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I think the fairer question, and likely easier answer, is what role doesn’t music play in my life? As far back as I can remember, music has been a huge part of my being, and a stabilizer in my life. When I’m sad, I turn to music. When I’m happy, I turn to music. When I drive, I must have music. When I clean, I must have music. When I work, and my job allows it, I must have music. Music, music, music. Are you getting the drift? I heart music. With a capital “H”.
My love of music dates back to 1982, when I was five years old. That’s when Thriller, by Michael Jackson was released. I was in love. With his music, of course. For my birthday the next year, about 7 months after the album was released, I received my first album: a vinyl copy of Thriller.
I was so proud. I remember wanting to take it to school and show it to all of my friends, but I was obviously not allowed to do that. I played it on my dad’s turntable as often as I was allowed. The next few years I remember a handful of songs that I absolutely fell in love with. Gloria by Laura Branigan. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight by the Cutting Crew. And much to my mother’s chagrin, Boom Boom by Paul Lekakis.
You can probably tell why she didn’t want me listening to it. If not, don’t have children. If you’ve already had children, give them up for adoption.
I can’t remember exactly the age I was when I received my first stereo, it was either 9 or 10. I was given a boombox for Christmas and a cassette tape by The Human League. I had never heard of The Human League and after listening to the tape I began wishing I had never heard of The Human League. The first cassette I ever owned was a piece of shit. But that was okay, I was able to get more.
As you can see, The Human League is the suck. Please only click if you can survive morbid curiosity.
By the time I really started getting into music, the big-hair bands of the 80′s had made a successful assault on pop music. Groups like Def Leppard, Poison, and Cinderella were being played on mainstream radio stations and I loved it. I also liked other pop music such as Bobby Brown most other Top 40 hits.
Don’t laugh! It’s my prerogative! I can listen to what I want to listen to!
I continued to listen to Top 40 music throughout much of the 90′s. Then, in the late 90′s I got on a country kick. Mostly because I worked in the automotive department at Wal-Mart and country music was the only music I could blare on the radio that didn’t contain anything that someone would find offensive. Well, other than the whine of a steel guitar, but that grew on me I found a lot of good music that way, though. Artists such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Tim McGraw are still a part of my music collection, even though I don’t really listen to much country anymore.
This song is still one of my all-time favorites and it finally hit home to me when I met my second wife. I finally understood what this song meant when I fell for her.
In 2002, the ubiquitous John Madden football game started including soundtracks with their games. Most of the music featured was alternative rock, and turned me on to many of the bands I listen to today, mainly Seether and Avenged Sevenfold. I had always liked rock music, but much of the rock in the 90′s just wasn’t very good. Aside from Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the 90′s didn’t have much going for it in the way of rock so I didn’t listen to it. But this game changed all of that. Not only did I rediscover how much I enjoyed hard rock music, I found many talented groups were out there that I didn’t know about. Hard rock has been my genre of choice ever since and Avenged Sevenfold my favorite musical act.
Chapter Four by Avenged Sevenfold. This was their song on the Madden 2002 game that really turned me on to them. I now own all of their music.
That about sums up my musical rollercoaster except for the two or three years in my tweens where I took piano lessons. I played piano for a few years, and was actually quite good at it for a while, but playing piano just wasn’t cool. I fought my parents about it and rebelled and eventually was no longer forced to practice. That is one of my true regrets because as an adult I love listening to a piano. Oh, well. Kids. What can you do?
What I really wanted to do at that age was play guitar. I finally convinced my parents to sign me up for guitar lessons. I went to the first one and found out that because of my disfigured left ring finger, it was incredibly difficult to play any notes. Instead of hardening my resolve, my 12-year old ass sulked and quit. Another of my regrets.
My love of music has not faded over time. If anything, it has intensified. I have an expensive stereo system in my car. Yeah, it’s got the boom boom. I turn the volume up and belt out the lyrics to and from work. I actually have a decent signing voice if I do say so myself. And occasionally, others have told me so as well.
What about you, dearest reader? Do you love music? Does it influence you? What kind of music do you listen to?