Monday, November 30, 2009

The Music of Your Life

Music has likely been an integral part of your life, and the lives of your ancestors, just as much as it has been a part of mine. It has often lead me to thinking what is it that our parents listened to, what about our grandparents and great grandparents?

I have previously recounted my mother's attempts, usually off key, at singing popular songs to me when I was very young. Her favourite rendition was her attempt at 'covering' The Crews Cuts' "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)" - she had the 'Sh-boom' part down but struggled remembering most of the lyrics, leaving me rather bewildered at the possible meaning and relevance of the song. Her singing though was a break from the usual fare, played on the "hi-fi" in the living room, of opera or Scottish pipes and drums. The greatest shock to my system came in the early 1960's when, while searching in the seldom used cupboards above the refrigerator that every house has, I discovered that my parents had purchased a copy of Chubby Checker's "The Twist." I was horrified at thinking that my parents were secretly listening to the music of 'my' generation!

My parents began dating around 1946 as teenagers and no doubt enjoyed the 'big band' sounds, as well as the vocal offerings of Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Mercer's "Personality." They listened to their music on the radio and eventually saw their favourite vocal groups and singers with the emergence of television in the late 1940's and early 1950's. My grandparents listened to Gene Austin's "My Blue Heaven" and to 'crooners' like Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby in the 1920's and 1930's as teenagers and newlyweds - made easier by the boom in recording capped by the 'invention' of the 33 1/3 RPM long playing album.

As for earlier generations, I'm sure they entertained themselves with 'popular' music based on religious, patriotic and nursery rhyme themes as I suspect, or at least have found little evidence to suggest that they might have excelled in operatic arias.

So what about the music in your memory - please feel free to share your them and your comments in the comments section below.

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