I have been a music nut ever since my dad bought me my first 45 at age 8 of the Bay City Rollers (I hope that doesn’t date me in this crowd haha.) I have followed my heart and soul with music throughout my life. It’s really hard to wittle the music in my life to 10 songs, but here we go:

1. Beach Boys – I Get Around
My dad is a great mixture of Chevy Chase from the “Vacation” and the Albert Finney/Ewan McGregor character in “Big Fish”. We were always taking crazy road trips when I was younger, and one particular summer, we found ourselves on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. When I was a kid, the Beach Boys used to play at the White House every 4th of July and for some reason they were not invited this particular year to our advantage. The boardwalk was filled with thousands of people and my dad bribed some guy to allow us to sit on his roof and watch the concert. We were hundreds of feet up, watching the band and the people below us. It was one of my favorite childhood memories.

2. Barry Manillow – Copacbana.
My first official concert was at 5 years old. My parents took my brother and I to Ravinia (a beautiful open-air concert venue in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago). I remember my dad holding me up on the back of someone’s seat so I could experience the CopaCabana up close and personal! 🙂 I have a feeling that night was when my baby brother may have been conceived because 9 months later, he showed up. 🙂

3. Ofra Haza – Yad Byad (Hand in Hand)
My grandparents took my to Israel when I was 10 years old for my cousin Adam’s Bar Mitzvah. The trip is over 20+ years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. The smells of Israel, the Dead Sea, the chocolate pudding and schnitzel that was available for breakfast, Masada, Jesus’ birthplace, the enormous Mosque, the Wall (where a bomb scare happened while we were there) and a beautiful concert by one of the biggest pop stars in Israel, Ofra Haza. My cousin Miriam wrote out the song which I absolutely loved in both Hebrew and English for me. I still have that piece of paper in my memory box. It’s a beautiful song and has stayed with me through the years.

4. Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name
1987 – I remember walking into Rosemont Horizon and being so excited that I almost wet myself. My boyfriend Peter was taking me to my first concert (without my parents). The concert was for Bon Jovi and Cinderella. You could smell the Aquanet throughout the stadium and I was hooked. I was a little “Metal-Head” for the next few years, going to concerts every weekend and learning how to be a “bad girl”.

5. Morrissey – Everyday is Like Sunday mixed with Pixies – Where is My Mind
My metal days ended the day I heard these songs. My friend Brian took me out to a club for underage kids called Medusas. A whole new world opened up for me. Skater boys, Punks, Goths all came together on Saturday night near Clark and Belmont. Medusas had an enormous dance floor and my friends and I would gravitate toward the stage and dance our little booties off. Throughout the night we would always go upstairs to ogle the goth boys dance to the latest videos by Siouxie and others. It was here where I really began to embrace my inner freak.

6. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Fast forward to 1991. I was a freshman in college and Alternative music was ready to bust out from the underground. I became part of the local music scene at school by dating musicians and becoming part of my own little “Freak Fraternity”, WIDB. The college radio station was my stomping grounds and I think 90% of my college experience revolves around the station in one way or another. I didn’t have to go through hazing per se, but ‘IDB had it’s cool quotient that was subervsive in it’s own way.

7. Dancing Queen – Abba
During my last year at college, the movie “Muriel’s Wedding” came out and opened my eyes to the beauty that is Abba. You may laugh your ass off, I give you permission, but this band is a breath of pop goodies! I became obsessed with the band, scouring record stores for singles and relishing in my $6 purchase at Discount Den of the Abba double album! I remember DJ’ing at a club in Carbondale and playing Dancing Queen and watching the floor clear of all of the beefy football players, and all the local freaks and geeks swayed and danced to the sounds of the Swedish superstars.

8. Gravel/Not a Pretty Girl – Ani Difranco
Ani’s first album really hit me to the core. I feel in love with this dread-headed feminist and her amazing lyrics. These two songs really spoke to me in so many ways. I was going through a rough time when I first moved out to Los Angeles. I was in a relationship that was abusive and so damaging that I almost lost my way. These songs really helped me bring myself back to the center and gave me strength that I thought I lost.

9. Jill Sobule – I Kissed a Girl
This song is very tongue and cheek but it really describes my first kiss with a girl. I was freaked out and exhillirated at the same time. I felt like I was 14 all over again, with butterflies in my stomach, not knowing what this world I was stepping into was like. The woman I kissed was someone that I know I would never now be attracted to, but at the time, she was the epitome of a strong, butch lesbian for me. We ended up kissing in the parking lot of InandOut Burger (ha) to the hoots and hollers of the boys hanging outside. It really clicked on this light on inside of me and that light has been screaming every since (10 years ago this summer…aieee!)

10. Coldplay – Parachutes (ok, I cheated it’s a whole album)
The year is 2000. I was just laid off from the company where NotGoth and I actually met. I wanted to travel Europe before I was forced back to the states and so I bought myself a Eurorail pass and took off. Italy, Germany, France and Spain were the places that I rested and got my head back together. I had hours upon hours on the train to sit and think about what my next move was going to be. I remember thinking that the first strains of “Beautiful World” on Parachutes was the beginning of my own movie about life on the road. I am taken back to that amazing trip every time I hear that album.

11. BONUS TRACK – – Captain and Tenille – Love Will Keep Us Together
In 2003, I gave my father a kidney. It was the culmination of a long, horrible time in our lives. He was sick for many years and this helped finally set these fears aside and allow my parents to start living their lives again. This song always reminds me of my family as despite all of our hardships, we are all still very close. I feel very lucky that I have this amazing and crazy relationship with my parents and my brothers. I wouldn’t be the person I was today without them.

StacyJill 34, Chicago 

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