I guess musically I'm one of those guys that has frequently taken the road less travelled. My musical tastes run to more lyrical and melodic and always appear to be behind or ahead of the times or even just plain old out of sync with damn near everyone. I just want to share some of my favorite artists with folks and see if we have any intersections and points of reference for future discussion.
In order to do so, I have to provide some background, because we can't understand what music has spoken to us and when until you have an idea on the roads travelled through life. While my life has been remarkably stable over the last 25 years or so, the beginning constant was change, where we lived, who we knew, how we lived was constantly in flux. Both parents working, associated with a big corporation that povided the parents with opportunities to grow and develop and drag their kids along as they went chasing the financial rainbow to middle class status. In many ways it was idyllic and I grew up as your typical teenager, not quite fitting in but then again, the fringe was where it was at, or so we told ourselves.
This is simply a small request, to any who wonder across this place to discuss why music matters and why these artists mattered to me.
I grew up in the 60's, so around the house, we listened to both types of music, Country and Western. The sounds of Faron Young, Charlie Pride and Marty Robbins were a constant. As I started to sense something of the world around me, nighttime TV brought the mindlessness of The Monkees into my life and as such, my introduction to pop culture was completed. As I learned about the band, I was still intrigued on how these guys ended up being thrown together still managed to forge enough bonds of kinship to make some rather nifty music. My tastes trended towards the Nesmith tunes, "The Kind of Girl I could Love", "Papa Jean's Blues", and "You May Just Be The One" all struck a chord with me. Were they simple, yes, but earnest and heartfelt and were the first in my heart in regards to speaking to the romantic in my soul. While the guys have been dissected and dissed and later accepted, I still find their story fascinating all the same.
Well in my dawning adolescence I started to find that music was becoming a part of my everyday life. The band that guided me through the first awkward steps of that stage was The Raspberries. Christ on a Ritz could that Eric Carmen sing. The songs and harmonies were tight, remiscent of the Beatles, but a tad less polished, there was lust and yearning in those songs, a bit less innocence, perhaps it was the time but this was the kind of stuff that had me standing in my bedroom playing air guitar. The first music of my own that I purchased for myself was The Raspberries. While I loved Eric Carmen, I freaking adored Dave Smalley, I loved his songs and felt that his bass playing would be the examplee I needed to follow to be a rock star. naturally, I grew up a bit wiser, but like most first crushes, I never lost my passion for their music and it still brings a smile to me today. I wish that these guys had a bit better management, because there was talent, they had a sound and in my humble opinion, it was over all too soon.
After the Raspberries broke up, I was looking for new sounds and new bands to follow and in 1977 thru 1979 I became energized by the wide range of possibilities that were out there. I became enamored with ELO, The Cars, Blondie, Toto and Firefall. There was a complete dissaffection with the mainstream which was dominated by the likes of Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees. I couldn't get into the FM underground that was all about bands like ELP and Rush and I never identified with the metal heads who were still out there playing their Foghat and Kiss records. these bands simply didn't sound like every other band, they had a hook that reached me and stayed with me, be it the lyrical romantic beauty of Firefall's "Just Remember I Love You" or the young love disconnect of lost love in The Cars "Best Friends Girlfriend". Those songs spoke to my own confusion of finding a place or a purpose or some kind of reason that didn't seem to be some sort of random interaction with fate.