Friday, April 1, 2011

10 Records That Shaped My Youth: Ages 9-12

At the risk of dating myself, dinosaur that I am, the next few posts on this blog will feature records that shaped my youth, early teen years, and into my twenties. Although I obviously listened to music before age nine, the idea of a "record" - a set of songs in a certain order played from track one to track twelve or whatever - hadn't really affected me in any cognizant way. I mostly listened to top 40 hits, Casey Kasem on Saturday mornings, and Ray Lynch's Deep Breakfast cassette tapes my mother and father owned. I admit there was a small, miniscule, infinitesimal Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer phase too.

Anyway. Here are 10 records that shaped my youth from ages nine to twelve (not in chronological order). Remember: I was young. Trust me, it gets better. Depending on your definition of "better."

1. Metallica - Metallica
I've lost a lot of fanboyishness for Metallica in the ensuing years, but even now, occasionally, when "Sad But True" comes on the radio, I turn the volume up and rock.

2. Steelheart - Steelheart
The first of many hair-metal bands that I loved. Steelheart, you stole my heart and how I longed to sing as high as Miljenko Matjevic.

3. Warrant - Cherry Pie
How many times did I listen to the title track, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and "I Saw Red?" Enough to wear our the cassette tape Yeah, the cassette tape.

4. Garth Brooks - No Fences
My only foray into modern country. A friend lent me this and, though at first I hated it, I grew to like that "thunder rolls" song and the "friends in low places" thing.

5. Boston - Boston
I still love this record and I think it's up there with classic rock records, proving that not everything I listened to when I was ten or eleven was absolutely hilarious.

6. Faith No More - The Real Thing
Again, "Epic" is still a great song, mainly for how ridiculous it is. "You want it all but you can't have it," is still relevant today...Sorry, I can barely control my own laughter.

7. Mr. Big - Lean Into It
And here it is. One of the lowest of the lowlights. I wore this cassette tape out too. My cousin once asked me what I was listening to and I told her it was Mr. Big and she said have I ever heard of Danzig.

8. Roxette - Look Sharp!
Pure fun. My sister and I danced like crazy kids to this record. Eventually we put sticky tape over where the tabs had been and recorded our own songs over the record.

9. Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze of Glory
Huge Billy the Kid fan growing up. So, of course, I loved this record. Cowboys, outlaws, shootouts, lawlessness, bombastic guitar solos.

10. Guns N Roses - Appetite for Destruction
I still secretly like this record, but I guess that's not a secret anymore. Whatever. This record is cool and you know it.

Though I no longer listen to or even own most of these records, at the time, these were the songs that coursed through my veins and poured out my eyes. I knew all the words, I knew some of the chords, I wore out the tapes, I imagined myself on stage playing these songs.

What records did you listen to at this age and how embarrassing is it now?


  1. I was a big Aerosmith and Def Leppard fan. I listened to "Permanent Vacation" and "Hysteria" exclusively for months. The first time I remember feeling genuine excitement for a new release is when Aerosmith followed PV with "Pump". My most embarrassing cassette purchase was Ratt's "Reach for the Sky". It was the first time I felt burned by a band when the rest of the album didn't live up to the single. (Remember Way Cool Jr.?)

  2. Do I ever! Way Cool Jr. was definitely a favorite of mine. Ha. I was also a big Scorpions fan. And sometimes I like White Snake. Good lord.

  3. The Cover Girls! Yep, I was the one... Dino, anyone remember him? Tommy Page? Saw all these people in concert more than once. Lowest of the low would have to be Perfect Gentlemen. I know, I know... I was young.

  4. I think I was probably 9-12ish. My lowest point, ever, was clearly RTZ - Return to Zero... That and it's close relative Boston's Third Stage. But I think in the interest of fairness that was more of a 6-9 y/o record.

    Incidentally who could forget "Half of My Heart" and the song about murder and hard rock bands-- was it "Life?" Those were clearly formative influences on us from that very time period.

  5. @Sarah: I remember the Cover Girls! Haha. Don't remember Dino, sorry.

    @John: RTZ was released in '91. We were 11. Can we be influenced by our own songs? If so, then, "Life (is a Complicated Thing)" is one of the greatest influences of my life, in that I try never to relive that wonder. Hehe.

  6. Criss Cross, Spice Girls, TLC, Guns and Roses, Micheal W. Smith!