by Pink Floyd. Not sure exactly
why, but it sounded good. Heck everything on cd sounded good then.
I got worried when they started talking about digital audio tapes.
Oh no...another change. All of my cds would be worthless, just like
my albums, and cassettes, and 8-tracks, and transistor radio.
(my grandparents had 78s...I didn't...I'm not THAT old)


Finally...a music medium without any medium. In fact music made up
of digital 1's and 0's. MP3s. Lynn and I were on the Ice when I ordered
my iPod. Winfly was coming...and so was my iPod. When it came, it
was the coolest thing. All white, brand new and cool...just plain cool.
Then one week after I received it, Apple came out with a new model of
iPod even better than the one I just got. Sigh. It never ends. Always
something new or better.
I can't remember exactly which songs I first downloaded onto my iPod
but it might have been something by Nirvana. How appropriate. I
begin my musical odyssey 35 years ago on a transistor radio, listening
to a troubled musical genius who died at an early age and my most recent
musical medium starts with listening to another troubled musical genius
who dies at an early age. How appropriate. I wonder who and what I'll
be listening to 35 years from now. Probably some other troubled musical
genius who is some flash in the pan...I think his name is Mick Jagger.

5 comments:

Benjamin said...

Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are also linked by being members of the "27" club along with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. I turned 28 a few weeks back. Shew. I made it.

Tom said...

It was touch and go there for a while wasn't it Ben?

Benjamin said...

There were times I was worried.

Lori Murray said...

lol...I think the first 8 track I bought was Elton John, but now I can't remember if it was Yellow Brick Road, or Don't Shoot Me...hmmm, went more for albums though, lots of Elton John, Bee Gees, Eagles in high school, plus who can forget Heart or Gary Wright?

Tom said...

Gary Wright??? Yikes! LOL