Music was a staple in our house. My dad constantly exposed me to different music growing up, which is why I love so many genres of music.
We listened to, in no particular order, country, classical, disco, R&B, Motown, ABBA (it really is a genre on its own), Pop, Indian music (both Hindi and Bengali)- you named it, it was playing in some form.
One of my fondest memories was dancing in our sun porch with my dad when I was 4 to a disco track. We both had so much fun!
We enjoyed music either on the 8 track player, which used to make the most hideous sound when the album was done, and jolted my baby brother every time, the cassette radio or on our stereo record player, which looked like it was out of 2001 Space Odyssey.
The revered choice for experiencing music was on the record player. The record player itself was housed in a dome with a clear casing. The speakers were 2 smaller domes, adjacent on these wings to the unit. It was all housed in this funky 1970’s media unit, which had space for the records on the bottom. I loved those records. I really did. Those records were amazing. They were my gateway into my influences. Some of my happiest moments were in our living room with the record player playing. The music transported me, uplifted me and fulfilled me. It was magical.
I understand why vinyl is making a comeback. There was something amazing about experiencing music on a record. I devoured my father’s collection of records, which was eclectic and melodic. When I was younger, it was all about the melody for me. As I have grown older, the words and the meaning have grown more important, but for me, the music – the tune is what draws me in.
My favourite records, in order of love:
Harry Belafonte Live At Carnegie Hall – If you want a tutorial on how to be a performer and a story teller, this is the album for you. It was full of international music from Hava Nageela to Come Back Liza – each song was selected and sung to its fullest. If ever there was a concert that I could have attended, this would have been it. His joy of performing and the crowds’ reactions are infectious.
The Beatles 1962-1966 – I really think that my love of green apples stems in part from the amount of times that I watch this double album spin with the green apple at the core. I was captivated by all of musical influences on this album. The song writing and music were enchanting. The harmonies were hypnotic. I had all of the songs memorized and used to imagine that I was a dancer interpreting these gorgeous songs. Singer I may be, dancer I am not!
World Star Festival 1969 Compilation LP – I really think that my love of compilation anthologies stemmed from this album. It was a mix of Jazz, Blues and Pop. It had Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Mel Carter, Julie Andrews, Vikki Car, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Barbara Streissand, Dusty Springfield, Simon and Garfunkel, Dina Ross and the Supremes……it had everything. I listened to that Album non stop and knew all of the performances, the nuances of their voices. Dusty Springfield singing, “I think it’s going to rain today” haunted me and I wished that I could sing as magnificently as she did.
Walt Disney’s Happiest Songs (1967) – The title says it all. It had songs from all of the Disney Movies I loved, but my absolute favourite was The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book. What an amazingly upbeat and incredible song. It is still one of my favourites.
This is what developed my musical loves and tendencies from a young age. I added to the musical collection as I grew older. but the above albums – they were my core. And they shaped my musical taste and my eclectic love of good music.
As I grew older, my brother introduced me to British Rock and Alternative. When I went away to university, he made me this brilliant tape with Oasis, Massive Attack, The Stone Roses – and again, my musical tastes were augmented. I remember listening to it on the train ride to school and although I was sad about leaving home, the mixed tape captured my attention and gave me a new focus. Music does that – it transports and imprints itself on you for an eternity. For me – music is as important as food and breathing.
But that’s just one Diva’s view.