Child of Rock and Roll

Being born in the fifties, being a child in the sixties and becoming a teen-ager a year after the Summer of Love and the year before Woodstock, I straddled two decades of great music with a foot in each.

As kids, we danced to Elvis records in Debbie Harvey’s basement, which was way cooler than dancing to Bing Crosby in mine. My parents had the old 78s, records so brittle that if you dropped one, it was a goner. If you dropped a 45 it got scratched, but you could still play it.

My older sis loved the Beatles. She was the record buyer in my bedroom of three sisters. Every week she’d take her allowance, go to Kresge’s drug store and spend all of her money on 45 records, whatever was selling the best that week. She even hit me up now and then to borrow money if she didn’t have enough. Crimson and Clover, Sugar, Sugar, plus Paperback Writer, she leaned toward pop songs, not so much the real rock and roll.

I saved all my money for college and not for records. I did buy the Beach Boys 45 called Good Vibrations. I bought one J J Cale album (LP) when I was sixteen.  Then Barb left for college, and I had to buy my own records plus a stereo system to play them on (she took that, too).

My record collection started off with Chicago, Simon and Garfunkel and Elton John. I also owned albums by the James Gang, Grand Funk Railroad, and Jethro Tull. Some obscure group sang a heavy guitar song with Babylon as the refrain, still stuck in my brain. Of ourse I had Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven album. Everyone did.

But I got goose bumps when I heard girl groups from the early 60s.  I sang along with Diana Ross and the Supremes, even though I didn’t own those records. I had a soft spot for the Temptations and everything Motown but didn’t own those, either. The Lovin’s Spoonful had a great sound, so I did own a few of their 45’s.

As a young adult teacher, I loved the 50s songs like At the Hop, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Come and Go with Me and any song with dance in the title (Do You Wanna Dance?).  I dressed up in poodle skirts and saddle shoes for school events and wowed my students when I did East Coast swing with my roommate, Keith, at a school dance.

At college, I owned records by Elton John and the Doobie Brothers.  Most songs were sung by unknown (to me) bands. I was too busy studying for a double degree (and also going abroad to student teach and to study in Spain) to pay attenton to any of that.

Somehow, I missed learning the lyrics to two iconic songs – American Pie and Bohemian Rhapsody. I never had a great ear for the lyrics anyway. I used to think Good Morning Starshine was Good Morning, Sasha. I always wondered who Sasha was.

 The great thing about the internet is now I can look up lyrics to any song and also ask Google who sang it. All these years I’ve loved the Isley Brothers music but didn’t know it was by them. They were just some un-named group that existed. KC and the Sunshine Band and Cool and The Gang, in my mind, were the same group.

I didn’t know Don Henley and Glenn Frey were the singers in the Eagles band. They were just the Eagles. James Taylor and Carole King were two favorite soloists.  Carole King’s Tapestry might be the only female record I owned way back when.

I missed out on Fleetwood Mac completely and still don’t get why everyone loves them so much. I’d much rather hear the old stuff from the 60’s like I Love You More Today Than Yesterday, Love Train, or Hot Fun in the Summertime.

Build Me Up, Buttercup! Now there’s a great song that has lasted the test of time.

This post is just nostalgia for a senior citizen who doesn’t want to get serious about the stuff I have to do today.

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