When I was in my early teens – way back in the late 1970s – I knew that in a world where Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop, Hard Rock, Soft Rock and Disco were the dominant music genres, I was an odd duck.
Even as a child growing up on two continents – I was born in Miami and moved with my recently-widowed mother to Bogota, Colombia when I was three years old, then moved back to Miami at age nine in the late spring of 1972 – I had an affinity for classical music, show tunes, film scores, and pop standards. I also loved ballads and “sentimental” songs that I heard on the radio, my mom’s stereo, or on TV. But as far as trendy music went, I was usually resistant to most of the dominant genres – either they were too loud, harsh to my ears, or just generally unappealing due to overexposure.
So, while my friends grew up loving Disco, R&B, Hard Rock, Funk, and Soul, I tended to march along to a different drummer. For the longest time, I only liked light classical music pieces that weren’t too demanding on my young and inexpert ears; my favorites were waltzes by Johann Strauss and Johann Strauss, Jr. (On the Beautiful Blue Danube was my No. 1 choice) or marches by John Philip Sousa.
Later, I started listening to artists in the soft rock and pop genres, mainly the ones that had airplay on the original “beautiful music” format on Miami’s WLYF 101.5 FM radio station. That’s why the soundtrack of my late childhood and early adolescence includes such songs as:
- We’ve Only Just Begun (Roger Nichols, Paul Williams)
- Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (Irving Levine, L. Russell Brown)
- I Write the Songs (Bruce Johnston)
- Yesterday (John Lennon, Paul McCartney
- Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel)
- Leaving on a Jet Plane (John Denver)
- Music Box Dancer (Frank Mills)
Later, when I was a sophomore in high school, my musical tastes expanded a bit – mainly because I joined the school chorus and learned songs from different genres – and I became a fan of The Beatles, Billy Joel, and other artists.
Still, musically, I’m an odd duck.
While others wax rhapsodic about the raps by Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Salt-N-Pepa, The Beastie Boys, or Eminem, I listen to:
- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach)
- We’ll Meet Again (Ross Parker, Hughie Charles)
- Moonlight Serenade (Glenn Miller, Mitchell Parrish)
- I’ll Be Seeing You (Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal)
- Moonglow (Will Hudson, Irving Mills)
- Little Brown Jug (John Eastburn Winner, 1939 arrangement by Glenn Miller)
- American Patrol (F.W. Meacham, 1942 arrangement by Jerry Gray for Glenn Miller)