Today, as I write this blog, I’m listening to the song “Phasors On Stun” by the band FM. If you’re not familiar with FM, they were formed in Toronto in 1976. I was a junior in high school. “Phasors On Stun” was released a couple of years later, in 1978.

Yearbook photo of me in 1975 or ‘76

Yearbook photo of me in 1975 or ‘76

I just rediscovered that song.

As I approach my 57th birthday, I find that I’ve been subconsciously reaching back to some of the music I listened to in my high school years. I haven’t been doing this rediscovery on purpose…it just sort of “happened.” First one song…then another. Before I knew it, I was down a 70’s music rabbit hole.

Here are another couple of hits I just rediscovered: “Brother To Brother” and “I Just Wanna Stop,” both by Gino Vannelli. And then “While You See A Chance” by Steve Winwood.

All great songs that I’ve now added to my music library—and hearing those songs, after being buried in the back of my mind since about 1980, made them sound fresh and new all over again. Of course, my music library is filled with music from the 70’s. I love that music because it was the soundtrack of my teens, and it’s said that the music of your teens is the music you remember and love the most. So, yeah…I’m a bit of a 70’s cliché.

What confuses me though, is that I love the music of my teen years, but my teen years as a whole? Not so much.

In high school I was a dork (I was always a dork—I just didn’t know it until high school). Red hair, glasses, molester mustache…the whole dorky package. There was no real group I belonged to, and I wasn’t even teased too much because I was just enough of a dork to fly under the radar. I was a good student, but not a great one because I just didn’t fit into the mold that schools use to create their finished product. I had two friends named Dave. Dave 1 drove an AMC Gremlin, and and Dave 2, an AMC Pacer. I drove my parents’ VW Camper Van. We’d cruise around listening to Steve Miller Band, ACDC, Bad Co., Peter Frampton, Nazareth, Rush, and others. On Friday and Saturday nights, the three of us would usually hang out, and then go for pizza (and try to see who could eat the most. Dave 1 cheated…he never ate the crust).

Rediscovery. Being a teenager in a small town. The memories of that never fade, but when I hear songs of that time, the memories are more intense; I can see everything as clear as I was living it now. I can almost smell the pizza place where we hung out.

I once worked with a guy on the radio who said he felt sorry for people who grew up listening to music in the 70’s because, he said, “no good music came out of that decade.” Of course he would say that…he grew up listening to music of the 60’s.

Me in 1979. I think this was a yearbook picture.

Me in 1979. I think this was a yearbook picture.

Great music comes out of every era. So does a lot of bad music. And so it goes for our memories. I remember fumbling around in the dark with a girl for the first time, while Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” album played in the background. It was the summer of 78. I can’t remember much..and that’s either a good thing or a bad thing. Probably both.

Music, as you know, plays a massive part in my life. I understand why music therapy is good for dementia and Alzheimer patients, because I understand what it does for me. A song can bring back a flood of other senses. And mostly, we remember the good things…leaving the bad things for a therapist to pry out of us.

Rediscovery. Try it. Go back and find music that you haven’t heard in years—music that makes you smile. There’s probably a good reason for it. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting here listening to Nazareth’s RazAmaNaz album like we were gathered around Dav 2’s living room turntable…and trying to figure out what else happened in 1973.


Cameron Wallace