Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random Memories

I spent 3 or 4 years (1968-1972) of my musical early days buying only singles - 45's. I had a whole stack of them, and sometimes they would scratch because i just put them on top of each other. "Ball of Confusion" (Temptations), "The Long and Winding Road" (Beatles), "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," (Lobo), "Let's Stay Together" (Al Green) - music on the radio was so very diverse; a conglomeration of styles, beats and sounds. Don McClean's "American Pie" was so long that you had to flip the 45 over to hear the whole song. There was no "B" side of "American Pie" as there were on other singles. The great thing about singles was that, once you had it you could play it as many times as you wanted - you weren't forced to listen to hours of radio hoping it would come up again and be played in the rotation.
But one night at Sears, I had enough money to buy an album if I wanted, and I decided to get Elton John's - Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player. And it was this huge fold-out album, each page illustrating a particular song, including a unique photograph with corresponding lyrics - it was really a wonder! Plus, I thought that, apart from the 2 singles that I knew ("Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock") the rest of the album would be average at best. But I was wrong! The 2nd song on the album, "Teacher I Need You," (after "Daniel" the 1st song) was AMAZING. It's still one of my all-time favorite songs - fantastic production, a killer chorus, sweet harmonies - just a little miracle. I was so pleased that my 9th grade daughter thought it was great too - on a recent road trip she made me play it over and over again! Bernie Taupin's lyrics were a little dark and morbid for a 10 year old to handle (they got even darker on the next Elton John album, the classic "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"), but I don't think I bought more than 2 or 3 singles after that day.

1 comment:

  1. I agree! It's usually the second-thought, tucked away song on an album that I end up liking the BEST! My only problem is, the artists usually NEVER plays that song at their concerts, they're too busy performing their "A" side hits!!

    Great post, Bryan!