My life has always been influenced by music. My parent’s loved the music of the 40’s and 50’s, and by the time I was a teen, I could choose my own tunes to listen to. Yeah, it was on the radio at first, along with 45’s, but then came LP’s and we were thrilled not to have to get up every few minutes to change a record.
Tim Abbott of Walking The Berkshires has started a great meme asking readers to list the 10 most important music albums of their teenage years.
Since I became a teen in 1963, my music choices will begin with…who else?
1. The Beatles! Although Please Please Me was their first album for that year in the US, I can say that almost every album they released was my favorite, as was almost every song. I think you will agree that there has never been, nor ever will be a musical phenom like the Beatles. Our whole world was changed by their ‘sound’, their politics and the clothes they wore. As you read my list, keep in mind that The Beatles newest album for every year was always a ‘must have’. My favorite Beatles album would be Revolver.
2. 1964: and I was off to high school, and feeling very grown up. I wasn’t, mind you, but I thought I was! The Beach Boys were making us all wish we had long blond hair and knew how to surf. I wished I could just fill out a bathing suit top. It is almost impossible to choose just one album for any of my teen years because so much good (IMHO) music was being written and sung then. Choice number 2: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. I’m not going by year anymore…so…
3. Choice number three would be The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle. The beautiful and imaginative wording made us look at our world a little differently. A later favorite of mine was Bridge Over Troubled Water.
4. Diana Ross and The Supremes brought us the Motown sound, when we didn’t even know what “the sound” was until then. Most often about unrequited love, it was right up the alley of any teen girl trudging her way through puberty.
5. Most people would probably include Elvis in this list, but even though I liked some of his music, and he was an important artist in this era, I was more influenced by albums like Credence Clearwater Revival as we got ourselves more and more involved in the Vietnam war. Fortunate Son from Willy and the Poorboys summed up the feelings of many teens as they saw their friends being drafted and dying too young.
6. All the hippies, and hippy-wannabes were drawn to albums like Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears. I even made my own way to Haight-Ashbury to see if it was something for me. Nope! I was never cut out to be a “doper”.
7. by 1965 we were enjoying the sounds of The Who from their album My Generation. Most of us with limited incomes could never understand the bashing of guitars onstage, and for me, it kind of took away from any respect I might have had for the band. I liked their songs though!
8. We can’t forget the folk songs of Joni Mitchell like Clouds. We will never look at clouds the same way again, will we? (Or birds, if you saw Jurassic Park!)
9. 1968 seems to be a peak year, with the Tet Offensive going on in Vietnam, and one of my husband’s favorites was Amboy Dukes: Journey To The Center Of The Mind (1968)
10. 1969 was the last year I was a teen. Chicago Transit Authority will always come to mind for me as kind of an inside joke for my husband and I. He and I met in May of 1970 and lived in sin :::gasp::: for a few months before we married in September. He brought some of his albums to the house one day and put Chicago on to play. I was appalled and told my girlfriend/housemate that “Eww, ick, he likes country music!”. Truthfully, I was hearing it from another room at the other end of the house, but as I know now, Chicago is anything but country.
What were your favorite albums from your teen years? You can join in this informal meme and do your own and link back here. I would like to see what music influenced your lives.