The five most influential composers/ musicians in Repman’s life

Since last week's blog about the five most influential TV shows in my life prompted such an  avalanche of comments (insert link), I thought I'd follow-up with the five most influential composers/musicians in my life.

Here, in chronological order, is my list:

Record_player 1.) Luigi Boccherini, Italian classical composer. His 'Minuet for String Quartet in E' was the theme song for, believe it or not, an Abbott & Costello movie called, 'The Time of Their Lives.' The captivating melody ushered a five-year-old RepToddler into the wonderful world of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and all things classical and operatic. FYI, I arranged for the Boccherini minuet to be played at my wedding. It had that kind of effect on me.

2.) The Beatles (naturally). Along with millions of other Americans, the nine-year-old RepBoy was completely mesmerized by the Fab Four's invasion of America in February, 1964. All-time favorite song? 'Polythene Pam'.

3.) Dave Brubeck. The 19-year-old RepYoungAdult was shooting pool with Northeastern University roommates Mike Murray and Dom Friscino when I first heard Brubeck's 'Take Five' and 'Blue Rondo a la Turk.' I was hooked. The tunes were my introduction to jazz. I now listen to WGBO-FM every morning, loving every nuance of Miles Davis, Mingus, Coltrane, Sinatra, et al.

4.) Harry Chapin. Like so many rock/folk stars, Chapin died at the height of his popularity. His signature song 'Taxi' is easily the most evocative tune from my RepYuppie days. I still think of a certain someone each and every time I hear it.
Now, that's what I call influential.

5.) Ziggy Marley. Chris 'Repman, Jr.' Cody first turned me on to the Marley clan in particular and reggae music in general. I now have 50 or more reggae albums on my iPod and always listen to the genre when I'm feeling down. Favorite Ziggy song? 'Looking'.

I believe the music one listens to and the programming one views helps mold the image we project to the world at large. To a degree, these five artists have helped shape who I am.

So, in that same vein, I'd love to know the most influential songs in your life (and why).

8 thoughts on “The five most influential composers/ musicians in Repman’s life

  1. A formidable list indeed, Syd. And, I agree with Tom Petty. He’s incredibly talented. My favorite Petty song has to be ‘Don’t come around here no more.’ The tune is sooooo evocative. And, the lyrics are so applicable to the nastier people, bosses and ex-clients in my life.

  2. Great stuff, Ellie. Sweet Baby James, eh? Peppercom is definitely a combination of fire and rain. And, fyi, I really like blue Grass as well. Country, not so much.

  3. I agree, Rep, that music influences ones perception of the world and the way we interact with it. I really enjoyed this post and reading all of the responses.
    Here’s my list:
    1. James Taylor- Growing up in Chapel Hill and going to the same high school that James Taylor did, his music has always been close to my heart. While other kids were listening to the Spice Girls, I was listening to Sweet Baby James.
    2. Simple Plan/Blink 182- I went through a punk rock/”emo” phase as a middle schooler so I think it would only be fair to include the two whinniest bands there are.
    3. Dave Mathews Band- Who doesn’t love a little Dave?
    4. The Dixie Chicks- Along with my love for country music comes an admiration for women who are not afraid to be controversial (in a non-Brittany Spears kind of way, that is).
    5. Country/bluegrass music in general- A lot of people don’t give country music the chance it deserves. Despite songs about trucks, tractors and biscuits, I think country music lyrics can have very significant messages.
    I hope, for the most part, I have broken the stereotype that today’s youth listen to horrible music 🙂

  4. Great post, Rep. It’s tough to narrow it down to five, but here goes:
    Ludwig van Beethoven. The Fifth Symphony opened my ears to classical music. The Ninth rocked (and still rocks) my world. The sonatas, the string quartets, Fidelio — the list goes on and on. And, apparently, Ludwig van was quite the improviser in his day!
    The Beatles. Don’t ask me to choose a favorite song or album. Each has its own resonance.
    Bob Dylan. The volume and quality of his output (“oeuvre” if you went to the Tisch School of the Arts) is, truly, staggering. Every song is a masterpiece. Well, okay, maybe not “Joey.”
    Johann Sebastian Bach. Though Ludwig van is my favorite, I know enough to realize that it really all began with J.S. He was the template for everything that followed.
    Tom Petty. How can a bar band from Gainesville, Fla. have so much impact? Amazing. “Refugee” gets me every time.
    Honorable mentions, in no particular order: Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Muddy Waters, James Brown and Mickey Katz.

  5. And dog forget the RepDog – Sir Mick Cody. He told me his fave is Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” –


    My Top 5 is as follows:
    The Beatles
    John Lennon
    Paul McCartney
    Jim Morrison
    U2

  6. Wow RepMan. We’ll have to go back down memory lane for this one. For me, I go back to the Disco Days of the seventies, but the one band that stuck out for me was a party band I met at the 1988 Super Bowl in San Diego. I attended the NFL Properties party as a guest and ran into this rock group called Nik and the Nice Guys. Who? No, not “The Who.” But Nik and the Nice Guys. As I came to find out, these were a bunch of business people by day (advertising reps, school teachers, accountant who worked for one of the Big 4, etc.) and at night they were musicians. Adorned with hockey and football jerseys, they rocked the house.
    I found out that they were playing at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada the following week and I made a contact and found out where they were playing. Now, I was on assignment for ABC Radio Network Sports at the time and spread the word to my co-workers about this group. We spent five weeks in Calgary for the Olympics and needed to unwind after working 12 hour days for five weeks without a day off. I was given a street address, which turned out to be a bowling alley. Naturally, I was mocked but it ended up there was a banquet room in the back of the bowling center and then the fun began.
    Heck, we were out partying with Nik & the Nice Guys every night and even played air guitars on stage. It got to the point where the the boss put out a memo to the staff — although I know he was directing it at me — to the effect that “no one likes to party more than I do, but you can’t expect to party all night and then give 100 percent on your job.” Boo! Heck, I’d get to bed at 2 AM and bounced up at 4 AM to get ready to head to the office. Of course, that was 23 years ago and I was more resilient at the time. But we had some fun times and this group from Rochester (N.Y.) still plays major events from NHL to Super Bowls, etc.
    2. Gloria Gaynor and “I Will Survive.” Just the title rings true with me. After all, I was downsized three times over an eight year period and then was wrongfully terminated for objecting to sexual harassment in the workplace. While my future looked bleak at the time, that’s when I met the RepMan who gave me a chance and as they say “the rest is history.”
    3. Barry Manilow. Hey, he writes the songs that make the whole world sing.
    4. The Bee Gees. Like Gloria Gaynor and “I Will Survive,” “Staying Alive” was important to me.
    5. Paul Anka. Not only his own songs but the ones he wrote for others.
    There are more but these are the most influential to me. Sports and music are the two universal languages in the world. We all can relate to them.

  7. Wow – another great post Rep. This is a toughy. In chronological order, I will go with the following:
    1. Big Band Music – be it Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and others b/c my Mom loved to listen to this on the radio and it always brings me memories when I hear a tune (usually on an old time classic movie station).
    2. Jackson 5 (or perhaps the Osmond Brothers) – 10 year old kid watching other kids sing their hearts out so my sisters and I use to pretend to be them on the living room stairs and none of us has a great voice. We begged for matching outfits at one point (bell-bottoms of course), but no way said my mother.
    3. High school years would have to be Pink Floyd. The music set the mood for anything I had going on at that time which I will not elaborate.
    4. My 20s-30s, loved Barbra Streisand and just thought and still do think what a unbelievable talent she is.
    5. That leaves 30+ and I love too many to name b/c somehow music moves you in different ways every single day so depending on the mood, I want to listen to Tom Petty, Kings of Leon, Adele, Metallica.
    This was fun!