This is my sixth entry in a “soundtrack of my life” project — 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.
1982: Iron Maiden, “The Number of the Beast”
Up until about 1982, the music we listened to was the music my parents listened to. That year, I clearly remember my first big diversion from that track. At the time, we lived in El Paso, Texas — Dad was stationed at Ft. Bliss, and we lived in an Army neightborhood right across the street from El Paso International Airport. Right next door lived a family that had older son; late-teens, early-20s. He was big-time into motorcycles; he and his buddies would ride like idiots through our neighborhood, laying their bikes so low on the corner our house sat on that their knees touched the ground. At the time, with me being in the fourth grade and my brothers two-year increments behind, they seemed awesome to us. Their status as potential future inspiration for imitation diminished as we heard about things like he and his friends having horrific accidents on those motorcycles — I want to say I remember hearing that one of the guys in that group slid his bike under a moving train and lost a leg. I honestly don’t know for sure if that’s true; I just have in my head somehow that happening to one of those guys.
The kid next door had fun with the little kids in our house who thought he was awesome. One day, he let me borrow one of his tapes. It was “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden. I listened to it a *lot* — for about four days, until my mom saw it and made me give it back.
Listening to that tape didn’t turn me into some little metal kid; in fact, it’d be another six or seven years before I really got into that kind of music. But that tape was the first time I can remember branching away from the country and western stuff that had defined the first decade of my life and started trying to find something different.
The Soundtrack of My Life
1977: “Yesterday When I Was Young,” by Roy Clark
1978: “Main Title” by John Williams (“Star Wars” theme)
1979: “The Gambler,” by Kenny Rogers
1980: “The Imperial March,” by John Williams
1981: “I Love a Rainy Night,” by Eddie Rabbit
1982: “The Number of the Beast,” by Iron Maiden