It Has Started

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIt Has Started.

No, we aren’t talking about football season, fall weather, or that season when we worship the mighty pumpkin spice _______ (you fill in the blank).

(People talk about bacon lovers going overboard….)

This tweet came across my Twitter feed last week – “REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath dead at 65”.  I wasn’t ready for that. First, I wanted to correct the author and insert the word “former
since he left the band in 1989, but that wasn’t that important.

I became an REO fan way back in the late 70’s, yes before High Infidelity.  The first song that snagged me was “Roll With The Changes”, which remains in my top five all-time favorite songs.  The first REO album I had was the classic – “You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish”.  Through the year, I watched and listened as REO lost a little of its edge and played more toward mainstream radio.  Don’t get me wrong, I still liked REO, but edgier songs such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out” and “Golden Country” were being replaced with radio staples such as “Keep On Loving You” and “In Your Letter”.

When Gary left the band in 1989, it was reported that it was due to creative differences.  There was even a VH1 Behind the Music on the band.  I read one article recently that talked about how Kevin Cronin (lead singer) pitched a fit after it aired and the original was only aired a few times before some editing happened.  I remember the one I saw had a clip of Gary saying something like let’s bury the hatchet and get back together.  Like most stories, there are three sides – side A, side B, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  The last time I saw REO in Nashville, Kevin talked about how when they started out, they played clubs like the Exit/In.  Allegedly, when they were starting out, they played a local dive in Waverly (hometown) named Rawlings.  Never could confirm this.

Anyway, Gary’s death has kind of really made me feel old.  Yes, some music folks have died that I like, but he was part of one of my generation’s bands.  As I look at all the musicians I like and you will see that most are on Medicare.  While I applaud them for continuing to go, I realize that each time they come around, it may be their last.

So, here’s to Gary and his time with REO.  Let’s hope it is a while before any more of my music folks pass.  I feel old enough.


Soundtrack of my Life music musings zach claytonSo as I sit here contemplating my next musing on Music Musings, it is the culmination of my 50th trip around the sun.  I joke that my chronological age is finally getting closer to my “feel like” age.  I am wondering if I really am 50 though.  I haven’t received the time-honored rite of passage into the next half century – the AARP card.

As I think back through my 50 years, some years aren’t there for various reasons (baby years, that one wild weekend in Key West, etc.).  But there is one thing that is always there – music.

Music is truly the soundtrack of our lives.  From the lullabies our parents sang to us are babies to the songs played at our funerals, music is always there with us.  As you think about each of the following situations in your own life – close your eyes and think about the song that comes to mind:

First concert: Eddie Money

  • What songs did you sing or play to your children when they were babies?  Mine was Harry Chapin’s Gold Medal Anthology and Jimmy Buffett’s Ballads (from the box set).
  • What artist was the first you ever saw in concert? – Mine was Eddie Money my sophomore year in high school at Vandy’s Memorial Gym.
  • What were your favorite slow dance (aka belly-rubbin’) songs in high school?  Mine were “After the Love is Gone” by Earth Wind & Fire,, “Babe” by Styx, and “Keep on Loving You” by REO, just to name a few.
  • What is your “go to” song for when your boy/girlfriend broke up with you?  Had to be “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi.
  • What is your favorite “pump me up” song?  Has to be Van Halen’s “Dreams” for me.
  • What song did you use for the first dance at your wedding?  We danced to “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins, but I made sure “When It’s Love” by Van Halen was in the playlist.
  • What one song do you want to be played at your funeral/memorial service?  If I had to pick one, it would be “The Dance” by Garth Brooks.

Go back and listen to these songs today.  Do they still stir up thoughts and emotions?  Enjoy the trip down memory lane. I’m off to see if iTunes will give an AARP discount.

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