Sunday, August 31, 2014

After the Gold Rush

I remember within a few feet where I was standing when my taste in music changed. Before August of 1971 my favorite artists were Frankie Valli, Tom Jones, Jose Feliciano, as well as The Mamas and Papas. 

I still love that music, but that August as I walked down barracks row at Fort Monmouth, I
heard Neil Young's,  Tell Me Why which was on his After the Gold Rush vinyl LP. 

I went inside and followed the music until I found a GI lying on his bunk playing the record on the record player he kept locked in his footlocker.

I told him I heard the song playing through the open window. The barracks weren't air conditioned then, so most of the windows were open from May through mid September.

He smiled as he tossed me the album cover. I sat on the edge of the bunk across the aisle and read about Neil Young. 

As it turns out, I had also become interested in photography at that time, and I recognized that the album cover was actually a negative.

Even though I didn't own a record player at that time, I went to the PX and bought the record.

My friend Ken Runnels who lived in the bunk next to me had a record player and when I returned to the barracks, we listened to the record over and over.

It was as if that music opened a new window for me. Soon  I was listening to Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and the list went on.

It was then I really began to appreciate music. The songs I listened to then had a profound impact on me, and the music I've written since then.  I'm so thankful I heard Tell Me Why on that steamy August day. 


  1. It's interesting to look back and recognize when things change in our lives ;-)...

  2. I have often been amazed thinking of how different prose and stories are to writing music. I'm thinking writing the words and lyrics. I would fear the chance of some music runs sneaking in in from your brain out of the thousands of songs recorded up there.

    It was in the navy I learned to relax to classical music and I was a complete hill billy as far as music went. i could not believe how soothing it could be. I miss my hearing when I start thinking about that....
    Take care... Enjoyed the read..

  3. I must wonder if songs with those sort of messages would ever sweep the country again.

  4. I can't say that I was a fan of Neil Young in my younger days but I have listened to his music.
    I did love Rock N Roll and also some easy listening music and also classical.

  5. At the end there, you listed some of my own favorites. I remember Cat Stevens especially because I had the eight track and listened to his music quite often. I also enjoyed Bob Dylan enough so that later as an English teacher, I had a unit where we studied song lyrics from Bob Dylan and others like him as a form of literature. It all brings back memories.

  6. I would look back and remember things but my memory is shot and I can't do it

  7. I think Young has a unique voice. I could probably listen to him all day. I wonder if he would like to vacation in Florida. I would let him sing for his supper. I still listen to my James Taylor and Cat Stevens albums. I also have my Cat Stevens eight-track tape because the eight-track will make a triumphant return.



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