by Chris Medici
“I love music. Any kind of music.” The O’Jays
My earliest musical memory is listening to my Mom playing piano at home. As a stay-at-home Mom, she was in charge of raising four sons – not an easy task to say the least. Despite the demands on her throughout the day and night, she managed to escape to the living room to play the piano and sing. This is where I developed a love for the “standards” or songs from the “Great American Song Book” as Tony Bennett often described it.
My other early musical memory is listening to my brothers’ records – sometimes it would be just listening to the music blasting from my oldest brother’s bedroom or sneaking into their rooms to play their records when they weren’t home. I wasn’t very good at hiding the fact that I did this and they certainly made it clear not to do it again – but that’s the subject of another blog post.
Among my three brothers, their record collections were pretty diverse: blues, rock, pop, R&B, and dance music. This was my musical education; I got schooled in all of the classics: The Beatles, The Who, Chicago, Allman Brothers Band, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert, The Beach Boys and The Ohio Players. This was a solid foundation for building my own record collection and evolving my own musical tastes.
As I got older, I started to explore other genres such as classical music – similar to what I heard in church – and hard rock because that’s what I heard on the radio. The bands that were on the radio at the time are now considered “classic rock.” Aerosmith, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick and the list goes on. They were also on TV: The Midnight Special, Saturday Night Live and The Old Grey Whistle Test.
I also connected with a lot of dance music because this was the time of disco so dance music was everywhere. Disco is considered by many as a low point in popular music; however, I still have a soft spot for artists like Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Tavares and the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. These songs are on many corporate playlists like when you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s – maybe that’s one of the reasons I like shopping there!
At Altered Stage, we’re celebrating “love music.” Songs about love – both good and bad – as well as songs and artists that we love. I created a Spotify playlist to reflect my journey. It certainly is diverse: Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath, Etta James, Hank Williams, Barry White, U2, Living Colour, Rascal Flatts, and The White Stripes. I’m grateful for the musical education I got growing up; it started me on this musical journey. And I can’t wait to discover more songs and artists…guess that playlist is a work in progress.