Friday, March 28, 2014

SOLSC 28 of 31 - First Albums with My Own Money

Join me this month as I write a slice of my life each day this March and join many others sharing slices at  My 6-8th grade students are also be slicing this month and you can find links to their daily blogs HERE.

I was twelve, my brother was eleven, and we were ready for some of our own music. While we did have a collection of music we shared, most of it was mix tapes our dad had made, or a few pop music cassettes our mom had. We were listening to the radio more, and realizing that there were stations other than NPR, classical music, 50s/60s Oldies and Jazz. One problem was, music was really expensive. Another problem was, we didn't really want our music to be judged by our parents before we bought it.

But Patti, our new stepmom, was willing to take us shopping at the Media Play in the mall. We raided our money stashes, pocketing crumpled bills and figured we could probably afford three tapes. We brainstormed cool bands we thought we had heard of, but to be honest, we were pretty clueless.

Once at the tape store, we wandered the aisles, scanning for albums that looked good or that we had heard of. After much deliberation, and counting of money, we bought: Storm Front by Billy Joel, Flesh and Blood by Poison, and As Nasty As They Want To Be by 2 Live Crew. The 2 Live Crew tape had a picture of four women in bikinis, facing away from the camera, and a PARENT ADVISORY WARNING obviously on the label. We knew we were too young to buy it ourselves so we anxiously asked Patti to get it for us. Patti said something like, "Sure, I'll buy it. It probably just has a few cuss words in it you've already heard." She not only bought it, and the other two albums, for us, but covered the couple of dollars in tax we had not counted on when we gave her our money.

Patti was not one for music and she had no car stereo after it was stolen earlier in the year. Thus, we could not listen to our new music on the way home. But once home, we each chose a tape and sequestered ourselves in our separate rooms to listen on our Walkmans. I had the Billy Joel and Ben had the Poison. After we were done, we traded and suggested which songs we liked best. Of course we kept the 2 Live Crew for last to listen to together.

We gathered in Ben's room since he had the best boom box. I have to say, 2 Live Crew put me off rap music forever. The beats were fine, but the lyrics were disturbing at best. I would have to say it is my biggest disappointment in my music buying history. We did inspect the pictures on the album cover with a close eye but that is about the best I can about the album.

But the other two albums: Billy Joel and Poison. The first we bought with our own money, have stayed with me forever. I listened to them so often that I memorized the songs and the order. If one of those songs comes on the radio, I'm always a expecting the next song on the album to come next, instead of whatever music, commercial or DJ speak emanates from the speakers. And I always think of my brother.


  1. Nice memory. And fun that you still have it when those songs come up. I played records in my room, yes, records, until I knew them all too, would write the lyrics after playing them over & over. Thanks for bringing up the idea of how important music is in our lives, & in the students' lives, too!

  2. Your slice makes me remember how many hours I spent wandering Sam Goody with friends in the 80's. Wow! Good times. Something kids today will probably never experience thanks to iTunes.

    (BTW: If you're ever in Princeton, NJ, you'd love this place: This is where I spent some time in the early 90's with friends. Thankfully, it's still open!)