This post essentially covers everything leading up to and including 1991, the year I turned seven years old and started first grade. There are pretty clear "periods" of my musical history, and the first one- like for most people- is defined by the musical taste of my parents.
My parents are definitely music fans. They have a fairly sizable (though packed away) country / classic record collection. My dad had an 8-track in the garage. The only cartridge I ever saw was REO Speedwagon, but I assume there were more. When you live in a rural place, a lot of time is spent driving. We went on long drives to visit relatives, go camping, or really to go do anything, and there was always something playing. At home, the radio was always on. Though a lot of the time it was a way to keep track of time getting ready for school and hear local news, we were all fairly into the sweet pop country sounds of KCMB 104.7.
"It's night-time in eastern oregon, and I'd rather be....with FM 104 K C M B!"
This was before popular country went completely pop, where Garth was riding the line but Keith Urban was still distant future and you still got to hear Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Reba, and a million one hit guys with clever lyrics about pickup trucks and tractors. Mostly it just passed through me, but still today if I hear country singles from the late 80's and early 90's, I can remember the choruses and sing along a little and reminisce. There was also an 80's / modern station KUBQ, the CUBE! that got a little play, but probably not for another year or two.
The real gold, however, was the tape collection. A central furniture piece in our dining room was the tape cabinet, which held all of our family's precious media (VHS tapes and Cassette tapes). If I had to guess, I'd say we had about 75 tapes in there, but memory doesn't really serve me well there.
Update: My mom sent me a photo of said cabinet. All of the good tapes, however, are in a box in my garage now. Sorry guys.
Aside from the obligatory country stuff, in which I dabbled slightly, my parents had a solid collection of 80's heartland rock and roll. I'm assuming they were mostly my dads. Bruce Springsteen is the obvious genre frontrunner, but as far as I was concerned, my heart had two masters:
John Mellencamp and Bryan Adams.
Here: I found an image of both of them someone made!
By this time, I had my own tape player in my bedroom. I used it as an alarm to wake up each morning, but it also kept me company when I couldn't sleep at night. I was afraid of the dark, and my parents bedroom was on a different floor, so for comfort I would keep flipping the same tapes over and over again as I laid awake. While I should note for posterity (and to clear up for the remainder of the project)- this was not the only year that I loved these dudes. This was where it started, but there was probably a 3 year following from here on where they were in heavy rotation. Of course, I loved the big singles you've heard a million times, so I won't bother making you listen to "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" and "Pink Houses", but I also loved the deep cuts. I had probably 3 tapes of each of them that I wore into the ground, and if I had to pick a favorite of all of them, it was Bryan Adams - Wakin Up The Neighbours (Canadian spelling).
Just look at him! Look out, neighbours.
Also, here's a video of my favorite John Mellencamp song of all time (then and now). Sure, it's a pretty direct rip off of "I fought the law", but we need more of these songs to remind us to stick it to the man.
Ok, this is getting long. Here's a brief 1991 playlist:
Up next: 1992- things get....weird.