In 2012, an episode of All Songs Considered, the theme was songs from your parents’ record collection that influenced you. While in general my parents did not listen to much music overall, they did both provide me with excellent choices. And their ignorance of contemporary pop music was, in retrospect, a blessing.
The Beach Boys
My father is a huge fan of music from the 50s and 60s. The “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance would be his ideal mix. Judging by a sharp cutoff in his listening tastes as the sixties get underway, in his mind the drugs and experimentation that came later ruined a perfectly good sound.
As a young child, I listened to the “Oldies” station (3WS) with him for hours, especially on long car trips to Ocean City, Maryland. There is a staggering amount of timeless music from that era.
Few bands combined all of those elements so well as the Beach Boys. From catchy hits to the more serious Pet Sounds, they certainly captured that era. Although I stopped listening to that style of music for years, starting from when I heard “Get Around” featured in the film Three Kings, I have a renewed appreciation for the four part harmonies and simple lyrics that make the Beach Boys legends.
My mother is significantly younger than my father and it shows in her musical taste. As my father shut off the radio dial after the Longhairs destroyed his beloved pop music, my mother was tuning in to the drugs and rebellion that was embodied in the mid- to late-sixties.
I don’t really listen to Janis Joplin. I’ve said elsewhere that that era of music has no personal connection to me. However, I remember my mother playing a cassette tape of her greatest hits over and over again while she worked from home re-upholstering rich people’s couches while we ran wild around the house and yard. Like punk that came much later, Janis Joplin’s unconventional singing voice and thematic choices connect deeply with me. As far as that aspect of personality, I am far more of my mother’s mind than my father’s.
What about you? What musical tastes did your parent’s pass down to you?