45s from my youth
I published my first iMix to the iTunes store tonight. I’ve been a fan of the concept since Apple created the feature, and I have used others’ playlists often to find new music. However, the hassle of selecting the correct versions of songs from the store and the pain caused by having to omit tracks not yet available through Apple had kept me from publishing my own. Now that I have done one, though, I have to say it wasn't so bad. I'll likely upload more.
The theme for my first public playlist is one destined to cause embarrassment, but it was one that was fun to assemble. I decided to catalog the 7-inch records I owned and played quite often when I was between 5 and 10 years old. I had albums too (the Beatles, children's songs and even the Bee-Gees were in high rotation), but each song on this list was in my collection as a 45-rpm single and was my favorite at some point.
Peter, Paul And Mary - Puff (The Magic Dragon) (1963)
Elvis Presley - Hound Dog (1956)
Jim Croce - Bad Bad Leroy Brown (1973)
Tony Orlando & Dawn - Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (1973)
Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together (1975)
James Taylor - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) (1975)
Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy (1975)
B.J. Thomas - Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song (1975)
The Theme from S.W.A.T. (1975)
The Manhattans - Kiss and Say Goodbye (1976)
The Commodores - Three Times a Lady (1978)
Elton John & Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart (1976)
Village People - Y.M.C.A. (1978)
ABBA - Dancing Queen (1977)
Billy Joel - My Life (1978)
Barry Manilow - I Write the Songs (1976)
As part of the playlist process, I’ve been trying to think where I first heard some of these songs. I didn’t listen to the radio that much when I was little, and my parents weren’t big fans of contemporary music. My dad loved Big Band, especially Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Vaughn Monroe and Benny Goodman. My Mom's taste was a bit more New York. Her albums included Broadway musical soundtracks featuring folks like Richard Harris and Barbara Streisand as well as artist albums from vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and jazz artists Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
TV was certainly a big influence. Some of the singers had their own TV shows or specials (The Captain and Tennille, Tony Orlando, Glenn Campbell and Elvis) and others probably appeared on award or variety programs. As I grew older, peers were a likely influence (Billy Joel, the Village People). But, I am uncertain how some 45s made their way into my record box.
I forget how I first heard Bad, Bad Leroy Brown but I know that it remained #1 on the Paul chart for more than 2 years, supplanting Puff the Magic Dragon and Hound Dog. Similarly, I’m not sure how, at an age when I was convinced girls were icky, I was so prepared for seduction with tracks by The Manhattans, The Commodores and, lady-favorite, James Taylor.
What I do recall is how much I enjoying playing my 45s and albums and how often I would alphabetize them to make sure they were in perfect order. I also remember my first stereo, a present from my uncle and grandmother my parents thought was too extravagant. And, I remember how much fun it was to listen to the latest releases at the neighborhood record store. I imagine that now that I have published my list, certain friends will never let me forget what is on it.