Just listen

If you’ve been reading Blackbyrd for as long as it has existed, you might be aware I purchased a record player when I was fifteen (if I remember correctly). I hauled up my parents’ old records, dusted them off and stuck them under the needle. I found Joan Jett & the Black Hearts, Pat Benatar, Boston, REO Speedwagon and the like. Like anything, I discovered a favorite among them: Styx.

Whenever I put a record under the needle and let it spin with my dad in earshot, he appears in my doorway. It never fails. He’ll stand there for awhile, just listening. Each song that comes on with the different pattern of lines on the record receives a “whoa, good song!” and he’ll sit. We sit and just listen. Records are flipped, removed and added.

During the ride hom from the Bona game (WE WON AFTER TWO OTs!), I plugged in my iPod Classic and scrolled to find Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Supertramp. From there, I made a playlist and we listened to whatever song came on. The driving conditions were not preferable, and yet we sat with the music blasting, turning it up when the beat picked up and turning the dial to the left during softer parts. “Time For Me To Fly” got us to sing every word (of course, we know every word) and “Too Much Time On My Hands” got me clapping. If I know the company riding with me, I tend to play music I know they¬†would like. The plus side with Dad’s music is this: I love it just like he does. We both enjoy it, and each time, a story about his childhood and teenage years comes out of the songs. He tells me how he was able to relate to songs Styx put out when he was a kid. He loves how their lyrics come from situations they faced in real life. Everything about Styx is relatable.

We drove those black, rainy country roads in a purply-blue Bug singing our hearts out.

I couldn’t help but think nights like tonight are what I’m going to tell my kids about.



One time we watched this concert on TV. It’s amazing (and I have a huge crush on Tommy Shaw, which is quite strange seeing as how I think he and my dad look very alike…).

Someday monkey won’t play piano song

If you don’t already know, I am a huge fan of The Beatles. Listening to their music is like traveling back in time. I can Imagine myself wearing bell bottom pants and listening to their records with friends. I would probably have had crazy curly hippie hair that makes me look like I’m a Dizzy Miss Lizzy. I really should have been a kid back when my parents were kids. I probably would have fit in better.

When I’m making dinner or cleaning the kitchen, what do I do? I click on my playlist called “Oldies” and Let It Be. Mixed in with The Beatles (A LOT of The Beatles) is Cheap Trick, Foreigner, The Knack, REO Speedwagon, Simon & Garfunkel, Styx, Supertramp, Triumph and Yes. This collection of Oldies is NOTHING compared to what I have up in my room. I have piles and piles of old records that I dug up from our basement. Instead of make-up on the shelf at my mirror table-thing, I have a row of probably 50-100 records (and they are organized in alphabetical order, of course!). All of these are the ones I listen to. There are even more beneath this shelf in my record player’s box. Those are the ones I have yet to let my ears listen to. It’s getting better all the time.

Before I listened to this music, I knew absolutely nothing about it. So, when I was little and watched an episode of The Powerpuff Girls (which I have on tape) entitled “Meet The Beat-Alls,” the only reference to The Beatles that I recognized was when Blossom yelled out “Hey, Jude!” Now I watch that episode and pick up on nearly every Beatles reference hidden inside. My favorite one? When Mojo Jojo robs the bank with The Beat-Alls and says “Give me money – that’s, what I want.”

The references are endless. Nearly every Beatles song is incorporated somehow. “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Michelle,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Nowhere Man” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” are only a few of the many mentioned. When I was little I didn’t quite appreciate the genius behind this episode of The Powerpuff Girls. I am finally able to totally and completely recognize and decipher every hint.

All I need is love, and I absolutely love The Beatles. I wish I could have had the opportunity to see them live in concert. Here is part of that episode:

Here is the whole episode for people that won’t recognize the references:

It all started with a record player

A few weeks ago, I bought myself a record player. I was ecstatic to find it at such a good price, and was beaming as I walked out of the store with the box in my arms.

When we got home, I immediately took it into the Living Room and set it up. My parents taught me how to use it and to be careful not to jump around whilst listening to it. My mother and I ventured into the cave (our basement) to retrieve some of their old records to bring back some of the past. We carried armload after armload upstairs to the Living Room and left them in stacks all around the room. I left the ones I bought earlier that day (Coheed & Cambria and a Fueled By Ramen package that were extremely cheap) on the couch and my dad and I had a look-see to pick out what I should listen to first.

I thought my brothers would think it cool for me to have purchased a record player, but they avoided me like I had the plague. They seemed pretty pissed off and jealous that I got to one first and because my parents’ old one needs a new needle thing. Trevor especially because I bought Coheed & Cambria. Because he likes them, I’m not allowed to. Oh well.

My dad sat on the couch as I rifled through stack after stack, holding record after record up seeking his approval. All of the ones with his name written on them were the ones approved – all of the ones with Barbra Streisand on the cover were kept in a pile that I would not listen to. Sorry, mom.

I have discovered a whole new music taste thanks to my record player (though it does have a CD player, radio and iPod hookup included, I tend to listen to records on it more). I found out that I love the bands Sweet, REO Speedwagon (You Can Tune A Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish), Joan Jett & The Black Hearts, The Knack, Boomtown Rats, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, London Town and some Pat Benatar. I still love Escape the Fate, Paramore, Tilly and the Wall, and all of the other bands I have always loved, but I am now broadening my music taste. It’s cool to think that my parents played these records once at the same age I am now. I wish I could go back and meet the teenage versions of them. My mom and I would be identical, and I bet my dad and I would have fun listening to music together – just like we do now.