The Music of My Life
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about all the types of music I’ve listened to over the years. I’ve listened to quite the variety, but some songs, and albums (back when the term album meant something) really stand out as milestones in my life.
I know what the first record album was I ever got: Dimensions ‘79—a compilation album with 1979’s greatest hits. Side-A, First Track: Kool and the Gang’s Celebration. You know any album that starts off with that is going to be fantastic. I believe it also had also had a song by Air Supply, and a few other that I would remember as soon as I heard them. I played it a lot. Shortly thereafter, I also received Kenny Roger’s Greatest Hits as a gift—probably for Christmas.
The first singles I ever got were Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield and The Breakup Song by the Greg Kihn Band. I listened to those two singles (and their B-Sides) over and over again on a small, blue, plastic turntable the size of a toolbox as I read books in my room. When you only have 4 songs, you don’t mind hearing them repeatedly. It’s the getting up from your chair every three minutes that bugs you.
The other notable record albums I bought / received? Thriller by Michael Jackson and Reckless by Bryan Adams. Thriller is definitely in the top ten albums of all time, and Reckless makes my top twenty.
Back when we were kids, we didn’t have a lot of money for music, so when cassette tapes came out, we’d tape the entire top 40 off the radio once in a while, then go back and edit out the commercials by copying the songs from the master to another tape. This task would consume most of a day, but on long, Canadian winter days when the snow was blowing, what else did we have to do? Besides, it kept us up on what was hot in the music scene.
The first cassette tape I ever bought on my own? The Police – Synchronicity.
In 1993, I bought my first CD: Skid Row’s – 18 and Life. I know, not all the music I ever purchased is something I’m really proud of. I just wanted something that would sound good when played LOUD.
As special as first songs are, they aren’t always the best songs, or the ones that you can still go back and listen to fondly.
So I thought I’d start compiling a collection of the songs that really, really do mean something to me.
Here’s the first, and it’s really a whole album. U2’s Joshua Tree is definitely in my top 5 albums of all time, if not #1. I’ve listened to this album so many times, you’d think I’d be bored with it, but I’m really not. I played it end-to-end twice last week while editing (on my iPod, of course, not the original cassette tape which I bought years ago.)
I don’t think there are too many songs with a more recognizable opening riff from the 1980’s than Where The Streets Have No Name. It still gives me goose-bumps when I hear it, but it’s been years since I’ve seen the video until today. Those troublesome boys from Ireland could really cause a stir.
Bono is the most pretentious rock star in history. But Joshua Tree is a great album. U2 went downhill after it though.
Yes, there weren’t many albums (or even songs) from U2 after Joshua Tree that I played on repeat. There were a few, here and there that I liked. Many U2 fans would disagree and say they got even better. But for me, Joshua Tree is the acme and the apex of what they’ve done as an end-to-end album. It just rolled.
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