I was a child of the Seventies. Now, when most say that, they mean their late teen and early twenties years were during the Seventies and they were smack in the midst of the hippie revolution. I mean I was a child during the Seventies and my teen years began right at the tail end of that decade. But, I was always kind of old for my age and when I was ten, I fell right into that music-obsessed teen-like musician worship stage. Anyway, it seemed to me that all teens and pre-teens were music obsessed and that all conversation centered around who was hot at the moment and who had the better voice/most skill.
Since those days, I've come to realize that isn't true: not everyone centered their teen worlds on music. Unbelievable, though it may be.
They say scent is the strongest neumonic; nothing brings recall better than a familiar scent. Maybe that's true for most, but for me, nothing will bring back a moment in time more than a song, or a band, or even a musical style. Take the Super Bowl halftime show. I don't watch football, but my son called me out when The Who came on. Suddenly, I was swept back in time to when their songs were on the radio and I was in my parents' home locked away in my bedroom working on something to keep my hands busy just as an excuse to be lost in the music. The Who played a mix of some of their top songs and while some were knocking how "old" they are and how "bad" the sound was, I could only think how cool it was to see them perform and be swept away to the past. And to be fair, they gave a strong performance for a band that came out in the mid Sixties.
It was great to share the experience with my son who is older than I was when The Who was on the radio. He was impressed. For "old guys" they played well and were full of energy, which surprised the sixteen year old with tons of his own. He commented on how good the drummer was and how cool the stage looked. See? This is a kid after my own heart. He gets it. It's not only entertainment; it's an experience. [He also found it cool that their drummer for the show was none other than Zak Starkey, Ringo's kid.]
How can you go through your teen years without falling for a particular band, or a particular musician? Music captures moments of time that can't be captured in any other way, and teens are primed and ready for this musical moment-stealing.
I was swept away by many singers and many bands during those awkward years. Donny and Leif and Andy and David, plus Styx and Journey and Chicago and Air Supply … I could spend as much time with them as I could pull from homework and chores and they were always there waiting. Granted, most of the albums belonged to my big sis since she had babysitting money, but as we shared a room and she was a loving big sis, I got to use her record player and her albums.
I still vividly remember the day she brought home a new album of a band I'd never heard of. I thought they were rather odd-looking, to tell the truth, not as cute as Andy and Donny, but still, there was something fascinating about them I couldn't put my finger on (other than their odd clothing choice). And then she played the album. I was grabbed in a way no other music had ever grabbed me.
I've talked with many adults recently who were big fans of the band, as well, and so often I hear it was their looks that were the big attraction. Hmm.. I'm one of the youngest fans and no, it wasn't their looks for me. Heck, I was ten at the time or right at that. Boys were still only undecipherable creatures and interesting but rather annoying (apologies to my little brother, but he understands). It was the music.
As I grew, I moved into the Eighties with Hall & Oates and Madonna and Michael Jackson and Tears For Fears and Julian Lennon, but that band remained number one on my list. Why? Who Knows? Something about them spoke to me. In fact, it spoke loudly enough, it became a story. What were they really like past the media hoopla? What was it like to tour and live in hotels and buses and be stuck with each other for months at a time? Did they get along behind the scenes? What about girlfriends? How do you have one with that kind of lifestyle?
The questions festered until I had to start answering them. No, I didn't stalk the band. They disappeared and all that was left were those albums and the posters previously smothering our bedroom wall and then tucked safety into folders. I was stuck in a little town in the Midwest going to school and family functions. In my head, though, I was on the road. It moved well past questions about that one band to being about a band in general, and a girl who supported them.
I created my own band to answer those questions. The results were thirty-some years in the making, with tons of research and music-following in general and talking with other fans and reading music biographies, and it became my Rehearsal series. It's not why I started writing. I've been doing that since I knew what writing was. It did spur an obsession for story-telling, for discovering the whys and hows and what ifs, even if the answers are fiction. All fiction has its truths. Reading a novel may mean no more than several hours of escape. Or, it may be a moment in time that causes a lasting effect in some way.
That one moment back in the mid Seventies when I listened to that one album lovingly crafted by artists coming into their own was much more than 30 minutes of escapism. It was pure inspiration. It was lasting joy. It was a trigger. If only one of my books could do the same, that would be a legacy I would be thrilled to have.
If you're wondering, no, I'm not revealing the band name, because that's not the point (and because I called them odd-looking -- apologies to those of you who do know who I mean, but I was only ten-ish and I mostly changed my mind later).
However, for those following the CRR Blog Carnival (and for anyone else who stops by), I do have a musical prize to be drawn from those who leave comments on this post:
A CD full of music from my youth, much of which is mentioned in my Rehearsal series, plus
Rehearsal: A Different Drummer as Ebook on a signed CD. I'll draw the name on Tuesday morning to give those in other time zones plenty of time to get here. Be sure I can contact you or stop back by to see if I need your contact info!
So what about you? Were you a music-obsessed teen? Who did you listen to? If not, what was your teen obsession?
This is part of the Classic Romance Revival Valentine's Day Blog Carnival. Winners for the grand prize -- a 5-ARC package from Classic Romance Revival authors -- will be drawn from visitors commenting on the most blogs. To qualify for the grand prize, you need to register for the contest. Please visit the Classic Romance Revival blog to find details of all the blogs and to register: