The Music of Youth

When it comes to music, I’m pretty eclectic. My playlist is just as likely to include Metallica as Lily Allen, Wolfmother as Kate Miller-Heidke, and The Killers as Manowar. I love music. Like many people, I can define whole swathes of my life by the music I was listening to at the time.

Moving across the country when I was 16?

Terrible, ugly, angry break-up?

I could go on, but I’m sure you know what I mean, and you’ve got your own songs-as-memories to fall back on.

One of the things I’ve struggled within since having kids is the need to play music that’s “age-appropriate” for them. For quite a while, that meant I just didn’t play music while they were awake. Then I went through a phase of playing “Kids music”.

(Do you have any idea how soul-destroying The Wiggles are after you’ve heard the same song for the thirty-seventh time in one day? Yes? You’re clearly a parent.)

Then one day I had an epiphany.

My parents didn’t play “age appropriate” music when we were kids.

They played the music they liked, and we either “got it” or we didn’t. Either way, we turned out just fine. In fact, I still remember how incredibly excited I was when I was about five or six years old, and my Mum decided to make me a tape of all my favourite songs. Both my brother and I got to choose the songs that would go on our own special cassettes, that we could then take it in turns to play throughout the day.

I don’t remember every song that was on my very first mix-tape, but I remember some.  The selection included:


And even:

I know. I was clearly a melancholy kid. But oh, I loved that mix-tape! I had no idea what the songs were really about, I just knew that they touched me deeply, and I wanted to fall into the music and live there forever and ever.

But it wasn’t all tragic. Just to break it up, I also included this:

(And for the record, my brother’s tape included The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) and Wake Up Little Susie.)

I started thinking about my childhood mix-tape this afternoon when I posted this status update on Facebook:

“Shot through the heart, and you’re too late. You give gloves… a bad name.” — My 5yo songmaster.

It actually makes me incredibly happy to know that if five-year-old Big Brother made his own mix-tape, there would barely be a “kids song” to be found. It would be more likely to include a bit of the Who:

“Talkin’ bout my gena-a-tion”

And a bit of Queen:

“He’s just a poor boy from a poor family, Spending his life with this one sausagey”

A bit of The Doors:

“Hello, hello, what is your name?”

Maybe some Vanilla Ice:

“Ice, Ice Baby. Too cold, Too cold.”

And, of course, the aforementioned Bon Jovi:

“Shot through the heart and you’re too late. You give gloves a bad name.”

What were your favourite songs as a kid? Do your kids like the same music as you?


Filed under Life With Kids, Random Stuff

15 responses to “The Music of Youth

  1. LOVE Depeche Mode! I was so into alternative music in my Gen-X youth. Thanks for reminding me of that great music!

  2. Darth Vader and the Everly Brothers, huh? Cool.

    My parents had wide-ranging taste in music, so my taste was pretty eclectic growing up. My father liked jazz, classical (especially chamber music), salsa, and some rock. He loved Cole Porter and Rogers & Hart. Mostly he didn’t like people singing in high voices, so opera was out, and some rock, too (he liked the Doors, partly because Jim Morrison had a good, deep voice and enunciated well). I often went with my parents to jazz concerts, but mostly not to classical.

    • I love a good bit of Jazz, too. I think it would be fascinating to look at how musical styles and tastes affect the way we interact with music and other artforms later in life. There must be some knid of sociological study on that somwewhere, surely…

  3. I let/make the kids listen to my music most of the time. They sing along to everything from Gary Allan to Vanilla Ice:) I do have to make sure I download the “clean” versions of songs though. They say enough things they shouldn’t, they don’t need to sing them.

    • I know exactly what you mean — yet somehow, every time I make a CD of mixed music, one or two non-clean songs slip through, and I end up having to skip the song or pretend the singer is saying something else… 🙂

  4. My Dad used to play his 8- track player, and the one he played ( too) often was a collection of country “story” songs. I’m still ‘taken back in time’ when I hear any of the songs now. I certainly do not remember hearing any age-appropriate songs as a child. And I don’t know if it’s because I was brought up in Quebec, but when my friends sing children’s songs (to kids), they are all new to me. I almost enjoy listening to the songs/stories as much as the kids do! 🙂

    • Hahaha. That’s fantastic. I love the way music can take us back in time to a completely different place and mindset. I grew up with a lot of country songs, too. But I don’t tend to listen to those ones so much these days.

  5. When I was growing up I started with listening to my mother’s music collection, so liked Holst, Simon and Garfunkel, the Shadows, many folk artists. My own collection started with a Henry Mancini tape (I remember being very pleased that I owned my own music) and included Paul McCartney and other very soft rock.

    Despite still having all my tapes – I have not listened to anything I bought for myself back then in years, and am back listening to classical, folk rock and Roger Whittaker.

    • I remember being a teenager and moving on to heavy metal and alternative rock, and thinking “I’m never going to be like my parents and listen to music that’s twenty years out of date!” These days, at least 2/3 of my playlist is twenty years old or older. (As evinced by the music my son likes!) And the newer music is still not exactly cutting edge, and tends towards the music of my youth.

      Ain’t life grand?

  6. I like your taste in music…you forget a few….

    Judas Priest – Breaking the law

    Iron Man – Black Sabbath

    Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People

    Nine Inch Nails – Head Like A Hole

    I do apologies for my absence. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather. But now, I am feeling great and back to reading blogs and blogging again. 🙂

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