I owe my love of music to many people, but where I got my first fix was at my house at a very tender age. There was always music playing in the house and my three sisters inadvertently introduced me to some of my favorite bands, but they also taught me the beauty of discovery: how to discover your place in the celestial world of music on your own.
The next three articles I'll be writing for Odyssey will be devoted to my three sisters: Beth, Helene and Peggy. I want to start with Helene because her influence of music stays with me to this day, not that my other two sisters did not have musical influence on me, but Helene’s taste in music created my own identity and forced me to think outside the box, turning me onto college radio in the early 80's.
At the age of 11, my sister Helene subliminally had me hooked on New Wave and Post Punk and I feel in love with what she was listening to at the time
Not Helene’s favorite but they became mine and at one point my mother commented on my room stating “we should have just bought Duran Duran wallpaper.”
One of the first 12’ inch records my sister allowed me to listen to was “Dreaming of Me” by this band.
I still post “Straight Lines” in my favorite group on Facebook “Adventures in New Wave” biannually.
OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark).
The first song Helene turned me onto by OMD was “Enola Gay”, which for those who don’t know was the name of the airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb. Deep.
Still in heavy rotation for me is the song “Reap the Wild Wind”, however when I was a teacher, I had a student named Vienna in my class and I sang Ultravox’s song “Vienna” to her nearly every day.
Flock of Seagulls.
You can’t escape the infectious groove of “I Ran” but my favorite will always be “Telecommunication.”
I think Helene became bored by some of their darker jams but “Boys Don’t Cry” was definitely a danceable hit. My favorite will always be “Night Like This”. Don’t listen if you don’t want to cry.
Tears For Fears.
“Pale Shelter” and “Change” are such powerful and strong dance tracks, I’m not sure how they often get lost in the “Sowing the Seeds of Love” nonsense produced later, however “Watch Me Bleed” gets me every time.
“Blue Monday” will forever be one of those songs that has me pounding on my steering wheel and running to the dance floor.
My sister’s first stadium concert and still one of those bands we both rock out too often to.
In a phone discussion, Helene and I shared that we were effected by the music in our house and her irony is that, in later years, she attached her happy moments to the music from my older sisters and now listens to those rock and disco hits from the 1960’s and 70’s. Her favorites now include: Supertramp, Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire.
It’s funny how I love and adore music that my sisters turned me on to, but I almost always go back to my 80’s favorites. It’s an awkward push to listen to music from today, but I do love those bands that are influenced by their own heroes from the 80's because you can hear it in their music. Bands like LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and Interpol are always in my heavy rotation and bring me back to those happy times when music was king in my house.