What was the first music you ever bought with your own money?
The Edgar Winter Group album that featured the songs “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” I was in the eighth grade.
Any reaction from your parents?
My father came into the room and discovered the album cover with Edgar Winter in full glam rock mode, blindingly white bare-chested skin, over-the-top makeup, I think a feather boa or some such thing. He calmly took the album out of the cover, took a pair of scissors, and cut the album cover to shreds.
What did he do then?
He replaced the cover with another from his own collection and put a piece of white tape on it, carefully transcribing the title on the tape. Then he turns to me and says, “I know you spent your own money on this, and therefore you can listen to any garbage you want, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to have you turn to cross-dressing over your musical tastes.”
Do you remember the next music you bought?
Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. I would say at least 70% of the music I’ve bought since then has been classical.
(Tim Cook, Vermont)
Of course, I don’t know if developing a fondness for kilts counts as cross-dressing. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.
Thank you for inspiring me to reflect upon that memory. I lost my father three years ago and I miss him every single day. I miss them for the quirky/funny times when he could be something of a lovable curmudgeon as I do any other time.
My parents didn’t allow us to have any rock ‘n roll music in the household up to the time that my brothers started coming home from Middlebury College in the early 70s. By then it was kind of hard to not let them experiment with their eardrums.
Prior to that, the house was filled with classical music. And jazz standards. The good stuff — Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong. I’m eternally grateful to them for setting the stage for my musical tastes in this way. I feel quite bad for children growing up never knowing what it’s like to experience these other, more classical modes music. I think that like a lot of things, if you don’t have the taste for it early in life, it’s difficult to develop it later on.
Having said that, I very clearly remember the first time I would sneak into my brother David’s room when he was out of the house, slip in one of those 8 track tapes, put those humongous earphones with the the telephone-type cord on over my head, and have the first sounds of the Mick and the Rolling Stones, or Creedence Clearwater, or Eric Clapton running through my head. I’ve never been interested in illicit drugs, but I have to believe that the dopamine surge would be pretty much analogous to what happened in my brain at that time.
Funny thing about 8 track tapes. Because they served as my introduction to a lot of music, and they had this tendency to switch from track to track in mid-song, and given how a lot of the music from that time had very long songs, for a while I can remember thinking that there were two separate songs when in fact it was one continuous song broken up into two pieces. This even happened with the classical music I would listen to. It wasn’t until I would buy the same music in album form for myself that I would realize that it was one continuous song.
Thanks again for the memories!