Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you,
following you right on up until you die.
~ Paul Simon
y mother was in love with Elvis Presley for many, many years. In fact, we were set to go see him in concert in 1977, when we got the news that he had died. I was still very young then, but I remember going to the concert hall and watching a video tribute of his life; it was dark, smoky [probably with weed], and filled with sound women mourning the passing of a legend.
Fifty-six years ago today, Elvis Presley’s first single, Heartbreak Hotel hit #1 on the charts. I know this in part because
1) I looked it up when searching for a topic to write about for today.
2) See opening paragraph.
I was one of the lucky ones. Although my parents are not musically gifted themselves, I was classically trained on the piano from the time I could walk, and there was a variety of music played in the house throughout my childhood. Records, 8-tracks, and cassettes from eclectic artists like: Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Sammy Kay, Glenn Miller, Michael Legrand, The Statler Brothers, Johnny Cash, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tom Jones, several tango and rhumba records from South and Central America, and soundtracks like Oliver!, Exodus, Kiss Me Kate, and Pal Joey all lived next to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Debussy. And of course, no vinyl collection is complete without The Reader’s Digest Hits of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Remember The Unicorn by the Irish Rovers? And Bobby Goldberg’s Honey? And my personal favorite growing up – Love Child by The Supremes. They were all in that box of 10 or 12 records.
As I grew up, my musical taste expanded, but I never stopped loving the old songs. Instead, I added to the collection: The Bee Gees, Jim Croce, Duran Duran, Foreigner, Journey, Michael Jackson, every Barry Manilow album ever made [yes, you read that right], Ace of Base, Enigma, The Secret Garden, Loreena McKennitt. . .the list goes on [just like the beat.]
So I was shocked and yes, I admit, a little disgusted, when a friend of mine who is GenY had never heard of Love is Battlefield by Pat Benetar. Her excuse? “I can’t be expected to know that! I wasn’t alive then!”
Yeah, honey. Neither was I when Mozart wrote Concerto #21, but I know it!
But maybe I’m being too hard on her and others like her. Maybe I’m just one of the few lucky enough to be surrounded by all genres of music from a young age. And not everyone views music like I do: as important and necessary as the air I breathe.
Paul Simon is right: music is forever. And no matter what the genre or what era it was written in, it still has the power to touch hearts.
Especially broken ones. Thanks for the memories, Elvis.
Oremus pro invicem,
What is your favorite music from an era NOT your own? And did you grow up surrounded by music?