12/18 – John Denver wants to rip your head off

My music tastes up to this point in my life were basically what I had heard from what other people had listened to. My Mom used to listen to country all the time in the car so when I was around 5 or 6 my favorite song was “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver. I would always freak out when that came on. My favorite song when I went to my Dad’s was “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens which I would always play on the jukebox at the bar. I also had the soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz – I would rock the shit out of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” when my Dad was at work. I had heard some Pink Floyd from my brother and REO Speedwagon from the girls who babysat me but I never really connected with either of those. When we moved to CT and I got my little record player I would look through all of my sister’s old 45’s from the 70’s. She liked a lot of  70’s style folk music and I latched on to the flipside of Michael Murphy’s  single Wildfire which was a song called Night Thunder (heavy man).

When I moved to CT and started watching MTV they had all sorts of new music I had never heard before. Most of it was crap but I still watched it for like half the day. David File:Still Life - American Concert 1981 (The Rolling Stones album - cover art).jpgJohansen had a medley of “We Gotta Get Outta This Place/Don’t Bring Me Down/It’s My Life” that I loved and MTV played the hell out of that. Then there was my brief love of Cheap Trick because of the song “If you want my love you got it”. MTV use to tell you on the top of every hour (with the rocket ship launch) 3 of the songs that they were going to play in that next hour. If one of the songs they mentioned was what you wanted to hear then you were hooked for that next hour. The next band I liked was The Rolling Stones because of the song “Start me up”. That led me to buy the live album “Still Life” (picture disc). I pretty much wore that record out on my little plastic record player. When I bought that Kiss album “Creatures of the Night” that changed everything (yeah I know – I already talked about this).

In my apartments there was a new family that moved in across the driveway. The Dad was a bald biker type (Tom I believe) , the mother was a little rough and had long dark, stringy hair (forgot her name) and they had a daughter that was a few years younger than us. I think her name was Kelly. Well one day one of the older kids showed us how you could pick someone up with your hands on the side of their neck just below their ears and it wouldn’t hurt. We were all trying to pick each other up but we weren’t quite strong enough to lift each other so little Kelly comes walking around the corner. I said – hey come here. So I tried to pick her up but of course she starts screaming bloody murder like I was trying to rip her head off and took off running home bawling all the way.  So I knew what was coming and we took off behind the apartments and her Mom comes flying around the corner and gets in my  face SCREAMING at me – “how the fuck would you like it if I picked you up by the neck? I should beat your ass! If Tom finds out about this he’s going to kill you so you better watch out”! ( I don’t think the “you better watch your back” thing was popular yet). Needless to say I was scared shitless and avoided all of them at all costs from that point forward.

The relevance to music in this case is that I used to put my speakers in the window leading out to the small patch of grass in front of our place and I would play my records while I played outside. Well Tom and his wife were outside with the people in the next apartment over sitting on a blanket and enjoying my Stones album. They were singing along and then lit a joint. I knew what they were doing and they didn’t care that I was right there. They were singing along to The Stones and I thought – Yes! They are over it and I’m OK now because the like my music! So the album ends and I think, well shit now I’m going to throw down some Kiss! That first heavy drum riff on Creatures starts out and they all looked over at me like I was the anti-christ. Tom says – turn that shit off we’re going to listen to her music now. Oh well, all is not forgotten and you sir are an Asshole (but I’m not going to say that to you because your wife will kick my ass!)


About Alton B. Etheridge III

My Last Years of Childhood is about my musings as I relive my childhood in words before I get too old to remember!
This entry was posted in Childhood, Confessions, Life, Memoir, Nostalgia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 12/18 – John Denver wants to rip your head off

  1. Nice write-up in the category of music.In a way, I am a true blue John Denver fan and still holding on to the music tapes I collected from the time he started by guesting in Tom Jones weekly musical tv show.

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