Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Parent's Music

NPR is doing a feature on All Songs Considered asking people to write about memories of their parent's music so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I remember going to my first official school dance in the 7th grade. There were no decorations or themes. No punch bowls or dates.  It was held in the gym with just dim lights and a DJ.

I was the oldest of three and all I really knew at the time was my parent's music.  It also happened to be the same time I was starting to realize that maybe that wasn't something to be proud of. As in, it wasn’t “cool.”

I had a vague understanding of who Nirvana was, I pretended to mouth along the lyrics to Ace of Base, but what I really knew was Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison.

I was faking my way through my first school dance when the DJ decided to play Brown Eyed Girl.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off of my flannel clad soul.  I knew this song!  I looked around and it seemed like everyone knew this song, and I remember wondering if everyone else had been faking their way through knowing "our" music too.

Before I knew it, I was on the dance floor with my friends "la-te-da-ing" with the rest of them. And although I was in the middle of having one of my first very parent-free moments of adolescence, it was like my parents were right there with me, not trying to embarrass me, just casually letting me know how cool they actually were.

Later in high school I discovered the poetic masterpiece that is Astral Weeks and stole my mom's thread bare Van Morrison concert t-shirt from 1985 to try and be "indie" in suburban New Jersey.  Van very much became my music, but I will always associate him with my parents.  Whether it be twirling around to Into the Mystic in our home movies or as the soundtrack to long car rides,  I'll always remember when we used to sing, 

Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da. 

Just like that.

Please share your memories of your parent's music in the comments or on the All Songs Considered blog and let me know if you do!

Thanks for the music, Mom and Dad!


  1. My dad was a teenager in the 50's, so that was the era of music that he preferred. He used to faithfully listen to a music station called K-EARTH 101 which used to only play golden oldies, but now only plays 70's classic rock. Anyway, every New Year's the station would play a countdown of the top 101 oldies, voted on by the listeners. This included artists like The Big Bopper, Bobby Darin, Richie Valens, and Fats Domino. Every year, even though the countdown never varied that much, my dad would get a bunch of blank tapes and record the countdown. I, around the ages 7-9, would be in charge of pressing the pause button whenever a commercial came on. I remember spending hours in our living room, playing the tapes over and over again, performing to the music. I knew all the lyrics by heart and had choreographed moves to all the songs. I remember just loving that time in my life and being fully taken away by the music. I haven't thought about that in years. Great memory for me. Thanks.

    1. This is such a great story Heather! You should share it in the NPR comment section too!

  2. I love this! My parents were hippies and we listened to a lot of southern rock and whatever was popular in the 70's. Brown eyed girl was DEFINITELY in the mix too! Lots of Lynyrd skynyrd, doobie brothers, CCR....all the good stuff. :)

    1. Thank's Emily! Awww you're parents sound awesome.