What our parents listened to

Mine were fans of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Jr., also Glen Campbell, Mario Lanza, Johnny O’Keefe & the Seekers, I know they were also familiar with the Beatles & Elvis Presley. Mostly what they heard on the radio & saw on television. It’s funny to me seeing my dad & his friends dressed in suits holding cigarettes & a glass of drink in old photos, like members of the so called Rat Pack. My mum & friends with a bouffant hairdo. I don’t remember them ever owning or buying a record. I grew up listening to music on the radio & television music shows. We didn’t own a record player until the 70’s, which we got a present. It was one of those small portable ones that came in a packable box. The Osmond brothers were popular around that time, my friends also listened to the Osmonds, at 12-13 years old, they were the first records I owned.

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My dad listened to classical and jazz (and, yes, had cocktail parties!), but my mom, who I lived with, loved musicals. She had the cast recordings of shows like Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music and she’d play them when my brother and I weren’t around to make fun of them.

My brother loved classical, so I was the only rock fan in the house. I gave him a copy of Out of Time after he expressed interest, though, and he became something of an R.E.M. fan as well! He called me up one day after he heard Flowers of Guatemala and asked me what album it was on, so I gave him Lifes Rich Pageant and Green for good measure.

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Growing up, my mom listened to Dory Preven. I remember her trying to find an album by her. But I don’t know that she really had a “type.” My dad liked anything that involved harmonizing, especially The Beach Boys. But ultimately, he was a big Buddy Holly fan.

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My parents (born in the mid-late 50s) mostly listened to “oldies” rock from the 50s-60s. Their record collection was actually mostly from the 70s (as would make sense for their age), but they always preferred the slightly older stuff on the radio. I’m pretty sure they stopped listening to new music at all in exactly 1979 or 1980, at least until my mom got into country music in the early 90s. But for example my dad liked Paul Simon, and had all the S&G records and some of his solo albums, but it went up to Still Crazy After All These Years and Greatest Hits Etc (from 1977), and not, you know, Graceland. Pretty sure they had and liked the Cars’ debut album, but didn’t know anything from their later albums. And so on.

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My mom loved female jazz singers. We were never short of Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. She loved Sinatra too, and all those American songbook swing big bands, like Duke Ellington’s and Count Basie’s. Both she and my dad would listen to a lot of Italian and French music from their own era, which was quite common back then, before the British invasion. My dad’s favorite singer is Charles Aznavour, and he would listen mostly to MPB (Brazilian Popular Music, a genre in itself). They would both listen to some Beatles and Mamas and Papas too, as well as Ray Conniff’s orchestra.

So I got used to a lot of quality stuff growing up. No wonder I ended up an R.E.M.-head.

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Actually just thought of an exception. The Beach Boys were a favorite of theirs – the first concert I ever went to was when they brought my sister and I to a show with some version of the Beach Boys (minus Brian Wilson I’m pretty sure). They were aware of “Kokomo” though, which was of course a much later song.

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For the longest time, I’m not sure why, I thought my parens probably liked Big Band and Glenn Miller. I guess, for some reason, I figured that was just what I thought older people liked. Even though I had done some digging in my parents’ record collection, I don’t think it was until after they died that it dawned on me, that with both of them being born in 1925, they were just the right age to enjoy rock n’ roll upon its arrival in the early to mid-50’s. What first sent me digging through their records was The Honeydrippers’ EP from 1984. I emerged with records from Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley (his debut). Why it didn’t dawn on me then and there that they were there for the birth of rock n’ roll is anybody’s guess.
I remember my Dad and his brother being into Johnny Cash and remember my uncle’s space age 8-track tape player he listened to Cash on. This would have been late 60’s/early 70’s. I also knew my parents were into Frank Sinatra and that they saw him in concert at some point, I’m not sure when. I also remember my Mom telling me she had “swooned” for Sinatra. Obviously, my parents attended other concerts but that’s the only one I have any recollection of them talking about.
The purchases I remember are ones my Mom made: Kenny Rogers’ self-titled album from 1977 that had “Lucille” on it and an album of church hymns she ordered off of TV. When Willie Nelson’s Stardust album came out in 1978 I purchased it but wasn’t feeling it so I gave it to my Mom. I remember her liking it. After my Dad died, I remember her having some Country music cassettes from the likes of Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and maybe Lynn Anderson. I also remember my Dad mostly keeping the car radio on the local AM Country station. From their record collection I also remember Johnny Mathis, some Broadway musical soundtracks and maybe some movie soundtracks. Also, Allan Sherman’s My Son, the Nut album with the song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.” They had several hundred albums which I spent a fair amount of time rifling through so I’m surprised I don’t remember more than that. Even though they didn’t own any of his albums, my parents didn’t seem to mind Jimmy Buffett, which they heard plenty of around the house and on my Dad’s boat during deep sea fishing trips.
All that said, I don’t know that what my parents listened to had that much of an effect on me. At least not until later in life. Growing up, it was more what my five older siblings were listening that influenced me, especially the ones that were closer to me in age. I believe the mindset was that it was uncool to like what your parents liked. Though I never had an aversion to him but because of that association, it wasn’t until the early 90’s that I got into Johnny Cash which had more to do with my nephew than my parents. I remember during the height of the Outlaw Country movement when I was deep into Waylon and Willie, my Dad referred to them as “punk country.” Odd in retrospect given that Cash was pretty much in the same wheelhouse as Waylon and Willie. I’m guessing my Dad’s aversion to them at that time probably had to do with how they were represented in the press, something Waylon wasn’t especially fond of.

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My parents liked early Elvis Presley, but I didn’t really start appreciating Elvis until his 1970’s era. The movie That’s the Way it Is I loved it. Some relatives a bit older than myself had the record, I remember being taken by The Next Step is Love, when I hear that song now it takes me back to their lounge room & even the smell of the wooden stereo cabinet they had. I learned to appreciate the classic standards of Sinatra, Dean Martin, & being touched by Sammy Davis Jr. - Mr. Bojangles & the beautiful Jimmy Webb songs that Glen Campbell did. I can’t remember how or where my listening journey changed over the years, I know it was influenced by the radio, music shows on television, influences of my fav artists, friends & yes, this site murmurs.com too.

Jazz & cocktail parties awesome! :cocktail:

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I obviously knew he was a musician but most of my exposure to Elvis in the 70’s came from reruns of his old movies. When his Aloha from Hawaii special aired in 1973, a friend of mine’s Mom asked me to record it so I used my Dad’s portable cassette recorder to do so.

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Almost entirely soundtracks from stage and screen. My Fair Lady. South Pacific. Porgy and Bess. West Side Story. Oklahoma. Name any musical form the 50s and 60s, we had it. My mom liked the Beatles and loved Simon and Garfunkel. She borrowed my records.

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The IRS and early WB albums are more precious than diamonds IMO.
No other band came close to comparing how I felt listening to them, and still do today.

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