Michael Jackson Was In [Growing Up In The 1980's]
By Edward V. Hineline
You would have to be in your thirties or forties to kind of understand exactly what I am going to write this column about. It is about music and growing up in the 1980’s. What kind of music do you listen to? Rap? Rock and roll? Pop? Country? People listen to music for different reasons. Some listen to fit in and some listen because of the words. Some listen just to have music floating around in their heads. What do I like about music? The lyrics. My music selection varies from the early 1970’s to the present.
I got my first stereo system as a hand me down from my parents in the early 1980’s. I can remember playing that thing so loud when my father was at work, singing into a broom stick and acting a fool on a Casio electronic keyboard I had no idea on how to play. My mother was too lenient to tell me to turn it down. Why would she, she was a big Loverboy and Billy Squire fan. Michael Jackson was in and Rap was just getting started.
My neighbor’s son played the drums. He enlisted into the U.S. Marines, and I decided for a whole one hundred bucks, I was going to buy them and be a drummer one day. I never made it to the big time or even a band; however I gained a great deal of knowledge about music. I played along with some of the biggest tunes at the time, including Nazareth, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Scorpions, and Ozzy and on and on. Then it happened. High School graduation and a four year tour in the U.S. Navy.
Boot camp was quite a drag. Hurry up and wait was the phrase of the day. Get from point A to B and wait for something to happen. During that downtime I was amazed at the lyrics from songs that I could remember. I would sing silently to myself and before you knew it, it was time to move on. Once out of boot camp, I headed for San Diego. The very first thing I can remember purchasing was a cassette walkman and a few tapes. My collection grew to a selection of about two hundred tapes. Sadly upon my discharge and subsequent trip home, all were “lost”. Yeah right. Somewhere, someone had a collection of the latest and greatest music ever written.
To me music is a way of life sung through an individual. Jon Bon Jovi, in my opinion, is one of the greatest lyricists to write a song. His lyrics touch from true love, growing up and about an individual looking for the spiritual side of life. Boston would come in it at number two. Tom Scholz and Brad Delp’s lyrics are more care free and some say, lean to being music about the environment. I find their music as a way to ease my soul in a way. Very few will sit still long enough to read a song. When you as a person can do that, you will realize that some music is just not worth listening to any more. However, the reverse action could also be taken. Heavy metal artists Metallica was once to me a Satanist, overcharged and just plain too loud band for my liking. Metallica has now gone a little softer with their music but I tend to now listen to their older material because of what they are actually singing about. It may not be their point of view personally but their music comes off to be kind of humanistic or about humanity if you will. Don’t get me wrong, lyrics alone do not make a song. Music is a big part of it. The right musical background and good writing ability may not make the top ten but can certainly make a great impact on ones listening power.
One of the greatest experiences in my life happened last year (2004) that I could not think possible. For Fathers Day, my wife was able to purchase some tickets to a Boston concert in Toledo, Ohio, where we reside. Tom Sholz, guitarist and one who holds some of the most important patents in the rock and roll industry, is from Toledo. I have been trying to see this band for a very long time with no success. Now I finally got the chance.
This would be my first concert in about sixteen years. I have two rules in which I follow to go to a concert. First, I will not travel very far. If they consider themselves too big for a small city, then they won’t get my money. Second, they have to have the music ability to perform live. I have been to some really poor live performances.
The concert itself was the best live show I have ever seen. There was no opening act, just two hours of great material. But, that was not the best part. My wife and I, with the help of FM-104 WIOT in Toledo, were able to hook up with the lead singer, Brad Delp, before the show. We ended up with his autograph and one of the best musical conversations I could ever have. I, as a fan, had gotten the chance to express my thanks and gratitude for some of the best music ever written to the one who had a part in making it happen.
In the unlikely event I would ever become a disc jockey, I would be fired in a matter of days. Most music to day is nothing but fake instincts and remakes. Most “bands” do not control their own destiny and it is their record label who decides what gets played and what gets thrown away. Some of the best music I have ever listened to has been on the “B” side so to speak.
So, I say to you: When you are listening to music, listen to the words, then ask yourself, is it really worth wasting three to four minutes of your life?
Have a safe and happy new year.