Since travelling is off the table right now in my life’s journey, I thought I’d share something with you that is near and dear to my heart – music! I’ve already written about some music I run to in article from about 5 years ago – My Running Music, and my good friend Lizzie and I recorded an awesome podcast episode last year – Episode 23: Running/Exercise Music, Part 1, so definitely check those out. Hopefully Lizzie and I can get to a Part 2 soon.
Now I’d just like to get to music that helped mold and form me as well as music that had a major impact on my life, and music that I am listening to today. This should be a lot of fun. Maybe some of this will be nostalgic for you, and maybe you will discover new music.
Music is powerful, and each song affects an individual in different ways. It can be so personal. A song can remind you of a loved one such as a family member, or it can remind you of a crush you had in school, or it can remind you of being crushed. It can remind you of great times in your life. It can get you through a tough workout or run, or get you through tough personal times in your life.
Since I am now 50 years old, there’s no way I am going to fit this all in one article. Hell, only about 10% of the people who started reading this article have made it this far in! Ewww, words! So, I will pretty much split this up into decades. Honestly I have no idea which songs I’m going to pick, so I’m winging it. But since it’s about music, I know this is going to be fun!
Childhood Television Music
I was born in 1970. Thanks to some internet quizzes, I discovered that the #1 song on the charts the day I was born was “War” by Edwin Starr which is pretty badass I must say. It’s a Soul song that also rocks. But, I didn’t come out of the womb paying attention to Billboard charts, so let’s jump ahead to music that I first remember hearing.
Less than a year before I was born, a brand new children’s television show debuted on PBS brought to us by the Children’s Television Workshop. That show was called Sesame Street. What better way to learn than from Muppets and music?! I learned that “C is for Cookie“, who the “People in Your Neighborhood” are, and that “Rubber Duckie” makes bath time lots of fun. Not only could I watch the show on television, but I could listen to the albums as well. I remember having a couple of Sesame Street albums.
And I think my favorite one was The Year of Roosevelt Franklin. I’ve always been drawn to Soul music, and now I may know why. This album came out in 1971. At the same time that I heard this music, The Jackson 5 had a cartoon out as well as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. As far as Roosevelt Franklin goes, tell me that “Roosevelt Franklin Counts” and “Mobity Mosely’s Months” don’t get stuck in your head, and I’ll call you a liar!
And to wrap up Children’s Television, after Sesame Street came on, there was Mister Rogers, which was then followed by my favorite show – The Electric Company. There was music in that show, but the best song is the iconic opening theme. Now that I think about it, it was a funny transition going from the calm, soothing Mister Rogers to Rita Moreno’s “HEY YOU GUUUUUUYS!!!!!!” [side note, Rita Moreno is incredible in the new One Day at a Time. So I highly recommend you check that show out.]. Anyway, the opening song is great, and what is cooler than Morgan Freeman jogging while wearing jeans, a jean jacket, shoes, and shades?
My Parents’ Music
As a small child, I wasn’t old enough to go out and buy my own music, or even be able to reach the radio to change the station. Remember these?
So, I would listen to whatever my parents listened to, which was quite a wide range of music. My dad was into a lot of Country and Folk music back then. One of my earliest memories was listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, and my dad getting me to memorize the lyrics to “Puff, the Magic Dragon“. I must have been around 3-years old at the time, 4 at the most. And this is where my dark twisted mind started taking shape. There were these lines:
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar
At that young age, I thought those lyrics meant that Jackie Paper died. Why would I go there, and how would I have even known about death at that time?!
Ohhhhhhhh! [Paul has an a-ha moment]
I also remember listening to a lot of John Denver in those early days. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” stands out to me.
I guess I loved his haircut so much that I had it for about 14 years!
And if you watched that John Denver video, you would have seen Johnny Cash there. He was another one of my favorites. My dad had a couple of his albums, including Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. I could not get enough of “Ring of Fire“. And I thought Johnny Cash looked so badass.
Of course, I could not talk about music in my early years without mentioning my mom’s all-time favorite – Neil Diamond. She had every single album he came out with and I don’t even know how many times she saw him in concert. I definitely leaned more towards his rockin’ music than his lite contemporary music. I loved “Cherry, Cherry“, “You Got to Me“, “Cracklin’ Rosie“, and one of my favorites, “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show”:
And of course, this little known song:
And the first time I ever saw an 8-track tape, it was my mom’s Beautiful Noise tape by Neil Diamond.
Did Neil Diamond jump the shark? We shall find out next time as Part 2 of this series into the ’80s!
In the meantime, let me know what you think. Does any of this bring back memories for you? Is any of this new to you? Feel free to tell me your story. You can comment below, or you can reach me and comment at the following places:
You can also download and subscribe to the Journey of the Rhode Runner Podcast at:
Or anywhere you normally get your podcasts from.
Until next time, I’ll see you out on the Rhode.
P.S. You can get the following albums on Amazon if you’d like: