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Results tagged “Song Playlist” from Upstate New York Family Lawyer Blog

#609 H.O.K.A.R.R.: High-Octane Kick-Ass Rock 'N' Roll From 1973

May 23, 2014

622 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI thought I had wrapped this series up, having explored most of the music I'd been listening to back in 1972 and 1973. But I forgot to leave you with the highlights from 1973, as I had done with 1972.

In those now faraway days, a lifetime ago really, Christmas vacation and January would become this wonderful time of reviewing the music for the year and then ranking it in the order of our respective tastes. And while the rankings were purely subjective (there were certain artists we loved, and certain artists we hated), I really am amazed at how the lists have held up over the years. It blows me away that forty years later, I find that my musical tastes have pretty much remained the same. How weird is that?

Yet, then again, maybe it's not so weird after all. I mean, I listened to all this great music in my formative years, thereby locking it forever into place in my memory. And it's not just the fact that the music is so wonderful, it's the fact that the memories associated with that music are probably even more wonderful. Memories of a world that no longer exists.

Another thing: you might think some of these songs hail from 1972 or 1974 - and you would be right. However, they're included here because they peaked in 1973. In other words, these songs are here, in 1973, because they reached their highest position on the Top 100 chart in 1973.

Also, just remember, this list was put together by a couple of knuckleheads who fell in love with music at a young age. Just imagine your 10-year old self creating this list. We'd listen to maybe 300 new Top 100 songs in a given year and winnow them down to the absolute best songs, according to a complicated formula. Looking back, I think we mostly got it right. What do you think?

And listen to those first three songs. Chills, baby. Chills. We knew what we loved.

My favorite song? Impossible. However, for pure weirdness, there is one song here that stands head and shoulders above the rest. I'd tell you but ... I'm so scared your little head would come off in my hands!!! PLAY. IT. AT. ELEVEN!!!

Know my songs, know me. Check out The Soundtrack Of My Life From 1973.

You're welcome.

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#510 What I Was Listening to ... 40 Years Ago: December 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

December 31, 2013

510 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgSo, when my best friend's father took early retirement, I (naturally?) expected that his father would just be around the house more. I was right, but in a way I could never imagine. Oh, he'd be around the house more, alright. It's just that it would be in a different house, a thousand miles away, by the ocean. Early retirement meant pulling up the family's roots and getting the hell outta Dodge. Oh.

There were no words. I was in shock. In a matter of months, the best friend in my whole life would be gone and there would be this gaping hole where my life had once been. The house would sell early and the moving truck would pull out a week before Christmas. Lucky me! I would have my entire Christmas vacation to mope around the house, trying to piece my life back together again. Yay!

I'll never forget it. The Christmas of '79. Boy, did it suck! But, at least, I had all that wonderful music. And I still do. Some things you never outgrow. Plus, with the music cranked up to eleven, some days it feels like old times, and I'm back in the 70s, and the music will never end.

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#508 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: December 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

December 30, 2013

508 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgIt's funny. As a kid, one's life seems like forever, as it sprawls out before you to the horizon and beyond. You can't wait for life to happen while being oblivious to the fact that the most important things in life are already in the midst of happening to you. Only years later do you come to realize that what you thought were the small things were in fact the important things. We had endless summers of musical adventures as kids and as teenagers. I guess we always thought they'd last. We simply could not conceive of them ever coming to an end. Maybe we just didn't want to.

Yet, all good things come to an end. Out of the blue, one day, my friend dropped a bombshell: his old man had had enough of the rat race and he had put in for early retirement. The guy's ulcers had been killing him and his drinking was getting worse and something had to give. Little did I know that that something was the life I had come to take for granted.

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#492 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: November 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

November 15, 2013

492 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAutumn has always been a bittersweet time for me. Great memories of people and places that are long gone. Some days, it literally hurts to remember. That's where the music comes in. Like a balm for the soul, the music takes the pain away. Don't mourn the loss of your best friend! Instead, peruse the kraut rock artists he so loved. Suddenly bummed because you realize that your dead friend's kids are now in their thirties? Tune in to the blues rock he turned you on to. Shocked to learn that the place where you lost your virginity is now a friggin' strip mall? Once again, dive into the music and the various tunes that were playing when you, um, had your fun.

Change sucks. Sure, it's inevitable. But it doesn't make it suck any less. And, since I don't abuse drugs or alcohol, or womanize, or indulge in any other vices, the only thing that gets me through is my music. Music defines me. Pick a year. Hell, pick a month! And I will recall the soundscape from that time in my life, and, through the songs, I'll remember a time when I wasn't saddled with the worries and regrets of a middle-aged man.

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#491 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: November 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

November 14, 2013

491 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI have no idea what it is about autumn and Thanksgiving, but this time of the year, all I want to do is listen to music. Screw TV, reading, and just about everything else. All I want is my music. And, depending upon the weather, the temperature, or my mood, I might want any of a wide variety of music. If I can't decide what I want, my default setting is almost always one of The Big Five: the Beatles, the Stones, Zep, Floyd, or Tull. Like the fingers of a hand, these five are all the music I will ever truly need.

The Beatles remind me of my early childhood, singing in the car to the radio as we drove to Poughkeepsie, visiting friends and family. The Stones remind me of later childhood and hiding out in the woods and spying on people. Zep is early adolescence and the allure of girls. Floyd is late adolescence when I thought I knew everything and wanted to zone out to some cosmic bliss (you know what I'm talkin' about). And Tull? Tull is everything that came after. Tull is life up to now. For, as we all know: life's a long song.

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#435 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: October 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

October 3, 2013

435 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAnother point to make about these particular playlists is this: they were hodgepodges. From reviewing my various notes and scribblings from 40+ years ago, it seems that what we did was to determine whether a song we liked was peaking in a certain month. So, the playlists are random collections of songs that we liked listening to. At least, this is true in part. Wherever you see a single listed, that is the month in which we determined that the single had peaked. The rest of the songs are taken track-by-track, from the albums we had been carefully listening to, roughly during that period of time. So, by the time we entered high school, we probably had close to 2,000 albums and god only knows how many singles packed between our ears. As you can tell, we were music gourmands.

Also, this particular playlist contains one of my favorite songs of all time. Of. All. Time. Check out Floyd's "The Great Gig In The Sky". If this song isn't my favorite song EVER, then it's pretty damned close. Simply perfect. ... and I am not frightened of dying ... It's a song that makes me think of the moment that one's soul is free of the body at death - and the song should be sung with such passionate intensity accordingly. Whither heaven or hell? What I wouldn't give to be able to sing like that. Damn!

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#434 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: October 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

October 2, 2013

434 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgOne of the reasons I post these monthly playlists is because this is precisely the sort of thing we used to do, years ago, especially upon listening to The American Top 40, with Casey Kasem. Listening to Casey was like a religious duty, since we all knew that he was really Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo!" Shaggy wasn't the dope-addled punk we all knew and loved from Saturday mornings. No, sir. That was all a charade. In reality, Shaggy was this ultra-cool hipster-doofus who spun vinyl with panache, ranking your favorite ear candy week by week, every Saturday evening. And we were all ears. Shaggy/Casey would call 'em out and we would write 'em down, like clockwork. Then we went and discovered this amazing list called The Top 100. Then we discovered a list for albums! And life would never be the same.

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#432 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: September 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

September 30, 2013

448 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgNow that I'm approaching 50, I'm not altogether sure if kids listen to music anymore to the extent that we did as kids. I mean, I'll be the first to admit it: I was addicted to music. We obsessed over it constantly. We would scour lyrics like Talmudic scholars. It was not uncommon to spend an entire day listening to music and doing nothing else. It was nirvana. There was a period in my life that if you were to take a picture of me, it invariably would have shown me wearing earphones. I had to have my daily fix of music. Today, with the distractions posed by the internet, I'm not sure that such a nirvana exists anymore. Still, I wonder.

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#431 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: September 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

September 29, 2013

447 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgImagine listening to this music alongside someone who could provide an oral annotation of it all. Cool, right? Now, throw in anecdotes of the various music business people and artists who that certain someone might know, and you have an idea of how I was exposed to all this great music. And it wasn't just the music either. Thanks to The Dude, apart from the music itself, we were turned on to "Saturday Night Live", Rolling Stone Magazine, the Hullaballoo, J.B. Scott's, edgy t-shirts, and a wide variety of books on the various artists we listened to. He even made us want to pick up an instrument and learn how to play it. And that has made all the difference.

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#429 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: August 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

September 28, 2013

428 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgTo listen to new music as two knuckle-headed young kids is one thing, but to listen to new music and the pronouncements made upon it by my best friend's older brother, who also happened to be college student who was completely plugged in to music? Well, that was more than anything we ever could have dreamed possible. It's hard to overstate how this experience changed us. Apart from the music itself, this dude was awakening us to a whole wide world of information that we had absolutely no clue was ever out there. It was as if we could feel our brains growing larger inside our skulls, the scales falling from our eyes. We had passed through the gateway of musical wisdom. And there would be no going back.

Sometimes, after some of these "music sessions", I would be so blown away that I would either burst into tears of joy or find myself so dumbfounded that I would walk around for days, rendered mute by the wonder of the knowledge bestowed upon us. I would traverse my little world, perceiving it with new eyes, realizing that I was looking at exactly the same things but seeing something entirely different. It was as unnerving as it was revelatory. And, that, my friends, is the power of music, with a mentor.

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#428 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: August 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

September 28, 2013

427 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI'm not sure how you were exposed to the music of our age, but I suspect it was through older siblings or the older siblings of friends. I was the oldest in my family, so I had to look to the older siblings of my friends. Many of those older siblings were only a grade or two ahead of us, so their insights weren't as profound as one might expect. Sure, they were more experienced and had a sense for what an up-and-coming hit sounded like, but they were also stuck in the forest, looking at the trees, just like all the rest of us.

The real difference was when those older siblings were substantially older like, say, by at least ten years or about half a generation. Once that sort of gap opened up, you really began to have a sense of just how profound this period in popular music was. You began to grasp the cultural, political, and historical contexts as well as the influences of changes in technology as it all affected the music. And this was all before computerization and digitalization further radicalized music in the early 1980s, before compact discs would forever dethrone vinyl, back in the olden days.

Exploring new music is amazing; exploring it with a mentor is an epiphany.

Also, it appears that I made a mistake on the playlist concerning Pink Floyd. For some reason I listed "Meddle" again - probably because not a month goes by where I do not play that magnificent album. The songs for May and June were wrongly listed as "One Of These Days" and "A Pillow Of Winds", respectively. In any event, it should have listed that greatest album of all time - "The Dark Side Of The Moon" - with the songs for May and June listed as "Speak To Me" and "Breathe", respectively. That is all.

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#426 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: July 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

September 24, 2013

425 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgIt's hard to believe how young we were when we were getting turned on to all this great music. I was just shy of 10 and my best friend had just turned 9. But, man, we knew what we liked. And we liked to explore the musical soundscape of the 60s and 70s. We came up with the idea that of all the artists we liked, there were five that reigned supreme. At the apex were - of course - the Beatles. Next came the Rolling Stones. Third was Pink Floyd. Fourth was Led Zeppelin. And rounding out the pack was Jethro Tull. Everyone else was a distant second.

Ultimately, I segued from my Beatles phase, into my McCartney phase, into my seemingly permanent Tull phase. Tull just always hit the spot. And the Stones and Floyd and Zep were always close seconds. My best friend's taste became increasingly arcane and bizarre, as he sampled a variety of progressive rock niches, moving into Brit folk, and then gradually obsessing over kraut rock.

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#425 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: July 1973, Part 1 of 2

September 23, 2013

424 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgWay, way back, in days of old, once summer vacation had started, I remember spending whole days, throughout July and August (but mostly July since our family was away on vacation for the month of August) from just after breakfast to just before dinner, squirreled away in my best friend's older brother's upstairs bedroom, listening to album after album after album. The older brother was Joe College and the stuff he listened to blew our minds. He gave us carte blanche to his entire vinyl collection - all 1,200 or so albums' worth of it - with the simple caveat that we were to be respectful of both the vinyl and the stereo equipment.

He even gave us a tutorial on how to properly care for the vinyl and the system. After a few sessions, he cut us loose. And we ran wild through 1,200 albums' worth of the best damned rock music we ever listened to - and ever will listen to.

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#423 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: June 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

September 21, 2013

422 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgSo, yeah, these songs keep me young but, when I consider the time that they edify - and that I was a part of that time - the simple act of remembering makes me feel old. It's almost as though all those years weigh heavy on you over time, piling up, year after year.

Suddenly, you're thinking about the 1970s as if they were just yesterday and you wonder what Tom is up to - until you realize that Tom's been dead for almost thirty years. Yeah, Tom's been just a bit busy. In eternity. And then your mind fast-forwards to the here and now and you wonder where the hell you really belong, with your mind stuck in the 70s and your body stuck in the teens. You might just feel a bit odd, like too little butter spread over too much bread. Screw it, cue the playlist.

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#422 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: June 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

September 20, 2013

421 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgYeah, look, I realize summer ends on Sunday and I never got around to posting these songs, so deal with it. July and August (and September) are on their way as well.

I'm of the mind that, for the most part, "old" is merely a state of mind - apart from your body slowly falling apart (I miss my sturdy knees). But the bittersweet paradox is this: when you play the songs from The Soundtrack Of Your Life, these songs are invariably from your formative years. So, listening to these songs "brings ya back" - until you realize that the times the songs are bringing you back to are so long gone that the only things left are the songs and your memories of those times. And, that, my friends, makes me feel very, very old indeed.

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#395 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: May 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

July 14, 2013

394 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAnother thing about this period of time, as well as the music in it, was that it was angry. The Vietnam War was still in full swing and I knew lots of kids whose older brothers were either already over there or scared @#$%less that they would soon be drafted to go over there. Looking back, I'm both amazed and appalled at how easily propagandized we all were; that being in the middle of an undeclared war in Vietnam was as American as apple pie. My parents were staunch conservative Republicans who took their marching orders directly from their Party and their Dear Leader, Richard Milhouse Nixon. And we all know how that turned out.

Being weaned on all that anti-war music made me as different from my parents as night is to day. To this day, my parents remain diehard conservative Republicans who let Fox News do their thinking for them. Meanwhile, having grown up to be a New Deal Democrat, there is no political party left to represent me and my interests other than the up-and-coming Green Party. The Democrats? Get real.

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#394 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: May 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

July 13, 2013

393 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgYeah, I know, I'm slacking off. I had a number of professional and personal matters that needed my immediate attention for a few weeks. In addition to listening to the May 1973 playlist, I've been listening to a lot of old music from the early 1960s, when I was a little kid. It really is amazing the memories those songs bring back, mostly of people long dead. People make and retain memories in all sorts of ways. For me, music is memory.

Lots of these tunes simply don't hold up over 40 years. Okay, most of them don't, I'll admit. Still, there are at least a dozen that do and even the ones that don't remain near and dear to me after all these years. I remember, even back then, in the early 1970s, thinking that this music was so amazing that no future generation could ever improve upon it. So far, I think I've been correct in that assumption.

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#338 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: April 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

April 5, 2013

338 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI admit that these songs really take me back. They take me back to a time that is long gone. Back to a time when marijuana was as common as beer and everyone you knew - at least among the older kids - seemed stoned half the time. Hell, I knew what pot smelled like long before I knew what beer tasted like. And it still makes me laugh, even today, to think of how ignorant most adults and parents were of what was going on right below their noses. We would roar whenever an adult would get a whiff and then exclaim, in complete surprise: "Is something burning!?" Good times. And as much as I love to reminisce, it only makes me feel old.

I guess what bums me out the most is how many of these artists are dead or dying. It seems that every month, some rock star I grew up listening to has died. Very depressing. And, of course, you can only hear most of this music on oldies stations anymore, apart from the huge artists. Still, I find the music inspiring and I hope that I will be listening to it all for many, many years to come.

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#336 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: April 1973 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

April 4, 2013

336 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI've been extraordinarily busy these past several weeks, but I've very much enjoyed listening to various playlists from the early 1970s. It's hard to remember life without iTunes. I've got playlists that are several hours long. And, thus, it's time to post the playlist from April 1973. The 1970s were a wonderful time for rock insofar as so many genres were screaming for your attention. I loved all of them, as you can probably tell from these usually eclectic selections. I tried to steer well clear of both gospel and country, but anything else was fair game.

What I really love about iTunes is the way you can seamlessly create playlists - and all in a matter of minutes. As kids, it was a laborious matter of hours of taping music from the radio, singles or albums onto cassettes or 8-track tapes. Inevitably, you would get something wrong and the fidelity of the taped music would sound like crap. But that is all we had and we didn't know any better.

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#308 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: March 1973 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

March 4, 2013

308 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAnd that's how it was with music as well: the weirder, the better. Screw the radio and its bubblegum dross! We were busy floating off into the stratosphere. But I wanted to go ever higher. And, in the process, as kids, we were turned on to some profoundly strange music: Can, Captain Beefheart, Hawkwind, Jade Warrior, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Frank Zappa are the ones that quickly come to mind. Art rock. Space rock. Acid rock. Kraut rock. Experimental rock. Post-rock. You name it, we listened to it. Truly mind-blowing stuff. Imagine debating the merits of a Frank Zappa tune at the ages of 8 and 9. Or of Captain Beefheart. Our parents considered this music to be outright trash; we thought it was brilliant beyond all reckoning!

And so it went: we would become deliciously warped as we listened to this amazing music over the years ...

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