my life in music

My life in albums: 1997: The wander year

Everybody has a musical awakening story, and a musical skeleton in the closet. Despite my relatively awesome beginnings, my life in albums almost went off the rails in my first year of really liking music. My sisters and I used to watch Rage on a Saturday morning. And before I’d really discovered the magic of radio we used to make mix tapes by holding the tape recorder up to the speakers.

One of the songs on high rotation on Rage in that year was Hanson’s Mmmbop. Still a catchy little number. Even if Taylor does look remarkably feminine.

My sisters were hooked. This album was on high rotation in our house. All the time. I know all the words to all the songs. My middle sister bonded with her now husband when they sang some Hanson songs together after church one night, their “recessional”, or whatever the song at the end of the wedding ceremony is, was another Hanson song, and at their wedding reception I used the song Madeleine to draw people’s attention back from their conversations to the original proceedings (that’s my sister’s name). Anonymity lost.

But for me, it was perhaps a darker musical year. One week my attention turned to Video Hits after Rage. I remember it like it was yesterday. This song came on. Some guys were walking into a haunted house. The music started. There was thunder. And then there was boy band magic. And some sort of werewolf.

I got on my pushbike and rode down to my sisters’ netball games on the other side of town. In Maclean, NSW. So not far. The song playing over and over in my head.

Am I original? Yeah.
Am I the only one? Yeah…

I saved up my pocket money ($2 a week plus mowing money in those days). And one day, on a trip to the Gold Coast, I think Pacific Fair. I had a look around Toys’R’Us. And a couple of other shops. And then walked into Big W. And came out a changed man. If not for that moment I would not have been bullied at school for a whole year, for thinking that the Backstreet Boys were cutting edge and awesome. I read the liner notes, and most of them thanked Jesus. So they were Christians too. And back then, at the age of 13, I thought Christian music was pretty cool. In fact, a year later, a Christian band called Aroma opened my eyes to rock (listen to the song Maggot here). And from there… well, you’ll have to wait until 1998’s post.

These were the only videos I could find easily and embed…

If I recall, there was a certain very good friend of mine (I won’t name – but he blogs and I’ve linked to him heaps, and he likes Pixar) who borrowed my CD and also enjoyed it.

My Life in Albums: The Early Years

I was born BCB. That is Before Colin Buchanan. So I was raised on a diet of ABC for kids music. This meant Don Spencer, Peter Combe, and those CDs that came out numbered. They had the timetables songs and stuff like the song about the boys who put the powder on the noses of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Caractacus.

Here are some YouTube trips down memory lane…

Apparently Peter Combe now plays pub gigs for people who grew up listening to his music.

Then there was Don Spencer, now Russell Crowe’s father-in-law.

Oh, and who could forget Joe Dolce’s On Top of Spaghetti

And Ross Higgin’s Monster Mash.

I did eventually grow up. And, perhaps more important were my trips to mum and dad’s CD shelf. I grew up with Paul Simon. I’d play Graceland whenever I could, and I have pretty early memories of the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer running around in my head. And Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album was another favourite.

But, perhaps the longest lasting musical memory, is the Motorcycle Song, by Arlo Guthrie (from his Best Of).

My Life in Albums: Introduction

I was cleaning up my iTunes yesterday, getting rid of duplicates and rubbish that I downloaded back in the heady days of Napster. Monty Python sketches are better on YouTube anyway. Especially performed by 419 scammers who have been scambaited.

Like this one.

Anyway. I digress. I was feeling a little nostalgic as I deleted dross and re-listened to some tunes I hadn’t listened to for a long time. So I undertook a little exercise. I tried to match an album to every year of my life. It wasn’t necessarily limited to an album released that year. It was more about finding an album that defines my memory of a year. It wasn’t even necessarily an album I owned. In one many cases in the early years I picked albums belonging to my parents (some I have since either pinched from them or purchased) It was fun. Sometimes I couldn’t split a couple of options. Here’s my list. I’m going to turn these into a bit of a series of posts. Because I can. Feel free to join in – comment with your musical memories.

The early years

  • ABC for Kids, numbered albums
  • Peter Combe, Toffee Apple (I think, I might be guessing here)
  • Don Spencer, Feathers, Fur or Fins
  • Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
  • Paul Simon, Graceland
  • The Proclaimers, Sunshine on Leith
  • Arlo Guthrie, The Best Of
  • Tommy Emmanuel, The Journey Continues
  • Jennie Flack’s Mugwumps and Snookles (though the more I look at her discography the more I think we had some sort of bootleg hybrid of her tapes, and Bullfrogs and Butterflies

Year by year

  • 1997 – Backstreet’s Back – The Backstreet Boys, Hanson – Middle of Nowhere
  • 1998 – The Living End – Self Titled
  • 1999 – Powderfinger – Internationalist, The Whitlams – Eternal Nightcap
  • 2000 – The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream, Custard – The Best of
  • 2001 – Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia
  • 2002 – Muse – Showbiz, Weezer – The Blue Album, Radiohead – OK Computer
  • 2003 – Muse – Absolution, Placebo – Sleeping with Ghosts
  • 2004 – Radiohead – Hail to the Thief, Eskimo Joe – a song is a city
  • 2005 – The Killers – Hot Fuss, Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
  • 2006 – Gomez – How we operate
  • 2007 – Gotye – Like Drawing Blood, The Panics – Cruel Guards, Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • 2008 – Athlete – Beyond the Neighbourhood, Architecture in Helsinki – Places Like This
  • 2009 – Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
  • 2010 – Whitley – Go Forth, Find Mammon



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