Yesterday I posted a poignant memory of my brother. Today I wish to share something a bit more lighthearted.
When I was a kid I listened to the music my mother listened to, namely music from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and then there was the choral influence from participating in church and school choirs. That was my musical world. The entire 1980s decade and the first half of the 90s passed by without me noting anything of musical interest. Oh, I knew the names “Madonna, M.C. Hammer, and New Kids on the Block”, but eh, I just didn’t care. According to my mother, that was not music. I believe I tattled on my dad for listening to the evil Madonna (Sorry, Papa). I suspect I was on many occasion insufferable.
I have to credit my brother for figuring out how to lure me out of my musical snobbery. One day he asked what I liked in music. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I’m sure it involved “understanding what the singer is saying and a good melody.” He convinced me to just listen to something. Instead of blasting it at an ear shattering volume, he turned his tape player to a more sedate volume and a beautiful guitar and instrumental piece started and then segued into a heavier sound, but I could understand everything the singer said, and the lyrics told a haunting story. It was Metallica’s “Unforgiven.” Add in that my brother, who had a beautiful deep voice, but was shy about singing, sang along, and he had me hooked. I began to listen to this strange modern stuff, and found that while I didn’t like all of it, I liked a great deal of it. I especially liked when my brother forgot I was there and started singing along. Quite often his voice was better than whoever was singing.
He led me beyond the confines of my comfortable little musical world and dared me to try new things. It wasn’t the first time or the last that he influenced me in that way, and I’m very glad he did. Because of him I learned to take those leaps and try things I might not otherwise try. So every time a new opportunity presents itself, even if it’s a little scary or intimidating, I take that leap knowing he’d be proud of me for doing so.