I thought it might be fun to put together a “soundtrack of my life” — one song that is representative of each year of my life since about 1977, when I was five years old and was approximately the time when I have specific memories of music. I’ll try to post one of these every Monday until I get to the present.
1977: “Yesterday When I Was Young,” by Roy Clark
I think like most kids, the music I first remember listening to was the music of my parents — or in my case, more accurately my dad. My parents both enjoy music, but I can’t think of a time that I’ve actually seen or even known of my mom purchasing music. What we listened to as kids in the late 1970s, and really into the early to mid 1980s, were the things my parents listened to. Roy Clark was always a favorite; “Yesterday When I Was Young” was originally recorded in 1969, but in 1977 when we lived in Germany I have many fond memories of the blue 8-track tape we had of Clark’s album with this song on it. We used to play tricks on my brother, Jason, and try to get him to think that the blue Freddy Fender 8-track was actually this Clark album, and he’d be none too pleased when he figured out we were trying to pull off the swap. This song is indicative of the kinds of things that played in our house for much of my childhood – which could well have just been the soundtrack for “Hee Haw” or the Grand Ol’ Opry — Clark, Fender, Buck Owens, Marty Robbins, Tom T. Hall, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton. Those dusty old 8-tracks are still in the basement at my parents’ place in Kansas, and every now and then, just for kicks, we’ll go into the basement and listen for a few minutes. I’m never sure what’s more amazing; that the tapes have survived for 30 years, or that my parents still have an 8-track player in their basement that actually works.
Runner up: I have this weird memory of Stayin’ Alive somehow being my favorite song in kindergarten. I must’ve heard it on the radio, because there’s no way my family went anywhere near a theater that would’ve been showing “Saturday Night Fever.” That’s still a great and completely ridiculous song.