My father owned some records I latched onto when I was young. The albums included Sam Cooke, The Beatles, Patsy Cline, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. These musicians were my musical heritage from both my parents and grandparents along with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Jim Croce; Connie Francis; The Ink Spots; and The Platters. I listen to them even now. This song was my first favorite of my own generation.
I was a real quiet kid–I kept to myself with books and music. I sat with the school secretary in junior high when everyone went out to recess. Music was my refuge. As Freddie Mercury sang, “Everything/I had to know/I learned it on the radio.”
The Peter, Paul, and Mary album was particularly meaningful to me during this time as it was furtive and melancholy, matching my timidity. The music was also charged with political and emotional currents that I didn’t yet understand. My favorite song was “Early Morning Rain,” a song written by Gordon Lightfoot.
This song is heavy, wry, and about a traveler’s life away from loved ones. Raw with weariness. I’m always captured by the line, “Now I’m stuck here on the grass, where the pavement never grows.” This song is my “long distance request and dedication” for everyone miles away from those they love. Or for those whose lifeline to the world was the radio.