Father Knows Best: Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of GWAR


i think this is a conversation we've had here and there before, but i thought we might as well reprise it all in one place.

i try to get Famished Pete in front of speakers as much as possible. honestly, my classical and jazz aren't what they should be, but i know that's the best for him right now. at the same time, i try to mix in a bit more of the eclectic-though-hopefully-stimulating-and-baby-friendly, like joanna newsom, the decemberists, sufjan stevens, etc. for some reason, i've hesitated on pushing the straight rock/pop music until he gets a bit older, though i'll make exceptions for some of the classics. i've no real desire to feed him any of the straight childrens' music. i'm sure his mother and preschool will give him plenty of that without my help.

i guess the conversation i want to start here is the role of music in your children's lives, or perhaps the role it played in your own life as a child.

for my part, i've got total control right now, but as Pete grow up, he's obviously going to branch off on his own. i really don't want to push my tastes on him too much, but i still want to make sure he's not a fanboy of the next decade's linkin park's, nickelback's, or general grog of commercial crap. i'm sure it's going to be a fine balance.

my dad did a pretty good job with me, i think. he rarely pushed anything, though he gave some recommendations from time to time (i did pass on REO speedwagon). at the same time, he bit his tongue when a young joe occasionally brought home some god-awful crap. one of his best influences he had on me regarding that which was before my time, and i'll get into a little later why future generations could miss out on this, was his LP collection. it was down in the basement, and when i was a younger lad i would idly flip through it now and then. didn't really have much effect on me, though an interesting name or cover might inspire me try something out (like that plasmatics album my dad had for some reason; didn't take). then, i would hear a snippet of something or hear a band name and think, hey, dad's got that, and i would run home and pull it out. got into a lot of stuff i wouldn't have gotten into without that, which in turn lead me to many others i couldn't live without today.

after peckish jane's repeated nagging request, i recently put my large CD collection in storage temporarily as space is at a premium right now (i've still got books of CDs lying around, but i like having the CDs themselves out). it made me think that, what with everything moving over that digital horizon, kids aren't really going to get that opportunity as LPs, cassettes, CDs, physical music you can hold starts to disappear. sure, if they hear a name or song, they can have it on their phones in about ten seconds, but i still think they'll be missing out on something.

(quick aside: i am so pissed iPods didn't exist in high school for me. i was one of those kids that carried a 100 CD book around with them everywhere they went. also, i didn't have a car in high school, so this metro transit warrior often had to shuffle around his backpack and perform CD transplants with the discman while hurriedly speed walking to catch the 5. dropped and scratched a good number of CDs that way. come to think of it, i'm pissed CD-Rs weren't around then either.)

i'm not going anywhere in particular with this, just trying to start a few points of conversation. listening to and playing music was a huge part of my life, and i want Pete to enjoy it the same way i do, without shoving it down his throat. what do you play for your kids? what has surprised you about what they respond to? what was that band that came along, woke you up, and set you on the path to good music (cliché, but nirvana)? how did you react when your kid came home with an alto sax in 4th grade?

103 thoughts on “Father Knows Best: Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of GWAR”

  1. Music was pretty much non-existent when I was a mere cheaptrinket. My dad didn't have a collection and pretty much just had KOOL108 on in the car, so I never gave it much thought until college. Sometimes I wonder if I have some hidden musical talent that was never realized because of that. (one of my younger brothers was given a scholarship to attend Eau Claire for his piano-prowess and the youngest is pretty decent on guitar.) Not that I'm complaining, though.

    With the bauble, while I'm terrified that she might become a top-40 listening teenager (my wife is basically this way, although might be more accurate to call her amusical), I'm not going to try to dictate her musical tastes in any way. I've got all of my cd's sitting out, so she'll have some physical music to look through should she want to either listen to it or make fun of dad's weird, heavy stuff. I think this was basically my parent's approach to pretty much everything I might have been interested in. No forcing me to play football, or anything like that, but general encouragement.

      1. I'm gonna play it by ear (sorry bout that pun). I'll probably listen to what I listen to in the car, which is where the vast majority of my listening occurs, at a reduced volume, of course. Otherwise, I have no real strategy at this point.

        1. I've never really pushed my preferences (much) on the kids. When we moved from Illinois, we never unboxed our stereo (it's still in the boxes, 11 years later) because we didn't have a good space for it. We listen to a lot of NPR, including their jazz and classical station here, as well as a classic rock station.

          Somehow, things have worked out ok with the Boy. He even sports a Led Zep teeshirt on occasion.

  2. My dad had a collection of maybe 200 records from his bachelor days- a lot of country, some 70's rock. Allman Brothers had some really neat album art. My sister, who is now an elementary music teacher in Des Moines, listened to a lot of those albums, over and over. I was far more interested in books, and still am. I don't have an iPod, haven't ever burnt a CD, and haven't bought any music in any format since college, 10 years ago. I have started listening to more radio since I got my new job with the 45 minute commute, but the crap they play has me starting to consider getting my own playlist set up.

  3. First as a kid, my parents didn't have a lot of music around but my dad did have some Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, so that definitely built a foundation for me and something I didn't really appreciate until I was in my 30's. So I was left on my own.

    Second with my kids, when they are younger you can basically dictate what music they will listen to and its a lot of fun. I remember when they were really small, they used to love that Bad Religion album Stranger Than Fiction. I think because it had so much energy that a 2 and 4 year would groove on it. However once they hit around age 8 Radio Disney reared its ugly head and I lost my daughter to Britany Spears and Nsync. I tried to fight it but there's just nothing you can do about it. As they got older however, they came around now we share some musical tastes and hate others. For instance they (as most teens) are big into rap, me not so much. They roll their eyes at Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Fred Eaglesmith. Also, as can be expected, my 16 year old boy and I have much more similar musical tastes while my 18 year old daughter is more into stuff like Alicia Keys.

    So while you lose them in their pre-teens, once they hit their older teens its fun to have someone who you can talk music with and share new bands with, my kids have definitely expanded my musical horizons and I'd like to think I've expanded theirs.

    1. My six-year old daughter has a thing for Justin Beiber. You can probably imagine how I respond to that.

      1. If my daughter gets into stuff like that, I'll just be happy that its entirely possible to get them that music without having to pay for it.

  4. My dad was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene, which was pretty conservative back then, so the most "contemporary" music I heard growing up was the Gaithers and the Imperials. I finally branched away from that at 12 or 13 when I discovered Petra. Since they were a Christian group, my parents didn't discourage me. In fact, they got me my first boom box and Walkman (yep, both with tape decks. CDs? What's that?). What I remember most about my dad and music is that we went to some sort of revival/conference at the St. Paul Civic Center and one guy we were listening to started talking about the evils of Rock and Roll and how the music itself was evil, so it didn't matter what the words said. I was young enough so that I didn't know what to think, but my dad looked at me and, seeing the horror on my face, told me, "You don't have to believe everything you hear," or something like that. I'll never forget that.

      1. Fortunately, I never had to do the Houseplant Test.


        1. Set them both in front of speakers, and let the music do the rest...

          My old church's pastor ran a three-week series of sermons on the evils of rock music. During the final one, he decried the evils of "insidious christian rock". I was not a fan of that pastor.

          1. There's a lot I don't get about religious folks, but that attitude always takes the cake. Where did it come from? Who started that nonsense?

            I don't really need a response here...this thread could probably turn pretty ugly if it wanted to. I just don't know where that attitude comes from. It doesn't seem to have any Biblical basis.

            1. Same thing was said about jazz music nearly a hundred years ago and that couldn't be about the words since half the time there were no words. My guess is that people decided it was evil because of the kind of dancing it led to. Too much intimate contact. When I was growing up, I remember kids would joke that we couldn't have sex because it would lead to dancing.

              1. Everyone knows there was no pre-marital fornicating before Edison started putting a needle to wax cylinders.

  5. I play most everything for my kids (skipping content that's not child-friendly). And I just watch what they seem to enjoy the most.

    CER likes an eclectic mix, but prefers gurl singers. Björk, Fever Ray, Zola Jesus.

    HPR likes the rockier stuff. Some of his favorites include the Bottle Rockets and Sonic Youth's "Silver Rocket". His favorite parts are the "rock-out guitars". However, he also picked up my iPod the other day, put the buds in his ears, and said he really liked it. The song? Coil's "The Snow": Minimal House, ten years before that was a thing.
    I was so excited that he liked that, but I can't really follow up on it like I would something else. Nothing else from Coil sounds like that, and it's not like I'm going to start playing "Tainted Love", "Penetralia", "The Anal Staircase", or "Triple Suns and the One You Bury".

    Both of the older kids also like my wife's selection of contemporary Christian and folkish rock. I don't.

    I really can't yet tell what AJR likes. Other than drums.

    Our old car had a line-in jack, so I could play my iPod, and I got a much better sense of what my kids liked of my music. If the two of them agreed, they could both say "skip it" which is like a veto. (Though if I felt strongly, I could override.)

    But when we switched to the minivan, there was no line-in, so I'm just playing CDs, which aren't as random or expansive. I hope our next vehicle has a line-in.

    1. Line in is fantastic. My current car has it, but none of my previous ones did. I love being able to throw together a "on-the-go" playlist rather than trying to remember to burn a mix.

      1. I'm enjoying my tape-deck adapter, with the exception of random tape side changes interrupting the flow.

      2. Even better is Bluetooth Audio. My phone has an mp3 player and my car has Bluetooth on it, so my phone will play on my car's stereo wirelessly. When I turn the car off, the music automatically pauses until I start the car again. It is sweet.

    2. Do some investigation - I bet you can hack a line-in somehow. The fact that I've done it to a Jetta and a Tribeca implies that just about anyone can do it given the instructions on the 'net.

      1. Nice work. Its near impossible just trying to replace the stereo in a Volkswagen. That's why I broke down and got an mp3 player with a tape deck adapter.

        1. Ah, don't replace the factory deck. I think pretty much all factory decks support an aux on the backside, if only for CD changers provided by more luxurious packages. That's how the hackers figure out how to hack in an input.

          The Jetta required some metal hooks (bought from Crutchfield) to remove the stereo and an aftermarket harness. Add a cable from Ratshack to that.

          The Tribeca required pulling off some panelling, pulling the radio, stripping the Ratshack cable and shoving some wires into slots. And a lot of electrical tape.

          It's a fun project for a couple guys with a couple hours and a couple beers each.

          1. I was going to replace it because I happened to have a better deck laying around. But the pos harness I bought didn't work with the wiring in my Golf, unless I was doing something wrong. I've got the metal clips still, though, so maybe I should take a look back there and see if I can get a line-in to work. No way I'm paying Best Buy $150 to do it, like the annoying salesdude was trying to push on me when I bought my mp3 player. No offense Spoons, but the majority of big blue's floor people don't know their ass from their elbow.

              1. I couldn't help it. Every time I think of "Spoons" I think of The Tick.


            1. No offense back, but it's definitely not the majority, in my experience. Those who don't, though, can provide such a rotten experience that the memory stands out.

              FWIW, that salesperson almost certainly didn't believe you needed the $150 setup. He pushes that because his managers force him to. I didn't play along with the sales of some of those wildly overpriced services, which was an annoyance to some of the managers, though many admitted to knowing the feeling.

              1. Yeah, I know his manager wanted him to do it, and honestly this guy wasn't too bad. But, I did my research prior to going in and knew exactly what I wanted, so there wasn't much for him to do. And to be totally honest, I bought my wife a really nice D-SLR camera and the salesdude was pretty into photography and knew his shit pretty well and was a lot of help in deciding which model to get.

                But then there's the tv section (edit: and home audio, at least at my local store) guys....

                1. Home Theater can be a rough area. There's a lot of turnover, because they move guys over there when they think they have management potential. As a result, very few people there have the kind of experience necessary in the area.

                  The responsibility of the employee is to know what each customer needs. He should have picked up on the fact that you'd done your research, and therefore he should have known you didn't need the install. Still, some managers want the attempt on every sale. I had a GM in Apple Valley who asserted that we had to attempt to sell the store-specific MasterCard on every sale, including people who came in for a single CD. He'd be there over our shoulders to be sure it was happening. Sales in the credit card didn't move one bit, but at least we looked liked clueless idiots who couldn't put customers in the proper context.

                  1. My brother worked in home audio years ago at the Woodbury location and told me that, basically, their entire performance was judged by how many service plans they sold. So really, when I complain about the people on the floor, I'm really complaining about management.

                    He was also telling me about a couple that came in thinking about buying a Bose box system and he eventually talked them into getting a similarly performing, yet much, much cheaper system (can't remember if it was boxed or not, though). They brought it back later that day, without even having opened it, and returned it to get the Bose system and ended up yelling at my brother's manager that he sold them something else. Naturally, my brother took the brunt of that one and I think he ended up quitting a few weeks later. Fortunately, he worked there long enough to get me a pair of nice Sony speakers at a sweet, employee-discount laden price that I am still using to this day.

                  2. I once literally walked away from the cash register at Best Buy because the sales person was so adamant in selling me an extended warranty. After repeatedly saying no I said "for the last time I'm not buying that service." She continued to try to sell me. I took my card and walked away with my item still at the cash register and as I was walking out the door I told the greeter that they just lost a sale.

                    To be fair, they aren't as aggressive with those warranties as they were a few years back.

                    1. I remember that being my least favorite thing about being a salesman at Office Max. I know the extended warranty Max Assurance is a great deal for the company, but shoving it down people's throats is soul-sucking.

                      Once they started forcing us to wear headsets so our managers could helpfully point out possible upsales while I was talking to customers, that was the last straw.

                  3. I worked at Target for two years and the only time I saw Target Visa card sales explode was in a college town when they had a pretty girl stand up front and attempt to sell them. College guys would fall over themselves to sign up.

                    1. I worked there for two years as well. I never, ever asked anyone if they wanted a Target Visa card. There was so much turnover in the store manager that I don't think anyone had enough time to care.

                    2. And, of course, most of those guys would cancel shortly after. Sex sells, but it's just an immediate need.

                      We had so much pressure from our shamelessly exploitative management that employees were convincing their friends to sign up and refer them to help their stats, then cancel at the earliest possible time. That lasted for a good year or so before management finally got the idea that no matter how much you pressure someone to buy a credit card, it's not something people are willing to buy unless they arrive at that decision themselves.

                    3. What pissed me off was our raises were (partially) based on Target card sales. Even worse, 80% of the time I worked in the food court. But my raise was based on me filling in at cashier.

                      I only sold Target cards to people I thought might really want them. That said, I felt guilty about it as most people don't need more credit cards. And constantly getting cards and canceling them can't be good for the ol' credit rating.

            2. Hmm...I always find aftermarket decks to have horrid radio reception, so I've given up on them. If you do stick with the factory deck, I'd search the 'net for pointers. Most likely someone has already figured it out. As was the case with my '02 Jetta.

              1. Radio reception wasn't a concern for me, I don't think I even planned on plugging the antenna in. Fortunately, the cassette deck adapter sounds good enough for me in sound quality. My only beef now is the stupid speaker brackets VW uses, because I'd like to eventually replace those.

  6. At this point I can't be sure of the Calf's tastes. I ask him all that time but the noises he makes still don't really sound like words, so yeah, I'm not sure. With that said, he prefers high pitched voices (Neil Young, Belle and Sebastian, Dr. Dog) to some of the deeper sounds (Tom Waits, Hold Steady). One thing I can say for sure though, man, does this kid hate Colin Stetson.

  7. I was raised on a steady diet of Raffi and Jimmy Buffett*. After that, my parents didn't really care too much, though rap was (and still to some extent is) frowned upon. In my middle teens, I was entirely at the mercy of the Disney Channel and top-40 radio. I didn't know any better. In high school I listened to mostly what felt deep and meaningful for a angsty high schooler - Dashboard, Staind, Puddle of Mudd. Still didn't know any better.

    Then my sophomore year of college, my friend gave me a copy of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot". Not to say the album changed my life, but it did completely change the way I thought about and experienced music.

    *Only years later did I know "Get Drunk and Screw" was a song. That song never made it on the dubbed cassette from the CD

    1. I was raised on Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Williams, Roger Miller, and a set of classical discs. But my dad ran the radio station at the community college for years, and would bring home discs he didn't want. Crap like The Doors' "Riders on the Storm" single and The Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup 🙂

      we watched Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw at home, but also the variety shows of the time (Laugh-In, which was subversive as hell, plus Johnny Cash's show, Sonny & Cher, Captain & Tennille, Smothers Brothers, etc.). Lots of musical variety.

      plus, I had an older brother. We had a collection of stuff on reel-to-reel (I remember a Raspberries album). later, he bought a stereo for his room, and introduced me to Ted Nugent.

      1. My buddy's dad has a reel-to-reel full of stuff like ABBA, Kenny Rogers, Dan Fogelberg, Oak Ridge Boys, Gordon Lightfoot and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I've actually purchased nearly everything on the tape in digital format, burned it to discs and passed it along to the guys as gifts.

      2. I remember my parents with LPs or cassettes of Johnny Cash, the Carpenters, Johnny Horton, Harry Bellafonte...could have been worse. Our bus rides to/from school with the Fargo FM station provided us with all the latest, though. I remember lots of Three Dog Night, Sweet, yadda yadda.

    2. nirvana was the band that broke me out of my top 40s wankery, and i got into some some decent stuff on my own (pumpkins were breaking out about then, and blood sugar sex magik... well, let's just say that was a great album), but i've got to give a lot of credit to my friends. randomly, in 7th-8th grade, i fell in with a group of friends that was anywhere from 3-5 years older than me, and they really accelerated my musical growth. i got into the "alternative" side of the grunge/alternative spectrum, some of the classics like the zepp, beatles, etc., but also stuff that hardly anyone in my peer group would have been listening to like the jayhawks, john cale, walt mink etc.

      would i have gotten into a lot of this stuff eventually? maybe, but i still owe them a huge debt for forcing the issue much earlier.

      1. my roommate sophomore year in college was from NoDak (we were thrown together for reasons I won't go into here). He'd come to Carleton as a headbanger, but decided that that wasn't cool anymore, and so subjected me to an endless litany of punk/hardcore punk/post-punk? (Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, etc.), plus lectures on how superior his new musical tastes were. Whatevs. I expanded my horizons, but that didn't fundamentally change my tastes.

          1. I hope I didn't do that too badly, as college was where I really developed my love for metal. I can't say I didn't have insufferable moments, but that's why college kids suck, amiright?

          2. College folk seem to go on about their new, superior tastes a lot. I guess convincing themselves is important.

            i fully credit going to MCTC for a couple years and living in uptown for helping me to avoid massive college d-baggery.

                1. that is a very fair point. i meant that to mean living at my own place instead of dorms and the like.

                  also, i think it helps eeeeenormously if you grew up in minneapolis proper and move there, rather than from, say, blaine.

                  1. Fair enough, though were it not for the Uptown Bar (and to a lesser extent Majors & Quinn), I doubt I'd have set foot in the neighborhood more than a few times.

  8. i am so pissed iPods didn't exist in high school for me.

    As mentioned above, some of us didn't even have CDs.

    They Might Be Giants did a kids CD No!, and also Here Comes the ABC's and Here Comes Science for Saturday morning TV. John and John found themselves as parents and making kid-friendly music was a (semi-)natural extension for them. The music is pretty cool, and they lyrics aren't total pablum. Some good ones:
    "Flying V"
    "Bed Bed Bed"
    "Meet the Elements"

    1. i was wondering which of you old-timers would comment first on that lament 😉

      TMBG is one of the "kids' music" exceptions i will happily make.

  9. Skim and Sour Cream sing constantly. SC normally opts for stuff from VeggieTales or My Little Pony, but Skim occasionally out of nowhere breaks into a Regina Spektor, Sufjan Stevens or Epica song. She seems to like every possible genre from pop to metal to rap, and the only things I filter out are violent content (I don't own any anyway) and sexual content (There'll be time to explain that later, and I probably won't be doing most of it since I've never been a woman before).

    1. out of nowhere breaks into a Regina Spektor, Sufjan Stevens or Epica song.

      I'm guessing she does the harsh vocals, right?

        1. Probably best to encourage her to keep it that way unless she had some lessons on doing the other stuff properly in a non-vocal-chord-shredding way.

    2. Ah yes. Veggie Tales. "Veggie Rocks!" is highly recommended. Rock groups do their own versions of Veggie Tales songs so parents and kids can enjoy them together. My boys love it.

  10. I have so much to say about this that I don't know where to start. My parents grew up during the British Invasion but I'm fairly certain that only my dad partook in the music of the time. He converted to Catholicism when he married my mother and, near as I can tell, he bought into the "Rock'n'Roll is the Devil's music" theme of the mid-to-late '70's Church. He told me later that he trashed his entire record collection which apparently had been both eclectic and substantial. I grew up on Take 6, Amy Grant and the Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack.

    My first awareness of secular music was pop radio (New Kids on the Block) and from a friend who owned a copy of Bad. My first album purchase was the Spin Doctors: Pocket Full of Kryptonite and August and Everything After soon followed.

    When my mother heard me singing along with the radio one day, "Girl I'm gonna make you sweat, sweat 'til you can't sweat no more..." it was very nearly the end of my exploration. She started making me write an analysis of each album after it's purchase* - I guess to make sure that there weren't any more off-color references or innuendo. Thanks Inner Circle.
    *That lasted about a year and then I just stopped informing her of new music purchases.

    I realized that what I knew of music (my parent’s meager collection) represented a very small sample of what was out there. I dove in full bore and worked hard to expand my tastes. Interest in early '90's pop turned to grunge and alternative after I heard Nevermind. This first exposure to "rock" led me backwards through the 1980's: U2, Steve Miller, Tom Petty (mercifully missing the hair bands) and finally back to Zeppelin, The Doors, The Beatles, Allman Brothers, Dylan, Grateful Dead, etc. My eyes were opened. When, at 16, I caught my dad listening to a Beatles album, I was finally made aware of his youthful interests. It was a cool moment.

    My daughter will have the chance to explore, but I don't want her to hear Wilco, Miles Davis, Arcade Fire, Billy Joel, Fleet Foxes, The Decemberists, or any of my more "classic" rock for the first time at 14. She will definitely have a basis with to begin her search.

    1. oh, yea. Thanks for mentioning Fiddler on the Roof. The movie and soundtrack were big events in my youth. We made a big trip up to Minneapolis (dinner at a chinese restaurant and EVERYTHING! w00t!) to see the movie, then we got the album for my dad for his birthday. It was my jewish education 😉

      1. That's the only show I've been in twice (once as a one-line chorus member ("Then we will defend ourselves! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.") and the other time as Lazar Wolf, which was great fun).

      2. That movie was one of my parents' first dates. I was in the orchestra when the high school put it on - only actual acting performance was in "Working."

              1. Not a lot of other memorable parts to that musical... Hey somebody, don't you wanna hear, the story of my life?!

  11. 7, 4, and 6-month old here. Still in control of the music.

    My wife is a top-40 listener, and the girls enjoy a dance class a couple times per year, so they are definitely excited to listen to top-40 on the bathroom radio while taking a shower. However, they also sing along to Mumford & Sons and The Decemberists. Hoping to get them singing to Fleet Foxes soon. (OTOH, they also know the entire Mamma Mia album by heart.)

    A year or more ago I made the oldest a mixtape (CD). For that age, I made it things she could dance around to. This included songs I knew she loved (a wedding dance got her addicted to Conga, kids love "Single Ladies") and things I thought she would benefit from hearing over and over (Michael Jackson, Ladyhawke, Sharon Jones, Level 42, Prince). The songs I chose were to be a cross-section, inasmuch as upbeat, danceable songs can be I suppose.

    As she gets older I'll probably make another mixtape of songs she'd be more likely to, say, listen to in bed as she reads before falling asleep. Obviously I'll go for more lyrical, meaningful stuff.

    Whatever it is - a mixtape is a special gift from a father to a young daughter. She loved receiving it.

    I know there is no use to this, but with our first two I made mixtapes for them before they were born. Even did the headphone-to-the-wife's-stomach thing - I know it doesn't "work". But, well, it's gotta be boring in there, no? Those mixes are still around and the girls listen to 'em sometimes. More diverse, with rock, classical and jazz going on.

    I realize I'll lose the girls at some point. But this base will be there as they become adults. My parents had music on from time to time, but nothing so focused. Yet I still think my current tastes for jangly, lyrical rock somehow grew from a lot of AM radio, Gordon Lightfoot and so on.

    (Rap is a tough one. I'm totally into some rap: Jurassic 5, The Roots, etc. But it's really impossible to develop tastes at a young age there, IMO. And alas if they get into rap when they're teens it will probably be something vile.)

  12. When I was in college taking freshman comp (for the second time I believe), we had to write a paper about something our parents gave us that meant a lot to us. My parents were very firmly middle class, and while I got quite a few "things," very few of them I felt were paper worthy. So I wrote about how my parents helped instill in me a love of music. My folks played a ton of music when I was growing up, and while I hated most of it (top 40 country, yuck), the idea of listening to music almost constantly probably started there.

    The fact they played stuff I hated probably helped drive me to find music I did appreciate at a young age.

  13. I was raised on a steady diet of Lawrence Welk. The one positive to that is that it taught me to enjoy some of the old standards. And Welk did have a pretty good band.

  14. My experience is sort of a mash of SoCal's (Contemporary Christian Music from age 5 to 15 or so) and Mags' (awful teen angst nonsense for high school til second year of tech school). My parents enjoyed music, but weren't particularly passionate about it. They weren't concerned about what I listened to (so long as I steered clear of Cheaptoy-style music).

  15. My mom and stepdad are classical musicians, which meant that my listening at their house was restricted to classical or jazz. Their classical collection is pretty extensive, and on the jazz side we had everything from Louis Armstrong and His Hot Fives to Flim & the BBs. Meanwhile, at Pops' house we listened to a lot of 50s-mid 70s rock & roll (Pops always said music died in '76), traditional Country & Western, polka, and some jazz. My folks had a pretty contentious divorce, and Pops and my stepdad didn't ever really get along, but one time they got together to take me to a Maynard Ferguson concert. That's the only time the three of us ever did something together. I branched out into my own favorites at a fairly early age (and had more than a few tapes confiscated by my mom as a result), but I've retained a love for all the music my folks put in my ears, while surpassing them on the diversity (for example, none of them really listened to the blues, though I'm sure there were blues songs Pops liked).

    1. (Pops always said music died in '76)

      That's a shame. My dad felt similarly until I started pointing him in directions I knew he'd enjoy in the mid-to-late '90s. Then he started seeking out new music again. I was pretty proud of that, as it represents the rare instance where a kid can teach something to his dad.

      1. I've been able to turn my parents to some of my music as well, which is satisfying. Then my Dad found Pandora and he was in heaven.

          1. My dad is lost with technology, but manages to fuddle around with Pandora anyhow. Just don't try and get him to send e-mails, texts, or clear his voicemail off his cell.

  16. I was raised on nothing but KOOL 108. In high school, I got into alternative music (but not really the grunge stuff but more along the lines of Cake and Beck) and definitely enjoyed having my horizons expanded by The Current a few years ago before it became Indie Top 40 exclusively.

  17. I was raised on ABBA, Lightfoot, Peter Paul & Mary, and other folk music. Like Corn, my first foray was New Kids. My first "favorite song" was Candyman's Knockin' Boots. I was ten, not so naive I didn't know the song was about Candyman and his chicas, but naive enough that I didn't know exactly what knockin' boots meant. I sang that song a lot and my parents never said anything. In fact, I don't remember being protected from any music. I wasn't exposed to violent or "bad language" music until I was 14 or 15, and by then I think my parents felt I could make my own decisions on right and wrong.

    I was obsessed with country music from about 1990 to 2000, with some classic rock mixed in, and over the past ten years I sadly haven't really explored much in the music world. The first I heard "Hey Ya" by Outkast was last year. Music is just one area where I don't spend a lot of time searching for new stuff, even though I listen to some music most days. I guess it's just not a huge part of my life. What I am not is someone who says, "I like everything except..." I'll listen to anything once.

        1. btw, we had a soundtrack to Hair! on LP when I was a kid, but I sure don't remember that song being on it. We must have gotten the K-tel version or summat.

  18. Great post. My son knows most of the words to Fresh Air, which starts out with I'm the luckiest son of a b!&@$ who ever lived. Sigh.

    My mom had Supremes lps and my dad Marshall Tucker. Meh. But my buddy in high school had two older siblings and we burned through the collections of Dylan, Van, Hank and cash in one fantastic summer.

  19. I had five older brothers who introduced me to the likes of the Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys when I was 4 or 5 years old--on 45 RPM, no less. They would later return from college with LPs by folks like Jimi, Dylan, Neil, Bruce, etc. By age 12 I had a pretty solid base from which to build my own collection.

    My folks were heavy into Classical and opera. Dad used to "air conduct" to Bach or Beethoven in the living room when he didn't think anyone was watching. My mom liked to play along on the piano to some of the Broadway scores she had back then--Sound of Music, West-Side Story, Oklahoma! and such. Music had a prominent place in our household.

    1. My mom liked to play along on the piano

      ahhh, Mankato Heights


      1. songs that made the 'Hit Parade'...
        The Clash was the band that opened my ears to a whole new world of sound. As I recall, I got Give 'Em Enough Rope in the summer of '79, about a year after it's release. While it sounds tame by today's standards, to my 17 year old ears it was a revolution.

        (And since this is a baby/child rearing forum, a good friend of mine dressed his adorable twin girls in matching Clash onesies. Grandpa was not amused.)

        1. The only band that matters.

          We wore out The Clash, London Calling, Sandinista, and Combat Rock. didn't see much of Give 'Em Enough Rope.

          still one of the low-points of my life is missing out on a concert in Des Moines (The Clash opening for The Who) because my buddy with the connection to the tickets had to work at the last minute.

        2. I remember first hearing London Calling my junior year at Drake. I put it on in the van to Indiana for Thanksgiving. I was floored when Dad started singing along to "Train in Vain". He's revealed himself to be very cool at times.

Comments are closed.