Nine's a pretty great age. On the one hand, you're still a kid, and everything that happens is brand new. On the other hand, you're an established person, and you've got some solid ideas about life. Nine's too young to be cool and too old to not be trying. It's the perfect age to start discovering music, and most of us look back fondly at the music we heard when we were nine.
Today's Music Monday covers the music we all listened to at that tender, formative age. As you'll find out soon, Scott's got some special guests helping him out. However it's his weekly thing, so he gets to go first. That's fair, isn't it?
Scott Lydon, Hero Of Music Monday: Queen – Flash Gordon
When I was a kid, the greatest thing in my life was my dad. Seeing a movie with him was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. When he took me to see Flash Gordon, I didn't know what it would be, I just knew I'd be seeing it with him. And guess what? Flash Gordon was pretty much the greatest movie I'd seen at that point in my life. But the soundtrack? The unstoppable high-energy Queen soundtrack? Forget about it! Years later I learned about the "cool" bands I missed, like Suicide and The Pretenders, but you know what? I wouldn't give up my childhood memories of this song for all the hipster points in the world. And Flash Gordon with my dad is still one of my all-time greatest movie experiences.
Inside you'll find a few more favorite childhood songs from other members of our blogging team. After you've read them, why not add a link and story of your own in the comments? Trading is really the best part of playing "When I Was Nine…" See you after the jump!
Before we begin, remember our new Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of that mix was Foreign Hits and it's a good one indeed! But before you queue it up, check out this week's Music Monday selections below, starting with...
Gatzby Huber, Boss Mod: Warren Zevon - Networking
This was a tough choice: there was a lot going on, musically, right around then. Grunge was starting to hit, I just learned about a crazy thing called punk, and I was starting to branch out from whatever my brother was listening to... which is to say, The Grateful Dead. My dad was a big influence here; two of the few things we could always relate on were music and computers. He'd bring us posters off the wall from seeing Pearl Jam, Warren Zevon, and whatnot, and totally had a rockin' AOL connection. "Networking" appealed to the burgeoning geek in me, plus the rest of the album (which is hard to find on YouTube) had some really great, darkly-themed songs... which played well with discovering William Gibson. I still consider "Transverse City" to be the unofficial theme song of Neuromancer.
Kristy Tye, Social Media Expert: TLC - Waterfalls
When I listen to a lot of songs now that I loved when I was young, I realize I never understood them. This was an amazing song to me, something I saw danced wildly to at an elementary school talent show. But it's narrating some of the most horrifying situations plaguing the early 90's. We lived in a dubious area of Houston at the time and I wonder now what my mom must have thought when I played that song at full volume and sang hard, outlining all the ways I could have died. But I turned out ok, I stuck to the ditches and oil spills that I was used to.
Jason Hinklin-Lauderdale, Writer: Whitney Houston - How Will I Know
Don't you judge me. I could've been Mr. Cool Nine-Year Old and said I was into The Cure or The Police or The The. I could've easily told you about how Reading Rainbow introduced me to hip-hop and how I fell in love with beats and verbosity, or how Peter Cetera's Glory of Love and Simply Red's Holding Back The Years hold a special sad place in my heart for reminding me of every couple's skate I ever missed out on. And the truth is, in 1986, I did like that stuff a whole dang lot.
But there's only one song that inspired me to smear my mother's makeup all over my face and dance in nothing but my Scooby-Doo underwear in front or a mirror while singing into a hairbrush at the top of my lungs. I'm pretty sure that means it was my favorite.
R.I.P. Whitney. I would've never asked my mom to buy me that New Edition album if I had known what would happen.
Sean Adams, Writer: Presidents of the United States of America - Lump
Chris Ballew, lead singer of the Presidents of the United States of America, was the third member of the trifecta (along with Michael Stipe and that guy from Live) that lead the 9 year old me to believe that having a completely bald head was cool. This feeling didn't stick with me for long, but the PUSA song "Lump" did. Sure, I didn't really understand all of the lyrics ("She spent her twenties between the sheets" means she built a lot of blanket forts, right?) but the song's simple, repetitive chorus was enough to hold my attention, and even now it's still one of my favorite songs. AND THEY PLAY GUITARS IN A SWAMP IN THE VIDEO!!! C'MON!!! HOW COOL IS THAT??!?!?!?
Delanie aka Thunderthighs, Forum Mod: Henry Mancini, Baby Elephant Walk
Music wasn’t around much in my house. I don't remember the radio on in the car with my parents or in the house. Most of my exposure to music came from TV shows like the The Monkees or The Banana Splits unless my parents were in control of the TV, then it was Lawrence Welk or Hee Haw. I can still belt out a verse of Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me when needed.
But my best musical memory as a child comes from the organ teacher that lived across the street, Mrs. Pratt. My parents said that she was one of the leading organ instructors in Texas and her husband had a beautiful deep bass voice. Some summer nights, when all our doors and windows were open (before AC), we’d hear Mrs. Pratt playing the organ and Mr. Pratt singing along. On the weekends, I would wonder over to their house and she would play Baby Elephant Walk from the movie Hatari. I loved this upbeat song and its fast pace. Her hands would be flying over the keys and her feet on the pedals. This was the song I begged to learn when I started playing the piano a few years later. To this day, "Baby Elephant Walk" brings back sweet memories of those afternoons in the Pratt’s living room.
So no Billboard Top 100 songs for me when I was 9 years old. I was sitting and enjoying the music from a wonderful woman that I will never forget.
Sam Kemmis, Writer: Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
The innocence of youth is nowhere better demonstrated than in my wholehearted love of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" a decade after its release. The phrases "musical taste" and "shrill, cloying chorus", were unknown to my young mind, and I was therefore able to enjoy "Uptown Girl" qua "Uptown Girl" in 1993. The years since have worn down my enthusiasm like a lathe, but the song's message of unrequited love, class struggle, and looking so fi-i-ine still rings out. Perhaps Mr. Joel's genius, like the chiming of Santa's sleigh bells, can only be heard by those who still believe.
Amy Nance, Writer: Milli Vanilli - Girl, You Know It's True
Easter basket. 1989. The chocolate bunny, as hollow as my broken 9-year-old heart when I heard the news.
"Girl, You Know It's True." Only it wasn't. Still, I played that cassette over and over. It was a regular in rotation with Roxette's She's Got the Look. and Paula Abdul's Opposites Attract. Ah, MC Skat Kat. Ironic that you turned out to be more real. Guess they shoulda blamed it on the rain. Ba-dum CHING! What? Too soon?
Jason Toon, Boss Writer: The Police - Every Breath You Take
One day, music didn't matter much to me; the next day, it did. It was sometime in the spring of 1983. My grandma's neighbors were babysitting me and my siblings. One of their many and boisterous kids - he seemed almost grown to me at the time, but was probably 12 or 13 - was listening to St. Louis's top 40 station, KHTR. He asked me what my favorite songs were. I didn't know. He told me his favorites were "Electric Avenue" and "Every Breath You Take", and that if I waited a little while, I'd hear them both on the radio. I did, and they were great. I spent that whole day listening to KHTR with him. By the time my parents picked me up that night, I was in love with pop music.
A summer of obsession followed. I listened to America's Top 40 every Sunday, impatiently fidgeting through the sappy quiet-storm ballads that have been erased from what we talk about when we talk about '80s music. I bought every rock mag I could get my hands on, from RockLine to Circus. Whenever I got my hands on $6.98, I bought a new tape. I stayed up late for Friday Night Videos and the local Saturday-night knockoff. When my mom gave me a few bucks to buy a souvenir on a family trip to Six Flags, I spent it on a huge Men at Work poster. And when I went over to my cousin's house, we no longer played with Little People - we got out her little box of 45s.
I didn't know that 1983 would be the greatest year for pop singles in my lifetime, with the Billboard Top 100 populated by Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, Madness, Culture Club, the Human League, the Stray Cats, the Clash, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Duran Duran, and Joe Jackson. I had no idea I was coming along just as the New Wave was cresting into commercial success and creative exhaustion. I just knew it was all unbelievably exciting and that I would never be the same.
And none of those classic songs, to this day, still evokes that rush like "Every Breath You Take". My adult self would never claim the Police as a favorite. They can get way too dull and pompous sometimes, even on Synchronicity - no, especially on Synchronicity. But this video brings that summer back: late at night in the living room of a little brick house, my mom dozing on the couch with bowl of popcorn in her lap, the curtains swelling faintly in the humid breeze, and me, the only waking soul in the house, astonished at the pure pleasures of the music coming from the TV, and dreaming of what new wonders I might hear next.
Now it's your turn. Call up your inner child and ask them what song used to be their favorite, and then post it in the comments below. And after that, why not stop into our Turntable.fm room for some Music Monday mixin'? It's better than homework and vegetables combined! Also, where applicable, images are taking from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are used here under fair use.