I sing along to the radio while I drive. I play the drums on the steering wheel, belt out the melody, and even imitate the guitar line with the universal “neer na neer” sound. (On the way to work the other day, I found myself singing along to Free Bird. It’s a shame my generation has forgotten the glory of a guitar solo longer than the entire rest of the song.) Once upon a time, I even wanted to be a music teacher. Now that I realize how bad Jr. High smells, I’m sort of glad my life didn’t end up heading that direction. The point is that I am a music lover.
Just like an entire female generation before me, I count Elvis as my first music obsession. When our VCR ate my VHS copy of performances by The King, my parents bought me another one. While the first tape had focused on the hip-gyrating, black-leather wearing Elvis of his youth, the second tape followed his journey to its sad, white, sequin-splattered, sweaty, obese finish. Turns out I learned about rock and roll AND the dangers of excessive narcotics/bacon at a young age.
After a brief and embarrassing Amy Grant phase, I happily sailed right past the boy band era (unlike some people I could name.) The first CD I ever bought was Zeppelin IV, and, just like an entire male generation before me, I locked myself in my bedroom for hours with Stairway to Heaven on repeat. I was a cool 13 year old.
I was raised by parents with solid musical taste. I am infused with Journey’s power ballads and Styx from my mother, and soulful blues by Eric Clapton and George Harrison from my father. My grandparents introduced me to Vivaldi and Beethoven. I performed original scores by Mussorgsky, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Bernstein. My first roommate in college blasted Def Leppard and ACDC from her CD player high on dorm room shelves. I loved it all.
Today, I have a hard time listing my favorite musicians. Each is so tied to memory—the back roads of Cache Valley are forever linked with the Beatles, and early high school drones with Dave Matthews Band as a constant hum in the background. I’m afraid I’ll leave out a love: Norah Jones and Jack Johnson for my contemplative days, Keane when I’m feeling nostalgic. Currently, I’m in a Pink phase. (Almost bought the CD recently. Noted the parental advisory. Figured I'm supposed to be more mature than that these days.)
And here is what all of this was leading up to. The narrowing was painful, so I did it by decade.
My Official (as of today, at least) List of Favorite Artists.
1970s- Aerosmith (even though I like the later stuff better… those decades were taken.)
1980s- Queen (perhaps the overall winner! Shhh- don’t tell the others.)
1990s- Red Hot Chili Peppers (there is a place in Sardine Canyon where I am helpless against the urge to sing Zephyr in my head.)
2000s- Coldplay (I miss you, Annie.)
Who did I miss? How do you compare?