Friday, January 26, 2007

Early Music Memories

Another old post.

The first music I remember, not counting nursery rhymes of the "A Tisket, A Tasket" variety (if you don't know that, don't ask) and the more usual children's fare, were the three small records, probably .45s) that my mother had let me play over and over when I was 4 or 5. We had a small record player and I was obsessed with these three songs.

One was "Love and Marriage," and I have no idea who sang it. But I can hear the singsong lyrics to this day, because, after all, "Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage."

Then there was "Side by Side," my favorite of the three. From my memory (I'm afraid to Google the song and discover I'm remembering wrong):
"Though we ain't got a barrel of money,
Maybe we're ragged and funny,
But we travel along,
singing our song,
side by side.

Through all kinds of weather,
what if the sky should fall?
As long as we're together,
it really doesn't matter at all."
And one more verse which is escaping me now. And again, I have no idea who sang it.

The third song, however, freaked me out. It got into my brain and scared me. Maybe it was the mournful voice, the dirgeful tune, but my skin would crawl when I heard it, yet I would play it out of some morbid fascination. The song, possibly Peggy Lee singing it, was "Cry Me a River," a song I appreciate much more now that my music tastes are more sophisticated.

I got a transistor radio when I was 9 or 10 and it became a near-constant companion, keeping me company in the summer while I waited for the camp bus. My record player came in 1964 for my 11th birthday. I don't recall my first .45s, but my first LPs (Long Playing Records for the kids out there) were both by the Beatles: Something New and Beatles '65. A Dave Clark 5 album, Glad All Over, from 1964. I wish I could remember when I got my first CD, but I do recall when I first heard one. I was visiting a cousin in California in the early '80s. Her hubby worked on the CD project as part of the consortium of music industry people (studios and manufactureres) and so, a few months before they officially hit the US market, he played a couple for me. One something classical and the other a Broadway musical score. I don't recall which one.

Backin the '60s, when music first started to really matter for me, I loved the British Invasion bands, which hit the US around the time I was really old enough to really get into music. The Beatles, Dave Clark 5, Herman's Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon, Manfred Mann, and The Hollies were my favs. But there were American groups I adored, too: The Turtles, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Jay and the Americans, The Young Rascals, The Four Seasons, and finally, The Mamas and the Pappas, The Monkees, and the many groups that moved into the '70s and beyond, mainly, America, The BeeGees, The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots, Three Dog Knight, Air Supply, and so many others. Scores of individual singers, too, like Dell Shannon, Jimmie Rodgers, Petula Clark, Neil Sedaka, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, and too many others to name.

There were the Girl Bands and Motown and soul. The Shirelles, Ronnie and the Ronettes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Chubby Checker, the Supremes, etc. As I got older and oldies started, my tastes ran backward as well as forward and I embraced the music of Elvis, Gene Pitney, Buddy Holly, and pretty much any rocker who came around. I even learned to love the Rolling Stones.

I got a bit locked into the oldies format for a lot of radio listening years (30 plus years), but I still managed to enjoy folk and folk rock, people like Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Don MacLean, Christine Lavin, Harry Chapin (one of the few people I saw in concert more than once who was not on an oldies tour). Nowadays, I'm enjoying classic rock on the radio and can listen to pretty much anything in moderation.

But I'll always have a special fondness for those old LPs and those three songs that filled my childhood with music, even if it was a bit repetitious.


  1. Shelly, I remember most of those songs too. Wasn't "Love and Marriage" a Sinatra song? I liked "A Tisket, A Tasket" too but I'm not sure what tiskets or taskets are! :)

    I love music from the fifties and sixties too. I used to listen to that alot in my teens.

    I still remember all those old vinyl records we had in our home, ones that my dad ordered from some magazine deal: we had John Denver, Donna Summer, KISS, The Bay City Rollers, Sleepytime Bird (awesome), Crystal Gayle... and loads more! They may not be what I listen to now, but they are so meaningful b/c they're the records I first became acquainted with! :)

  2. If Love and Marriage was done by Sinatra, I doubt that's the version I had because my mother didn't like him. She was a Frankie Laine fan, and Artie Shaw.

    I never have known what tiskets and taskets are. ;)

    Sleepytime Bird is the only one you mentioned that I don't know.

  3. Anonymous1/27/2007

    My Mom had radios in nearly every room of the house, a zillion 45's and LPs, and she pretty much poisoned our blood with music-I wouldn't have been able to escape it, would never have tried. She's amazing!

  4. I have 78s.

    Google it, youngsters.

    MJ, age 97

  5. AJ, that's probably why you're a musician now right? It's in your blood! :)

  6. I've heard of 78s MJ dear! We had a couple while growing up! Can't remember which ones though.


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