Yup, it's true....I am wired for sound.
There is little in life that I enjoy more than music. I am a junkie and I got hooked at a pretty early age.
Our house was always filled with music, especially on a Sunday. While some people attended church, we learned to worship the Gods of music. For my mum, these were the likes of Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and pretty much anyone else who grew up singing on a porch somewhere in rural America. My mum could tell you, who hit the bottle too much, who cheated on who, who owned a three-legged dog....whatever you needed to know - she could tell ya. She also loved Engelbert, Johnny Mathis and of course Tom Jones - if you're Welsh, it's the law, you have to love the Tom. Failing to do so would result in being stoned to death or being burned at the stake....I believe you had the choice.
My dad on the other hand, loved the Rat Pack, especially Frank and Dean. Those were definitely the most played, but his record collection was vast and varied. Motown artists, big band, show tunes, pretty much a little of everything.
He housed his collection in a front room closet that he converted with just shelves to hold his hundreds of records. He also went to the effort of cataloguing each and every one, and assigning them with a reference number, that I'm pretty sure could only be cracked with the aid of an Enigma machine.
Every Sunday, for many years of my childhood I would be awoken by the sounds of my dad singing to Frank or Dean in his microphone - yes, not only did he have a mic, he had a reel to reel set up and a lightbox from Radio Shack that would pulsate to the beat of the music and send off the most dazzling array of colours throughout our living room. We had our own Vegas style lounge right in our house. On occasion, if friends were over on the weekend, I would have to hurry them past the living room down the hall to my room. Then once in the safety of my room, they'd ask....'was that your dad?' I'd reply, 'I've never seen that man before!'
On trying to escape out of the house we'd again, have to pass this spectacle, I would have to warn, 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, well more correctly - saloon doors. My parents actually installed saloon doors between our living room and kitchen - I guess the feeling of the 'wild west' was a decorating trend circa 1977?! Perhaps an ode to Gunsmoke?
Next, heading out the back door we'd have to pass by my brother and some random hippie friend, playing guitar on the back steps. I could tell which one was my brother due to the Dylan t.shirt which he was rarely without, other than that give away, they all looked the same to me. Shaggy brown hair, sandals and a guitar.
Most of my childhood memories have some sort of musical connection.
Whether it be searching for an Elton John poster to give my brother Jeff for his birthday, or having my other brother, David, try to convince me to make him 'flame pants'. Yet another one of his hairbrain ideas, he thought this could be part of his stage get-up. Inspired by KISS, he was ready to hit the world of rock n' roll and hit it hard. Never mind the fact that he had no musical talent to speak of, all he needed was some cool jeans with flames on the legs and the ability to shoot flames from his mouth! The latter, he could do! This would be only one of many schemes that he would try and recruit me for...I'm sometimes amazed that I managed to survive all of it!
Even our TV viewing usually involved music. Despite the fact that we only had channels U-13 and had to 'clunk,clunk' our way to each one of them, we still managed to fill our that big ol' console screen with tunes.
Parent faves of Lawrence Welk ( ah-one and ah-two, and of course the bubbles) and Hee Haw with Mr. Roy Clark, and then the shows that they would try and convince us were for us, Donny and Marie and the Rene Simard Show (granted he was hotter than Lawrence).
I can even remember being about 15, at McDonald's with a few friends, and singing along to the muzak. I hadn't even realized that I was doing so, until several songs in, one of my friends said, 'how do you know all of this music?'
I replied, this is Charles Aznavour...don't you know it too? It was then that I realized that indeed, I had the music in me.
There is no escaping it and for that, I am very grateful growing up exposed to such an appreciation for music.
Music has soothed me through every rough patch in life and been with me to celebrate the triumphs and every emotion in between. It can take me away to almost anywhere that I want to be, and in almost any situation, I really can find the answer in a song.
There is no greater joy for me, than to listen to a good song. One of the best things that I've passed on to my kids is my love for music and now I have 2 boys who love music as intensely as I do.
I've got the music in me....and now, so do they!