The year was 1978. Teddy Pendergrass was closing the door while Millie Jackson crooned about being back in love by Monday. Yep, the tone was set. Chic was screaming Le Freak for all the Club 54 elite while Chaka Kahn empowered Every Woman.
My time in the 70’s would be short, like Disco, yet the name still resonates with me today. I crawled into the 80’s with my eyes wide open. Prince and the Revolution were sharing with the world the reasoning for doves crying and purple rain. I did not particularly understand, but I often felt like Rockwell. You know, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me. I get no privacy.” In 1987 or it could have been 1988, my Auntie Cookie brought me Michael Jackson’s Bad cassette. I can remember playing Dirty Diana, and hoping my auntie was nothing like the lady Mike referenced to in the song. Shoot, I did not know any better my auntie was affectionately called Cookie, but her God given name was Diane. I know, Diana and Diane are not the same, but trying telling a nine year old that. The same nine year old who was listening to the same cassette in SugarFoot's record- slash -cassette player. You know the old school hook up that could play vinyl 45’s with two speakers on the side and the cassette player on the front left hand corner. Well, anyway. I was listening to The Way You Make Me Feel, and I tried to reenact Mike’s performance in the video. I jumped on the couch like it was the car in the video. Needless to say, I had a sore head, and Mama made sure my behind was too.
Fast forward to the 90’s, yes’ sah, I am in there now! I will never forget the day Corey “T” said, “Check this out… this dude sounds like Aaron Hall but better.” I had the radio with the TV. We were at the School House on the picnic table. I popped the cassette in and I heard… R. Kelly’s Slow Dance...
After this point, in retrospect, I am not sure if I ever looked back. Cliche maybe, but I was Born into the 90’s. I rode the wave of Rrah for the rest of the decade and still presently today.
I did not forget about Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Al Green or Grandmaster Flash. Nope, I learned to appreciate them more once I matured. Listening to Luther today and understanding while loving a woman with the same passion I hear dripping from his voice is much different from expressing love in a note which contained a simple question which required the receiver to check either yes or no.
Al, or should I say, "I do not want any grits with my breakfast", Green expressing his understanding of the calm feeling of rain drops hitting his window pane makes a lot of sense today. Being that I have experienced love in many ways, today. I understand in the midst of the rain love will remain.
Hearing Inner City Blues 30 almost 40 years later and realizing Marvin was not out of touch with time. Nope, he was beyond his time. He struggled within himself. Hell, we all do. Yet, he was conscious enough to plead with the world… if you do not believe me listen to… Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On
Come on let’s be honest… peace to Erick Sermon…Marvin said it best… "Just like music"
Grandmaster Flash the Godfather of rap. You know, “Don’t push me. I am close to the edge. I am trying not to lose my head"… Yeah, that is them. I was 25 years old before I realized the song was called The Message for a reason. And though, I realized it then. I would not decipher the importance of that message until the ripe age of 30.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, the often forgotten practical son who can always come home and soothe souls from a place of joy and pain. I song, "Wooow ooh ooooah," for years, but I would not have been able to tell you the name of the song. By the way, DJ give me a little bit of that… Maze featuring Frankie Beverly’s Before I Let Go
2014, I cannot find time, now, to listen to the sounds of present day radio. As you can see, I am still grooving to the sounds that shaped me. Subsequently, the question becomes, “Are we conscious of the sounds shaping our kids today, or are we allowing it to shape us, as well…
In reflection, I can hear... Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.