Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FOR MY BROTHER ON HIS BIRTHDAY: MUSICAL MEMORIES (INSPIRED BY QUESTLOVE'S MO 'META BLUES)



If you haven't already, go pick yourself up a copy of Roots drummer Ahmir (aka Questlove) Thompson's Mo 'Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. The stories of how he met KISS and Prince alone are worth the cost of admission.

Music is the prism through which Questlove fashions his life and through which he remembers precise moments in his personal history.  

So, in the spirit of Mo 'Meta and its author, I'm sharing some of my own music memories, mostly ones I shared with my younger brother, Adam.   I treasure these memories and am grateful I had such an awesome partner in crime to experience the music with!

 PS - Feel free to use the comments section to drop a few memories of your own.


1. All Night Dancing
Remember that song "Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc.? They had this other song called "All Night Dancing" which went on for almost EIGHT minutes.  One night, when I was about 10, my best friend and her parents came over for dinner.  My parents had this huge, old school slide projector and slide/movie screen set up in the livingroom, probably because we were showing our guests slides from a vacation.

While the adults stayed at the table to chat, my best friend,  my little brother and I peeled off and choreographed this awesome dance to "All Night Dancing."  We turned off the lights and moved in front of the slide projector so our dancing shadows showed up on the slide screen. (Very early MTV, no?) To accompany the sparkly disco lead-in sound, we rolled silver tinfoil into little balls and tossed them in the air as we danced around.  I think my mom had to pick them out of our olive shag carpet. 

Anyway, I am still proud of that dance we made up!!

2.  Breakin'/Beat Street
My mom let my brother and I go in to see Breakin' by ourselves.  I was super excited to wear these hightops I had found.  They were made of this sparkly rainbow weave fabric. I remember people in theater commenting on the shoes.  I LOVED them! My brother and I pretty much went wild for this part in the film where Turbo (played by Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers) danced in a way that makes it look like he brought a broom to life. 

After we saw Beat Street, we got the soundtrack on cassette and memorized the words to stuff like The Treacherous Three's "Santa's Rap." 

3.  Willie Style
How my parents would start out  our family road trips out was by doing this:  Once we hit the highway, they'd  put a  Willie Nelson CD (or was it a cassette?) in the music system of our van, roll down the windows, and crank up the song "On the Road Again" to FULL VOLUME.  My brother and I were so embarrassed that we would hide down on the floor.  (Secretly, I loved this song!)

4.  It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Billy Joel was big in our lives.  I remember getting Glass Houses and listening to the first side of the record, like, 50 times before we even flipped over to Side B.  

5.  Rollerskating Routines  
I'd find a bunch of extension cords, plug them together, and bring the radio all the way out to the driveway so I could make up rollerskating routines to songs.  So proud of the yellow and orange suede Adidas roller skates I found and the yarn pom-poms I made for them. (I think my brother got a pair, too?) Favorite rollerskating outfit:  Jungle print shorts, leotard, purple sparkly legwarmers my brother gave me, and, of course, the Adidas skates.

6.  Etc.

Other stuff we listened to on albums:

    1. Bob McGrath Sings for All the Boys and Girls
    2. Star Wars soundtrack 
    3. Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack
    4. A Christian album my mom bought from a door-to-door salesman with lots of morality tales built into the songs 
    5. The Perry Como Christmas Album
    6. "Nadia's Theme" (originally written for the film Bless the Beasts and the Children, it was also the theme song for the soap opera "The Young and The Restless") 
    7. Christmas with the Chipmunks 
    8. Rocky soundtrack
    9. Free to Be You and Me - Marlo Thomas
    10. The Limeliters - Through Children's Eyes
    11. Various John Denver Albums
    12. Up With People
    13. Viva Mariachi
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