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Facebook challenge: What were your early childhood musical influences?

January 6, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
Apparently there's a new trend on Facebook that encourages people to look up the song that was top of the charts on the day they were born and then post a link on their Facebook status update to that song on YouTube. This is a dead giveaway for how old you are, but physical vanity has never been my besetting sin.

When I looked up the music charts for the month and year I was born, I discovered that the No. 1 song was James Taylor singing "You've Got a Friend." This is a song that seems emblematic of the early 1970s to me. I picture hippies frolicking somewhere, weaving daisy chains, while their children read "Free to be You and Me." It was only popular for that one week. The week after I was born, the Bee Gees took the top spot on the charts with a forgettable hit that is probably rarely played even on the Golden Oldies channel. I still hear "You've Got a Friend" quite often.

I probably heard "You've Got a Friend" playing on my parents' record player, for all I know, though I remember my mother being more fond of Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman: Hear Me Roar." I knew all the words to that one by the time I was six. It was catchy and fun to sing.

My mom also introduced me to folk artists like Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary. My dad introduced me to Marty Robbins' song "El Paso," the one about an outlaw in the west Texas town of El Paso who fell in love with a Mexican girl and died, saying "Feleena, goodbye." My paternal grandmother added Johnny Paycheck ("Take This Job and Shove It") to the list of my early childhood influences, along with Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. Thanks to them, I still like folk and country better than other genres.

Wikipedia has a list of the songs that were at the top of the charts in various weeks, months and years. Which song was playing when you were born? Do you still like the music you heard when you were little?


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