Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

3 generations of '80's music

I graduated from high school in 1980- the same year that Rupert Holmes released his recording of “Him”.  I think think it must have been at college or perhaps it was at an institute dance when a live band played that Rupert Holmes song.  Many of us listened intently wondering how they would incorporate the lyrics “Over by the window is a pack of cigarettes” and laughed when they sang “a pack of Wrigley’s gum”

                I thought it an odd song to play as the theme implies that his wife is having an affair, but I still liked the song.  Many times we listen without understanding the meaning but may find it has a great rhythm or melody or what have you.  The ‘80’s seemed to spin out a wide variety of popular music that continues to be played at Chruch dances.

                I remember when Jenna was born, I was feeling out a baby book and one of the questions was what are some of the popular songs the year you are born.  I didn’t have a clue.  I asked the boys and they gave me titles such as Survivor’s: “Eye of the Tiger” or some hit from Journey. 
                “No, these songs are older than you.  Those were the songs played when I went to college” but that’s all they knew – songs of the 80’s. 

                Though Jenna and her brothers are technically all of the same generations, there are 15 plus years between her and them.  And, as she likes to remind us, she was born in a different century.   
                Last month we took her to her first dance.  The ad was featured as a “Mormon Prom”.  It was in Eugene, which I thought was a long way to go.  We spent hours looking for a dress before settling on one that fit her personality but didn’t look like your typical prom dress.  But it was a church dance with a strict dress code – or so I thought.  Turns out Eugene is a lot more lax than Salt Lake.  A LOT more.

                We went to Roseburg to pick up Manuel and took the two of them to Eugene.  Roland and I had a dinner date while the two of them stayed at the church eating food and making comments about what others were wearing and if they thought it looked appropriate for church or not. 

                We finished our dinner before the dance had ended and chose to wait in the foyer and do some crossword puzzles while we waited.  I could hear some songs from the ‘80’s and smiled knowing that Jenna was listening to the same tunes that I had listened to in College and her brothers had listened to just before and after she was born.  She will sing along with Journey, Cyndi Lauper and Cultural Club.  I am so impressed!

1980’s produced some fun music.  I’m so happy to hear that it hasn’t retired. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

From LPs to CDs to YouTube

            Roland and I recently watched a “Master Class” on Smokey Robinson.  I have always enjoyed his music and him and after watching his biography, have even more admiration for him.

            I had albums featuring Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Carpenters, "Earth,Wind and Fire" and Mannheim Steamroller. I listened to them often when I was single.  After I was married, I rarely listened to the large collection of LPs that I had.

            LP stands for “long playing”.  That is what my dad had told me. My dad LOVED music.  He had hoped that one day he would own his own record store.  I am sad that he wasn’t able to fulfill his musical dream.

            When I was growing up, dad would play Kingston Trio, Journeymen, and the Brothers Four.  Eventually folk seemed to faze out and dad eventually turned to county though still a fan of the music that had been popular in his youth.  I remember how different the vinyl records were – not just because of their music – but the weight and quality and continuous groove.  The treasured LP would boast about the high quality material while the more recent ones would remind patrons that it was/is a crime to copy.

            Though records were (and ARE) still around, record players themselves seem to be a hint of the past.  I did own a stereo with phonograph player when Roland and I were married.  But the needle broke, and availability for replacement is either outrageous or non-existent. 

            I still continued to collect records even after CDs (compact discs) were introduced.  There was a store called Randy’s Records that sold all kinds of records, and after a while it was the only place where I could find LPs.  I think one of the last LPs I ever purchased was a used album featuring the “Best of the Coasters”

            My purchase was made the very day that my niece and nephews received the CD from the Disney’s animation of Hercules.  I said that I would play two songs from the Coasters and then they could listen to their CD.

            I think Brian was four at the time.  When I took the LP out of it’s record jacket to place it on the turntable, his eyes got big as he exclaimed, “that is a humongous CD”

            There was an advertisement for a record player/CD unit.  Roland purchased one for me, and I played both CDs and records – but I knew it wouldn’t last.  Even before we moved, I questioned how long the needle would last.  I finally accepted LPs to be a thing of the past.

            The first CD I had ever purchased from Randy's Records was Clooney Tunes which I had initially listened to on LP as a youth and loved it and played it so much that the scratches seemed to come in louder than the songs.  I had to buy it for Jenna. I hoped she would love Clooney Tunes as much as I did.

            And even greater still has been the I-pod and the ability to store so much music in such a teeny little space, and catalog it.  And hook it up to speakers – that was my desire as I’m not much of a headphone person.  

            I still play my CDs in the car – often cassette tapes.  I like listening to music as much as daddy did.  Although my taste in music varies from the stuff he seemed to enjoy.  I didn’t mind the folk tunes sung by trios and quartets.  There are a few songs I like that seem to fit into the “country” category. I have never really cared for country music as a whole. I wish I did.  I think they put on the best award shows and entertainment.

            I am grateful for access to YouTube 

 to relive those songs from the past and daddy’s past and to be able to read along with the lyrics (if I chose to do so). It’s been quite a journey.  I remember the LP and the 8-track tape.  I even remember reel-to-reel.  Yes, I’m that old.

There may come a day when Jenna may say, “Yes, I watched YouTube back in the day.  I can’t believe I can remember that far back.  My kids must think I’m ancient.”

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Everyone Willing Can Have a Part

     My brother, Corey, has always been a big fan of Steven Sondheim.  I don’t think it was until after he was in high school still or college when I was introduced to his “Into the Woods” soundtrack – which I listened to and read along as the characters sang.  Immediately I decided it was a production that I wanted to see.  

     I have seen four or five different versions – though I don’t actually remember the details of each one.  I think the first opportunity was when the production was on tour.  I vaguely remember seeing it with my mom, I think.  I don’t know who else was with us.  I’m wondering if we were given tickets that Corey, himself, was unable to use.  

     My least favorite production was one that he was in.  He played Repunzel’s prince.  Our friend, Jinx, played the baker.  It was a marvelous cast, and each one gave an outstanding performance as I recall.  I did have a little trouble hearing the witch however. 

   What annoyed me about that particular production was the director’s take on separating fantasy from reality.  Each time the lights would go down after certain musical numbers or scenes, a voice would announce the act, the scene, the stage setting   . . . Corey said he didn’t like it either.  Instead of watching a polished production, it was as though we were watching a rehearsal that hadn’t quite worked out for the director. 

    I did enjoy watching the performers and I enjoyed the second act – when the interruptions had stopped.  I really enjoy watching Jinx perform.  Well, I enjoy watching Corey, but Jinx spent a lot more time on the stage.

    When Randy was in junior high, he played both prince and wolf.  I think everybody in the junior high who wanted to be in the musical WAS in the musical.  It ran for five nights.  Each night Randy played one of three princes and one of three wolfs – so that he had a turn being Cinderella’s prince, Repunzel’s prince and the wolf that eats Little Red Riding Hood.  

      I remember PBS broadcast of the Broadway version with Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason.  I don’t think it aired until after Roland and I were married.  It had been stretched four or five hours during a fundraiser.  I remember having recorded it on VHS. Although it wasn’t a very good recording, I did watch it a few times. I did like it.

       I had a wanted to go see the “Into the Woods” movie on Christmas, but hadn’t arrived early enough for all ten of my family members to get good seats.  We saw “Night at the Museum” instead.  I think Ester’s attention might have gotten lost earlier had we seen  “Into the Woods” – maybe not. She enthusiastically moved from seat to seat - mostly visiting either daddy or grandpa.  She also yelled quite loudly for Jenna - though she was seated right next to her at that particular moment.

    Roland took Jenna and I to “Into the Woods” the next day. I think I enjoyed seeing it without Ester being there.  She was cute.  She was just loud - which I found to be distracting.

     I liked the production, but found myself missing “The Mysterious Man” part of the story, as well as some of the songs.  Still, I told Roland I would like my own copy on DVD next year. 

    Jenna said she wanted to see the stage version.  I couldn’t find the PBS copy, but did put a reserve in at the library.  Meanwhile I figured I had two copies and spent a good part of yesterday morning searching and came upon the recording of the junior high production that Randy had been in.

     I had forgotten there were three wolves and three princes – though I think the one prince was put in for comic effect as the other two princes would sing “agony” and the third prince would try singing along, and the singing prince would stretch out his arm for effect and hit the third prince in the process.  Jenna enjoyed watching that.

     Their production had the mysterious man – though I don’t know if his identity was revealed at the end.  Or if the junior high had gone beyond the first act.  I don’t remember.  And I had evidently run out of tape and so the end was not there. 

     The narrator in my recorded version was female.  There were extra cast members who played the trees, decorations, the beanstalk, villagers, and characters moved their own props.  Randy and another, dressed like wolves, moved the prop for the house as Little Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and then again for the baker.  Randy was playing Repunzel’s prince on the night that we saw him.
     Jenna was not even a year at the time and I could hear her almost better than the cast members at times.  I really couldn’t hear Jack’s mother at all, but pretty much knew what she was saying. 

     As Jenna and I were watching, she apologized for having cried as I was recording.  That’s silly.  She was just a baby, after all.  

     I just ran across the program (which was quite a surprise on my part). There had been six cast as wolves and princes. I admire the coach for having included so many students and in various roles.  I counted 80 different names - though at a glance it appeared that there were over 200 names.  Many were duplicates cast in different roles. Randy also received credit for playing Red's grandmother (out the four cast members)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jukebox Memories

         I read this piece of trivia: “On November 23rd, 1889, the jukebox was invented by entrepreneurs Louis Glass and William S. Arnold. They called it the nickel-in-the-slot phonograph which is possibly the least effort we've seen put into the name of a product ever.” and was reminded of having seen jukeboxes on occasion.

        Jukeboxes weren’t as popular when I was growing up, as I believe they were when my mom and dad were teenagers. But I do remember some restaurants featuring a single jukebox and one restaurant that allowed you to make selections from the table.  I also remember spending quarters (not nickels) for making a selection of up to six songs.  I don’t recall ever dancing to my jukebox selections – just having the music in the background.

            There was a jukebox at Snelgroves for a short time while I worked there.  Mostly members of the staff who would crank it up while claiming to work would play the same 4 – 6 songs over and over again –.  I was getting so sick of listening to the same selections night after night.

            And then one day the owner’s daughter asked my brother to find some replacement records for the jukebox – she requested that he make his selection of 50’s and 60’s music.  I remember going with him and allowed myself to help him pick them out.  It was great – because no matter what song was selected to be played, it would be one that we both liked.  

            The staff (mostly young kids still in high school) didn’t seem happy with the new selection.  I don’t think any of them knew that Corey and I (well, mostly Corey) were responsible and I didn’t say anything except that I liked the new selection as I was tired of hearing the same 4 – 6 songs which we didn’t keep (as I recall)

            My memories of jukeboxes are mostly fond.  I think it was a great invention.  They’re still around in some places.  But now so many have music programmed onto their cell phones and other electronic devices that they hold in the palm of their hands, it makes the jukebox seem really rare.

40 singles is exactly how many the standard jukebox used to hold.  It has been speculated that this is why radio stations often introduce the “top 40” rather than another number – like 50.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do You Remember Dr. Demento?

Both of my brothers listened to Dr. Demento.  I remember Patrick and his friends singing the words to “dead puppies” and “shaving cream”.  I don’t believe they were fanatics.  Corey, on the other hand, was a true Dr. Demento fan.

He would record the programs and save songs that he liked.  He would play them over and over and laugh at the demented humor. 

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie got together with 46 other stars to record HelpingHands USA for Africa.  The song was called “We are the World” and proceeds went for Relief of famine and disease in Ethiopia.

I don’t know if it was Morton Downey Jr. who created the “We are the Worms” parody or if his name is associated with the song as he introduced it on radio program in Cleveland, Ohio, 1986.  Corey loved that song.  It would make him laugh.  I’ll admit that I smiled about it, too. 

It was rumored that those associated with USA for Africa had politely requested that the parody be removed from the airwaves as it desecrated so much of what they had tried to accomplish.  I don’t know if the rumor was true or not.  I saw a couple of versions on YouTube as I was researching for this post - so the song is obviously still played - or has been.

So what made me think of all of this?  As I was walking home from my car pool ride yesterday morning, I stepped over a dead worm out on the sidewalk.  For over 25 years I don’t think I have ever seen a worm on the sidewalk without thinking of that song.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Name That Tune

Our theme for this month is on the plan of salvation.  I had wanted to get the class members’ input if there was a certain topic each would like to focus on.  Subject suggestions were on faith, agency and music to name a few.  I absolutely LOVE music and the concept behind the hymns and how to use the hymn book and so forth.  But as the month started, I just didn’t feel inspired to do the lesson on music.  I actually had one beam at the subject of music.

That was the same week of ward conference.  The musical number was beautiful – a medley of “Come Follow Me” and “Lord, I would Follow Thee” Very uplifting.  Scott got up after the musical and made comment that he hates going after the musical number.  I can’t say as I blame him.  The Spirit is often felt quite strongly through music.  When I returned home from the meeting I felt impressed to create a “Name That  Tune Hymn ”  10 to be played and guessed and 10 more with clues.  


When I was growing up, it seemed that our ward congregation would sing the same 40 – 60 songs over and over again and so the tunes more familiar and could easily be guessed.   But as I mentioned in this post, our ward choirister has taken us through pretty much the entire hymn book and so I don’t know who in my class is familiar with any hymns (I guess I’ll find out on Sunday)

Every once in a while the scheduled speaker for a given sacrament meeting would be unable to attend (for whatever reason) and sometimes congregation members were called on the spot. But I recall one year (when I was no longer a youth but had a calling in which I worked with the youth) I remember the bishop announcing that the assigned speakers did not show and rather than call members from the congregation and put them on the spot for testimony or to give a talk with only that two minute notice, he would try something different.  

He had made arrangements with the chorister and hoped to get participation from those in the congregation and said he would like those who felt impressed to come to the stand with their hymnbooks and share the title of our favorite hymn and why the hymn had meaning for us and then the chorister would play the hymn while the congregation sang.  These meetings were well liked by many – the youth in particular.


As I was preparing for my lesson, by reading through talks and blogs,  I was reminded that hymns chosen need to be approved by the bishop and I thought that perhaps my idea should be approved as well.  I sent my list of songs and included the ten clues and wondered what suggestions or changes he might add – if indeed I’d be allowed to follow through on my idea.

I just  finished reading his email.  he not only loves the idea but has encouraged me to incorporate this into my lesson every month?  Holy cow.  Now I’ll have to follow through for at least this week.  Gosh, what did I just get myself into?  Hope the youth may love it as much as my bishop seems to.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

There Are More Than 40 Hymns

         I can’t say for certain, but I think it’s highly probable that there are several wards (or congregations) that tend to sing the same 40 – 80 hymnals with each meeting.  That doesn’t even cover 50% of what we’ve been given.  And there are some choristers who have tried to introduce new hymns – which may have been enforced in recent years.  If I was called as chorister, I’m afraid our hymns would be the same familiar ones that we have sung at least 20 times during any given year.  I don’t think I have to be concerned about being called to chorister position.  I enjoy listening to music – and I will even lead – but not with expertise I’m afraid. 

         My brother, Corey, has often made the complaint that with over 300 hymns (and those are just the ones currently published in today’s hymn book – there’s got to be even more that we don’t have access to each week) – why is it that someone feels the need to sing the same hymns over and over again? 

         I’ve been in a few wards in which the chorister has introduced the hymn and we’ve actually had a “practice” but I don’t remember any of those becoming part of the curriculum for future meetings.  I think we have the opportunity to sing it one time and depending on how badly our voices butcher that hymn depends on whether we will ever sing it again or not (apparently our voices haven’t worked together well enough to pursue keeping it on our agenda.  That’s also a guess on my part.  I really don’t know.)

         Corey would LOVE the ward I am at now just for the opportunity of singing new hymn each week – even ones that the congregation obviously does not know.  I believed our chorister had given us every hymnal to sing three times over, until today when we were introduced to hymn #13 which only a few of members from the High Priest group were familiar with.  They sounded awesome.  I don’t know why this ward doesn’t have a choir.  Thus far it is the only ward I’ve attended that doesn’t have one.

         There are some hymns I obviously enjoy more than others.  Many people (who are familiar with it) like the hymn 284 – and I notice that all of those who admit to liking the song are very gifted with voices and knowledge of music.  I personally find it haunting and draggy.  I like the hymns to be uplifting and move.  There are some that drag on like you’re walking in a death march or something.  I don’t mean that disrespectfully.  It’s not even the words, but the tunes themselves.  Maybe sometimes it’s the words.  Perhaps it is just from my own lack of understanding.

     I do enjoy reading what is printed in the back pages of the hymnal – how to lead, finding hymns with scripture reference, and being able to sing the words of one hymn to another.  Take  A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” for instance.   I remember Corey singing that and changing to the tune of “I know My Redeemer Lives” and it was beautiful.  Corey and Joh can sing a cappella.  I can listen to them without a piano accompaniment.  They are that gifted.

         Between Relief Society and Sacrament meeting there are usually at least two hymns that I am not familiar with.  Sometimes there are only two that I am familiar with.  And our chorister should be praised for her persistence.  I think she’s too stubborn to give us familiar. I suppose that’s a good thing.

         How awesome it is that we all given talents that we might share and learn from one another.  How great it is that there are those who take initiative to go beyond the familiar. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is that Chicago or REM? I can never tell which band (LOL)

Corey and I share an inside joke about REM and Chicago sounding alike.  In reality the two groups have different styles and sound nothing alike.  Their music sound is almost as similar as their group names. But there is a charming story behind our method of madness. 

One day Corey and our cousin, Earl, were listening to the radio.  One of REM’s songs came on and Corey asked Earl if he knew the name of the group that was performing.  Earl said that it was Chicago.  Corey, perhaps not as familiar with pop music as we both believed that Earl was, was somewhat familiar with Chicago and just didn’t think that sounded like them.

So Corey asked Earl about another song that he had heard REM sing.  Earl was still positive about the group being Chicago.  Later on Corey asked me about it.  And so whenever we would hear a song preformed by either REM or Chicago we would just look at each other and ask:  Is this REM or Chicago? 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Power of Music

          Paul Cardall must have been 15 at the time he had worked at the ice cream store. They didn’t hire younger than high school.  But he seemed to have such a junior high awkwardness about him.  But he may have lacked in social skills because of his heart and hospitalization and being in and out of the doctors all of the time.  But I don’t know.  I didn’t really have a whole lot of interaction with him.  I’m sure our difference in age and maturity contributed to that.

          Whenever Paul had been assigned to dishes and was able to listen to music – his music – some wholesome music even – the twerpy kid would disappear and he would actually turn into a regular human being.

          Corey said he had had some nice conversations with Paul regarding music.  I would have never dreamed that he would one day perform his music and record albums and become a name in many households.   

          I don’t know where he had been performing when Sunny had taken my mom to see it.  Mom tells it a little differently each time.  But one thing’s for certain – he did request for my mom to come stand by him on the stage as his picture was being taken by various people.

          Mom still has it on the mirror in her new room at assisted living.  And she can tell you about why she has it and how surprised she had been.  But she knew Paul from the ice cream store.  We all did.  Apparently some of us better than others.

          Today there was a program at the community where mom now lives.  Some of my family members were there when we arrived.  We took her by the hand and forced her to sit down. 

          “What’s going on?” she asked.

          “We are listening to someone who is playing the piano.  But it’s not Paul Cardall.”

          She related the story again.  This time she hadn’t known anyone else in the room.  Nor did he.

          In my entire life I had never seen the enthusiasm that mom displayed today – for the first seven or eight songs anyway.  Seems in the past she has always tuned music out so it wasn’t even a background sound.  But today she sang along with the player.  It was so awesome to see that – until Roland got up to escort Jenna out of the building and then panic set in.  She stood up to once again ask why she was there and why none of us would be taking her home.  But for a brief moment there was a vibrant thrill that had been awakened with mom.  And it was great to see her enjoying herself and singing along.

          Jenna had also chimed in with the few songs that she knew.  I love listening to my daughter singing.  She was singing with MercyMe in the car.  I wasn’t aware that she had even known the words to the song.  And I loved that she is so in tune and focused on the music that I like.

          Music can change our mood.  It can uplift our spirits and rejuvenate the soul.  It can also bring us down when dark tunes and lyrics are played.  I prefer being uplifted and invigorated.

          I love that we have so many varieties of music and how it is a language that each of us can understand.