Monday, September 05, 2016

Music and Me

I sadly admit that I don't listen to much music. If I put on the radio or my my iphone, I invariably listen to NPR or a podcast. It's words I crave. Now I know there are lyrics in music, but I rarely can make them out. And is it usually about the lyrics anyway?

The last time I really paid much attention to music I was in my twenties-first listening to rock and then trying to understand classical music or jazz. I did not grow up in a family where classical music had any place. My father liked music and listened to soft jazz on the radio-probably not jazz at all really. My mother, like me, only used music to dance to. She was also a news person.

My brother was a huge rock fan until he hit his thirties and then it fell away with him.

Phil listens to music more than me, but mostly classical in the car. Or occasionally jazz in late afternoon. Neither of us work to music anymore. 

So my history with music is pretty pathetic.

How about you? How much time do you spend listening to music? And what kind?


George said...

One of my prized possessions as a kid was my transistor radio (remember them?). I listened to it for hours every day. I learned the words to all my favorite songs. Later, when I had a lawn mowing job, I had money to buy records (and books!). Over the years, I accumulated over a 1000 albums. I sold them when CDs showed up in the 1980s. Today, like you, I seldom listen to contemporary music. But I have plenty of music to listen to with over a 1000 CDs. About 25% are classical.

Scott D. Parker said...

I listen to all kinds of music all the time. I still go to my old favorites: Chicago, KISS, Springsteen, Bowie, Sting, etc. I spin Miles Davis, Coltrane, Brubeck, etc. frequently. Classical, oddly, is seasonal: fall into winter is a great time for Back, Mozart, and John Adams.

But 2016 has been a bonanza of new music. I had already purchased more CDs in the first half of the year than I had for a few years prior. Older bands put out some great music this year: Bowie, Ace Freely, Santana, The Monkees (!), and Sting later this years.

By far my favorite new band is The Struts. So, so good! Other new discoveries this year include Wolfmother, Reagan Browne, Nathaniel Ratliff and the Night Sweats, The Heavy, Survive (the Austin-based band that did the soundtrack to “Stranger Things”), Robert Ellis, and The Echocentrics. A few singles have found their way onto my playlist. “Go Big or Go Home” by American Authors is a favorite. And, if it weren’t for The Struts’ “Put Your Money on Me,” my favorite song of the year would likely be Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling.” I just can't stop my head nodding to this infectious tune.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I did that as a child too. I knew the lyrics to every song. Somehow it fell away.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am going to try some of those on you tube, Scott. The trouble is you can't listen on the radio as easily now.

Anonymous said...

In David Halberstam's book, THE FIFTIES, he asserts that the invention of the transistor radio was responsible for the rise of what we think of as "teenage/youth culture" because, for the first time, young people could go somewhere away from their parents and listen to something other than what their parents listened to. Prior to the transistor, music was the piano or victrola or massive radio in the living room and all members of the family listened to the same thing. Suddenly, kids could have their own music...and record companies catered to that.

Music has always been a major part of my life: records, radio, concerts, CDs, mix tapes, etc. Even today, although I don't have an iPod, I make lists of songs I like and buy an iTunes gift card and get one of my kids to download the songs and burn a CD for me. I don't listen to much new music, but there's plenty of old stuff to keep me going!


pattinase (abbott) said...

I must have 500 CDs that I rarely listen to. I still like to flip on a radio and be surprised. Sadly I am surprised at what I find now.

Jerry House said...

Folk, rock and roll, bluegrass. Most of today's music leaves me cold. I'm an old fart and proud of it.

Jeff Meyerson said...

At the moment, not much at all.

When Jackie was at school and I worked at home I'd basically have the local oldies station on from 9 to 3, Monday to Friday. But then, first they stopped playing 'fifties music (this despite the fact that when they had listeners vote for the Top 500 Songs, "In the Still of the Night" and "Earth Angel" were 1 and 2 every time!), and then early (pre-British Invasion, for the most part) 'sixties. Also, they added about 10 songs from the early 'eighties (the thin end of the wedge, as the British would say), and then more.

Currently their playlist, on the rare times I listen to it, is mostly 'eighties with a smaller number of 'seventies and a handful of 'sixties. Is it any wonder I don't listen anymore? I didn't desert them, they deserted me!

As Bill Crider would say, I miss the old days.

We have hundreds of CDs we listen to (and not only '50s and '60s but Broadway original cast albums, movie soundtracks, some country, soul, R&B, reggae, even things like Jimmy Durante, Louis Prima, Tony Bennett, Sinatra, etc.), mostly here but also in the car (when we remember to bring them).

I listen to WINS for the news headlines.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Oh, and classical too, though I mostly listen when Jackie isn't around.

Did I mention Billie Holiday? Louis Jordan. Louis Armstrong. The Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert.

Ah yes, transistor radios. Jackie has talked about going to the beach in the summer and, as you walked from your blanket to the ocean you'd hear the same song playing from radios all the way there and back. WABC was the big one (with the 50,000-watt transmitter), but I was mostly a WMCA guy (except for Dan Ingram on WABC; I could never stand Cousin Brucie). Or I'd listen to the Yankee game.

At night I'd listen under the covers and could get far away stations, like CKLW in Detroit.

I really miss the old days.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Oh, and Patti, the reason we still know every word of a song we may not have heard since 1965 is, in 1965 we heard the same 40-50 songs every day, over and over again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can still sing every Shirelles song.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I still listen to a lot of music but admittedly less than when I was younger. Have always been a rock fan. With a few exceptions Jazz puts me to sleep. Tend to have music playing while I read although something that isn't too grating. Pink Floyd is better to read by than The Clash. Still play music in my car a lot, depending whats on NPR. Just placed an order thru Amazon for 4 new cds-Jack White, Wilco, Nick Cave and Peter Garrett(ex Midnight Oil and Australian cabinet minister).

pattinase (abbott) said...

See I like all that music but instead I listen to NPR. Don't know why.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Couldn't resist this one. Jeff forgot that we do listen to some music that came out later than the 60's. We have been devoted to Jimmy Buffett since that late 80's. also the Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, John Fogerty, George Thorogood, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, etc. We still go to the concerts when they are in New York. We upgraded to a BOSE Wave system a few years ago. Great sound.

You've awakened some great memories. Of course, the Good Guys on WMCA were my go to place whenever I was home or at the beach. Those transistors were indispensable. Don't know if everybody knows about the "Bungalow Culture"? If you were a lucky city kid from this area, you got to spend your summers up in the Catskills in with about 10-100 other families. Dads usually came up for the weekends. Jeff and I both collected 45's when we were about 10. There was this thick plastic tube that you attached to the stereo turntable so that you could play 10 or so 45's in a row. My friends and I would sit outside the bungalow on Adirondack chairs after camp and listen to all our favorites for hours. When we got bored and didn't feel like swimming or playing paddle ball, we would go to the luncheonette and dance to the juke box. Boy, we baby boomers had a great youth!


pattinase (abbott) said...

We did indeed. Dancing was such a huge part of my teen years.

Charles Gramlich said...

I never listened to it much growing up so music is essentially an afterthought with me. I listen to it on my way home from my commute. On the way to work I go over my lectures. I listen to it when I've had a few beers, and that's about it.

Rick Robinson said...

Good morning from the Pacific Northwest, and Happy Labor Day to all!

I used to listed to music a LOT. As a kid I had a transistor radion, as a matter of fact I still do. They can be purchased at Radio Shack. I use it to listen to baseball games out in the back yard, in summer, all the way through to the Series. Something about listening to baseball on a transistor outside feels "right".

Started with top 40s rock in the late 50s, the two big stations in the greater L.A. area were KFWB and KRLA. I listened to them both. Got a little radio and took it to the beach, same experience as Jackie and Jeff, same song all over. I had 45s and a little record player, but mostly it was rock radio. In high school I started also listening to jazz, which on some stations included movie soundtracks. That got me started on those, some of the first LPs I bought. My older brother liked classical, so I listened to that because it was playing, and then I worked, during college in summers, at a framing shop that had a classical station on all day, so I listened enough to learn about it.

Now I listen to a mix of classical, soundtracks and jazz, and have enough of each, especially classical, I could listen around the clock and not repeat. My problem is it's not convenient to listen to CDs most of the time: I have to be in a particular room, and that's not the room I usually read in, and I don't listen to anything with lyrics while I read or I end up not reading, listening to the words, which with rock is what the songs are about.

So, classical, then soundtracks, then jazz (real, not "smooth"), then rock, when I'm in the mood for it. In the car, usually NPR.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know where to write this comment, but I'll do it here.

Have started reading, "Shot in Detroit," and didn't realize how funny it would be.Just what I need after 400 pages of brutal psychological suspense.

And looking at your list of favorite books set in Detroit, I have only read Middlesex, a favorite book of all time for me. I could easily reread. Loved the zany family.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks! My favorite of his is The Virgin Suicides!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Admire Rick's song list!

Anonymous said...

My mother was a classical pianist and she played WQXR, a classical music station in NYC, all the time or records. We also listened to folk music, especially the Weavers and Paul Robeson and others. Joan Baez was the craze in the 1960s and we listened to and memorized every song. A few Broadway show records somehow found their way into our house.

But my prize possession was a radio my parents gave me when I was 11. I would listen to the top 10 or 50 rock-and-roll hits all the time and rhythm and blues. I listened to that radio throughout high school.

In college, my dorm listened to Aretha Franklin, the Supremes, the Rolling Stones and one roommate played some classical music. And somewhere along the line, Bob Dylan came into public view and I listened to all of his early songs and have some of his classics on cd. It was the 60s and early 70s and his songs accompanied the anti-war and Civil Rights movements.

Then, growing older I got into jazz, love Coltrane, Monk, Modern Jazz Quartet. Then Nina Simone, reggae, popular folk.

But I would say now if asked my favorite music and I would say classic rhythm and blues. Nothing like those harmonic quartets and trios and several stand-alone singers. And Aretha is still the Queen of Soul.

I don't listen to much music now, but I'll get an occasional spurt and put on a cd in whatever type music I feel like hearing. Love a Louisiana mix made to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Jeff Meyerson said...

The New York Times was the previous owner of WQXR, possibly the oldest classical music station in the country.

When we were kids my father would play his "stereo" records while we ate dinner. I remember Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall (I bought the CD last year; still great, and so is Tony - at 90!), Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall (both are live albums, obviously), Della Reese (I think it was called Della Della Cha Cha Cha, but too lazy to look it up), Music From Million Dollar Movies (another I later bought) by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops (included Warsaw Concerto, Laura, Intermezzo, etc.), and various Mantovani albums (Music for Dining, More Music for Dining, etc.).

It's amazing what stays with you after 50 or so years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We did not have a stereo in my house until my brother was a teenager. All of our music came from a radio. I had a turntable but seldom had money to buy records. I listened to the radio and took what I got. My grandfather, who bought the turntable bought me a few Broadway musicals though.

Anonymous said...

Music is such a huge part of my life, Patti, I must admit. I listen to it a lot, and almost always have a song in my head.

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