I Write Stuff

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Wrote a song for everyone…

That’s the title of CCR Song, it goes like this;

Met myself a comin’ out the county welfare line
I was feelin’ strung out, Hung out on the line
Saw myself a goin’, down to war in June
All I want, All I want is to write myself a tune
Wrote A Song For Ev’ryone,
Wrote a song for truth.
Wrote A Song For Ev’ryone
And I couldn’t even talk to you

Kind of depressing, the inability to communicate. One of the things music does for us, is provide a common language. We express ourselves through song lyrics that resonate with us in some manner. We write a song if we can, if we can’t we burn a mixtape, email a musical meme, or whatever, when words don’t seem sufficient.

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Radio Shack “Flavoradios” c.1972

I never wrote a song. But I listened, oh did I listen to them. From the time I could turn that knob on the radio, there was music all around me. I carried a $5 Radio Shack “Flavoradio” in my back pocket. I don’t know how many times it was taken away in grammar school. I taped selfsame radio to the handlebars of my bike. I rode all around Castro Valley with it blasting (sort of) KFRC and KYA, the Bay Area’s two AM pop stations. Later I carried a little cassette player, squeezed into the pocket of my old army coat. And a bundle of homemade tapes, portable copies of any albums I could beg or borrow.

I bought 45s at Woolworths and Sears and played them on the humongous console stereo on which my parents played Motovani (and his cascading stings!) and Henry Mancini records. Later I got LPs. First, the Jackson 5 and those “K-Tel Hits!” albums, later the Beatles, Kiss, Chicago and anything I could get from our surprising hip public library. Yes indeed,  I owe a debt of gratitude to the Alameda County library system for stocking The Doors, Yes, Rollings Stones, The Who and Alice Cooper.

I was an odd mixture of ADHD fueled mania and severe insecurity. People made me nervous, but when I took out my little tape machine and played something, people connected with me. Music became a bridge over troubled waters for me.

Music didn’t follow me, I drug it around with me wherever I went. I finagled cash for records by washing the car. We conned our parents to a) buy us concert tickets, and b) drive us to selfsame concerts. I’d like to publicly thank my mom, Mr Ward and Mrs Turner, for carting us to innumerable concerts, and dropping us off for Days on the Green concerts at 6 AM with our systems full of adrenaline and our pockets full of doobies, fields of musical Elysium awaiting on the grass beyond the chain link fence.

I drive myself to shows now. I play my music digitally on a phone that’s 1/4 the size of that old transistor radio. I traded in my boxes full of LPs for a hard drive full of MP3s.  I went from being a music lover to a music writer, expressing my thoughts on music and the people who make it for over a decade.

Recently I had semi-retired from writing (he says as he writes), but I never lost the love of sharing music or discussing it. I came across an article about the Beatles, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first single, “Love Me Do”. I remember that song from my childhood. I also noted that they were celebrating the anniversary of the US release in 1964. In the UK it was released in 1962, which makes both that song and I the same age.

So, I started posting a song from each year of my life. Not the top charting songs, I didn’t use any criteria related to popularity. My picks were simply songs that were important to me. In many cases these songs dramatically altered or expanded my musical world. Sometimes I pick one for historical significance, but ultimately it just has to be a great song that I love. That’s the final criteria. I started my little exercise on Facebook which has proven to be a royal pain, so here we are, and away we go…