Something Arthur said about Hurricane Smith turning him on to the Ink Spots reminded me that I, and I suspect most music fans, started listening to the recent items first. But eventually, we started looking backward, discovering the roots of the current tunes.
While I heard a lot of music in the house, starting in 1957, I think I wasn’t fully engaged until 1964, when the Beatles, Supremes, Temptations, and others charted in the US.
I was, and am, a person who reads the liner notes, or sometimes, back in the day, the actual record label, to find who wrote the songs. The early Beatles covered Carl Perkins, Little Richard, and early Motown, and that got me listening to the source material, especially Buddy Holly.
Groups such as Cream, the Rolling Stones, and later Led Zeppelin were covering blues artists, and that directed me back to Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, and the like.
The movie American Graffiti and, to a lesser extent, Sha Na Na at Woodstock, got me interested in more music from the latter 1950s, and eventually segued into even earlier artists. In particular, I became fascinated with Frank Sinatra, whose swagger I found usually painful in the 1960s, but genuine a decade earlier.
While I was still getting new music in the 1980s, I found that I looked back as much as forward. My single most important retrospective purchase was likely the Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 box set. While I had much, but not all, of the music from the last five or six years, I had almost nothing from earlier years. It was a revelation. (BTW, mine is 14 LPs rather than 8 CDs.)
Some of that early R&B was more jazz than rock, and that got me interested in 1950s jazz, and eventually earlier and later iterations.
This led me to some buying trends: getting more compilation albums (labels such as Stax, Motown, Buddah, ABC-Paramount, Cadence, and many others) and then buying albums from those collections that I liked.
I’ve ignored the impact of the music my parents played. My mother had Nat King Cole 78s, though she didn’t play them much. My father listened to Harry Belafonte, Odetta, and a bunch of folk music.
How did YOU get turned on to music that was released BEFORE you started listening?
Here are some songs to listen to, from that aforementioned Atlantic collection: