I was a young teenager from suburban New Jersey when I first discovered David Bowie. I was a conventional kid – followed the rules, did my work, behaved…I didn’t really have an ounce of rebellion in me. But when I listened to his raspy, chameleon-like voice sing lyrics that seemed to speak only to me, I’d become someone else for the length of a song. A girl on the cusp of womanhood who didn’t care what others thought of her, who dared to be different, who could actually hold a tune. Bowie was my rebellion.
I’m trying hard to get into the holiday spirit. I truly am. But the world is making it difficult to feel joyful these days. Shameless politicians spewing hate and intolerance and ignorance. People killing other people for sport. Heartbreaking refugee crises. Climate change. The continued assault against women’s reproductive rights and sensible gun control legislation. Racism and all the other -isms that have festered just below the surface for so long but are now oozing out in the open, no thanks to those damn politicians whose words and deeds are making such -isms an acceptable part of everyday discourse.
I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. While exercising to some my favorite artists and tunes, I’ve been strolling down memory lane. And it occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to list – for the benefit of Chloe and Sophie – some of my all-time favorite songs.
So that when I’m old and gray (and no, I’m not entirely old and gray yet, although I am definitely more gray than I am old), the girls can listen to this music and think fondly of their mom. And get to know me a little better, through the music I love. And perhaps realize, through this playlist, that I’m much cooler than I sometimes let on.
In no particular order, here’s the Top 20 list, which is very heavy on music I listened to when I was a teen (and which goes to show you how influential those crazy years are).
(1) Young Americans by David Bowie. Anyone who grew up with me knows how I obsessively idolized him as a teen and fantasized about hooking up with him.
(2) Blackbird by the Beatles.
(3) Layla by Eric Clapton.
(4) Space Oddity by David Bowie. As I said, I loved him.
(5) Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode.
(6) Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears.
(7) Songbird by Fleetwood Mac.
(8) The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen.
(9) Jungleland by Bruce Springsteen.
(10) Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day.
(11) My Sharona by The Knack.
(12) Suzanne by Leonard Cohen.
(13) Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? by Lloyd Cole & the Commotions.
(14) Band on the Run by Paul McCartney & Wings.
(15) Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
(16) Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones.
(17) This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads.
(18) Logical Song by Supertramp.
(19) With or Without You by U2.
(20) Bonnie & Clyde by Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot.
We’ve been watching the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which has an act that serves as a fantastic tutorial in the history of modern (i.e., the last 50 years or so) British music.
Just as Chloe is getting ready to “graduate” from 5th grade (I won’t start to rant about how ridiculous a 5th grade graduation ceremony is, but boy it is really ridiculous. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, our generation coddles our kids way too much), I’m getting ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation.
The girls have discovered INXS. Let’s face it, the Blues Brothers are so yesterday. So is INXS for that matter, but Chloe and Sophie don’t know that.
Sophie and I were dancing to their music earlier. She’s actually quite good, and she really loves to move. After a few minutes, however, she decided to show off her gymnastic talents – attempting, without much success, to do a headstand.
My brother sent Chloe another CD mix for her birthday. We haven’t yet had time to really delve into the music, but from what I’ve heard so far, the Blues Brothers will truly be a distant memory once the girls get their feet moving to those tunes.
I’m glad to leave the Blues Brothers behind. They’re really quite annoying. Chloe’s also enjoying some of my retro Depeche Mode music. I hope to get her hooked on David Bowie next, but I’m not counting on it. While he’s always been my favorite, I’m not sure she’s ready for him. I won’t give up, however. He’s a musical icon who deserves to be appreciated by the young ‘uns.
Fortunately, Chloe hasn’t yet asked me to take her to see the new Hannah Montana 3-D movie. Having to sit through that would be a penury worse than arts & crafts. She did ask me if she could watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, though. She doesn’t even know what football is, but her teacher told the kids that the commercials are fun and the music at halftime is good. Which actually might be the case this year, since Tom Petty is performing.