The Day The Music Died

February 3rd, 1959. I was not alive for this event. But a part of me knows that the music died that day, and you can sense it… Sixty-two years later.

As I have mentioned in numerous blogs, I have an appreciation for all types of music. Music from certain decades- just feel the way that era should feel. A plane crash that took the lives of three Rock N Roll stars is exactly how the style of fifties rock music felt like it ended.

When I was younger, I loved listening to the song “American Pie” by Don McLean. I often discussed the meaning of the lyrics with anyone else who wanted to debate them. But not many really knew the song. Kind of tough to be a 13 year old who dove into the meaning of lyrics while others just wanted to be the first to hear the latest top 40.

However, my first high school girlfriend called a radio station and dedicate the song “American Pie” to me one Sunday afternoon. This was back in the days of being on a corded telephone for hours talking about anything and everything with one another just so we could hear the sound of each other’s voices. (No you hang up…) I remember that day because she abruptly got off the phone with me, then a few minutes later had called me back and told me to tune into a radio station. There was the announcement with the dedication followed by the song coming over the airwaves to me.

The simplicity of that act by her made my day. We listened to the song together while on the phone- two youngsters with no money sharing a precious moment together. I realize now how impactful the song was on that day for me; and how impactful the lyrics truly are in regards to the tragedy that occurred decades prior.

Rock N Roll was generally songs about love and romance. Losing three of the most iconic legends at the end of the fifties changed the face of music going forward. In fact, the following year brought in the wave of boy bands spearheaded by “The Beatles”. In my opinion, their style may not have taken such a grip on the world if it hadn’t been for the plane crash in 1959.

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” helped solidify what Rock N Roll was in the 1950’s and supercharged an entirely new generation of music in the decades to follow. The loss of their lives, as tragic as it was back then, marked an exact point in music history. A point in history where Rock was about to change. A moment that the world will forever remember in one sentence…

The day the music died.

Sea Shanties

Somehow I keep up with ridiculous trends. Even when it’s unintentional. Most recently is listening to Sea Shanties on Spotify. I guess I’m hip with the cool kids.

My first Space Lego Set (from 1979- given to me in 1981)

I’ve always enjoyed songs that can tell a story. It’s probably why I obsess about musicals so much. When I was about five years old, my mother gave me an Irish Rovers record for my Birthday. And a Lego Set. I built, played and rebuilt that Lego set over and over again while listening to the Irish Rovers. Odd memory that’s for sure, but it helped make me who I am today.

Canadian/Irish Musicians performing in Australia. (Album from 1976)

My mother would also play Scottish Highland songs on our stereo. Hearing voices that harmonized so eloquently is something I have enjoyed for decades. The newest Tiktok trend of singing Sea Shanties is right up my alley.

I don’t have a favorite Shanty or pub song. But you will catch me singing along to them on occasion. Do you have a favorite genre of music that isn’t mainstream? Let me know in the comments.

Da Ba Dee

Last year I wrote about Blue Monday. Well, here we are again- it’s that time of year once more. Blue Monday.

This year I don’t feel so negatively as I have in the past. So I figured why not be a bit more upbeat? Eiffel 65 was the artist behind the video I’m Blue from the 90’s. Most everyone I know will hate me for getting that song stuck in their head.

Besides getting my family and friends to hate me for that song, there’s going to be a tasty treat for later. My family picked up a can of soda from an Asian market today. It’s in a blue can and it’s called “Candy Flavor”. How fun! And I’m guessing sugar coma inducing.

What better way to beat the blues than with music and sugar! Like a party created for six year olds! Let’s beat those blues away.

Go Eat Worms

Today I was driving with my daughter and began to sing a song from my childhood. I’m not talking about a song from the 70’s or 80’s- I’m talking about a song I learned in my very early years of elementary school.

“Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me…”

Seriously. This song was taught to me as a child in grade one at a Catholic school. But that’s not what astonished me. What surprised me was that None of my kids or my wife had ever even heard this song.

Why was I taught such a depressing song about oneself? “Everybody hates me.” Honestly, reading the song lyrics make me think of how a person is so hated that they want to be dead and eat worms. Crazy.

But there it is. In the deep recesses of my memory. It blurted its way out nearly forty years later. My teens think I’m weird for learning the song and for even singing it randomly.

Did anyone else out there learn this song? Or any other strange songs that really may not be good for molding young minds that haunt you from time to time? I’m not talking Baby Shark or Barney the Dinosaur style.

Let me know in the comments.

I’m A Loser!

I may not have been the first to lose this year. In fact, I was forth to lose in my household. But amongst friends- I need to let you know that I have lost already in 2020.

Last year I made it to December 10th. This year I lost five days earlier. Losing at Whamagedon sucks. But it means that for the rest of the month I don’t have to avoid it any longer.

I put on Christmas music throughout the house for breakfast. I stepped outside to move the cars in the driveway and then returned. My daughters and wife were all in the kitchen- staring at me. That’s when I heard it. A groan came over me. That was when the three of them accused me of setting it up to get them out. I showed my wife that I had blocked numerous versions of the song on Spotify. Looks like I missed one of them

Had I taken another two minutes outside, I’d have survived. But likely the three of them would think I had gotten them out on purpose. So it was probably better that I were to lose as well. In our family- my son is the soul victor (so far).

Are any of you still in? Or has Wham! hit you with their rendition of “Last Christmas”?

Let me know in the comments if and when you get knocked out.

2020 Wrapped

Spotify released their regular update of what you have been listening to for the year. Since this was my first year of using Spotify- it was interesting to see what my style was.

Even though I knew my choice in music is eclectic- having it backed up with evidence proves my musical taste is odd.

I knew before this Spotify list came out what my number one song was. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” is a great dance/disco/pop style of song. It ended up being one of my top five songs of the summer.

Even though that song was my number one song, I ended up having Gorillaz as my number one artist. I was also the top 1% of their listeners this year. One of my favorite songs was inductive of the feelings of coping through 2020:

Humility

“Calling the world from isolation
‘Cause right now, that’s the ball where we be chained
And if you’re coming back to find me
You’d better have good aim
Shoot it true
I need you in the picture
That’s why I’m calling you (calling you)”

Watch the video here: Humility on YouTube. It’s a great song with vibrancy throughout. It also made me miss our yearly trip to California. Soon this Covid life will be in the past. But in the meantime, I’m going to see if I can keep enjoying 500 or more genres well into the next year.

What was your 2020 Wrapped? Share your playlist in the comments- I’d love to hear what you hear.

Generational Music

Mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated.

I like the song “High Hopes” it has a good beat and I love the lyrics. Our oldest daughter doesn’t always like the fact that I enjoy the music she listens to. But then again, she has been known to enjoy the music I once liked. At one point, my wife had a good bond with our daughters over Katy Perry.

Our son had become obsessed with Green Day: Dookie a couple of years ago when he discovered it on an old iPod of mine. He also has a penchant for comedic songs like I do. So we bond over it.

However, it’s our middle daughter who loves every style of music the same way I do. She also listens to it like I do- in a very eclectic manner. Moving from classical to pop, etc. Her taste in music is similar to mine so we often sing along together. The only exception is she has a closer connection with my wife’s taste in music than I do. Our daughter has snagged the old records and cassettes of my wife’s and plays them regularly.

Music is meant to be shared. I wish sometimes that I was talented enough to write music. Maybe one day I’ll monkey around with it- I always had high, high hopes…

Crisco

Two weeks ago I mentioned how it was getting close to choosing Music for November. Specifically Christmas music. I’m not going to lie, I’ve snuck in a couple playlists since then. Especially on Saturday when we pulled out the decorations.

I love playing music. Over the past few months I have enjoyed Spotify as it plays on all of my devices.

Last night as I was driving home, I wanted my iPhone to play some Christmas music. Only this time it wasn’t in my car or on my phone. My Spotify account was still connected to our home. So my music was being played for my family and not me.

They got to enjoy some Christmas Disco. Or as my daughter has decided to dub it, CRISCO. Probably my most favorite term this year now. And very fitting considering how much baking we do during the holidays as well.

From here on out, when I’m baking and listening to Christmas music- it’s only Crisco for the whole household!

Music For November

Halloween is over, so no more spooky music playing in my home. A few years ago I began playing Christmas Music at the start of November. This year my wife has asked me not to.

So what do I play in the mean time? Should I put on Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” on repeat? I have no problem playing that song for hours on end. Pretty sure my family would think it is some sort of torture by the fourth or fifth time it starts. I could always play Disco.

I’m not sure why, but my family despises my disco music. I’m always up for a bit of dancing around the house to some classic 70’s beats. “Disco is not dead! Disco is life!

Or I can just put on some calming Chamber music. I love classical music as an ambience for our home. Considering we do call it Castle Havelka.

I’ll still be sneaking some Christmas music in soon in hopes that the family doesn’t notice. Maybe Christmas Disco or Christmas Chamber Music…

Spooky Music 2020

Recently, I have been playing spooky music in our home. It all started with Creepy Carnival Music that I discovered on Spotify. I was enjoying it last weekend, but my family was not a fan. So I played some more “fun” music.

My daughters and I have been singing along to “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Little Shop Of Horrors” and “Wicked”. All very lively and kooky musicals. It’s great that I know the words to two of the musicals. Unfortunately I have yet to see “Wicked” but it is on my list.

While the family was out this evening, I had to make dinner. So I decided that o wanted to listen to Nine Inch Nails. It has been years, so I chose to play “Pretty Hate Machine” on of my all time favorite albums. I discovered a version done by Vitamin String Quartet that was beautifully crafted. Somehow I missed this album when it was released- 2002! Probably because I was busy becoming a father for the first time.

What do you listen to at Halloween?

Let me know in the comments.

Beetlejuice Time

Halloween family film tonight is the 1988 classic- Beetlejuice.

This is easily one of our favorite films to traditionally watch each year. Kind of like when we watch Independence Day on July 4th. Or our regular viewing of Christmas Story every year.

I loving having traditions like this. Where we as a family just hang out on a Friday night and enjoy a film we’ve seen numerous times.

We also enjoy “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and have that movie memorized. Along with each and every song. Which reminds me- Beetlejuice is a Broadway musical now! I need to see it one day.

Do you have any family movies you watch regularly with your kids?

Forgotten Songs of My Teenage Years

This morning I spent a considerable amount of time putting together an eclectic playlist on Spotify. Find it Here. Creating this playlist sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

Many of the songs remind me of old friendships and fun times. Driving around town, sitting in my bedroom, even hanging out in class, buying albums through Columbia House, and overplayed songs on repeat. Using one headphone as you shared with a friend of the opposite sex and not hearing the stereo sound. But willing to sacrifice that for a chance to sit closer.

I still have many of my cds. But they are stored away in a steamer trunk as I don’t have a way to play them except in my car. And even then- using Bluetooth to play different playlists is the new normal. So much more convenient than the large booklets of cds we once carried around.

Enjoy the musical trip down my memory lane. A couple songs are NSFW but fun nonetheless.

Edit: An old friend asked to make this “Collaborative”. Anyone who knew me from my teenage years and can think of a song that reminds them of me- add away!

Autumn Jazz and Mixer

Spotify Fun

I discovered an Autumn Jazz mix on Spotify. It has some great classics, and tons of songs that I know from years of hearing them. I appreciate these playlists more than expected.

This playlist is filled with a bunch of 1940’s-1980’s music. Lots of trumpets and swing style songs. Great as background music while siting around.

I catch myself dancing around the house as well while no one is here. Even shaking my butt in my chair while sitting at the table having lunch. If music moves you- why not share the joy with others?

Honestly, I was listening to White Zombie earlier this morning. Which is quite the difference to what I am listening to now. Do you have an autumn go-to playlist?

Audrey 3

I love musicals. I have shared my love of them with my family. In turn, they have grown to love them as well.

One of my favorite musical films is “Little Shop Of Horrors”. A great comedic cast that pulls it together in such a way that I couldn’t imagine anyone else performing the songs.

Over the summer, our middle child and I would play the soundtrack on Spotify repeatedly. I think we have memorized each and every song. Much to the chagrin of my wife… but it’s still fun.

Back in the spring, I planted a red cabbage in our back garden. Our oldest named it “Audrey 3”. It thrived nicely with the other vegetables. I harvested it this afternoon for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by how big it had actually grown.

About half of Audrey 3 will be enjoyed tonight with our apple and Brie pork loin. Otherwise, that’d be too much cabbage! And the results would be far scarier than a lean green mother from outta space.

Playing 78’s

Today marks what would’ve been my father’s 78th birthday. Over the years I have not been too kind in sharing memories of him. This year I am going to do my best to share a couple of bittersweet experiences instead.

In the past I have gone to visit his grave and enjoyed a Molson Canadian beer in his honor. That was the beer of choice by my father. I remember the stale scent of Rothman’s cigarettes and beer emanating from his beard as I grew up. It was a very distinct odor on evenings and weekends that only my father possessed.

During the day, he would have the aroma of Halls Lozenges mixed in with the scent of Cigarettes. He always had a package in his car and would pop one in his mouth from time to time. They sat in the change holder near the car stereo. After unwrapping one of the square candies, he would bunch up the waxed paper into tight little balls while a song played on the radio. At the end of the song, he would place the tiny paper balls into the car’s ashtray. It was an odd habit, but one that was distinctly his.

I never knew my father to enjoy music the way I do. In September of 1981 he did buy a brand new stereo from Sears. Perhaps as a birthday gift to himself since he rarely wished to celebrate birthdays in group settings. The JVC LXI came in numerous large metallic framed pieces. A set of oversized 12” subwoofers, an amplifier, tape deck, radio and record player. I was with him when he purchased it from the local Sears in Edmonton. We brought it home and he set it up in the dining room on the china cabinet. Where it would remain until we moved.

I remember that once it was set up, he put on a record and I sat directly in front of one of the speakers to listen to the music. I was five at the time and just amazed at the magic behind how it worked. After a few hours, my father made me wear some headphones instead and turned off the speakers.

For the remaining few years in Edmonton, my mother would put on her “Highland records” and sing her Scottish songs. Occasionally ABBA would be put on the turntable (I think that’s where my love of disco originated). I was never allowed to touch the records in fear that I would scratch them. As well, my records were only permitted on my children’s plastic record player- not the high end one that my dad purchased.

Looking back on that purchase, I realized my father didn’t do it for himself. He did it for my mother… and in a way for me. I became entranced by music that wasn’t just learning my ABC’s. I fell in love with all genres and memorized numerous song lyrics as I grew up. The only music my father would listen to was the radio on his commute. No cassettes or records were ever played by him in our home.

Nowadays, in my home, music is always being played throughout the house. I set up speakers in every room, and we play music that keeps us all entertained. The family sometimes argues over what to listen to, because they don’t always want to listen to disco… but that’s okay. We all enjoy the fact that music brings us together.

Perhaps now my father listens to his collection of 78’s in the afterlife. Keeping his emotions to himself like he always did. His bits of sharing while he was alive was minimal, but effectual. I always thought he liked Elvis because of the records he owned, but I could be wrong.

That’s my story about my father and how he inadvertently created my love of music. Happy Birthday Dad.

More Than A Feeling

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away.

Something about music can bring forth memories or feelings. Hearing songs from years ago can truly raise your spirits. I have become fascinated over the years at the variety of genres that I enjoy. Each time I put on something new, I find I over indulge in the music.

Unless it’s country. No time for that genre to pollute my ear holes.

I have written about music numerous times now. It’s nothing new to my readers. I would like to write my own music eventually. Just don’t get me to sing- I am self conscious about that. Especially if it were to hit the interwebs.

Hopefully one day I can piece together a song and say, “Here’s a little number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean.”

Because reasons…

Transcendental Music

I worked for twelve hours. I drove for forty five minutes to get to work and forty five minutes to get home. I got home, I put on some music, and made dinner for everyone. We ate our burgers on the back patio, shared some stories of the day, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

Slowly, everyone left the table. No words were said. Just one by one they left. Until I remained. Hoping one or more would return. But they did not. They left their dirty plates. They left me behind.

After about ten minutes, I changed the music. I put on some trance music by The Orb and stared off into the yard, listening to the music and the wildlife, eventually closing my eyes. I let the music take me away. Several moments passed. I had been zoned out. It was relaxing.

I miss listening to music for the sake of music. No lyrics. The occasional word is spoken. But the rhythmic nothingness of trance music with the sounds of birds chirping is zen like. I do not care that the dishes were left behind. Or that no thank you’s were offered up to me for working all day and making dinner. My wife also worked, so did our eldest. The other two had online school. We all had busy mental days. Busy happens.

Life is busy. We all experience it. Take a breather and don’t get angry. The dishes will get washed. The table will get cleared. The smiles will remain. The music will play. The time is now.

Baroness of Barrenness

Today I witnessed some of the usual oddness that humanity has to offer. I’m not sure what was going on, but I couldn’t get enough of it.

We spotted some folks on our security cameras nearby our rail yard. There was a person with a fancy video camera, an actress with a blue face, and a third person with what I can only describe as a “spritz bottle” to add a glistening shine.

I watched them do eight or nine takes of what I can only assume was a music video. She appeared to be Rage Dancing very enthusiastically. Watching her perform over the security cameras with no sound added an eeriness to it. My thoughts began to try and create a story for her.

“The Baroness of Barrenness expressed her rage. She is fed up with simply kicking the rocks of the wasteland she overlooks. Seeing no beauty and no ugly in the world has become commonplace. It was time for action. Perhaps it was time to revisit the Mushroom Death that began this new world…”

That’s the sort of oddness that filled my mind. And of course between their takes, she smiled. Obviously happy with whatever they were filming. You could see how energized the camera operator and this lady were. Spritz boy was doing his job quite effortlessly to add glistening to her face. Three artists alone making art. Not knowing we were watching.

Allow people to express themselves and all will be right in the world. I hope for these artists to experience their piece of fame. Maybe a tiktok or YouTube celebrity in the making.

Pac-Man Turns 40!

Ghost munching madness! Pacman is effing 40! I remember seeing the arcade game for the first time in a convenience store when I was like 5.

Since then I have bought numerous reiterations of the game on numerous video game consoles. From Atari to PlayStation 4, Gameboy to 1st Gen Video IPod: Pac-Man is my “Go-To” game. I will play it for hours on end.

Scott Pilgrim

Ten years ago I was excited that the Google Doodle was a playable version of Pac-Man for the 30th anniversary. And just think, In ten years it’ll be the 50th Anniversary of the game! Crazy.

But those 8bit sounds and simplistic graphics paved the way for generations of games and players.

Yes, Pac-Man is a great game. I’d love to own an original upright cabinet or cocktail table version of the game. Until that day comes, I’ll just play it on our big screen. I really enjoy playing Pac-Man Championship.

Did I tell you that I like Pac-Man?

Disneyland Churros

Disney released the greatest thing ever this week. They released their churro recipe for those of us at home who miss attending the parks. The recipe is extremely easy. Find it at Disney Parks Blog Churros.

Of course, we HAD TO MAKE THEM!

My kids had a great time helping make the churros, deep fry the churros, sugar the churros and of course- eat the churros!

It was a fun bonding time with the kids and surprisingly easy to make. (Especially with a deep fryer). I highly suggest those who love churros and miss the most magical place on earth- try this recipe. It’s a great way to bring the magic home.

And don’t forget to listen to your favorite Disney music while making them!

You’re The Cream In My Coffee

I heard a song today and it made me smile.

I’m not a poet,
How well I know it,
I’ve never been a raver,
But when I speak of you,
I rave a bit, its true.
I’m wild about you,
I’m lost without you,

You give my life its flavor,
What sugar does for tea,
That’s what you do for me.
You’re the cream in my coffee,
You’re the salt in my stew
You will always be my necessity,
I’d be lost without you
.

I listened to this song a couple more times as I drove home from work. There was something about the crack and hiss of the old recording that made it magical. It was as if the old song was speaking directly to me. Like the voice inside my head was reminding me of how much I love my wife.

Sure, it sounds cheesy. And it is. But it’s also true. I came home and at the dinner table I said the line to my wife, “You’re the cream in my coffee.” I thought I was being sweet.

My wife promptly reminded me that I don’t take cream in my coffee.

Come On Out to a Speakeasy!

At the end of the month, there is a dance in Fort Langley Community Hall that I am excited to attend. It is an opportunity for the community to support the Langley Fine Arts Dry Grad event happening later this year. There will be drinks available for purchase as well as a couple of Blackjack Tables and auction items up for grabs.

There will be plenty of “Old Timey” themes and music throughout the night. Personally, I love music from a century ago and feel inspired to be attending a Roaring 20’s dance. Because these are parents of Fine Arts students planning it-you know it’ll be well thought out and executed. Dressing the part from 100 years ago isn’t necessary, but it is encouraged!

For all my local friends who want to enjoy an evening out helping to support the Dry Grad- you can buy tickets here: Eventbrite. So get on your dancing shoes and flapper dresses! I’d love to see people attend and have a good time on February 29th!

Please share this throughout Langley and let’s make it a monumental event!

Come On Get Happy

Sometimes I overly express that people should be happy and take care of themselves. The truth is that it’s also totally okay to not happy. Look at my life. I’m a tall, thin guy who has trouble finding pants. And that sucks.

But music makes me happy. And something about music from decades ago is great for chasing away my existential blues. Those classic pop songs that you can sing along with.

Sometimes I wish I could write music. Music that others would sing for generations- even after the Hits no longer held the charts.

I also love discovering unique music at thrifts stores that was tossed aside. I’ll pick up all sorts of music from 1920’s thru to the 1980’s. Albums that no one knows or would ever need to know. They get play time now in my home.

Am I making people happy? I don’t know. Maybe in some inadvertent way. Buying an album at a thrift store ensures money goes back where it’s needed. Playing those albums brings joy to me and sometimes my family. That joy gets spread in the world to their friends.

So maybe I can make people happier.

Concert Ticket Stubs

What do you do with old concert tickets?

When I was a teenager and for a few years afterwards, I enjoyed going to concerts. Over the years, much of my musical tastes have varied to a point that I’m not sure I love one style only.

I attended shows in small venues to outdoor weekend long extravaganzas. The 90’s were filled with great shows and the music industry was booming thanks to cd’s and radio. All before mp3s or streaming.

The other day I found an old photo album of mine. Inside I discovered a page of ticket stubs. Concert tickets and show stubs ranging from comedy to magic, or gothic to alternative music. I can remember each person I attended these shows with. I loved the experiences and keeping these ticket stubs was a great reminder of these shows.

Nowadays tickets are mostly on your phone, with no way to keep them. Perhaps a screen shot? Or saving an email? Having a physical stub is a tactile item that I personally used as a memento. I also cannot believe the difference in show prices. A show cost $25 or less in the mid-90’s. Last year I went to see Queen in the nosebleeds and it cost $160! And no ticket stub!

Ya, I’m old. And I love music. I’ll gladly pay 99¢ for a song now. Or search out old records at the thrift shop. But concerts are a thing of the past for me. Because without a ticket stub, did it even happen?

Sisters Forever

A couple of years ago we discovered the joy of Andrews Sisters Jing-a-Ling on a drive home from the school. Our daughters enjoy the song and love to sing with it. It has become a staple in our Christmas music playing.

Our two girls seem to always get along this time of year. Last week when we were decorating, the two of them were loving and caring. Hugs and silliness abound. Seeing them get along like this warms my heart.

I know that over the next few years life will change. Our teenagers will become adults. They will grow up and move on in their own ways. I don’t want to look towards the future with a heavy heart. Instead I am trying to enjoy the moments we have now because these will soon become a distant memory.

And just like when we discovered the Andrews Sisters, I will become pleasantly surprised when my memories resurface once more through music and photos of yesteryear.

Enjoy the now- it’s a gift of joy. I guess that’s why it’s called The Present.