720 North I Street in Tacoma: the "Blue House". This is where it all started for me at age two, in two different ways: One, Dad would fire up his Zenith stereo system and rummage through what seemed like reams of vinyl albums, find something he liked, and put it on. The other, I would be lying in my crib, supposed to be sleeping, but listening to music playing from the other room, and I was impressed by what I was hearing. Of course, I didn't know who I was hearing; I didn't read yet, and I wasn't always in view of the album cover, so I would have to wait until I heard it again, and then figure out who I was hearing. It didn't matter to me at all when the music I was hearing was recorded...I liked a lot of what I was hearing, and that's all that mattered. And that still holds to this day.
But I have to say that I was a helluva lot more excited about the older stuff than the newer sounds that were around, and we are talking about the turn of the '70s into the '80s. It didn't matter if it was acoustic-driven stuff by Cat Stevens and Harry Chapin, or louder guitar-heavy things by Slade, Zeppelin, Sabbath, or Ten Years After. To me, it was all good music.
As I am passing the torch onto my son Geoffrey, playing for him certain things that I heard around the same age, I got to thinking about the various bands, songs and albums that I experienced for the first time. Some of them have special memories, and some of them were life-changing...or at least turned on a new light inside my head for the time being. I'm going to go through a lot of them in these following pages.