My childhood was suffused with music; however, unlike what I read on some of the other posts responding to “Papa Loves Mambo”, the music in my house was played almost exclusively for me. I don’t remember my parents listening to much of their own music, but learned early to love jazz through the album Winnie the Winsome Witch, and Big band through “Cincinnati Dancing Pig” by Big Jon Arthur. I still have both of these albums, and I the songs are on my iPod today! I had a Winnie the Pooh Album and several others, but those are the two that were dearest to my heart. They shaped my musical tastes today.
Of course, music didn’t just come from albums.
Overture, curtain, lights: I watched The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour every Saturday. There and later on The Muppet Show, I learned to appreciate opera and Broadway. I first heard my own signature song “All of Me” on The Muppet Show as a muppet made the offer quite literally! I first heard Paul Williams on the show performing “Just an Old Fashioned Love Song” (another song that is still on my iPod). That’s where I first saw Julie Andrews and many of the other greats. It may have been billed as a children’s show, but the music was real, and I learned to embrace music from every genre. The one musical influence that was purely my parents was Hee Haw. They watched it every week. My father especially loved Roy Clark and Buck Owens. While the comedy may have been corny, the music was classy. The Radio we all listened to was billed as country, but played what would never pass on today’s Country stations: It was good. A memory I will always treasure is of my father coming home excited about the song that the DJs had been playing once an hour because they liked it so much. He was excited to share it with us. It was Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train.”
All I Want for Christmas…
My parents had given me exclusive control of their beautiful console stereo, and I spent hours listening to their old albums. I listened to the Everly Brothers, The Drifters, Skeeter Davis, The Statler Brothers, Stonewall Jackson, Jim Reeves, and Patsy Cline. Christmas time was even more special because I listened to Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Album and Gene Autrey’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” I turned off the lights, plugged in the electric candelabras in the windows, and lost myself in a child’s world of Christmas.
Today, I still can’t spell Schenectady, but I do love that song; I don’t go out in the woods alone just in case the teddy bears are having their picnic; and I still love an old fashioned love song.