Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the soundtrack of our lives

I've been enjoying reading all kinds of comments recently. (The Hobbit House post will continue taking comments, well... so can everything else since they all come to me to moderate.) :)

I love the comment reminding me of... Mr. Conductor!!! Why didn't I think of that? Christopher loved Thomas the Train Engine, especially the original episodes with Ringo. So, I know I'm not a complete failure as a homeschooling mother because I do remember telling him about the Beatles at that time. He doesn't remember. Of course, he also doesn't remember any of the grammar and sentence structure we studied during that time either.

There were two instances last week I asked him who his homeschool teacher and why she didn't teach him the important things of life. One was the said conversation about music, if I remember the other was about movies. Obviously we needed to review curriculum, perhaps we should have added "20th Century Culture"???

Although, we did chat yesterday about "what group or person was the musician of a particular decade" in the 20th century. I remembered reading it was Frank Sinatra in the 40s, Elvis in the 50s, the Beatles in the 60s (although I'd split that decade and pick The Beach Boys the first part of it and the Beatles the second... but whoever made the list didn't ask my opinion), John Denver represented the 70s and I think it was Garth Brooks for the 90s.

I couldn't remember who represented the 80s but Christopher thought it would be Michael Jackson (whose only song I liked was Rockin' Robin and even then I preferred the 1950s version).

Going back to the Beatles... imagine going through life and not knowing the haunting lyrics to Yesterday, or Something, or the delightful When I'm Sixty-four. Then there are all their songs just made for philosophical debate... like Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds... as in... what were they smoking when they wrote this... catchy beat, though.

While a certain nineteen year old says he doesn't know who the Beach Boys are, he has certainly heard their music in this house. Guess he didn't associate the name with the song... sigh. How many times has he heard his father sing Help Me Rhonda and ask that very important historical question... was it the Beach Boys or Jan and Dean who sang Little GTO?

Although hubby and I were not raised in the same town (we just barely went to high school in the same decade), we had one thing in common... summers with our radio tuned to WLS in Chicago! I think it's now talk radio all day but back then it was.... magic. It was a different time and place when the radio was king (and the music was, for the most part, clean).

You do notice there was no confusion over John Denver... or Elvis? Other favorites like Johnny Cash (whose songs tell the soul of America) should be well known in this house. Having been raised by Southern parents, my nostalgia is definitely found in the already mentioned Johnny and the music of Willie Nelson.

My mother-in-law hated country music but she owned Willie's Stardust album... what's not to love? Then there is the cowboy music of George Strait and Marty Robbins or the angelic bluegrass songs of Alison Krause.

It all has to be the fault of those ear plugs. When Stephanie was home, the house was filled with music. Steph was our song bird and she had (has) the loveliest voice. Christopher tells people there's a reason his original i-pod songs were mostly show tunes and contemporary Christian music from the 1990s... the influence of his big sister.

There was the year she was in a chorus that performed Beauty and the Beast. I wonder if Christopher remembers her singing the entire musical to him over and over when he was little. We did have a cassette player but who needed it when we had his sister at home?

So... all this to say it's all the fault of those ear buds and earphones and having our songbird move away. No one wants to hear me sing. I haven't a clue why...

May we wax poetic over the music of our youth... we haven't even gone down the road of Yo Yo Ma, yet... or the Carpenter's... or the Fifth Dimension... or the music of the Jesus People... or Frank and Dean... sigh.

I know there are wonderful contemporary Christian and Gospel songs as well as the "old hymns of the faith" but sometimes I just love to hear the best the secular market has to offer. That music which is lovely (at least to individual preference), not that which defiles the imagination.

While writing this, I remembered a post written back in 2006 where I pondered "music, technology, and the soundtrack of my life". It can be found here...


Packrat said...

I just read your "old" music post, too. Great posts, both. I'm sure your son has heard the instrumental versions of quite a few these songs (Yesterday, to name one) and just doesn't realize who wrote them and originally performed them.

Do you remember Sing Along with Mitch (Miller??)? We watched that and Lawrence Welk (because that is what the parents had on TV). Gotta love the Lennon Sisters.

I could go on and on, but won't. Thanks for the memories! (Help! Who sang that at the end of each show?)

Anonymous said...

Having been raised by parents born in the early 1900s they taught us their songs + the ones my grandparents taught them. In school we had all the fun holiday songs of youth and the patiotic songs. Do the school children learn Any of these now? One thing I remember and love was hearing the bands in parades. Our little town had parades for all the holidays. Standing on the sidelines when the drums went by was a thrill! How hollow life would be without music!! From the merry-go-round music to the Beatles to those special hymns you love music it is all a real gift from God. Jody

G.L.H. said...

I always tune to the Saturday-night-syndicated-1970's show to see if possibly this is the week they feature 1973, my Senior Spring. Music takes you back to where you were then, and the "good feelings" come with the music.

I was also fortunate enough to have a sister twelve years older (graduated 1961) and one six years older (graduated 1967), so I had a full dose of Western Swing, folk music, Beatles, Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas, etc. as well as my parents' favorite, Big Bands and Standards.

A "musical education" doesn't have to mean only the classics or church music, does it?

Anonymous said...

Oh Brenda,

Ron Riley, 7pm on WLS...summer nights...staying up late...playing "Nighthawks" with the gang...sitting on the porch listening to our parents talk and have coffee...planning what to do tomorrow because it was going to summer forever...

Thanks for the memories.

Debbie said...

I was much more into Joan Baez or Joni Mitchel than the hard rockers. Oh, The Moody Blues was a favorite too!
Thanks, your post was fun! Music , secular or not, speaks to my soul too.

Vee said...

I'm going back to read your "old post." Loved this one. Music takes us back to another time and place faster than anything except food. (I have strong memories attached to food.)

WLS used to be all music? I've been listening to it as a talk radio station for nearly a decade...since the computer arrived and because AM radio stations didn't come in clearly.
Not all talk all the time...just my three-hour fix.

Still watch Lawrence Welk with my grandmother whenever I'm with her on Saturday evenings at 5. Apparently, that amounts to a couple of times a month. I just grin to think about old lady like me with her grandmother still getting a kick out of all that vintage music. The L.Welk singers even tamed down the tame songs, but they sang them. ;D

I'm sure that Christopher's music education will continue. Mine has. It includes Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, and Sting among others. Oh, and my dear husband has introduced me to country. Never had been there for long before.

Have a good day, Brenda!

Vee said...

Oh yes, I enjoyed the older post as well. When you spoke of your husband's being able to dance about the floor when a much loved and well recognized song from his teen/young adult years, I grinned for this is true here, too. We, he and I, have known each other for years, but being separated by a decade does make a difference in one's musical preferences. Nevertheless, a song that gives one a bounce to the step...well, that's the power of music.

Anonymous said...

I love music-and I agree some of the "oldie" really are the best! and in response to Jody-the two schools that my children attended here in CT have included many patriotic songs in their music lesson. Alisa

scrappy quilter said...

Great posts and wonderful memories. Remember Mamma Mia...still enjoy their music. And the Mamma and Pappa's. What fun to remember...

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

On, WLS...yes, it was magic..with a transitor radio, nonetheless! What fond memories for me.

We recently lost an extended family member unexpectedly and this statement of yours..."but sometimes I just love to hear the best the secular market has to offer" was exactly what I turned to at work that week during lunch.
I listened to CCR, Mommas and Poppas, Peter Paul Mary (LOVE the youtube vidoes of PPMary) among others. I love the tropicalglen site for the top 100 songs for specific years.

Music has such an emotional
connection for me. Thanks for the reminder about WLS.

Sue said...

You are so right, Brenda.

Music has always played such an important part of my life...when I was close to the Lord and when I was far from him. The playlist on my blog has 98 songs on it. It pretty much chronicles my no particular order.

Sue said...

Forgot to add...I also sat GLUED to WLS in my youth. You might want to check out this post on my blog: