As far as I remember I have always enjoyed music, but I have never been big about following any particular musician or band. Growing up I enjoyed the music of Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, and many others.
I have never been big on spending a lot of time listening to music on the radio except when I was driving in the car, nor was I ever known to spend money buying records (I only remember buying one and that was because my sixth-grade teacher, Miss Chandler, wrote the song and had a local musician sing it. It was called ‘Candy Stripper’). During my growing up years most of my music appreciation came from friends who would talk about the current and popular singers and their songs.
When I was younger, I have a vivid memory of Mom listening to Tennessee Ernie Ford, and later in life I developed an ear for his music and learned to enjoy it, but when I was younger, I couldn’t have cared less. I also remember watching Lawrance Welk and Mitch Miller on television with my parents and sisters. I wasn’t a particularly good fan of these shows but over time I learned to enjoy the music (when I say over time, I mean in my 30s or 40s).
The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sulivan show when I was a sophomore in high school. I didn’t watch this famous introduction of the Beatles to America, but I remember that many of my school peers went crazy over these English guys. I had one friend, Joan, who I used to tease because she was almost fanatical when discussing them. I kept telling her that their long hair was a distraction and made them look like girls and she told me that she liked it and would argue that it would become the new trend in boys’ hair. I didn’t want to think about that, but she was right.
I never grew my hair long until the Covid epidemic happened and by then I was an old man of seventy-two. I studied the issue and discovered that barber shops were a dangerous place to get exposed to Covid, so I didn’t visit one for more than one year. My wife volunteered to cut it but being a barber’s son, I wouldn’t let her close to my hair with a pair of scissors. Obviously, my hair grew long as hard as it is to admit it, I must recognize that my long hair made me look very distinctive. My wife and one of my sisters really liked it.
The only band I ever remember paying money to see was the Beach Boys when they played a concert at BYU. The only reason I paid good money to see them was because my oldest son developed a liking for that group. To this day I don’t know why. I enjoyed the concert, but I think one of them was drunk on stage or at least he acted like it, but it didn’t ruin the performance, in fact it may have made it more interesting.
The only other time I ever paid to watch and listen to someone sing in person happened several years ago when I surprised Anne with tickets to hear Paul McCartney when he came to Salt Lake. She is a big Beatles fan and so I really wanted to do something nice for her. The thing is, I enjoyed the evening very much and walked out of the venue feeling good partly because Anne had such a wonderful time.
I guess what I’m trying to say with all this meandering through my music history is that I didn’t have and still don’t have a great desire to watch live performances of musicians. I can appreciate their talents and their music by listening to them on the radio or television.
I look at Taylor Swift and all the good she is doing with her music and then reality hits me when I think of the price someone must pay for one of her concerts. Now, I’m a fan of entrepreneurship and a singer or sports star should be able to earn and charge whatever the market will bear but that doesn’t mean I have to spend my money to watch them.
Perhaps this is a kickback to my younger days when many of my friends spent their money on concerts and I didn’t have any spare money to spend. As a result, I never prioritized concerts high enough on my to do list. Or perhaps I didn’t go to them because I was never into music deep enough to want to attend. I never developed a fascination with any of the music giants of my time to the point where I listened to the radio a lot or talked a lot about them. In fact, I remember when people would discuss some musical star, I had to pretend to know what they were talking about, but the reality was I didn’t know anything that they were discussing.
I do love good music but what I think is good others may disagree, but I think that is the way it should be. We are all individuals, and we all have different preferences which play into making us who we are. Life would certainly be boring if we all liked the same music or whatever else makes us different and yet whole.
What I have learned however is that whatever our children enjoy in music we should probably learn to understand it and not be too vocal in a negative way. Music changes from generation to generation and by learning to accept this fact we can bring more harmony into the family and probably develop some tolerance for all music.
Happy Failing Forward,
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