The First Album I Ever Bought with My Own Money

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Published 2009-03-03

The first album I ever bought with my own money was Men without Hats’ Rhythm of Youth. (1983)

I grew up in a rural place with square parents who listened to stuff like Floyd Cramer and Patsy Cline (not that there’s anything wrong with that...) I didn’t have a cool older brother whose taste I could emulate, in fact I barely knew people older than me at all. We didn’t have AOR in Scottsbluff Nebraska ca. 1980 you were lucky to get the Top 40 countdown on Sunday nights. On AM radio.

So I pretty much missed the 1960s and 1970s musically. In college I was shocked to learn that David Bowie had a career before Let’s Dance. I also thought So was Peter Gabriel’s first album for a long time.

In Middle School my family moved to the big city (Lincoln) which had actual top-40 radio stations and MTV on cable, and a bunch of colleges (and college radio stations) and even a few punk rockers. It was like an earthquake caused the shoreline to recede in my musical brain and this fertile delta absolutely devoid of life was exposed to any seed that might land there, and God knows what kind of crap would grow.

So I pretty much had to discover what music to like. There was a point in my life where’d I’d whiplash between Cyndi Lauper, Hüsker Dü, and Tangerine Dream, and not see anything inconsistent in it at all. I didn’t need to impress anyone with my musical taste because I had no idea whether it was cool or not.

I just knew that I really really really liked “The Safety Dance.”

I have always caught shit for my musical likes and it has never bothered me. I conquered this land all by myself. No one told me what to like or dislike.