Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I've recently been reunited with my childhood friend, April (who turned up in Georgia of all places!) When we were kids, April and I were inseparable. We walked, cross-country skiied, or swam to each other's houses almost every day. We started clubs together (and at least once used the other kids' "dues" money for candy.) We suffered through braces together, bad babysitting gigs, pom pom squad, and serious doses of family drama.
Through everything, we listened to music. Constantly. April gave me my first mix tape (songs taped from the radio, no less...truly old school). She also gave me my first Madonna tape (which was promptly confiscated by my mother). But what I remember most is listening to Phil Collins.
I remember sitting on April's bed in 1989, her Kirk Cameron poster smiling down at us from it's place of honor on the ceiling above her pillow, and putting Phil Collin's ...But Seriously tape into her little boom box. That tape was revolutionary to me. The big brass band, the soaring melodies, the social consciousness. I got the piano book, taught myself every song on the album, and made myself cry every time I played "Colors":
Deep inside the border...and then transitioned into fighting mad at the lines
Children are crying
Fighting for food
Holding their heads
Breaking their bread with a stone
People living without rightsI still pull out that dusty cassette tape from time to time and no matter how long it's been, I can still sing along with every word, hum every note of that brass section, and get sad and riled up all at once. In a way, it's like reconnecting with an old friend. To quote Mr. Collins himself: "Find a way to my heart/ And I will always be with you..."
Without their dignity
How loud does one man have to shout
To earn his right to be free
Phil Collins: Find a Way to My Heart