Hi, my name’s Michele Myers and I spin a show called Nite Life on Friday’s from 9pm to 1am on KEXP. And every Friday night at 12, I do the Midnight Album Spotlight. I’m having a Beatles month, so I think this Friday I’ll tell you about Abbey Road, and what it means to me.
I grew up in a house that had lots of records. My parents divorced when I was 9 and I didn’t see my dad often, but he had left piles of 45’s in a cupboard in the basement. These had somehow survived mom’s clean out, and I kept them a secret. They were mostly 50’s doo-wop songs he had bought as a teenager like: “Rama Lama Ding Dong” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”. At the time the TV show Happy Days was on, and since it was set in the 50’s all those songs reminded me of my dad too. I missed him a lot. And my 9 year-old brain was somewhat satisfied with the connection I got from spinning his 45’s and watching Happy Days. The Fonz even looks a little like my dad.
Age 9 was also when I started buying my own 45’s. I had singles of new stuff from late-blooming disco stars like Andy Gibb (go ahead, laugh, I am) and The Spinners (I especially liked “Rubberband Man”).
My mom remarried way-too-quickly to a musician guy. He had stacks of records that were new to me. And the music sounded better: Howlin’ Wolf, Dylan, The Beatles. My mom and stepdad were sort of hippies (it was Pennsylvania, so only sort-of) and he played in a bluegrass and country band. I never got into that music (except for Johnny Cash, my man). In fact, as a fan of hip-hop and electronica I have gotten as far as possible from country-bluegrass-and mountain music, but that’s another story…
One day I took my stepdad’s Beatles record (without permission, my parents were never at home to keep track of me) to a friend’s house. It was a sunny spring day and we were hanging out in the driveway. I had convinced my friend that we had to rig up her brother’s record player so we could hear it outside. (This action not only foreshadowed my future as a DJ, but also as a girl sound tech. Aw yeah.)
I put Abbey Road on and was entranced with the vinyl (the way it shone, that it was fragile, how the grooves were different depths) while the other kids were off in the distance running around. “Here Comes The Sun” was the song I put on. It hit me like a heat blast. Stunned me. The chords were so full and satisfying. The fingerpicked guitar was lazy and bright, like nothing I’d ever heard. It SOUNDED like the sun.
It thrilled me so much I went to the other kids to get them to listen. Reluctantly they finally came over. They did listen, but looked at me like I was bonkers. “Yeah, it’s MUSIC.” they said. They were not impressed. I just sat back with my head by the plastic speakers, and I’ve been there ever since…