mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I'm behind on both Music Advent and Holidailies, now. But as Christmas gets closer I feel less and less guilty about that.

Anyway, I was watching MTP Daily on MSNBC and Chuck Todd said, seemingly just out of the blue, "Give us any chance we'll take it, give us any rule we'll break it" - and I thought, "Oh, thanks for the earworm, Chuck!" But then it caused me to remember this version.

(I hadn't heard when I posted this about Penny Marshall dying; it doesn't seem like that could just be a coincidence, though. I think they must have said it and I just missed that part at the time.)

#musicadvent 2018
Day 1: Prince does Creep -
Day 2: Pearl Jam does Petty  -
Day 3: Haley Reinhart does Gaga -
Day 4: Hot Chip does Springsteen -
Day 5: Mary Chapin Carpenter does Springsteen -
Day 6: Amy Winehouse does The Zutons -
Day 7: Chris Cornell does Prince/Sinéad -
Day 8: Feist & Ben Gibbard do Vashti Bunyan -
Day 9: David Byrne does Nancy Sinatra -
Day 10: Miley Cyrus does Nancy Sinatra -
Day 11: Linda Ronstadt does Karla Bonoff -
Day 12: Cry Cry Cry (Dar Williams, Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky) do R.E.M. -
Day 13: Sara Bareilles does Sia -
Day 14: Sara Bareilles does Elton John -
Day 15: Less Than Jake does Laverne & Shirley -
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 So the reason my sister finally invited me to come visit her was so I could go to the Armadillo Bazaar in Austin with her. She'd kept saying, "When we finish the renovations to the house you should come visit!" They have a older house (by which I mean, I dunno, 80s, maybe?)  which sustained a lot of damage in that big hailstorm they had a couple of years ago - so bad it tore all the windows out on one side of the house, and I think part of the roof, too - and the renovations seem to be ongoing, to some degree, but they're mostly done. P. said she had a guest "suite" for me to sleep in (with its own bathroom, is what she meant by that) so that part was fine. (That bedroom faces the other way than all the storm damage and as I understand it, she had her husband slept in that bedroom for a year or so because it was the only one with intact windows!)

I'll talk more about my sister and her husband at some point but right now I feel like talking about the the Armadillo Bazaar. It's technically just a Christmas gift show, but being in Austin it ends up being kinda different. I had been many years ago - I think I mentioned that at some point earlier this month. (Here.) I don't have any clear memory of where it was back then, although I would have said it was somewhere downtown, on the other side of Town Lake. Now it's at Palmer, but it's possible that's where it always was and I'd just forgotten. It's been something like 35 years, after all.

Going to Austin is always a huge nostalgia-trip for me, because college, and then also because Austin is so different from anyplace else. Austin of course has grown up in the meantime and is a big city now (I started college FORTY YEARS AGO, omg, when I think Austin had around 300,000 people) but bits of the old Austin are still there and they were totally on display where we were. Palmer Center has two parts (+ possibly some more that I don't know about), and I went to concerts at both of them back in the day. There's a conventional auditorium and then there's just a big room that I think had bleachers (so sort of like a big basketball court, I guess!), and this was where bands played. It was general admission, and you could sit down on the bleachers if you wanted or you could just stand up in the middle, Which was what most everybody did. I saw R.E.M. and, god, Howard Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood there, and more. And that's where this Armadillo Bazaar thing is held.

My sister is back to wanting to try to be a real artist again - if you've been reading here forever you may remember that she's been through this before, and she is actually talented so I don't mean to demean her about that. She does kind of mixed media stuff which is pretty fashionable these days and I think it has possibilities, commercially speaking. So anyway, what she wanted to do was look at other people's artwork and booth setups and stuff, and boy, this was a good place to do it, because this was mostly an art show. There was other stuff but there were a LOT of artists, and it's juried so they were all good. P. is one of those people who can talk to anybody, and she did stop and talk to people in the booths from time to time, and one of the artists told her that they made $18k in eleven days at this thing last year. Which is not a huge fortune but it's nothing to sneeze at, either!

I knew the Armadillo Bazaar had music because I looked at the website, but I was imagining that it was off in a separate room and I didn't think P. would want to sit down and listen. But that turned out to be wrong. The booths are all around the edges of the big room (no bleachers in evidence) and the stage and a smallish number of seats are set up in the middle. So you can walk around and still hear the music - you can't avoid it if you wanted to, in fact. It wasn't so loud you couldn't hear so it was great, actually.

We got there, as it happened, right when the 7pm entertainer was starting, and I knew who it was going to be and the name was familiar - I think he may be one of those people who's hung around the Austin music scene off and on for years - but I don't remember having heard him before. It was Ray Wylie Hubbard, and you can hear a little snippet of his stuff in the video below. I liked him a lot. I insisted on going around to where I could actually see him, briefly. (P. said, "He looks like an old man," and well, that's true. But it just seemed weird to be there listening and never see the guy.) Anyway, it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed looking at the artists, too.

I already posted this video for Music Advent, but here's Ray Wylie Hubbard from several years ago, on David Letterman:

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Well, before I get around to talking about concerts, let me tell you what happened to me in 1985, in a nutshell. I got one full-time job, replacing the two part-time ones. It still didn't pay very well, but better than I was making before. It was back in the Serials department, where I had worked before, and... I hated it. Once the new wore off, I could barely stand to go to work. I also bought a car, a used Datsun - I forget what year model it was - 82 or 83, I think. I had been in Austin all these years with no car, and having that freedom of movement was weird. And then I moved out of the co-op. I found a girl who wanted a roommate, and I moved into an apartment for the first time. (That didn't really work out so well, either. The roommate and I didn't particularly get along.)

The part of my life that did go well was my social life. I wasn't dating anybody, but I hung out with a couple of my old co-op friends, and a couple of their friends, and as you may have deduced if you've been paying attention, we did a lot of concert-going. We also went to clubs - especially we went to one gay bar on 4th Street. It was sort of fashionable for straight people to go there, at the time, but really the reason we kept going was that one of my friends was in the process of deciding to come out of the closet - which he finally did at the end of the year, to nobody's surprise. I suppose that was also related to why we went to see Frankie Goes to Hollywood (which was an education all by itself. I thought I was all grown-up and sophisticated, but... oh my). But we did plenty of other stuff, too. We went to Esther's Follies - which is apparently still going strong. We went to see small acts - we were very partial to a guy named Dino Lee, and saw him several times at different places. (Oh, look, here he is on MTV in '86, and it looks like he's still around, too.) We went to see Timbuk 3 - that's the "Future's So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades" guys - on campus, I think it was at the Cactus Cafe, which was a really small venue. I think that was just before they had the one big hit song, which is this one:

(We also saw Katrina and the Waves - another one-hit wonder act, at least in the States. I gather they were around for longer in the UK.)

We also went to bigger acts - the big ones and the medium-sized ones, too, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Howard Jones. We went to U2, which I found rather a disappointment, because I loved U2 but it was exactly like the Live at Red Rocks concert, I thought, which I had seen on MTV. There wasn't anything wrong with the concert, it just... didn't grab me like I thought it would. My Music Advent choice was U2, probably their most famous live moment, from LiveAid, which was in the summer of '85:

(I watched parts of LiveAid live, when it was originally on, but I don't think I actually saw that bit.)

I've been poking around trying to figure out when these various concerts were, and for U2 I came up with February 85. I mostly remember Bono waving a damn flag around, 30 years later, but I'm pretty sure they did sing "Bad" along with the other stuff that you'd expect. I had the EP - I think it's "Wide Awake in America" - that had the live version of "Bad" on it.

My other favorite band was R.E.M., and we saw them, too - I came up with August for a date on that one. I can't say I remember exactly what they played - I always have trouble with that part - but I remember that I loved it. I mostly have an impression of it in my head - standing on the floor of the Austin Coliseum and bouncing up and down because there wasn't enough room to really dance. (The song my brain wants to set it to didn't come out til the next year. That song will be in the next entry, because I picked it for '86. However, somewhere online I found a reference to "Fall On Me" having been played that night for the first time in public - here - and it's on the same album, so who knows? It's doubtful they played it, but possible.)

I also loved Tom Petty, and yes, we saw him too, with Lone Justice opening - I think that one was probably in July. I mention seeing Katrina and the Waves, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (my research there says June). I mentioned a few days ago seeing New Order and thinking it was boring, and I think that one was in the fall, although I haven't attempted to check my memory there. My impressions of the time of year things were often seem to have been more accurate than my memories of what year was which, though. (I remembered Fleetwood Mac being at Halloween and Echo and the Bunnymen being around the time school started, for example. But I don't always have anything like that to tie things to.)

If you're wondering how I afforded all of this on a Library Assistant's pay, well, I really couldn't. By the end of the year I was pretty badly in debt, between credit cards and the car payment. I actually sold most of my vinyl albums that fall, among other cost-saving measures. (It wasn't as much of a wrench as you'd think - CDs were starting to come along by then, and I figured vinyl albums were going to go the way of the cassette and the 8-track tape. I sold them at Half-Price books and got quite a bit of money.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Austin)
I was saying "if I thought of anything else that happened in 1982" last night - I said that because I was half-asleep at the time! - but I did actually think of something that might have been '82 or maybe even '81 - again, I'm saying that because of who I remember being with me at the time... We went to this thing, I think it was a political fundraiser, actually, but we hadn't given any money (as I keep saying, I was always quite broke during these years, I didn't really have any money to give) - somebody got hold of these tickets somewhere, though, and we went to this concert at the Austin Opry House. It was several different acts and I don't really even remember who all it was, but at the end Jerry Jeff Walker came out - he lived in Austin at that time, and may still for all I know - and Gary P. Nunn was with him and they did "London Homesick Blues" which I was absolutely thrilled by because I've always had this sort of inexplicable love for that song - inexplicable, I mean, given that I am not generally much of a country-music fan. (If the name of the song doesn't mean anything to you, you may know the chorus at least - "I wanna go home with the armadillo...")

It occurs to me that I also went to see Willie Nelson, maybe in '82 (actually on reflection I think it was a couple of years earlier), with my sister in Houston. It was at quite a small venue, somewhere on Richmond near the Galleria, so it was really cool. I say I don't like country music but actually there have always been certain acts that I like, including Willie and Jerry Jeff and others of those so-called "Texas Outlaw" guys. (I forgot to mention it, but I also know I went to see Michael Murphy on campus, in maybe 78 - I think it was at the old gym across from Jester, which is long-gone - Gregory Gym, I think? He wasn't considered a country act that time but like a bunch of those 70s acts, he was heavily country-influenced, anyway, even before he crossed over to officially being country.)

So in 1983, I graduated again. But instead of going out and getting a job, I elected to stay and do co-op things. Taos Co-op was opening that fall, and I went and was part of the group that went over in the summer and remodeled and did the paperwork involved in getting going. I got a part-time library job - it wasn't anything befitting a professional librarian at all, but I didn't care at the time (money is money), and I also got almost-free room and board from the new co-op. So that was enough to go on with. When the rest of the new co-op's residents arrived in late August (with Hurricane Alicia hot on their heels, as it happened) there were certain people that I bonded with immediately. A whole new set of friends (besides the old ones, some of whom had come over with us.) Several of these friends were male - I always do get along well with guys. A guy named Paul was my buddy for many afternoons of sitting in the hall drinking wine coolers, and a guy named Rick introduced me to a lot of new bands I hadn't heard before. One of these was Echo and the Bunnymen, who he adored, and soon I did too.
Here's "The Cutter"

I will go ahead and skip to the next year, when we would see Echo & the Bunnymen live at the Austin Opry House - it was general admission and a pretty small floor and we were packed in and in danger of getting squashed to jelly because we were right up against the stage. (There were a couple of bands opening for them - one had their own cult following which basically came for their performance and left. - I can't exactly remember who this was. I remember that the people who came and then left before the other performers seemed much more "punk" than the rest of the crowd, generally.) The middle act was Billy Bragg, who was pretty unknown in the US at the time, but he was awesome.) And then Ian and the boys. I don't remember specifically what they played. I just remember dancing my head off. (I also remember that we stopped on the way home and bought bottles and bottles of Gatorade and chugged them down. (It was August, I believe. It was damn hot.)

(I'll come back and fill in & around this later. Right now I'm going to try to get some sleep.)
mellicious: pink manicure (UT tower)
Videos at the bottom.

OK, so in 1981, I graduated from UT. But then I stayed at UT, because I decided to go to library school. ('Cause, I dunno, I like libraries. I didn't really think this out too well.) I ended up living at The Ark, which was a student housing co-op, and a really wonderful and nutso place. (It's still there, but nowadays it's called Pearl Street Co-op, I understand.) It was rather famous for its parties. That fall, as I remember it, we paid the unheard-of sum of $1000 to have local favorite Stevie Ray Vaughn play at one of the parties. We would get some kind of temporary liquor license (this was how it was explained to me, anyway) and we could basically operate as a club for the night, and sell beer and everything. Well, honestly, I can't tell you much about Stevie Ray's performance because I over-indulged with the beer and I really don't remember a lot of it. I do remember that I wandered into the house living room before the performance and Stevie Ray was in there waiting to go on. I don't think I exactly knew what he looked like, although I did know who he was, he was sort of a cult figure around Austin at that time. I just mostly remember him looking at me and my friend like, "Who the hell are these people?" And I remember that there was a mob there and and we made the thousand bucks back several times over, and we bought new washers and dryers, as I recall. (Another thing I don't remember is exactly why I know all these technical details - I must have been on some committee. Everything in co-ops is done by committee.)

Oh, and the little kicker to that story is that that same weekend there was a Rolling Stones concert in Dallas, which I couldn't go to because I had a job. (Unlike as an undergrad, I was paying my own way in grad school.) Many of my friends got up hung over the next morning and drove to Dallas - or maybe they never went to bed at all, I'm not sure which. But in any case, I was told by what I considered to be reliable sources that the Rolling Stones knew about our party, and said something about it onstage, of all the crazy things. (This makes a certain amount of sense because Stevie Ray's brother Jimmie was in the Fabulous Thunderbirds, at the time, and the T-Birds were opening for the Stones on that tour.)

I was a lot more interested in the co-op and generally having a good time than I was in grad school, really, but I enjoyed library school. Most of what I learned is of course totally obsolete now, but it was interesting. I took a lot of reference classes, which meant a lot of hanging out in the library trying to look things up without computers. It was like puzzle-solving, it was fun. We did actually get mainframe time to do research once or twice - you had to parse your queries just so, almost like writing a computer program.

I was trying to remember any concerts I went to in 1981 and everything I was thinking of seems to have been in 1982, so I will save those for the next entry. I spent a fair amount of time watching MTV, although we generally liked to think we were above all that kind of thing, and we made fun of it a lot. That was the year "Bella Donna" came out, and I remember that Stevie Nicks' voice really annoyed me at first (I think it's "Leather and Lace" I'm thinking about) but eventually "Edge of Seventeen" kind of won me over. Joan Jett was a huge thing, too, and Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl."

Two Music Advent selections for 1981:
first, John Lennon, which I mentioned yesterday

and secondly, representing the MTV era, Billy Idol (with a video directed by Tobe Hooper - which I didn't know until I looked this up yesterday):

(Oh, I loved this so at the time!)
mellicious: pink manicure (Austin)
I posted a Lennon song for 1981 - it was released posthumously - but I wanted to say before I forget about it again that I know exactly where I was when I heard that John Lennon was dead: in an elevator. It was in the dorm (Dobie has 26 floors, unless you lived down low you spent a lot of time in elevators, or waiting for elevators) and I think they had come on during Monday Night Football and announced it. (I am correct on that one.) The funny thing is, I had never especially been a Beatles fan and I had been "discovering" or rather rediscovering the Beatles, more like, just before that happened - I say rediscovering because you couldn't live through that era and not already know a lot of their songs. But I was too little the first time around, and by the time I got to the age where I was interested in music they had broken up. I spent the 70s being unimpressed by the Beatles, really - you know how kids are, it was just old stuff - but around the time Lennon released Double Fantasy in 1980 I had gotten interested, so it was more of a punch in the gut for me than it would have been if it had happened earlier, oddly. And of course, it was such a huge story because of the way it happened.

(I wrote this first with a reference to Jodie Foster - I was thinking that it was Mark David Chapman who was obsessed with Jodie Foster, when in fact it was John Hinckley, a few months later. It took me a while to un-confuse myself there, and I feel really silly about that now! But heck, this whole thing where I've been writing these year-a-day entries is one big test of my memory, and it's not the first time I've discovered that I was conflating events.)

I was kind of a mess in 1980, really - around the time that happened was when I practically collapsed, at the end of that semester. I was taking 18 or 19 hours, part of which was student teaching, and that was a bad semester, generally. I got good grades in the end, as I recall, but I barely got through it. I sort of liked student teaching - I liked the kids, anyway - but I knew I wasn't cut out to be a teacher, and that wasn't helping. (That was what spurred the sort of last-minute panicked decision that next spring to go to library school, because I didn't know what the heck else to do.)

I was trying to think about concerts we went to - I never went to a lot as an undergrad because I was always chronically short of cash, but I'm pretty sure I went to see Jackson Browne in the fall of '80. That was a good concert. (That sounds like I'm saying I'm not sure I went, but it's actually just when that I keep having problems with - except in this case I remember enough about the surrounding events that I know when it had to have been.)  If I went to anything else big that year I don't remember it - as far as concerts, I mean. I do remember going to a big Halloween party at the Texas Union with at least one iconic Austin band playing there - and I can't remember who I'm thinking of right now, if I remember I'll edit it in later. (Not Stevie Ray or The Thunderbirds, although I'll have a little bit to say about them later. This was not anybody who ever got really famous.) (added, a year later, because I just now re-read this and something clicked in my brain: Joe King Carrasco is who I was talking about above, as an iconic Austin band. But that was when Austin was a much smaller town, too.)

This also seems like a good time to mention that the concert that I always wanted to go to and never could get tickets to was Springsteen, because he was the really legendary live act at the time. At that time, remember, it was before he was truly a major artist - he was doing arena shows, but he was not really mainstream until later on. (I did win a copy of Springsteen's album "The River" from radio station KLBJ - I believe that was in 1980 - and I bet I still have that somewhere. I sold a lot of my vinyl albums, but I might've hung onto that one.)

(Another thing that I did not do much of, then or later, partly because I was always chronically short of money and partly because I just never had friends who were into it that much, was go and hang out at the famous Austin venues like Antone's and the Armadillo. I did see a good many of the acts who came out of that music scene at one time or another and I'll tell you about what I remember about that as I go along. Most of my concert-going years were still to come, in 1980.)

My 1980 song is an early example of the Police, because I was afraid if I didn't get them in now they'd get eclipsed by all the more new-wave-y stuff later on - I guess they count as New Wave but I don't really lump them in with Duran Duran etc in my mind! I did see them on tour along about 82, I think - it was the Ghost in the Machine tour, I believe. (I can remember some of the concerts by the t-shirts they were selling, and figure out what tour it was from that.) I was not really a big Police fan until later on - after all, at the time their most famous lyric was "Da da da da" (well, that and "Roxanne") and it took me a while to figure out they were a bit deeper than the average band.

(And I just realized that I used the lyrics to the wrong song for the title of this entry, but oh well. It just means I have to think of something else for the next entry!)

As I said on Twitter, I really thought for a while that this song was called "Canary in a Coma" - Sting's enunciation is not as famously mushy as, say, Michael Stipe's, but I don't think it was very clear on that particular song!
mellicious: pink manicure (UT tower)
I felt like the 70s should have an Eagles entry for Music Advent (just like I felt like the 60s should have a Beatles entry) and Hotel California was the Eagles album that was a huge thing in 1977 (although I think it was officially released in '76). I didn't especially want to be so obvious as to pick "Hotel California" the song, so instead I picked "The Last Resort," which was really my favorite one off that album anyway:

1977 was the year I graduated from high school. (Yeah, I know, I'm old, in case you hadn't figured that out already. I seem to be the oldest person doing Music Advent so that makes me feel it every day.) This entry from 2007 talks about how I ended up going to UT rather than somewhere else, so I won't repeat that. I wasn't at the very top of my class because I was kind of a slacker, but I was firmly in the top 10% and I had good SAT scores, so basically I could go just about anywhere I wanted, short of Harvard or Princeton. I was in All-State Choir that year and I was pretty full of myself, but I was geekier than ever, too, and I only turned 17 a month before graduation, so that kind of balanced things out. ("Obnoxious and immature" probably about covers it.) (The entry I linked above also talks about how my parents tried to get me to go to school somewhere closer to home, because I was so young. But I was adamant and I won that one.)

(I keep wanting to reference these: the posts I wrote for holidailies one year - 2007, apparently - about music: grade school, the breathing issue (which you could also call high school part 1), high school part 2, college ) Basically, I've been talking off and on this year about choir and how much I loved music and stuff, but I didn't try to tell the whole story about that, because I knew I had done that previously. So in case anybody is actually interested in hearing all that, there it all is!)

So, I had gotten into UT and I had gotten accepted as a music major, which was a whole separate thing, and sometime in the summer I went off to Austin for freshman orientation. You registered for classes and I think you could take advanced placement classestests, which I did, and they took you around on tours of campus and taught you the words to "Texas Fight" and all that kind of stuff. I mostly mention this because it intersects with the biggest cultural phenomenon of 1977, which was the original Star Wars. Somehow - I would really like to know how - the RAs running orientation had gotten their hands on a Darth Vader mask, and there were Star Wars jokes all over everything. (I particularly remember them acting out the Force Choke sequence.) I knew that there was a movie called "Star Wars" that had come out, and I think I knew that it was probably something I would like, but I hadn't seen it yet. Most people hadn't, I don't think. But you can bet that I went running to see it as soon as I got home (and for a miracle, it was actually showing at home). (Possibly they had subdivided the one big theater into several smaller ones at that point, anyway - and cineplexes were starting to pop up in Houston, as well. So it was not as hard to get to see movies as it had been previously.)

Is it necessary to say that I loved it? I loved it. I didn't buy a bunch of merchandise, because I was supposed to be too old for that kind of thing and because I was a poor college student and never had any cash, but my big Christmas present in 1977 was a stereo and at the top of the pile of albums was the Star Wars soundtrack. (The stereo also had an 8-track player, but 8-tracks were on the way out by then, although I obviously was unaware of that at the time. I think things I had on 8-track included some Aerosmith album with "Dream On" on it, and maybe some Steely Dan. But the Star Wars soundtrack was on vinyl.) It was also the first movie that I went to see multiple times in the theater, mostly with various groups of kids. My mother never understood going to see movies more than once, and for that matter she never understood Star Wars, - I remember at some point in the early 80s watching it on TV, maybe on cable, by that time - and my mother being flabbergasted that both my sister and I knew all these lines from it. (My sister was not what you'd call a geek, at all, so I think I was a little surprised by that one myself.)

Anyway - I duly moved up to Austin in August (and except for a couple of summers early on, I would stay for the next decade or so) - I lived in Jester, for those of you who know what that is (here's the inevitable Wikipedia article) - and actually you can more or less see my room in that picture. I lived in the smaller wing facing the picture there, on the first floor - which was not the ground floor, on that side. Our room was right above the entrance on that side and some previous occupant had painted a longhorn on the window, so it stood out. It was all girls at my end of that wing, but right down the hall were boys, which was sort of radical at the time and frankly I'm not sure my parents knew about that when they let me live there. (Mostly we didn't interact with them much, anyway.)

Oh, I almost forgot to say that my freshman year at UT was also Earl Campbell's senior year, and UT was ranked #1 going into the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame - which we resoundingly lost - but Earl won the Heisman and football season was a blast. The football players lived in Jester East, which was the other building, and normal students didn't actually have much interaction with them, unless they happened to be in your classes or something. They even had their own dining hall. My one personal interaction with Earl was running smack into him in a stairwell later on - about all I can tell you is that he was huge. It was like running into a wall.

I was looking at 1977 in music and I don't see a whole lot there that I'm moved to talk about and this is plenty long already anyway. Well, maybe a couple of things: somewhere in that entry I linked is a note that "You Light Up My Life" is from that year and in fact is the #1 song of the '70s, which I'm not sure I knew. I do remember that it was a huge hit, and I really kind of liked it (I had the sheet music, inevitably), although we also mocked it a great deal. Another album that I know I had - I think I bought it when on some trip to Austin earlier in the year - was Dan Fogelberg's "Nether Lands" which I adored. I may get around to talking about him later in the next couple of entries, because he was one of my favorites for years. He was more or less in the same sort of country-rock genre as the Eagles - nobody called it that at the time, but there were definite country influences there - but more... bombastic than the Eagles. At least some of the time. Here, I'll give you an example. (Bombastic was kind of in at that time, anyway - I may get to another couple of examples, coming up!)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
In the late 70s I was heavily into classical music, and '76 was the year that Barbara Streisand released a classical album, so I figured this was a way to slide in a little example of classical music and still be semi-current with what was going on that year. This was also the year that her remake of A Star Is Born came out, so it was a big year for her. (I saw it; it didn't seem totally terrible to me at the time, although I think I had seen the '50s remake and so knew it wasn't as good as that one. But in any case, however the movie itself was received, the music from it was a big hit that year.)

Here's a translation (I have no idea how accurate this is, it came from here:
"In the wavering balance of my feelings
Set against each other
Lascivious love and modesty
But I choose what I see
And submit my neck to the yoke;
I yield to the sweet yoke."

I never sang that song but I always thought it was really pretty - it might well have been deliberately left off the official list of appropriate music for high school singers, now that I think about it (there was one, for Solo and Ensemble contest) since I assume "the sweet yoke" is a veiled sexual reference. Anyway, it's from Carmina Burana, which hardly anybody - including me, frankly - knows much about after that one bit of it that you hear all the time. (I think that's "O Fortuna," right?)

Let's talk about the Bicentennial. 1976 was a year of American-everything - we sang almost exclusively American songs in choir, even. It was one big, mostly really boringly-presented and probably inaccurate history lesson that lasted for a whole year. It did leave a lasting impression on some things, though - like quilting more or less became popular again because of it. Schoolhouse Rock even did special Bicentennial segments. There was sort of a fad for things like the tall ships and of course there was a ton of merchandise. I remember somebody saying at the time "the big bore is almost over" and that's about how most people felt about it after it had been going on for a while.

In the non-classical music world, it was the year of "Bohemian Rhapsody" - which I loved the minute I heard it - and "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and I think disco was starting to be a fad by then, too, although it didn't hit its peak until later. I see "Convoy" on the top 100 list so I guess it was the year of the CB radio fad, too - one of the more inexplicable fads that I remember. There were a bunch of faddish songs that year too, like "Afternoon Delight" and
I think "Squeeze Box"  could sort of be considered one too, since it doesn't sound like anything else the Who did. "Welcome Back Kotter" was a huge thing, too. We were up to maybe 5 TV stations by then - in Houston it was 2, 11, 13 (which were the networks) and then 26 and 39, which were mostly reruns, so there still wasn't a lot of choice about what you watched on TV.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
I loved Elton John when I was a teenager, and I remember I especially loved this song when it came out, so for 1975, I give you (a '76 live version, actually) of "Someone Saved My Life Tonight". (It's a long song; if you stick with this all the way through, you may notice that Elton appears to be running out of voice by the end of it, in which case let's hope it was the encore of that concert.)

The Wikipedia page for the song says that the length was supposed to be cut down for the radio, and Elton had enough pull at that time that he was able to force them to release it as is. (Before I started this, I didn't realize how many big hit songs had their own Wikipedia pages.) I think I responded to the tone of desperation in this song, as a teenager. I also think I was vaguely confused about what the song meant because I had gotten the general idea by then that Elton John was gay, but really I think the meaning was pretty clear ("altarbound, hypnotized/sweet freedom whispered in my ear") and what I thought it meant was basically correct.

I mentioned before (in the 1970 entry, I believe, if you really want to know) that at some point I was given a little dinky cassette player for Christmas, and at some point (maybe the same year or maybe not) I was also given a cassette of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - I'm not sure any more about what year was what, but GYBR came out in '73 so that's the earliest that part could have happened, anyway. I know I also got a Jackson 5 album and it's possible that all of that happened in 73, because certainly the Jacksons were still popular by then. (I think "Ben" had come out by then so Michael was already having some solo success as well.) I know I listened to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album a lot because I still pretty much know every song on it. Later I bought or was given an Elton John songbook with the music to a lot of the early John/Taupin output - I remember picking out "Skyline Pigeon" on the piano and also some things I had never heard before, like "Where To Now St Peter?" - and I remember playing "Your Song" in the choir hall at some point and everybody singing along.

Elton John is not the most uncool artist to admit to having liked, so let me tell you about some of the less cool stuff: I know I loved The Captain and Tennille - everybody did. (Well, probably not everybody, but they were pretty popular in my circle of 14-16 year olds, anyway.) I loved Barry Manilow and especially I loved "Mandy" - I remember being at my best friend Julia's house and trying to call in to the radio station to request it. The Carpenters were still a big thing, and Neil Diamond, and The Eagles were starting to be a big thing. I remember at some point during high school being mad that my mother wouldn't let me go with some kids to an Eagles concert. (Until I had a car for my own use, the second half of my senior year, trips to Houston with other kids were not much allowed unless there was one or more adults along. And even then I couldn't go anywhere out of town without permission.)

In 1975, I of course did not have a drivers' license because I was just turning 15, but I took drivers' ed that summer and I had a learners' permit, and the fact is that my mother was sick of driving us everywhere, especially my endless choir practices and various related activities, and once I got the hang of driving, she let me drive around town without her along quite often - more and more as I got closer to being 16. She claimed later not to remember this.

Also in 1975, I suppose (or if there was a lag in such things getting to small towns it could have been '76), my mother actually allowed us to go see the movie of Tommy. I wonder if she knew about the part where Tommy gets molested as a child, or about the Acid Queen. Anyway, I liked the music - which I think was why we wanted to go see it in the first place, and I know I thought the film was interesting but I don't think I really loved it. (Which, if you've seen it, is pretty reasonable. I haven't rewatched the whole thing since I saw it in the theater, I think, but the three or four sequences I've watched in the last couple of days confirm the impression I already had that it was in fact a pretty bad movie. But in bits and pieces, it's still interesting. Tina Turner! Jack Nicholson - singing! Oliver Reed! Pretty shirtless Roger Daltrey!)

Bonus video: the Pinball Wizard sequence from the movie, with, guess who, Elton John:
mellicious: pink manicure (cat - yuck)
So the song representing 1974 ended up being the Doobie Brothers:

I was thinking of "Sweet Home Alabama" just because I remember it so vividly from that year, but the whole Neil Young business sticks in my craw and I couldn't bear to use it. (Wikipedia has a whole page on the song including a section on the controversy in case you don't know what I'm talking about.) The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have apparently claimed at various times that they didn't mean to say they supported George Wallace, but if that's true they should've made that clearer. I do buy that they may well have meant the lyrics generally as a sort of "not all Southerners" thing, in a way, but still, it's not much of an excuse. So as a general representative of that kind of music, I give you the Doobie Brothers instead. They're a California band, as I understand it, but it's about the South, at least! And I loved this song at the time, although I'm not sure I really knew who sang it back when I was 14. The Doobie Brothers were not as famous then as they'd become later on.

(Plus if I was still waffling about SHA, there's the Confederate flag on the cover of the single. Ugh.)

This was also the year of "Hooked on a Feeling" - people went around going "oohga-oohga-oohga-chaka" all the time - but that's gotten so much airplay from Guardians of the Galaxy that I didn't feel like that would be that interesting a choice. (I do still love that song, though.) (Incidentally, I watched GotG the other night on iTunes - it's still awesome. I don't know why I love it so much, but I do. Also the HD picture AND the sound were surprisingly awesome on my 20" computer screen and dinky little Dell speakers.)

Wikipedia lists the #1 song of the year as "Kung Fu Fighting" which I find a bit surprising, though I do know that when people weren't going "oohga-chaka" they were doing fake kung fu chops, that year. (But actually kung fu & karate had been sort of a craze for several years, as I remember it.)

Of course this was also the year that Nixon resigned. I remember that the Watergate hearings were on the TV endlessly in the summer, and we were mad because by then we were in the habit of watching soap operas when we were home, and they weren't on, most of the time, because they were pre-empted by the news. ("All My Children" was the one we especially watched, at that time.)

Added: One thing about Guardians of the Galaxy that I apparently failed to take in the two times I saw it in the theater, and I'm sure many or most of you are ahead of me on this - I didn't really snap to the big gap between the time Peter Quill was abducted by aliens (1988, the movie says) and the time the songs on the Awesome Mix were from, in the 70s. In other words, they were not the songs that he would have chosen at the time, they were the songs his mother liked when she was his age, maybe. Meaning that his mother was probably somewhere in my general age range, maybe a little younger, if anything. (I was 28 in 1988, plenty old to have a kid.) I only figured this out because I was looking up the songs of 1973 the same night I was watching the movie - although actually I think it was the date of his abduction that I was a bit unclear on.
mellicious: pink manicure (not all who wander are lost)
(Be warned: I wrote this entry at work and the memories in it are disjointed even by my low standards.)

I have iTunes radio blasting rather loudly in the whole building trying to wash "Cover of the Rolling Stone" out of my head. (I'll put the video link at the bottom. This one has a series of Rolling Stone covers to go with the song, which is kind of neat to look at.) Not that there's anything wrong with the song, but it's been stuck in my head for two days and I'm ready for a new earworm. (Memo to iTunes: on what planet does a cover of "Falling Slowly" from The Voice count as "alternative" music?)

OK, so 1973, the year Rolling Stone became a household name  - well, in some households, anyway - was also the year I started high school. I had sung in choir through junior high, but high school "a cappella" choir was a whole new world. For one thing, it was full of people a lot older than me - there were only a handful of freshmen and I was as always the youngest freshman. (I was allowed in, I think, on the basis of being able to sight-read music rather than really on the quality of my voice.)

Choir was really the only thing I really cared about in high school. I could coast through most classes - with the exception of algebra, which I spectacularly failed to get the hang of and almost failed that year. I just squeaked through. I did better in geometry, the next year, but nobody found a way to explain algebra to me at that time in a way that made sense to me. I'm not sure anybody tried too hard to explain it to me, quite honestly - it was the 70s and the idea that a girl would need to know higher math was still pretty radical.

The choir geeks liked to hang out in the music building at all hours, and the choir director did not seem to discourage that at all. I use that term, "choir geek" - but actually in our school just being in choir did not make you a geek in and of itself, and a lot of "popular" kids were in choir. That said, I was totally a geek. I was smart and at the same time immature and socially inept and had a tendency to have fits of obnoxiousness besides. But I was not friendless; choir and music gave me a place to fit in. We did "Camelot" as the school musical that year and I was an accompanist rather than being on stage - which meant I went to almost all the rehearsals, and I loved it all. (I had attention-span problems with acting; when I tried it, I'd forget when it was my turn to say my lines. I never had that problem with music, somehow - because with music, I was singing along in my head even when I wasn't singing out loud, I think.)

The music that was most popular then is music that would mostly be considered very uncool nowadays: The Carpenters, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John. I do remember "You're So Vain" being a big thing - I think I started being influenced to some extent by hanging around with older kids - I had several friends who were juniors that year. That may be why I knew all about "Cover of the Rolling Stone" too.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
I spoiled myself in the last entry, if you were paying attention, but here's my pick for 1972:

(I loved both Horse With No Name and Ventura Highway at the time, and they've both held up pretty well. Ventura Highway won the virtual coin toss because I still listen to it on iTunes pretty regularly.)

Remember how I said I was going to stop talking about my childhood so much because there weren't any big events after we stopped moving all the time? Yeah, well, I completely forgot about the year I had heart surgery. (Hey, it was 40-odd years ago. My cardiologist couldn't even find any records of it.) It wouldn't be as big a deal now. I had a heart murmur, they'd known it since I was really small, and 1972 was the year they decided they needed to fix it. Nowadays it would be three days in the hospital, but back then it was 10. They didn't believe in taking any chances in those days. The pedi unit was up on the top floor of that same building I later worked at for over 10 years; for that matter, they're still using the same operating rooms, although not for much longer. (There's a new hospital under construction and the pronounced need for a new OR suite was one of the driving forces behind that.) I remember that the doctors would do rounds, trailing a mob of medical students, who were still almost all male, back then, and at 12 I was aware enough of boys to enjoy that quite a lot. I remember being utterly and completely bored for most of the week after the surgery and listening to music a lot. One band I particularly remember listening to at the time was Bread, which is one that hasn't worn quite so well. (Everything I Own was maybe their big hit at that time; later they would have big hits with "If" and the theme from the move "Goodbye Girl" - they were a fixture all through the 70s, really.) Anyway, I had the surgery and everything went fine, but it was a big life event for a 12-year-old.

I actually had a really long list of songs that I liked from that time - it was the year "American Pie" came out, and also "Vincent" and I remember that I had no idea what either one was talking about. I must have had the sheet music to Vincent or had access to it because I remember reading the words and going, "huh?" (I think it was years before I figured that one out. No internet, remember.) I almost picked a song called Alone Again (Naturally) for this year just because it's something you don't hear much now that I still kinda like. It was also the year of Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - those were everywhere. (I see that Roberta Flack won back-to-back Grammys for Record of the Year, for that and for "Killing Me Softly" the next year, but awards shows other than maybe the Oscars were not something we paid attention to in those days.)

I just looked up the movies that came out in 1972: The Godfather was #1 (we weren't allowed to see it, and I can't say I cared at the time), #2 was The Poseidon Adventure, which I did see and loved, and #4, mind-bogglingly, is Behind the Green Door, which of course I didn't even know existed until later. Actually Deep Throat was apparently made around that same time, and I probably became aware of that one sometime in high school, at least, although I remember being unclear about why it was such a big deal. (I was appallingly naive, really.) In fact, I've seen most of the films on that top 10 list at one time or another (but still not Behind the Green Door, actually) but I don't think I saw any of the others until later. Things showed at the movies, almost always only for a week, in my little town, and if you didn't get there that week you were out of luck - they were gone until they came out on TV several years later, in most instances. Videotape got invented somewhere in the mid-70s, and cable started being around too, eventually, but we didn't have either at my house until much later. (TV was a wasteland, with a very few exceptions, but I'll talk about that another day.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)

So in 1971 was when I suddenly discovered radio. I don't know where I had been getting the music that I liked before that - TV, to a great degree, I guess, and my friends.

I just realized something, and I'm not going to try to go back and fix it in the past entries, but I got mixed up somewhere back a couple of days ago about what grade was what year. I started off right, but by yesterday I had it wrong.
1969 grades 4/5
1970 grades 5/6
1971 grades 6/7
That's partly why I was mixed up about when we moved that last time, for one thing. I was thinking that spring of 1968 would have been fourth grade, but it was third. So we definitely didn't move until '69, then. In the 1970 entry I was still talking about fourth grade, but actually I was in 5th grade at the beginning of 1970 - I remember that because it seemed so amazing that it was not the Sixties any more - it seemed like the future.

(In my own defense, I've been going back and forth between Twitter, for Music Advent, and Livejournal and the Holidailies portal, for these entries, and posting different things at different times, and it's really no wonder I got confused.)

So by the time I discovered the radio in the spring of 1971 I was in sixth grade, which sounds about right. I remember that it was spring because I spent the whole of our Easter break holed up in my parents' bedroom where the stereo was. (It was a big console stereo with a turntable, it would seem like an antique now.) I became obsessed with the music on the radio - it was AM radio, I'm pretty sure it was 610AM (which nowadays is a sports station). It was "top 40" rather than "album rock" - which was what the group a little older than me would have been listening to - but it wasn't the stuff the adults were listening to, either. It was a mix, I think, of sort of the softer end of rock, and some R&B and some novelty stuff. I can look at the Billboard charts for 1971 and pick out some of the stuff they played. Some of the songs from this page of one hit wonders were there. I remember being especially fond of "Chick-a-Boom" which I guess would count as a novelty song, but which my mother seemed to think was kind of radical at the time. (Some of the other songs that we later sang in choir, I have trouble remembering what I liked when. But Chick-a-Boom was not anything we ever sang in choir, for sure!)

(My mother, incidentally, kept waiting for the day when we would start listening to "grown-up" music and forget that rock stuff. Along about 2000 - which was the year I turned 40! - I remember her finally saying that she guessed that wasn't going to happen.)

So here's one of the songs I loved. I didn't even realize it was the #1 song of the year, but that's what Wikipedia says.

mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
1970 was when the Jackson 5 were a new thing:

This is not the same video (although it's the same song) that I posted for Music Advent - I got my versions mixed up and the one I posted is a truncated version of their 1970 Ed Sullivan performance. I believe the longer Ed Sullivan one is out there, but I've lost the link.

One year (it might have been 1970 or it might have been later) I got a little portable cassette player for Christmas - not a Walkman, mind you, those didn't exist yet - and some cassettes to go with it, and one of them was the Jackson 5. Actually my memory is that I also got "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" which didn't come out until later, so I'm not sure. I may just be conflating two different years, though. Anyway, I liked the Jackson 5, but I wasn't obsessive about them or anything. I was obsessive about The Partridge Family a bit, and only the fact that I have other songs I want to talk about today and tomorrow may be saving you from getting a Partridge Family song. (I'm not sure about 1972 yet, we'll see.)

The teen idols when I was the age for that kind of thing were David Cassidy (of the Partridge Family, not to be confused with his brother who came later on), Bobby Sherman (who sang but was also on the series Here Come the Brides which was very popular at the time), Donny Osmond... and I'm sure there were some others that I'm forgetting. Davy Jones of the Monkees has to be thrown in there, too - that Brady Bunch episode where Marcia has a crush on him didn't come out of nowhere. Michael Jackson was also in that group to some extent but I read somewhere that the fan publications would not put a black performer on the cover at the time the Jacksons first became popular, so the Tiger Beat magazines in my head don't feature him. (Like many instances of racism at the time, I was completely unaware of that.) I loved David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman and I do remember loving Davy Jones when I was younger but not so much the others. I thought Donny Osmond was cute but I never liked The Osmonds' music that much. I think it was more age than race with Michael Jackson, for me - he was only about a year older than me and I just didn't see him as a sex symbol, then or later. Donny Osmond is about two years older than me; David Cassidy was about 20 when he suddenly became a teen idol and Bobby Sherman was closer to 30. Apparently I liked my men older! (Oh god, here is the motherlode of teen magazines. Jack Wild! - I know I had a huge crush on him at some point. And clearly Bobby was the big thing that year.)

In other happenings that year - I went and found this entry from several years ago where I talked about joining the choir in school, which happened in 1970. (I talk there about the difference between church choir and school choir, and the fact that you didn't have to audition for church choir, but I don't really have much memory of auditioning for school choir either. I think there was an audition but it was really just to see if you could carry a tune, and that was about it.) Actually I don't really remember choir all that well in elementary school, but then we only went once a week. I have a lot more memories of school and who was in my class and such, starting in 5th grade, but I think it's partly because many of them were the people who went on to be in choir with me for a number of years, and some of them were my best friends for several years.

I didn't talk about teachers. One thing that happened in fourth grade was that my teacher's husband died very suddenly over Christmas break - I think he had a heart attack. (Remember that my mother was a fourth grade teacher, too, at the time, so she was friends with all these people. But that would have been a big deal in any case.) My fifth-grade teachers were Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Armstrong, who were both somewhat older ladies, as I remember it. (My mother would have been 30-ish at the time. I imagine that these two teachers were more like the age I am now, fifty-something.) Fifth grade was the first year we had more than one teacher; in sixth grade I think we had three, not counting the things you only went to periodically like music and art. We thought that made us very grown-up. In fifth grade one teacher taught language arts and the other taught science and math and social studies, but I am not completely sure which was which.

It's funny, I have a very clear picture of one classroom - I'm pretty sure it was Mrs. Andrews' and I think she was probably the one that taught English - but I can't visualize the other one. I can remember my 3th and 4th grade classrooms pretty clearly, and even the ones before that in a vaguer way. It's probably just because once we started having many classrooms I can't remember them all. I remember two of the 6th-grade rooms but not the third one. And after that I know I don't remember all of my junior high rooms too well.
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas lights pink)
Here's my song for 1968:

This seemed especially apropos for 1968 because of the anti-war message snuck in between the lines: "generals order their soldiers to kill / and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten" - but also because we sang the canticle version in choir, later on (I think that was in junior high) and because I just liked singing it. (The songs that are fun to sing aren't necessarily the same ones everybody wants to listen to. See: "Annie's Song")

In 1968, in third and fourth grade, we didn't have organized choir yet - that came the next year. I think I sang in whatever kids' choir we had in church, is all. But I do think that 1968 was the year I started taking piano lessons. My mother had taken piano lessons as a kid, and we had always had her piano - we carted it around on all those moves in the mid-60s - and at some point she had taught me the very basics. When I was 8 or so I started picking out melodies on my own and that was when she carted me off to a real piano teacher. I loved piano lessons from the start, unsurprisingly.

I suppose that like everywhere else, 1968 was when they desegregated the schools in my hometown, but interestingly, I do not remember anybody saying a single word about it. I just know that there was at least one black kid in my class in fourth grade, and I don't remember there being any before that. (There weren't many black people living there. Apparently there had been a KKK presence there, and I'm guessing it was probably still there in the 60s, but it had gone underground, apparently, because I certainly never saw anybody wearing white robes and I never even knew about there having been KKK there in the past until I was grown up.) I don't have much to say about it because I was was so totally unaware of it at the time. There was this black girl in my class and I liked her and I don't even remember it being a big deal. I'm sure it probably was for her, but I guess talking about it across racial lines was just another one of those things you didn't do back then. (There were lots of those, all up and down the line from the big things like discussing race, to smaller things like wearing pants to school. Girls had to wear dresses til several years after this.)

In the 60s, most people still watched the news at night. Actually you had to watch the news or not watch TV at all, because there were still only the three stations and they all had the news on at the same time. I'm not sure exactly when the fourth and fifth stations came along - some time in the early 70s, I think. Anyway, I remember watching them talk about the war on the evening news - probably it was Walter Cronkite, because he was the most popular - I don't know if I was 8 or 10 or exactly when I really became aware of it, but it was somewhere along in this period. They were pretty careful about what they showed, I'm sure, but it was intense enough to get my attention, I know that.

I've been talking in every entry for days about us moving, but I don't think we moved in 1968. We moved one more time, but I think that was in 1969 so I'll save that for tomorrow. It didn't involve switching towns again, anyway, so it wasn't as big of a deal. (And after that the next time I moved was when I left for college.)
mellicious: pink manicure (m15m - deus-ex-machina)
There's a lot of good music from 1967, but I have to go with The Beatles on this one.

(Runners up: The Doors, Procol Harum)
I have to tell the story here - completely out of sequence - about seeing "Magical Mystery Tour" along about 1983 or so very, very stoned, and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. Then I saw it again later without being under chemical alteration and couldn't figure out what I thought was so great about it. (So that's what the marijuana does to you, kids.)

I doubt that I saw "Magical Mystery Tour" in 1967, or at any time during my childhood. Maybe clips. You have to remember that we had three or maybe four TV stations - probably still 3, actually. We got our first color TV when we were in Lamesa, I remember that vividly. Before that I also remember pretty vividly watching the Mercury launches in black and white. And I'm sure Channelview had a movie theater, but there were no cineplexes or anything like that yet - they didn't come along until the 70s, and so the one movie theater showed one or two movies over and over for an entire week, and then switched to something else. So the amount of things you saw on TV or at the movies was really limited. I certainly knew who the Beatles were by 1967, because they were inescapable. But whether I knew the individual songs at the age of 7? I'm not so sure.

NOTE: If you're here from Holidailies, I accidentally linked this entry instead of the previous one, so the story is all out of order. If you care, go read this entry first. (I'll add that one on Holidailies too as soon as it will let me!)

OK, so in 1967 I finished second grade in Channelview, and then that summer my parents did what they'd been wanting to do and finished the process of going "home" by both getting teaching jobs in my dad's hometown. (Not my mom's, that was never a question. For one thing, I think, my mom was from a really small town, it's still small even now - like, <1000 people kind of small. We visited there a lot but I don't think any of us really wanted to live there.) So we moved back to where we started - or where I started, anyway, because we'd lived there from the time I was born. (I was actually born in Texas City, but that's not a place we ever lived.)

That's the only big event I can think of that year. I went to third grade in another new school; my mother was one building over teaching fourth grade. although technically she was at a different school. K-3 was "primary" and grades 4-6 were "elementary" - I don't think I've ever seen another school district that does it that way. My dad taught seventh grade biology, always - I'm not sure about what he taught in Channelview, but after that, anyway. And he coached. And drove a school bus in the mornings. (We really didn't see him a lot for the next few years.)

Oh! I guess I do know another thing that happened that year - my dad, remember, had not gone to school to be a teacher, and he had to get certified. He had some kind of "emergency certification" deal that was only good for a year, is how I remember it. And so we spent most of the summer living in Huntsville so my parents could (both) go to school. My dad took whatever he needed to get certified and my mother took some kind of graduate education class - I wasn't very interested in exactly what they were taking, to tell you the truth, although I do remember looking over her shoulder at one of the papers she was writing, and asking her questions. But we loved that summer; we wanted to go back the next year. We lived in a dorm, in both halves of a suite - two bedrooms and adjoining bathroom. My parents had one room and the two of us girls had the other one. It was the boys' dorm; it looked more like a motel, really. The doors all opened to the outside. (The college girls, of course, were better protected, and chaperoned, probably, at that time, and their dorms weren't built like that.) Anyway, in the summer it was almost all occupied by families and it was like a big ongoing picnic, if you were a kid. We ran in and out of different people's rooms - I remember somebody's mom reading Dr Seuss to us in a room with the door open - and hmm, I guess that means there wasn't any A/C? maybe that's why ALL the doors were open a lot. I also remember going to an indoor pool that I remember as being really huge - I imagine it was "Olympic-size" and I wouldn't have seen one of those before. All in all, it was a great summer and I can't believe I almost forgot about it.

Another thing I remember is my sister getting mad about something and deciding she was going to run away from home. She would have been five - she turned six in the fall. My mom was very calm about it and just let her go. I followed her down the street, and she changed her mind, of course, in about two blocks. -- This also seems like a good time to say that my sister got caught in that thing where you had to be six by Sept 1st to start school that I mentioned yesterday - her birthday was in the middle of September. So that's why she was just starting kindergarten that fall. Where I was always the youngest kid in my class, she was one of the oldest - and that also put her three years behind me in school even though she was not even a year and a half younger than me.

Added: I keep working backwards, from fall to summer and now back to spring, because I remembered something else that happened in second grade: I had the chicken-pox and then the mumps, one after the other. (Actually it's possible it was the other way around, I don't remember any more.) This was before there were any vaccinations for those or measles, either. I had bad cases of both and ended up missing something like a month of school.

(I added the link for the mumps because I don't think people know much about the mumps any more, do they? except maybe it's one of the M's in MMR...)
mellicious: pink manicure (baseball - Kissimmee)
I looked and the movie Mary Poppins came out in 1964, and I think I may have seen it when it first came out - at least, I remember seeing it in a drive-in, and from the configuration in my head I think it was the one in the town where we lived when I was very small - and we moved away from there during 1964. (Then we moved back there again a few year later, but the moviegoing I remember from those later years was mostly indoors.) It probably wasn't the first movie I ever saw because I also remember seeing something with a lot of horses that didn't interest me very much - I suspect we had been several times by then. I think it's fair to say that the first memories I have of seeing movies are all at drive-ins. (They were popular back then, plus I suspect wrangling little kids was easier at a drive-in. If there was a regular indoor theater in my hometown then I have no memory of it.)

Music-wise, I looked up the Billboard list like I linked to yesterday, and it's no surprise that the top 2 songs are Beatles songs - I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You - because that was the year the Beatles hit the US in a big way. I can't say that I remember much about that at the time, although we watched The Ed Sullivan Show regularly when I was growing up so it's entirely possible I saw the episode they were on. If so it didn't make much of an impression.

Memory's a weird thing. The #3 song is Louis Armstrong singing "Hello Dolly," which I do have memories of from long ago - how long, not so sure. I think I remember hearing the Louis Armstrong version and maybe also the Carol Channing version long before the movie version where Barbara Streisand sang it (which makes sense), although Streisand was around by 1963 - her big hit from that year was "People" which I remember being everywhere, too. (This also seems like the time to say, since we're on the subject, that I did actually see Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly" much later, although I have no idea exactly when - possibly in the late 70s or early 80s. It was a touring version of the show in Houston. I suppose I could look and see if I have an old program for it - it's quite possible that I do - or even look it up online to see if I can figure out when it was, but I'm not going to do it right now.)
Songs like "House of the Rising Sun" and "Dancing In the Streets" are also from 1964 but I have no memory of hearing those until later - probably because I wasn't around any teenagers, at the time, except maybe the occasional babysitter. As I've said, my mom worked - for these first years of my life she taught first grade - and so we had a regular baby-sitter, a lady with teenage daughters so she was probably in her 30s at the time, or maybe early 40s. (Hmm, I forgot about those teenagers - if the daughters played any sort of music after they got home from school I don't remember it. I remember that I thought they were very glamorous, though!) We always called this babysitter "Nanny" although of course she wasn't a proper live-in Mary-Poppins sort of nanny - my mom just dropped us off at her house every day. Later when we moved back again, she was still our babysitter, but I was in school by then so I wasn't there as much. Her husband was a high-school teacher and used to come home for lunch, I remember, and they were sort of surrogate grandparents for us, like extended family. (The last time I saw them was when they came to my wedding in 1987, and I think they both died only a few years later.)

I've already told you the big event of my life in this year, that we moved, but actually we moved twice. Even the first time was a big deal to me because up to then we had been in the same little house all my life. First we moved into a nice new house where we were for my fourth birthday - and then only a couple of months later my dad got a sales job and got transferred to the Texas Panhandle. My parents sold the nice new house and we lived for the rest of that year in a rent-house in Snyder, Texas, which is a little town really out in the middle of nowhere as I remember it - although we loved one thing about Snyder, and that was that it had a prairie dog town right near where we lived - I mean, a fenced-off one for show. (You could also find wild ones without much trouble, I think, out in the country, in those days.) That school-year (64-65, that is) was the only year of my childhood that my mother didn't work - we moved too late for her to get a job. So we were very poor - relative to the rest of my childhood when we always had that double income, I mean - but she was home all the time, which we loved.

(This is one of those things where I'd like to quiz my parents on the sequence of events - did my dad know he was going to change jobs, or was that a sudden thing? Didn't he know there was a possibility that we'd have to move? It seems like a thing you'd want to know before you buy a house - but neither of my parents are around to ask any more so I just have to wonder.)

(I'm a day ahead on Holidailies already. I won't post this on #musicadvent until tomorrow, probably, or on the Holidailies portal, either, but I figure I might as well run with it while I'm on a roll. This burst of productivity will sputter out quick enough, I'm sure.)

Anyway, let's stick with Mary Poppins for today's music advent song. I promise I'm not going to do kids' songs through the entire 60s, though.
mellicious: pink manicure (keyword-346)
The Billboard #1 song for 1963 is "Sugar Shack," a song which I like but which I don't have any passionate feelings about. (Here's the list I was using - I'm not much of a Beach Boys fan and for whatever reason never really have been, so I have more definite feelings about #2.) Other big hits that year were "Louie Louie" and "Be My Baby" and "It's My Party" - but in 1963, I was three, and I doubt that I had much opinion about any of these songs at the time. As I said yesterday, my parents were so not much into "popular" music once that shifted away from meaning Percy Faith and Perry Como.

I chose to talk about this year, though, because the end of 1963 is where I start having a few vague memories. I have one younger sister, who turned two that fall, and I started to have a sense of her being a brat around that time. I remember that Christmas. And the first memory I have that I can put a date on was a month before Christmas. My dad, who worked in an office in Houston at the time, actually went and saw the president's motorcade in Houston the day before JFK was killed. But I don't remember that, and I don't remember them telling me the president was dead or any of that. I imagine they talked over and around us about that part. What I do remember was watching the funeral on TV. It was right before Thanksgiving and my mother was home - I imagine they got the day off just for the funeral, actually, at least that's what's happened when other presidents have died since - because my mother worked, she was a teacher, and kids didn't get the whole week off back then. I think I've told this story before here, but I think the reason I remember it is because of the little boy who was my age - JFK, Jr, that is. You know how kids are always more interested in other kids than in adults. Back a few years before my mother died, I told her that I remembered that, and she said, "No, you don't, you just think you remember." And of course that does happen, but still it kind of pissed me off and I said, "Yes, I do, we were making Christmas cookies and watching it on the TV." I actually have this really clear memory of just that little bit of it. And she thought about it a while and decided I was right, we were. She hadn't even remembered that herself. So she quit saying I was making it up in my head.

Anyway, the song I decided I wanted to represent 1963 with is a kids' song, more or less: "Puff the Magic Dragon" - although I'm pretty sure as kids, we got a bowdlerized version without that sad part at the end. Bear in mind that this was not just a kids' song at the time, though. (Hearing it now, it doesn't sound like a kids' song at all, it's pretty saddownbeat in tone all the way through, at least the version I'm using here is.) But it was the #16 song on that Billboard list I linked above, it was a huge hit. I definitely remember it, although honestly I couldn't tell you when I remember it from - it could well have been a little later. It's probably a more peppy version meant for kids (and by some other artist, probably) that I really remember.

Let's see if I can get this to embed right! (I've got a picture on my screen now, so I guess it worked, and man, Mary Travers looks young there.)
mellicious: pink manicure (madness)
My plan for #musicadvent (I'm using the hashtag because that name came from Twitter) was to start with the first year I can remember at all, which is 1963. If you didn't see any of this last year, the idea here is to pick one song a day, a different year each day. Last year it started in 1989 and worked up to the present, year by year. It turns out that the person who came up with the idea last year had a similar idea to mine for this year - or possibly that's what they were actually doing in the first place, if they're young. (Added: actually she may have gotten the idea from me, at least there's a tweet I missed at the time that makes it sounds like it. I wasn't sure.) In any case, this year the rule is to start with the year you were born and then work onward from there. Because I'm not good at following rules and because I was born in 1960 but the music of the early '60s mostly bores me (and also because I largely came up with this idea in order to have an excuse to talk a lot about the music of the 80s, and starting earlier would mess up that plan), I've decided I'm going to come up with something for 1960 today - I have no idea what, right now - and then tomorrow I'm going back to my original plan of starting with 1963. (The plan for the LJ/Holidailies part of this also includes plans to talk about what I remember about those years and such, and since I don't remember 1960-1962 at all, that wouldn't work for that, either.)

OK, I have looked at the Billboard list from 1960, and I'm going to go with the #1 song here, because it illustrates oh-so-well why I'm skipping ahead: it was "Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith. I went and listened to 15 seconds or so of it, and I swear my blood pressure started going up. I'm going to link to a YouTube video in case you don't know the song offhand, but I can't even bear to embed it.

If you're younger, you may not understand why I hate this song with quite such a fiery passion. Well, of course it pretty much objectively sucks, too, but that's only part of the reason. I grew up on a steady diet of The Percy Faith Orchestra and Mantovani and all that kind of thing (which nowadays is not even anything you hear on elevators, but it's pretty much where the term elevator music comes from). My dad, especially, loved that stuff. My mother had slightly cooler tastes, for her era - by which I mean she liked Elvis, at least - but she didn't care about it enough to try to overrule my dad. The only radio station my dad would listen to was KODA, which even nowadays is "Sunny 99.1" and still annoys the crap out of me, although it doesn't play Mantovani any more, of course. (Actually it's one of those stations that switches over to 24-hour Christmas music sometime in November, and you know how annoying those are.)

You notice I was all neutral about it in the first paragraph and I just said it was boring, and then I actually listened to one of those songs and I was like omgplznoooooo in about two seconds. So much for neutrality. Anyway, you get the idea, I think. Like many things in childhood, I had this shit crammed down my throat, and even in middle age I can still get worked up about it. So I think that's enough said, right?
mellicious: pink manicure (Mel - snow)
If anybody's interested, iTunes has that new Kelly Clarkson Christmas song for free as the Single of the Week. I don't know how to link directly to it, but it should be easy enough to find. "Underneath the Tree" is the name of it.

I was poking around iTunes mostly because of X-Factor, which I don't talk about much because nobody I know online ever seems to be watching. But somebody is watching, because one group (Alex and Sierra) has the #1 and #7 singles on iTunes and one of the two solo guys is #4. There were 4 acts left before tonight, and I haven't seen the results show from tonight, so somebody is already gone by now. (And we just fast-forwarded through the results show to see, and it was the boy-band - who did not have singles in the top 10 - who got sent home. They're a country band, which isn't our thing, so they would have been our pick for who to send home, although neither one of us actually voted.) I have downloaded songs by both of the two who are in the top 10, because I do like both of them. The guy's name is Jeff Gutt, and he's kind of a bog-standard rocker, but he's a really good singer. Alex and Sierra are a little more funky and out of the ordinary, and I'm guessing that they are going to win, especially because of the iTunes thing. But it's hard to be sure on these shows. iTunes sales don't count towards the vote.

We have been watching X-Factor since the beginning - three years now, I think? We have been watching American Idol for a number of years, too, although not from the very beginning. I think we picked up maybe with season 5, which was a good many years ago - seven or something like that? Hmm, actually, according to Wikipedia, the upcoming season is #13, so this will be the ninth year we've been watching. Good lord. -- Really, I was following it, more or less, even before that, because those were the years when it was fabulously popular and everybody talked about it endlessly at work. But I only actually started watching when Rob got interested - and I'm not sure why he did, actually. I forget to watch TV on my own half the time, which means I tend to watch what Rob watches - unless it's something that actively annoys me, in which case I retreat to the bedroom or, more often nowadays, he watches recorded shows in the mornings before I get up, since he works during prime time anyway.

(And no, we don't watch The Voice, or Dancing With the Stars, or any of the other talent shows that have come through in recent years. I'm sure we'd get interested in them if we ever started watching them, but we haven't.)



mellicious: pink manicure (Default)

April 2019



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