This is one in a series of short snippets detailing my musical journey-starting with my early introductions to music and culminating with what I am listening to today. Though it is my wish to eventually shine a brighter light on the music and musicians than my own personal experiences, I have chosen to primarily focus on the latter for the time being. While this blog will always contain details that are probably more interesting to those who know me well, it is with great anticipation that I look forward to featuring other people’s experiences soon!
I always tell people I listened to classic rock from an early age, but much of the noise I heard blaring from my speakers in 1980 was only a few years removed from the vinyl presses and could very much be considered current music for the era. While some songs were dubbed instant classics, it wouldn’t be determined until a later date whether they stood the test of time, were worthy of Time-Life compilation status or a Richard Simmons Sweatin’ To The Oldies fate.
In any event, there were lines being drawn in the sand in what would later become known as the Chicago Radio Wars of the late 70s-early 80s. Armed with a genuine love for the station, along with my tendency to root for the underdog-consciously or sub-consciously-I pledged my allegiance to 95.5 FM WMET and even displayed my support(and helmet-haircut) proudly!
But my musical influences weren’t strictly relegated to what I heard on 95.5. There was also a steady dose of Top 40 music via 96.3 FM B-96, the soundscapes that filled the weekend matinees my best friend’s parents took us to, jukeboxes that were present at most every eating establishment and of course the Roller Crown roller rink in Crown Point, Indiana. The latter facility became known as much for the songs they banned as for the songs they played. Their acts of censorship were courtesy of teens changing the chorus of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to, “I love smoking dope” and other heinous crimes! I firmly believe Weird Al must have been in attendance and a million dollar idea was born those summer nights of long ago.