“What do you mean you haven’t heard of Pink Floyd’s the Dark Side of the Moon, it’s a classic!” said a flabbergasted casual associate, who could not believe that during my existence on this earth, I had never listened to the music of Pink Floyd.
I later found out that Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973 and eventually went onto sell 24 million albums worldwide but widespread commercial success or critical acclaim of this artistic offering did not filter through into the type of music that touched my formative years.
Pink Floyd was not played in the household I grew up in neither was AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin not because of any inherent music based prejudice but within the DNA of musical offering, not everyone swims in the same gene pool…and that is perfectly okay.
If it wasn’t for the backdrop and influence of music within a social setting, it is very possible that I may not be here writing these words and even during my childhood music was not only an integral part of my existence but the very air my mother would breathe…
At a time when mainstream radio lacked soul therefore (unintentionally) my mother turned into my resident DJ and I grew up in a household that was largely influenced by the smooth and/or soulful vocal styling of artists like Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Bobby Womack, (early) Michael Jackson, Prince, Teddy Pendergrass, Randy Crawford, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Jeffery Osborn and Anita Baker…
To name a few…
That is not to say that other genres of music were not also present but the foundation of our musical experience was steeped in the rich legacy of a soulful kind. As I attempted to branch out and explore my own musical identity this took me into the musical landscape of Aaliyah, R.Kelly, Boyz II Men, (early) Mariah Carey, TLC, SWV, En Vogue, Usher, Lauryn Hill, Brandy, D’Angelo, Brian McKnight and a little known group named Destiny’s Child…
To name a few…
But my deep rooted love for R&B naturally leaned into hip hop, house, reggae, dancehall of the same era and over time melded into other genres which surprisingly lead me into the world of alternative rock, classical, opera, country, pop, jazz, and indie music. I enjoy the thrill of finding that song, album, instrumental, band, artist or voice and marvel at how it ever escaped my attention in the first place?
As the generational lines in musical taste increasingly becomes blurred, a larger appetite broadens across, cultures, countries and continents. The sole purpose of music isn’t to be forced into the mainstream consciousness by repetitive top 40 playlists, constantly recycled on an eternal loop.
It may sound crazy but there are a generation of people that are totally unaware of Madonna, her musical legacy or influence on mainstream pop, simply because in a digital age an individuals musical taste is not defined or controlled by mainstream radio programming. Radio is still an essential and very influential vehicle, but the beauty of living in a digital era is that each individual can unearth music in their own way…which is why my 10 year old son can fall in love with the music from Gorillaz that predates his birth by six years.
Am I aware of the vast musical back catalogue of Pink Floyd?
But you should also be forgiving of the fact I have no knowledge of the full discography of The Backstreet Boys, The Rolling Stones, Def Leppard, The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, The White Strips, Oasis, Coldplay, Future or the Migos and I’ll be okay with the fact that you may not be aware of the back catalogue of great songs recorded by Donnie Hathaway, Patti LaBelle, James Ingram, The Carpenters, Ludovico Einaudi, Diana Washington, Jill Scott, Miguel, Jazmine Sullivan or The Clarke Sisters.
The beauty of music is not just the sonically pleasing sound or the melody that evokes a memory; its the discovery because our introduction to music is as varied as we are individual. So although I have yet to experience the dark side of the moon, I’m pretty certain that music will continually push me toward the brighter side of the sun.
Until next time.
O’Jays it’s over to you….