By Rick Hinton
They say music soothes the soul. That it does; it also sparks moments of nostalgia. A song’s lyrics takes one back to an age and time when first heard and the emotional reaction it implanted within our soul. These feelings never go away…
In the 1960s, my first 45 record purchased was Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe. A tragic story of love found and lost in a world I didn’t then understand. I listened to the words over and over. My second was Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through the Tulips. I remember my father staring in disbelief and shaking his head at the turntable when Tiny hit the high falsettos. He was a meat and potatoes kind of guy! My mother belonged to a record club and I listened to Glen Campbell’s By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Wichita Lineman, becoming a staple of daily play. And Elvis… lots of Elvis!
In the summers, while babysitting my brother during school break, I would wash the dishes while listening to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Mercy Mercy Me. This became a rite of passage. High school in the early 1970s at Warren Central presented another opportunity – an underground radio station built from purchases from Radio Shack. On weekends we’d broadcast from my friend Tom’s bedroom, reaching a 15-mile radius; songs that became ingrained and not making sense until years later: Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World, the instrumental Joy by Apollo 100, the Eagle’s Take It Easy, Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes, and Paul McCartney’s Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey to name a few. The upbeat One Toke Over the Line, by Brewer & Shipley, I didn’t understand initially but eventually did.
During those days a personal revelation manifested; one of lost love, teenage angst and the dawning that it was a big, mysterious world out there: Carole King’s It’s Too Late, Linda Ronstadt’s Long Long Time, the Gentry’s Wild World (a Cat Stevens song), Carpenters’ Superstar, Bread’s If, Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind and the Who’s political intrigue saga Won’t Get Fooled Again.
When I moved to Oregon in the late 1970s music continued to influence my psyche: Jerry Rafferty’s Get it Right Next Time, Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Home and the rock jazz bands, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Chick Corea. I played drums and this was the music we played! In the 1990s and back in Indianapolis, there became what I would term an introspective period: Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails (especially the With Teeth album). I had become an equal opportunity listener. The syrupy sagas of lost love had dissipated, but only to a degree. I come back on occasion…
And… during those long drives home in the wee hours of the morning after a paranormal investigation, while tires hummed along a blackened, deserted highway and fellow investigators slept, I would play the tunes: Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon, Blue Oyster Cult’s Screams (off their first album), or Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. It became a form of therapy… mood music for the soul!