Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Childhood Music Memories

Childhood Music Memories

Jerry Lee LewisI 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 whoJulius Schulman 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!Elvis

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.

Neil SedakaIn 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.Beatles

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...

 

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Comment balloon 25 commentsBrian Schulman • January 11 2008 07:14PM

Comments

Brian ~ What a great group of songs! It's funny how certain songs can take you back to an exact time in your past so vividly. 
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) over 10 years ago
Brian, I want to hold your hand is such a classic. The establishment said the Beatles like She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah, couldn't write lyrics. Those tunes are STILL popular.
Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago
What a great trip down a musical memory lane!  Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Jeannie Kontis over 10 years ago

Hey Brian,

Interesting - on the music this New Years Eve my wife won on a radio station tickets to the american band stand theater in Branson Missouri a night stay and dinner, we saw Bryan Hiland, Chris Montez, Fabian, and the Chiffons, honestly i wasn't sure of thenames but I remembered all their music as they sang their hits all night and did a 60s review that included a tribute to the girl groups and Buddy Holly, and Richie Valenz. Was a great time.

 

Darren Stewart

Posted by Darren Stewart (Mortgage Investment Services Corporation) over 10 years ago
Brian - It is so nice when we can look back on our memories fondly.  Nice choice of music
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 10 years ago

Brian,  It sounds like you had a very interesting childhood filled with music.

I remember Topo Giggio ...Ed Sullivan was one of the few shows we were allowed to watch part of...we could stay up until Topo made his appearance and did his act, then we had to go to bed.  He was the highlight of our Sunday nights.

I was born in '58 so my music memories don't quite jive with yours....however, I do recall my parents listening to Elvis quite a bit ( my Mother was only 18 yrs old when I was born). 

I'm glad to hear you continued on with your piano lessons. My Grandfather was a violinist and my Grandmother a very talented piano player...she loved to play all of the old hymns and classical music.

Jo 

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 10 years ago

It's awesome that you learned to play piano Brian - and exposure to the Boston Pops with your uncle playing violin was special too! I wasn't even a thought in 57 :) - but Elvis and the Beatles are classics!

Great post

Sincerly,

Grace Safrin

Posted by Jeff&Grace Safrin, SpousesSellingHousesTM (F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Kathy, it's funny how certain music, or even certain smells, can take you back to a specific time and place...

 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Gary, I remember when the older generation complained that the Beatles couldn't write lyrics.  That was in the old days while they were still largely singing the songs of other artists.  Lennon & McCartney proved to be two of the most original and influential composers of the twentieth century, particularly Paul.  Over 40 years later, those critics have long been proven wrong...
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

Jeannie, thanks for stopping by!

Darren,  that sounds like a great evening in Branson.  The Chiffons were one of my favorite girl groups.  I played "He's So Fine" so many times in 1961 that the 45-RPM record turned from black to gray from wear!

Jennifer,  as someone said, the music of the time provides the background score of our lives.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Jo, I continued with my piano lessons until I was 18.  I couldn't take a piano to college, so I bought my first guitar, a $25. Silvertone that I ordered by mail from the Sears catalog.  It had steel strings, which tore my fingers up and gave me blisters until I finally developed calluses!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

Brian, your classical training may not have worked out the way your parents hoped, but it was great that they found it important enough to see that you had the experience!

It's neat that your uncle was in the Boston Pops.  That's a very fine orchestra!  I have some friends (and a former student) who have worked with the Pops, the BSO and Boston Opera.

Posted by Eric Kodner, Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island (Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes) over 10 years ago
Julius Schulman

Hi Grace,

My uncle, Julius Schulman, was concert master and first violin of the Boston Pops. 

In addition, he used to give solo concerts, during which he would not only play, but tell stories about the music and the composers.  He was a great raconteur, as well as a fine musician. 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

Brian, Jerry Lee must have jumped out of that radio and hit you like a truck!  How exciting was that, to be in on the beginnings of rock & roll.  You were there for many milestone moments in music history.  I hope you still play.

Concert master for the Pops -- WOW!

Posted by Elaine Hanson, REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent (Partners Trust Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Elaine, you describe it perfectly.  When you were used to hearing pop music like "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window", by Patti Page, music like that of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and Little Richard blew us out of the water!  Their music crossed over the line that used to separate popular music from Rhythm and Blues.

I feel fortunate to have been a witness as musical history was made. 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Eric, I was never sorry that I had the classical training.  It certainly gave me a greater appreciation of the music, plus the musical theory lessons gave me a basis for better understanding other types of music as well.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
BRIAN - What a great journey back in time.  Being born in the late 60's, these events pre-dated me, but you crystallized what it must have been like for those that experienced it at the time.  I love the piano sound that you described.  The one regret that I have, and hope to fix someday, is to learn to play the piano.  Thanks for sharing these great memories, and for entering the contest.
Posted by Adam Waldman, Realtor - Long Island (Westcott Group Real Estate Company) over 10 years ago

Great memories Brian.  I loved Neal Sedaka and the Beatles!

Happy New YEar

Posted by D B, e-PRO, Realtor - Bucks County PA - 610-952-3578 over 10 years ago

Brian......   Well, it was harder to relate because of the ages when growing up. But it must have been incredible to be driving around in the car when you first hear a song being aired in the US by the Beatles.  I also loved the song, "Great Balls of Fire".  

In regards to learning on the piano?  I tried both the piano and then the guitar. I was like you, impatient, because I wanted to play quickly. I lost interest and that was the end of my music career....  lol  Except for some Karaoke from time to time. Thanks for sharing this.

jeff belonger
Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 10 years ago

Adam, looking back, I was just old enough to experience some of the greatest changes in American popular music!  Thanks for your kind comments.

Donald,  Happy New Year to you, too.  The Beatles have been a strong influence on the music that followed ever since the 1960s.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago
Jeff, thanks for stopping by.  I don't have a piano any more, but I still play the guitar.  And sometimes I'll step up to the mike when Karaoke is available!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 10 years ago

Hello, Brian.

I have two piano performance degrees and play in chamber music groups here in San Diego. Although I was always exposed to non-classical music on the radio and such, not until I met my partner was I really, really, really exposed to non-classical music. He plays the piano and violin, and also sings. He had about 5,000 CDs when I met him, ranging from classical to country to pop to easy listening to rock 'n' roll to hard rock to.... well, you get the idea. I never looked forward to riding in the car with him, but over the fourteen years of knowing him, I've found some beautiful music that I never knew existed, music by Billy Joel (he the Piano Man), The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, The Moody Blues, and even a gorgeous piece by Deep Purple that has a long and beautiful oboe solo in it. After hearing my first Deep Purple song (Smoke on the Water), I never thought they could do something with an oboe and orchestra that was so beautiful.

Thanks for the memories.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) about 10 years ago

Jim,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post.  "Smoke on the Water" was actually about a fire at a resort hotel in the Catskill Mountains of NY in the 1960s.

Brian

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Hey, Brian.

I know I've heard the story behind Smoke on the Water because my partner knows the stories behind all the songs, CDs, and groups in his vast music collection. He should have been a radio DJ.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) about 10 years ago

Jim, your partner sounds like an interesting guy.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

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