It’s amazing what time does on someone. The first thing we think of is age taking its toll on the body and I certainly am not going to deny this. Remember the sound of the Snap, Crackle, Pop in your bowl when eating Rice Krispies? You can still hear it when you’re older, but it’s coming from your body when trying to get up instead. You also soon realize that what used to take a few hours to recuperate from now takes days, if not weeks. You used to balance on a log crossing a creek? Keeping your balance trying to put your underwear on while standing up represents an even bigger challenge today. Basically, what used to be easy just isn’t as simple anymore. But there are good sides and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Music is one of them.
Growing up in Sherbrooke, I remember vividly my parents listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) blasting on the 8-Track in our camperized Ford Econoline van driving down to Florida. Or my mother washing windows in the house in the summer under the Mama’s and the Papa’s, Englebert Humperdinck and Tom Jones, amongst others… In French, who can forget, in my age range and a bit older, the Classels or, a bit later on, Beau Dommage and Paul Piché? Ah memories…
Heavy Rock and Hair Bands
If we make exception of kids’ shows, I discovered my own personal musical tastes in my teens, like most people. We’re talking about the late 70’s in my case. Offenbach was my go-to in French, along with Piché. In English, I was definitely drawn by Rock bands. Black Sabbath (Ozzy Osborne), Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Supertramp and AC/DC were my favourites. A bit later, I softened a bit with the Hair Bands such as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Aerosmith and that’s why I started paying more attention to Pink Floyd. I could not stand Queen, Van Halen, Journey and the Rolling Stones. Way too soft for my liking, although I did have a soft spot in my heart for Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams. As a matter of fact, I saw Adams at the Forum in Montreal three times, when performing his “Cuts like a Knife”, “Reckless” and “Waking up the Neighbours” tours.
Funny enough, this is also when I discovered a bit of Country (although I wouldn’t admit to it publicly). Kenny Rogers was a favourite of mine for softer listening, as was Barbara Mandrell.
I’ve always claimed to this day that the 80’s one of the best decades for music, and one of the worst for movies. While I was always listening to my favourite Rock bands, it’s the decade that change my musical stance. I wanted to have my hair like Duran Duran’s John Taylor, with the blonde bangs. My mother, a hairdresser, refused but as a compromise, agreed to put a blond(er) streak in the back of my then long hair.
A-Ha, Guns N’ Roses, Robert Palmer, Men Without Hats, Foreigner, Huey Lewis and The News, Whitesnake, Peter Gabriel, Men at Work, Billy Idol, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and yes, even Loverboy for a while, were contributors to what I can now refer to as the beginning of a change in my musical tastes. Even today, I’ll tune in to a Spotify playlist of the 80’s from time to time.
I moved to British Columbia when I was 25 years old. in 2008, the small town I moved to, Penticton, built a new arena, the South Okanagan Events Centre, a 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena, home of the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. They hired Global Spectrum to book some concerts and other events but unfortunately for me, the market seemed to dictate that Country acts were the hot ticket in the South Okanagan. After a couple of years waiting for rock bands to come, I had to resign myself to the fact that if I wanted to see live concerts, I had to “learn to like Country music”. And so I started listening to Country radio stations and got to know the artists. Little did I know that I would fall in love with that type of music.
Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Paul Brandt, Kip Moore, High Valley, Little Big Town, Midland, Kenny Rogers, Dallas Smith, Old Dominion, Washboard Union, George Canyon, The Brothers Osborne, Alan Jackson and Keith Urban, amongst others, are all big names in the Country Music industry who have performed in Penticton.
A broader musical appreciation
I don’t know if old age makes you more nostalgic, or if your tastes simply develop when it comes to music. But I can tell you that I love today artists and songs that I simply couldn’t stand back when they were hot. Disco? Me? You can’t be serious, right? Well… I absolutely love listening to the Bee Gees now. While I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Elvis Presley, I love listening to him now.
Oh I still like some of my old Rock and Roll music (I have a playlist on Spotify), but I’m listening to so much more today. While I like a few songs from Eminem and “Gangster Paradise” by Coolio, I don’t like Rap or Hip Hop. Even if I liked the Tenors (Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti) and Andrea Bocelli is one of my favourite artists to listen to, I’m not into classical music and even less into ballet and opera.
Give me some Barry Manilow, Englebert Humperdinck, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones. Fill my socks with Stevie Nicks, Flettwood mac, George Thorogood, Eric Clapton and Jim Croce. Open my soul with The Byrds, The Doobie Brothers, Janis Joplin and Cat Stevens. Country me out with Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, The Bellamy Brothers and Reba McEntire. Enlighten me with the sound of The Animals, Van Morrison, John Mellencamp, Billy Joel and Elton John. Or let me soul search while listening to the Eagles, America, Bob Seger, ZZ Top, Tom Petty, Gordon Lightfoot and Simon & Garfunkel. Bring me to your country, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Bob Marley and Shaggy. And there are many, many more. Slow, fast, or anything in between.
If I had to take five albums to a deserted island, I would have a hard time to decide. Chances are you would find:
- Pink Floyd – Delicate Sounds of Thunder
- Garth Brooks – Greatest Hits
- The Eagles – Greatest Hits
- AC/DC – Back in Black
- Andrea Bocelli – Greatest Hits
I hope that you reach that stage in your life where you can not only appreciate the writing, the delivery and the performances and uniqueness of all sorts of music genres. It makes you recognize and truly appreciate the talent at every level. And let’s face it… the world would be a much better place if there was less watching and listening to the news, and more music listening. I wish it for you, dear readers and loved ones.