I have always had some musical aptitude, so when I was eight years old, my parents bought me a second-hand piano. They found a local music teacher who would come over to our house, and she was duly hired to teach me the fundamentals of music, which to my folks meant classical music. My uncle, Julius Schulman, was a well known violinist with the Boston Pops at the time, and it may have been their wish that I follow in his footsteps.
Alas, it was not to be. I struggled with Mozart's Sonatina in C Major and Bach's Solfeggietto week after week, while earning disapproving stares from my tutor for my slow progress. I was bored with practicing.
And then, one week, twirling the dials of our old Zenith Transoceanic floor model radio, I heard sounds that I had never heard before. I couldn't sit still! What was that frenzied rhythm? It was 1957, and that was my first exposure to the "pumping piano" of Jerry Lee Lewis, playing "Great Balls of Fire". I knew for certain that this was the kind of music that I wanted to make!
For years afterward, until I went away to college, the words I heard the most when I played piano was "Stop that banging!" But I knew that I had found the style of music that I born to play...
That same feeling had happened a year earlier while I was innocently watching the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan, a TV pioneer, had started his career as a columnist and with "Talk of the Town", a talk and comedy show, during which he had made many show business contacts. Now he was hosting what was probably the last vaudeville show to survive on TV.
After the usual plate spinners and Topo Giggio - an Italian talking mouse act - a new, talented young man was introduced. When I heard Elvis Presley for the first time, singing "Don't Be Cruel", while the girls in the audience screamed, I knew that popular music would never be the same again.
In summer camp a few years later, just getting into my adolescent years, we had a weekly dance. Boys and girls were just beginning to explore the excitement of interacting with each other, and 45-RPM records of the day would be played, with a mix of fast and slow dances.
One of the popular choices in those dances was "Calendar Girl", by Neil Sedaka. You could do the "Lindy Hop" to it, which was what today is called Swing Dancing.
The obscure "B" side of "Calendar Girl" was a beautiful ballad called "I Must Be Dreaming". One of my fondest memories was slow dancing with the young girl who became my first romance. You never forget moments like that, and they are intimately tied in with the music of the day.
I was already old enough to drive when Ed Sullivan made news again by having a new group fresh from Liverpool, England, on his show. I was listening to the AM radio in my family car when I first heard a progression of chords put together in such an original way as I had never heard before. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" made the Beatles a household name - and moreover, started the British Revolution of popular music.
While there were many other other musical influences in my early life, these are some of the highlights that still bring back fond memories...
Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA. To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/
Interested in Receiving Information on Local Lancaster County Events?