Raised on the Radio is a series devoted to remembering and sharing what the musical experience was like when the only way you would hear music is on the radio of if you bought the album. The ease of downloading music has robbed us of the excitement of hearing a song for the first time on the radio. Catching your favorite song on the radio was an act of serendipity, and if you needed to hear it that badly, you sat next to the radio all night with your finger on the record button of your cassette player – waiting to capture that perfect moment. Gone are the days of album rock, this generation will probably never listen to a whole album first song to last, they will never understand B-Sides, they will never stare at an album cover as they listen to the music. This series is dedicated to all of the musicians who had to wait for that radio station to play their song, who had to wait to hear – the long way – if their song or record was #1, who had the pleasure of knowing that every song on their album was heard.
This week our post is from Lizzi over at Considerings. Lizzi has been participating in Twisted MixTape Tuesday for a while now, I am always blown away by how accurately she portrays moments in her life with music. I knew having her as a guest would be the perfect blend of red coat and blue coat, brit and yank, old and new.
All I Never Knew Was Missing
I was raised in a pretty shut-down household, where the music available was a strict diet of Classic FM (which I now love), Classical CDs (I love some of them), ‘Churchy’ music (still not that keen), and Gilbert and Sullivan (hate it with a passion).
There was one exception (other than the stalwart ‘sung Times Tables’ tapes) – one copy of a hearkening back to my Dad’s childhood; a ‘Hello Children Everywhere’ CD. I listened to it obsessively, whenever I was allowed to use the (gigantic old monster of a) stereo system, in brushed steel, with heavy dials and buttons which swirled deliciously in my hands and would land me in trouble, because somehow the volume always seemed to end up louder.
So thanks to the lifeline of this one CD, I caught a tiny break and spent my childhood having my mind blown by such wonders as Suzi Miller’s ‘Bimbo’, Burl Ives’ ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ and Danny Kaye’s ‘Little White Duck’.
My musical world exploded into life when I went to secondary school.
I’d chosen a school in a town outside the city, which meant being bussed in with a bunch of other local kids. We were herded onto a scabby old, white mini-bus, with a snarkastic driver who tended to be either overly friendly or overly mean, but the journeys had one HUGE redeeming feature, which quite made them a favourite part of my day. The radio.
Tuned for the first time in my LIFE to something beyond the realms of the classical, 103.2 Power FM gave me my first taste of what I’d been missing, and just what depths of wonder there were to explore. Chaka Demus and Pliers ‘Twist and Shout’, D:Ream ‘Things can only get better’, UB40 ‘(I can’t help) Falling In Love With You’, not to mention Rednex, who I can probably hold fully responsible for my ongoing love of countryish music, since then broadened to include such gorgeousness as Bill Monroe, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton
I remember with absolute delight my very first tape.
It was given to me for my birthday by neighbours over the road. It was Robson & Jerome’s version of Unchained Melody, with B sides of ‘I believe’ and ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ (so deeply ingrained in my mind that I didn’t even look it up to check the B sides – I’m probably right, and if not, well it was 18 years ago…). I can’t remember how, but I got a tape player, and discovered, to my delight and awe, that I too, could get Power FM tuned in, directly into my bedroom and began listening at home, ignoring repeated shouts to “Turn that horrible noise down!” as often as I could.
I then discovered (oh sweet day) that a store nearby actually SOLD the music I’d heard on the radio (yes, I was *that* sheltered). My pocket-money immediately became a hugely important deal, and I even began forgoing my weekly Beano comic to buy tapes and tapes…and then I discovered CDs, back when a single was still 99p. To my shame, I can’t remember my first single. Or my first album.
Buying blank tapes and sitting hunched over the radio waiting for my favourite songs to come on, with my finger hovering, poised, over ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ was a massive pastime for me. The irritating DJ or radio jingle forever intertwined with the intro and outro, the missing first three seconds when my attention span had waned.
I developed some serious musical crushes, my ears, mind and soul being touched in ways I’d never felt before – thoughts and emotions expressed in ways I’d never considered possible. I became a cray-cray fan of such acts as Robbie Williams, Alisha’s Attic and All Saints.
And gradually the radio became my companion.
I branched out, finding new stations which weren’t all pop. I discovered rock, house, trance, dance, disco, and later on, music from generations slightly before my own, which is where I feel my musical soul now lives, courtesy of my new-found favourite radio station – 106 Jack FM. They play music from about early in my own musical introduction back to a generation or so before my time, mixed with a few newer tracks for good measure – Aerosmith, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Edmunds, Faith No More, Queen, Reef, ELO, T-Rex, Tommy James and the Shondells …. But even though it’s my favourite, I can’t stay faithful – my car (which is my ‘Radio Place’) has an old-fashioned stereo/tape player, with a different station (yes, including Classic FM – shh!) programmed into each of its five buttons.
(Small Victory – takes a while to get going; if you want to skip straight to the Good Stuff, head to 2:22 for a guitar riff which just *does things* to me)
In spite of that, my musical ‘old soul’ still has to resort to the not-the-radio resource of YouTube to supply such gorgeousness as The Andrews Sisters, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Flanders and Swann; usually with one or two tracks hitting my ‘favourites’ list on YouTube, as opposed to loving everything the band produced, as in the heyday of First Discovering Music.
But it’s not the same. YouTube is cold and clinical, and sometimes highly irritating (although everything’s ‘on tap’). The DJs on Jack FM have become my pals – I know the ins and outs of their public personas. I follow their news. I even follow the station on Twitter and Facebook. I recognize their voices. I dance in my car to their music choices, and I love it.
The world of music has become an outlet – I can use music to describe how I feel far better than I can use words. Music speaks to the soul rather than the intellect, and since my very first introduction, I knew that radio and I would get along, though it’s definitely moved up in status over the years from ‘companion’ to ‘Forever Friend’. Thank you Radio, for giving me so much.
“Lizzi is a non-professional blogger over at Considerings. Her aim is to Think Deeply, Tell Truths and Actively Seek the Good in life. Creator of the weekend-long ‘Ten Things of Thankful’ hop, she blogs about her thoughts, her world and being a member of The Invisible Moms Club. She finds that when she runs out of words, music can be used to speak for her, and if she had to lose four of her five senses, would keep her hearing, for the idea of a world without music would be far too desolate to contemplate.”
You can follow her on Twitter: @LRConsiderer and on Facebook
15 thoughts on “Raised on the Radio – All I Never Knew Was Missing”
Music speaks to the soul rather than the intellect – I love that, Lizzi. I enjoyed joining you on your musical journey, and I’d love to dance to the radio in the car with you one day!
What a hoot. Loved listening to your musical journey. My husband is excellent at putting together compilations for me to paint by or just live with. He takes the best cuts and puts them on CD’s for me. Love it.
I still have Cotton Eyed Joe on my Ipod. Besides loving that song for the memories of the time/life space I was at when it came out, it is a fabulous running song. You can’t help but feel energized when that song comes on.
I enjoyed your post so much! You tell the story of your journey/evolution through music so well that I’m currently trying to remember the name of the only Robbie Williams hit I ever really knew … (not the one you posted, which was familiar, but another one – and it’s late, and I just don’t have it now… 😉
Dana – I’m SO with you there – it speaks very deeply to the soul. It would be amazing to dance in the car with you 🙂 I’ll have to see about this US Road Trip that Kate(Slate) and I are jokingly planning!
Sandra – you are so lucky to have a husband who makes gorgeous compilations for you. My Husby doesn’t really understand my musical taste (I don’t think) and his is very different – he’s not really a ‘music person’ (which batters me UTTERLY! How can ANYONE not be a ‘music person’!)
Louise – I’m gonna have to download Cotton Eye Joe now that I actually have an MP3 player! And Robbie – SO many wonderful songs he’s done! His other really huge one was ‘Angels’ – could it be this one?
People like us, audiophiles, are so in tune with our sense of hearing and inner rhythm that memories are directly tied to this stuff.
Some people would call us crazy. I think we’re special, but without the rubber room needed, most of the time.
Lizzi I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household that was very open minded musically-I had a radio and a record player in my room as far back as I can remember. Though I will say that my head about exploded when I was exposed to Metallica and then later Nirvana and grunge when I was a teen. But that’s a story I’m saving for my very own Raised on Radio post. 😉
You sound like you were raised in a music culture similar to my husband. I’d never heard Little White Duck, except when he has been singing it!
I love the “I can’t stay faithful” line. I think you’ve just coined the phrase radio slut…
Burl Ives! “Big Rock Candy Mountain”!! I’d almost completely forgotten that song, which I loved in my childhood, though I had absolutely no idea what it was about, and the cigarette trees kind of freaked me out.
Thanks for this musical tour, Lizzi–it was a treat!
Very nice Lizzi! And Jen, I LOVING this new series. I think most of us have nice tie-ins with every story, so they are a pleasure to read.
Lance – I think you’re right. No rubber rooms required, thankyouverymuch!
Sarah – You are SO LUCKY! My music culture was sparse indeed, as a child!
Jane – THANK YOU! I knew there had to be a proper term for it somewhere 😀
Karen – Glad you enjoyed the memories. I think as a child I mis-heard it into ‘Sycamore trees’ and only recently realised my mistake.
Melissa – thanks – It’s a fabulous series that Jen’s doing, and so much fun to be part of.
Wow, I really got the sense of what a revelation music was for you, Lizzi! Beautifully written. I can see why you would have been crazy for your new-found loves. I’m still crazy for Unchained Melody, and you took me back with Things Can Only Get Better. Agreed about the Gilbert and Sullivan!
Rachel – I know people like G&S, but I think they’re mad! Unchained Melody is absolutely stunning, though I now can’t listen to it without thinking of pottery-ing ;). Thank you 🙂
I love the term “radio slut.” You’re so right that YouTube just isn’t the same. Music really does help us to describe – and FEEL – how we feel. YAY for Unchained Melody!
And the clouds parted….
ANd she partied…
Lord did you ever plug that ear worm for Cotton Eyed Joe.
Damn you *Shakes fist in the air!
Kristi – I am constantly thankful that music does that!
Kimberly – HA! 😀