I just took a road trip back to the motherland (Tennessee) with my son Ian. He usually has his ears plugged into his music via iTunes collection on iPhone and cushy headphones. “I’m gonna listen to some music ok?” He always tells me before going into his music world. Because god knows he cannot hear me once that happens.
He appreciates a pretty decent range of genres for an 11-year-old. Lately he has been into Rhett & Link, YouTube stars who create some pretty humorous videos and songs. My favorite is the one about OCD because I can relate to wincing when a chip bag is opened from the wrong end or one blind slat is flipped the opposite way.
Ian usually shares what he’s listening to and loves to sing the songs to me, especially if there’s a rap bit. He’s got a great memory (multiplication tables excluded) and can repeat lyrics quickly after he hears a song a couple times.
He knows my complete adoration and need for music as there is some sort of speaker in every room in the house. So his love of music is well, music to my ears. But he has still not grasped the importance of appreciating The Beatles.
My brother Art and I spent hours and hours of our childhood in the basement listening to our parent’s old 45s. Thus a lifetime of Beatle love was born.
Halfway into the road trip Ian didn’t have his headphones on and wanted to just sit quietly next to me wondering if we were there yet. He needed a break from his electronics. Bob Dylan was echoing out of the car speakers.
“Sorry you gotta listen to my hippy music,” I said half apologectically.
He shrugged under his downy blanket.
“Do you know what a hippy is anyway?”
“I know some of what a hippy is.”
“Well what do you know?” I asked.
“Someone who drives a van covered in peace signs and does drugs?”
“Well not exactly.”
I explained to him what a hippy was. How their culture came from a revolutionary movement during a time of war and unrest. He wasn’t fidgeting or distracted. He was listening to me. So I decided to take this time while we were encapsulated in the car together to teach him a bit about history. Musical history.
I have my Sirius satellite radio favorites at the ready and will switch between them depending on mood. Each time I landed on a great road-trip worthy song (mainly those that you can sing along to and don’t put you to sleep or drown you in their sorrowful lyrics) I took the opportunity to tell him a bit about the artist, the genre, and what was going on at the time.
When a Paul McCartney song came on I told him how each member of the Beatles had their own solo career and how I had seen Paul in concert back in the nineties in Louiville with his uncle Art and some friends. “Is Paul dead now?” He asked. I explained to him that Paul and Ringo are the two remaining Beatles on this earth.
I told him about grunge music when Nirvana came on. And what an integral part they played introducing the Seattle-based guitar heavy sound to the world. “What is he saying, Mom?”
I told him how I couldn’t listen to Stars by Hum when he was away from me because it reminded me of how much he loved that song when he was very little.
I told him about New Wave and early alternative when Morrissey’s melodic groaning flowed through the satellite airwaves. And how I got a speeding ticket once while rocking out to Pop Muzik by M.
I’m hoping he’ll remember some of what I explained to him. I don’t have old 45s for him to listen to (my bro took all those before I could protest). But perhaps he’ll raid my cassette or CD collection one day or download a Beatles song. And perhaps he’ll even remember the lyrics to Let ’em In the next time he hears it.