- This is in answer to:
- What albums did you listen to the most while growing up? See all answers
- November 8, 2011 by assentia
- Musical Growth
When I was younger, I thought that old (well, older) people were stuck to the music that was popular in their youth, unable to evolve and appreciate newer stuff, and I dreaded ending up like them. Now I know I needn't have worried.
My parents, however, were exactly that kind. They were fond of rembetika and Greek folk music, neither of which I could ever relate to, then or now. That's why I generally dislike Greek popular music, instead staying firmly in the international realm. It was only as an adult that I explored the arty side of Greek music; even a giant of a successful composer like Manos Hatzidakis had never entered my family home.
I grew up listening to the radio and whatever was popular at the time. The first band I remember identifying and enjoying was ABBA, back in my preschool years. Most of the 70s hits that hit the airwaves then are well forgotten by now, and although I've tried to delve into the decade, it never quite caught on. I was given a dinky little record player on my 9th birthday, together with a single record, Diana Ross' Diana. It was my own very first record, and I listened to it a lot for a few years. Eventually I moved from records to cassette tapes and it was left behind, but I still consider it a very fine album, with hardly a duff track on it, and now that I've raked up the memory, I need to see about buying it on CD.
Control over my musical tastes came with my first radio-cassette player, in 1984. Most of the cassettes I bought at the time were compilations, while I was fumbling around with genres, developing my inclinations. The first individual album I bought was Duran Duran's Arena, and shortly afterwards a friend bought me Wham's Make It Big, in good-natured spirit of the big clash going on at the time. Both of those albums were loved a lot and listened to often, though Duran Duran were by far my favourite band - I also bought Notorious, a couple of years later, while I never bothered with another Wham release. Madonna's Like a Virgin and True Blue had long hours playing at home, as well, and occasionally still do.
The turning point came in 1987, when Whitesnake brought out their eponymous runaway success. I had been gravitating towards rockier sounds already, and the particular album sealed the deal. I listened to it until the tape deteriorated, then bought the CD, and almost everything else Whitesnake have recorded. I moved firmly into the guitar camp, and the hair metal years were some of the happiest of my life, musically speaking.
My family hoped it would just be a phase, of course. Sure enough, my interest waned with the rise of 'extreme metal' at the turn of the 90s. I took a break, explored classical and world music... and came back when the progressive branch of metal sound gathered momentum again, followed by the surge of symphonic metal, especially the female-fronted kind. I felt vindicated, after having lived and suffered through the years when the prevalent view was that women can't play metal, and most are not even suitable for listening to it. Take this, male chauvinists!
Most of the music I listen to now was created in the 21st century, but the seeds were sown back in the decade of excess. I no longer own a cassette player, and my cassettes themselves have long fallen prey to time, but the perspective is invaluable. Especially since I no longer consider rock to be exclusively the purview of youthful energy. Most of the bands I follow are pushing 40 and have been around for a couple of decades at least. A bit like myself, really.