Sunday, 31 July 2016

Music That Saved me--Letter C

I could start with C is for Cookie from Sesame Street because Sesame Street has been such an important part of my life. My first year at LC when i was still commuting form home I planned my schedule so that Tuesdays and Thursdays I could watch Sesame Street before I left for college. FACT.

Now, just letting you know--I am alphabetising like my i-pod does--by the first letter so don't go all huffy on me because Chris de Burgh is listed under C rather than D. OK?

Chris de Burgh

I know people take the piss out of him. The comedian Billy Bailey skewers him mercilessly over his caterpillar eyebrows. But I have a real soft spot for Chris. He is best known for his love ballad The Lady in Red which I always felt was too soppy and commercial. My favourite of his love songs has to be Where Peaceful Waters Flow because of the line:
Always, she is standing by my side.
She's my inspiration, she's my battle cry.
And in her arms is the only place I know
Where peaceful waters flow.
That song perfectly sums up how I feel about Spiderman. But I am the first to admit it is as wet as a haddock's bathing costume. No, the song I want  to share is a story song. You know how I love a song that tells a tale. Well, this is a cracker. I have very clear memories of seeing Don't Pay the Ferryman on MTV.
Watch it here:

The Clash
Image result for the clash

These scruffy punksters are a world away from the clean cut romantic croonings of Chris de Burgh, but hey--I am a woman of complicated tastes. I first fell in love with The Clash in the 8th grade when Brad K gave me Rock the Casbah on a 45 record for my 13th birthday. My mum was a bit concerned that the word rock was a stand in for f*ck but in this case it really is rock because it is all about the Middle East banning Western music as decadent and harmful. The video shows an Arab and an Hasidic Jew befriending each other and skanking through Texas on a road trip. Inexplicably with an armadillo.
Watch it here:
I loved this song so much I invested in the cassette of Combat Rock from Camelot records where I fell in love with the song Know Your Rights. This powerful song from 1982 resonates today with lyrics like:
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime
Unless it was done
By a policeman
Or an aristocrat
Oh, know your rights

Listen to it here:

The Cocteau Twins
Image result for cocteau twins

Oh my. I was introduced to The Cocteau Twins and the ethereal voice of Elizabeth Fraser by my then boyfriend Tim T who was the gateway where I learned about so many cool and progressive alternative bands.  The music is all bells and sounds and feel like you are floating or flying,  There is a shimmering quality to it making you feel like you are submerged in water when you listen to it. but don't try to make out the lyrics because you can't. Elizabeth Fraser (who you will definitely hear more from when  we get to the letter T as she performed exquisitely with This Mortal Coil as well) uses a form of glossolalia--a sort of nonsense sounds/talking in tongues with some words in foreign languages like Gaelic and some words backwards. It is hypnotic and beautiful. I had many bootleg songs on mix tapes Tim made me and I bought many songs on cassette single. Our favourite song was Aloysius because it sounds like she is saying she f*cks the principal (see if I am wrong). Since my mother was a teacher Tim once wrote to me saying she f*cks the principal (no, not your mother!) which we found hilarious.
Listen to it here:
The Cure
Image result for the cure
Led by spiky haired, panda-eyed, smeared red lipsticked Robert Smith. Again, another band that Tim introduced me to. Their Goth, Emo, post punk, new wave sound really appealed to the me in the emotional rollercoaster of puberty. Many of the songs are quite dark and haunting. There are lots of realistic songs about the pressure to be happy (Boys Don't Cry), to have sex because there was nothing else to do (Let's Go to Bed),  the regret of having sex and the misery and shame you feel after (Siamese Twins) etc. Mum, if you are reading this--don't panic. You had less to worry about than you thought. But some of The Cure songs are decidedly strange and upbeat. The Lovecats for instance. So I will play Spiderman's favourite upbeat Cure song Friday I'm In Love (which incidentally, I can play on the ukulele)
Watch it here:
 Robert Smith is also a good sport as he has voiced himself on South Park several times most notably when they had to defeat the evil giant Barbra Streisand.

No my favourite Cure song is Just Like Heaven. It tells a story so you know it is close to my heart. My second year at LC, the semester before I started dating Spiderman I went on a date with this guy named Clay. We went the Dollar Cinema (no idea what we saw) but before the film started they were playing music. This song came on-- I had only heard it once before on the radio and had fallen in love with it not knowing who sang it. It never occurred to me it could be The Cure as it was not so miserable as the other stuff I liked by them. I remember saying (rather loudly) "Oh! I love this song!" and then the music wound around me--I could physically feel it--it was shimmery and gold --and I could see the melody moving like a ribbon and it was a completely spiritual experience. I stood up--I HAD to stand up--and I stood with my arms held wide as the music washed over me. All the while i could hear Clay hissing at me to SIT DOWN! and STOP THAT! Well that was our one and only date. No surprise there. Thankfully, a few months later Spiderman came into my life and I never looked back. It still is one of my favourite songs.
Watch it here:
 The Church
I will be honest, I don't know much about this one hit wonder band, I just love this song. It has that mystical jangle-y underwater feeling like the Cocteau Twins and the lead singer has a deep voice so i am sold. Plus it has what sounds like electric bagpipes in it which are really cool (but according to Wikipedia are something called a Synclavier --who knew?) So listen to Under the Milky Way.
Watch it here:

 I've saved my favourite C band for last.
The Cr├╝xshadows
Image result for the cruxshadows
You may recall we were lucky enough to see them perform live in a little Goth Club called The Purple Turtle a few years back on their As the Dark Against My Halo tour. There are no words enough to express how much we love this band If you want all the gushings about why they are so important  to me you can read it here:

But the main thing I love is the complicated layering of electronic music, the way it makes you want to dance (or at least tap your toe if you are Spiderman) and the overwhelming positiveness of the  lyrics. Lead singer Rogue is one of the few people I would say had real charisma. He is so amazing and shines like a beacon that you can't take your eyes off of him. I could name dozens of songs that we adore, but these are a few of favourite things.Birthday. This song inspires me to be a better person every time I listen with the lyrics look at your life. Who do you want to be before you die? 
Watch it here:
I wanted to choose something from As the Dark Against My Halo. It was a hard choice. In the end I choose Valkyrie. 

That's the end of my C songs. What are your favourite C bands? Have you ever had a spiritual experience because of music like I did with the Cure?

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Music that Saved Me--Letter B, part 2

 The Bolshoi

They were a British post punk, gothic new wave band that were largely undervalued in the States. I had a bootleg copy of their album F(r)iends (I thought it was very clever that the word friends could  be fiends if you left out the letter r) that I adored. Lead singer Trevor Tanner had this voice that was sometimes deep and moody-sinister with an occasional little high hiccup in pitch like a schoolboy whose voice is breaking. I introduced them to my friend Elizabeth J right as we were going off to our respective colleges--me Louisiana College and her LSU. She came home at Christmas with their next cassette Lindy's Party which was all the rage at LSU. I instantly fell in love with it. There are catchy songs (TV Man), sinister songs (Barrowlands), songs that seemed to be written about me as if they knew me (Lindy's Party). It was all good. Youtube doesn't have much by them so I will  choose Away  from F(r)iends to play first. It is a good use of his sexy -slightly sinister singing. I get shivers on the line Leave your door unlatched. Plus Trevor wears eyeliner so he looks even sexier.
Watch it here:
  I was also in love with TV Man from Lindy's Party. The video is not that great (Trevor has no sexy eyeliner here), but the song lyrics really spoke to me.
1 2 3 hail TV
Watching Dirty Harry made a man of me. 
You don't get any of his adolescent voice breaking in either song which is a shame. But they are still both brilliant.
Watch it here:
 Black Flag
Or more specifically the spoken word poetry of Henry Rollins. This basically speaks for itself.
Rattus Norvegicus.
Listen to it here:
When I was LC and lived with the wonderful Anna C we used to recite this in unison to anyone who would listen. Hollywood Diary.
Listen to it here:
And tried again, with a renewed vigour and enthusiasm not seen by many. 

Billy Bragg
He is like the British Bob Dylan of the 1980's to the present because he is still rocking the left wing political songs. His music blends elements of folk music,punk rock and protest songs with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. His music is heavily centred on bringing about change and getting the younger generation involved in activist causes. It was 1988 and we were students at LC. Spiderman and I had just parted ways as he went back to his dorm for the evening and I stayed around in the TV room to watch a bit more late night talk show (Letterman, maybe?)  and Billy Bragg came on and I was so moved by the song that I had to go and phone Spiderman even though it was after 11pm. I couldn't even remember Billy Bragg's name--just the name of the song. 
Listen to it here:
Best bits: You can be active with the activists or sleeping with the sleepers while you're waiting for the great leap forward. This line made me want to be one of  the activists not one of the sleepers. 
Second best bit: If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it. 

The Bad Shepherds 
OK, I didn't discover this band until a few years ago (to be fair they only formed in 2008) Do you remember Vyvyan from the Young Ones?

Well he grew up, learned to play the mandolin and formed a band. Basically they use Celtic folk instruments like the fiddle, the uilleann pipes, the mandolin and tin whistles to play punk songs from the 70's and 80's.  They are fantastic. We luckily saw them live a few years back in London. Here is their rendition of The Clash's London Calling live at HebCeltfest in 2010.
Favourite line: I love the way he sings London is drowning and I live by the river. 
They cover so many great songs like Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols to Ace of Spades by Moterhead all in a Celtic style.

There are so many other B bands I could mention but we'd be here all day. I won't play them, but I give a shout out to the Beastie Boys. I love you guys. Blondie-you're a gas. (soon found out, had a heart of glass)

What B bands do you love?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Music That Saved Me--Letter B

There are quite a few Letter B artists.I have tried to whittle it down, but it will still take two posts to do it all.

The Fab Four
I guess the place to start is way back with The Beatles. I had been a fan of theirs since I discovered them in my mother's 45 record collection. I had a Greatest Hits album on vinyl  and as I mentioned in the introduction, I begged Danny for a dollar to buy them live at the Cavern Club. But by age sixteen i was more interested in their later stuff. For my sixteenth birthday I asked for the compilation The Beatles 1967-70  on cassette and my parents dutifully complied.

I could say so much about them, but you already know so much about them it seems pointless to show you things you already know. But you should know that my favourite songs are Eleanor Rigby and We Can Work It Out. But I thought I would introduce you to a song that perhaps you do not know. The sort that don't make it on a compilation album. My unusual pick is Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was inspired by a 19th century circus poster that John Lennon bought.
It is worth mentioning that Pablo Fanque who is referenced in the song was an equestrian and acrobat and was the first non-white circus British owner.

As there is some copyright issues with Beatles songs on youtube. I found this fab cover version which sounds just like it.
Watch it here: 
I love this song--it sounds to me like the music is played backwards if that makes any sense. It has a really dark, slightly sinister merry-go-round feeling like it comes out of Something Wicked This way Comes. 

 The B52s.
Oh this campy new wave band from Athens, Georgia done stole my heart. I first discovered them through summer camp at The Mountain in North Carolina. All the cool kids from the northern states would show me what was cool--clothes, music, etc and i would soak it up like a sponge for two weeks every summer and then bring it back to Louisiana where everyone called me a freak until the trends tricked down to us a year later. I was *always* ahead of my time.

I loved their lo-tech, exuberant slightly nonsense songs all sung with Fred Schneider's distinctive voice and backed up by two of the grooviest chicks on the planet--Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson. The first song that i fell in love with was Rock Lobster. 
Watch it here:

I love this slightly rougher side of them before they became polished with songs like Love Shack.
Favourite bit:
Here comes a stingray
There goes a manta-ray
In walked a jelly fish
There goes a dog-fish
Chased by a cat-fish
In flew a sea robin
Watch out for that piranha
There goes a narwhal
Here comes a bikini whale!
I adore the freaky noises the Kate and Cindy make on this part. 

I was so entranced with this American new wave band with their synthesizers and the cool dip-dyed hair of lead singer Terri Nunn.  
They got popular with songs like Take Me Breath Away  from Top Gun which won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for best song, but i found it wet and soppy even if Terri Nunn had that killer dip-dyed hair (a look I coveted, but never copied). No, my favourites were earlier, forgotten or more obscure works. There was this kinky song called Sex, I'm a...which explored the sex roles of men and women with lyrics like:
I'm a man, I'm a goddess 
I'm a man, well I'm a virgin 
I'm a man, I'm a blue movie 
I'm a man, I'm a bitch 
I'm a man, I'm a geisha 
I'm a man, I'm a little girl 
And we make love together
This was heady stuff for me in 1987 as I obsessively listened to this song on cassette in my beloved blue Subaru as I drove to and from Louisiana College. It started me off on my feminist journey of what it means to be a woman--what does society expect of you--how many roles a woman must play versus how many a man must play.  Now, it feels a bit dated and corny, but the song that never dates for me is The Metro. It had a killer synthesizer hook and the song told a story. It was the start of my love for songs (and of course the new musical art form the video) that told a story. For years i wanted to turn this into a short story. To write, to fill in the gaps that the song leaves out. But i can't because the song is perfect. Sadly, you don't get Terri Nunn's dip-dyed hair, but you can't have everything. 
Watch it here:

Favourite bit: The line I remember hating you for loving me--just the way she sings it. 
In 1987 when i went to London and Paris with my french teacher Mrs Cyphert, Elizabeth J and I sang the chorus over and over and over *every* song time we rode the Metro in honour of Berlin. Because we could.

Book of Love
Book of Love were a synthpop and electronic band from the 1980's. They used a lot of tubular bells, chimes and melodica in their songs which gave them a slightly surreal, but very lush sound. They toured twice as the opening act for Depeche Mode and were praised for their forward thinking lyrics about sexual orientation and gender roles. The leader singer Susan Ottaviano had this amazing deep voice. It was rich with expression and has only been beaten by Allison Moyet of Yaz who is the queen of 1980's deep expressive women's voices.  I first heard of Book of Love from a girl named Leslie who had just moved to Alexandria from down south--Houma, perhaps? She had a mix tape made by a friend as a parting gift and I was smitten. At a slumber party i wanted to listen to it over and over and we couldn't agree on a favourite song. She preferred the irreverent gender bending Boy while I preferred the tells-a-story-song Yellow Sky. 

Watch it now: (this is just the song and a picture so don't be expecting a video)

Trivia: The person who taped it for Leslie reversed the order of songs--side two of the cassette was recorded as side one and side one was recorded as side two. For years I thought that the first song was  I Touch Roses. Turns out that is the first song on Side 2!
Interesting fact: Ted Ottaviano (main song writer for BoL and strangely no relation to Susan Ottaviano) stated, "I was fascinated with Altered Images and other bands that were incorporating bells and chimes into their music. Long brass chimes, tubular bells, whatever. It sounded right, for the time."
Perhaps this was more of the appeal of Altered Images--the bells not just Clare Grogan! 

That's all for Part 1 of Letter B, Stay tuned for more Letter B where we look at bands that I discovered at college and a bit later. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Music That Saved Me--Letter A

I have looked back at my ever-growing list of artists that have saved me, changed me, influenced me and I am having a bit of a hard time paring it down. So I won't. Some letters that are especially full will be spread of two days. Problem solved.

Letter A

This has to start with Amazulu. They were a five woman and one man British ska band and this is where I fell in love with ska (a musical genre that originated in Jamaica in the 1950's but was often used in the post punk/new wave of British music that was a big influence on me). I first saw them on this surreal Britcom called The Young Ones which played late at night on MTV.

This weird show was about 4 undergraduates who were sharing a house--aggressive punk Vyvyan, conceited wannabee anarchist Rick, oppressed paranoid hippy Neil and suave charming Mike the Cool Person. It was full of talking puppets, surrealism and ultra violence was part of my journey to becoming an Anglophile. It had kick-ass music each week and I felt my horizons expand exponentially when I watched it. Here was where I first saw Amazulu perform their song Moonlight Romance in the episode Time.

Watch it here: (there is a bit of a hiss, but stick with it because you get one of my favourite jokes with SPG the Glaswegian talking puppet hamster)

Did you see the sax player? I coveted that outfit. I searched for weeks to  find a dress that was overalls on the top and a painter's cap to wear so i look like her. I rushed out to buy the cassette from Camelot Records and was incredibly disappointed to hear the version of   Moonlight Romance was different on the tape. It lacked the bouncy-makes-you-wanna-dance feel of the one from The Young Ones. But I did discover a treasure on the cassette. A song called Cairo. It was weird and bluesy and slightly sinister. I found a video for it that was filmed for some German music programme which features (inexplicably) a Toyota being spit roasted over a fire. Ignore that bit and listen to the song.

Watch it here:

I had no idea what it was about, but I loved it. I was like a cobra in basket mesmerised by some Indian bloke playing a flute when I heard it. I played that song so much the tape got all stretched out and the sound was wonky, but i didn't care. . 
Adam Ant

My sexual awakening was *definitely* Adam Ant. He was part of the new romantics movement and he was so androgynous.  Was he a boy or was he girl? He wore all this makeup and poofy blouses but exuded testosterone. Plus he had a white stripe on his nose which i found incredibly alluring.

I found his singing very sexy and I know all my earliest sexual fantasies were about him. I think this was because he looked like a girl as well as a boy. Those who know me will know I am bisexual so this should not come as any surprise.  It was a toss up as to what to show--what I felt was the sexiest song. I almost chose Strip but instead chose Desperate But Not Serious because of the way I feel when he sings the line And console you with a big kiss on the lips and on the back of your neck. 
Watch it here: 

Here he is with the white stripe playing a dashing Highwayman in Stand and Deliver. 

Altered Images

They were a post punk/new wave band from Scotland fronted by the fabulous Clare Grogan. She was almost completely unintelligible but sang and danced with such exuberance you didn't care. She had this slight tremolo that made her sound like a sheep going Baaaa when she sang. I bloody loved that.
This song was my favourite and here are the lyrics because there is no way you will know what she is saying beyond the words Happy Birthday.
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Happy birthday.
Happy, Happy birthday in a hot bath
To those nice
Nice nights.
I remember always
Always I got such a fright.
Seeing them in my dark cupboard with my great big cake.
If they were me
If they were me
And I was you and I was you
If they were me and I was you
Would you have liked a present too

Watch it here:
Geek trivia: Clare Grogan was the original Kristine Kochanski on the Sci-Fi show Red Dwarf. Lister wanted to sleep with her and so did I.

There are other A artists like ABBA that i loved but these three are the most important to me. What artists influenced you?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Music has charms to soothe a savage b(r)east

With all the doom and gloom happening these days--terror attacks, mass shootings, Brexit, renewal of Trident missiles and Trump (just to name a few)  I have been a bit overwhelmed by it all. And I feel that heavy feeling of stress/depression/anxiety I do what I have always done--lose myself in the music. 

Music is so important to me. It probably is to everyone. I have clear memories of musical awakenings--when you discover a perfect song or a band that you want to do nothing except play their songs on repeat until the record skips from constant use or the tape disintegrates (I am dating myself here). You know what I mean. The song whose lyrics spoke to you--the ones that could have been written by you. How did they know? Has someone else felt the depths of teenage angst like I feel? Is that what it means to be human? Is this what make me part of the universe?
Peter, Paul and Mary
My first exposure to music was through my parents. That's probably true for everyone. We had this amazing hi-fi. It was a beautiful wooden cabinet with speakers and you pressed down on the lid and it made a little pop! and the lid opened to reveal a turntable and a radio. Here I grew to love Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Silkie, The Kingston Trio, The Statler Brothers, Don Williams and so many others. There was also Joan Baez that I never took to and lots of Waylon and Willie that I could give or take. But I adored the hi-fi. I could spend hours pressed up against it, feeling the vibrations of the music-- the familiar pop of the needle as you started the record and the slight hiss before the music began and the mechanical thunk of the needle at the end of the record. I spent many happy hours singing into a hairbrush like it was a microphone to the Starland Vocal Band having *no* earthly idea what Afternoon Delight was about. I though it was about the fourth of July as there were fireworks.

I was healed once of a fever by that hi-fi. I had been very ill and I heard Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann's Earth Band on the radio and I walked towards the hi-fi and laid my hand on the speaker right when the music does that bit that sounds like a roller coaster where it goes dun nun nun nun nun nun dooooOOOOOooo  and just as he sang the line the calliope crashed to the ground  I felt my fever break. Suddenly the achy-ness was less and I felt like I was getting better. I genuinely to this day feel that the song did it.
The Cowsills in their groovy matching gear
My mother had all her 45 records (that really dates me) from when she was a teenager. Here I discovered The Beatles (although the first one I ever heard was I am the Walrus and I recall thinking What is all the fuss about?) She had the song These Boots Are Made For Walking and this great song called The Rain, the Park and Other Things by the Cowsills (who were the model for the Partridge family) and this one called Hold Me, thrill Me, Kiss Me. I loved that one. I wanted to feel that way the song describes being driven "slowly out of my mind" by kissing. Later, as I did lots of kissing, it was more like boys trying to lick my tonsils in a rough "eating my face" sort of way. More like drive me out of my lunch rather than out of my mind.  She also had Dim Dim the Lights by Bill Haley and His Comets (of Rock Around the Clock fame) which was all about making out at a party (I sense a theme here--lots of earliest musical fantasies were about kissing at parties) and my favourite part was the nonsense words that sounded like  By-byong sung by a man with a baritone voice. I loved these and soon was adding my own modern ones to the collection.
As Casey said, "keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars" 
I spent many a lazy Sunday in the late 1970's/early 1980's lying on a mattress in our storage room, drinking a cold coca-cola from a glass bottle (those were the days)  with a radio listening to Casey Kasem and the American Top 40. Here I absorbed and memorised songs and their artists. Here I first was awakened to the power of the music of my generation.

I bought my first 45 record with my own money from the mall and it was Le Freak by Chic. It was the Sixth grade and the song was hugely popular. I loved the infectious call of AwwwWWWW Freak Out! and spent much of that year discoing madly in my bedroom. You can watch the video here:
This song is responsible for creating in me a huge and unashamed love for disco. Spiderman rolls his eyes but when a disco hit plays on the radio I am up dancing like  a fiend.
Image result for cassette tape
But I remember when 45 records were not enough. All the cool kids had this new thing called a cassette tape. You might even be able to get a small portable player for your cassette tape! You could make mix tapes for your friends You could wait patiently by the radio for your favourite song to come on and then squeal when the opening notes started and you quickly fumbled to press PLAY. Consequently, all your favourite songs had a loud click-clack noise of you pressing PLAY followed by a DJ annoyingly talking over the beginning of the song, but you could record the song yourself! Stick it to the Man!

I still bought albums on vinyl. Mostly in the early 80's record shops still had just records.  Then I would tape them by putting my portable boom box up close to the turntable speakers resulting in a very inferior recording. Anyone else remember doing this?
Image result for violent femmes
the first Violent Femmes
I spent lots of teen years lurking around the various and sundry music shops in Alexandria. First there was only MusicLand which tended to be more traditional. Later Peppermint Records opened and they had some cooler, more risky stuff. I bought my Violent Femmes and Dead Kennedys on vinyl from Peppermint. There was also Camelot Records in the strip mall that had the Holmes. They had lots of cool stuff on cassette. Lots of weird and wonderful bands that i had seen on my new obsession MTV. I would obsessively memorise all the names of interesting sounding cassettes and watch for them on MTV in future weeks. I bought my Amazulu, The Fixx, Modern English and Wall of Voodoo on cassette from Camelot. They still did some vinyl--mostly old stuff they had on clearance. I once accosted my friend Danny and begged him for a dollar so i could buy a vinyl of The Beatles live at the Cavern Club from Camelot. He gladly did it and I was thrilled to hear them in such a raw, poorly recorded, scratchy form.

All through high school I was still buying music on vinyl and on cassette and religiously watching MTV. There was this influx of New Wave music that really moved me. It was perfect for an angst ridden teenager like myself (is there any other kind?) and I was consumed with it.

When I was at LC and had grown from an angst ridden teen to an angst ridden young adult, I used to love to come home for weekends or holidays and watch 120 Minutes  on MTV with my Mum and teach her about all the cool alternative bands that I loved. It was a good time for us--a time where we connected rather than clashed and I would teasingly quiz her about songs and we would stay up late and listen and talk. Those were good times.

For me, every song or artist has an association--a time, a place, an event. Every song transports me back. In many ways my musical tastes are still stuck in the 1980's. I think the years when we go through puberty are the years that define us--they sear the music into our brains. We *need* the music to help us cope with growing up and it defines how we feel about life. All of our first stirring of sexual awakenings happen with a soundtrack.  I started being awakened to the power of music in the late 1970's which accounts for my penchant for disco.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite music in an A-Z format. With the advent of MTV, some songs are intrinsically linked to their video, others are not. Many I did not even know had a video because they came to me via a  mix tape that a friend or boyfriend made me.  Let me just say, I have a *lot* of favourite songs (hence why we are going alphabetically to spread them out), but I also listened to a lot of strange and interesting stuff as a teenager. I often knew the less popular/unknown songs by a famous artist because i bothered to buy the whole album/cassette and listened and fell in love with what didn't make the radio.

I hope you will discover (or maybe rediscover) a favourite song or artist from the playlist that I am planning. But be warned:

*There will be synthesizers (it was the 80's after all)
*There will be sad songs (I have a lot of Goth/dark wave influences) 
*There will be exuberant but unintelligible singing
*There will be lots of songs alluding to nuclear war (I had a real fear of the Cold War and began my political activism through these songs) 
*There will be songs/videos that tell a story (I am a sucker for these) 
*There will be earworms

Are you ready? Then strap yourselves in and turn your speakers up.

What are your musical influences?