Monday, July 16, 2007

there's a lot of things i don't know

I am one of the world's most ignorant people when it comes to popular music.
Or more accurately: I have a certain level of general knowledge -- not enough to be a jeopardy champion, but enough to occasionally win at Trivial Pursuit against smart people. But when it comes to music, a graph of my knowledge looks like falling off a table.

As a young person, I didn't buy albums and I didn't watch MTV.
The result is that I know songs, but not who they're by.
I know the names of artists, but can't tell you what they sing.
I don't know the names of the artists in a particular band.
I seldom recognize anyone's voice.

For example:
I can sing along to Carolina In My Mind, Fire & Rain, Sweet Baby James, You've Got a Friend, How Sweet It Is, etc.
And I know James Taylor is a huge folk/rock singer from the 70's and onward. I can even picture him in my mind with an acoustic guitar in his hands.
But I didn't know until 5 minutes ago (looking at a CD) that those were James Taylor songs.

I know who The Rolling Stones are, but Satisfaction is the only song I know as theirs.
I can't name you a single song by U2, Eric Clapton, or the Grateful Dead.

I know the names of artists/groups from my HS/college years and before. Off the top of my head: The Who, Yes, Chicago, Foreigner, Boston, The Eagles, Rush, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, REM, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sex Pistols, Bob Seger, Prince, The Clash, The Police, AC/DC, Bob Marley, The Righteous Brothers, ZZ Top, U2, Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby/Still/Nash/(Young), BeeGees, David Bowie, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Grateful Dead, on and on and on.

Out of that group above, I know Running on Empty was Jackson Browne, and Maggie May was Rod Stewart.
Other than that, I can't name you a single song by any of those artists/bands. I recognize the songs readily when they come on the radio -- I just have no way to file them in my head according to artist because I have no previous association.

This is occasionally a source of frustration for me, and now an occasion of boredom for you. OTOH, people are often incredulous when I confess my ignorance, so maybe in some small way this entertains you and makes you feel better about yourself...


At Mon Jul 16, 03:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger Left Coast Sister said...

You didn't watch MTV in your youth?!? Did you at least watch videos on your cell phone? I'm just sayin'...

At Mon Jul 16, 06:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger si said...

have i been one of the incredulous? if so, i guess i should thank you for the entertainment you've provided. :) you know, your breadth of knowledge can whip my butt quite, embarrassingly, easily -- so *I* think it's okay, this "ignorance". and really, how important is it in the scheme of things, anyway??

so, i take it you're not going to be watching those current, lame game shows (2 different ones!) about singing (badly) the lyrics of songs, eh?

At Mon Jul 16, 10:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger applevenusian said...

i am married to a musical snob, which has rubbed off on me a bit. i am sniggering inwardly at some of your musical inclinations.

OTOH, i feel compelled to help you with your musical problem. can i be your lifeline the next time you play Trivial Pursuit?

At Tue Jul 17, 11:44:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

LCS, in my youth we didn't have cell phones, or any other kind. We had tin-cans-and-string, and we had tom-tom drums, that was it.

si, i'm so out of touch i don't even know what shows you're talking about... :)

av, i'll take you up on the lifeline thing. and let me hastily clarify that the music discussed above in no way represents my "inclinations" -- most of the music of my youth i didn't care for that much.
that said, i'm pretty sure what I *do* like wouldn't impress you that much either. :)
they say our early yrs are formative WRT musical taste. the melodies, chord progressions and inversions, etc that we listen to as a very young child inform our musical tastes for the rest of our lives.
in my case it makes me not like most rock, R&B, or big band music.
it makes me resonate much more with gospel, folk, blues, spanish rock, and (ppl often wince here) barbershop.
some jazz i really like, other jazz leaves me cold. same with hip-hop.
i also really enjoy a lot of classical -- stuff by Handle, Moe-zart, or that Beet-huvven guy.
For whatever that's worth...


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