I’ve been a freak for music for as long as I can remember. I recall rocking out to Rick Springfield and Foreigner with my brothers as a wee lad in Wisconsin.
However, my music roots were truly defined as an American kid growing up around U.S. Army and NATO bases in Germany and Belgium in the 80s. My walkman was my best friend, and I consumed new music like fresh water. My thirst for music was seldom quenched, and my influences were varied – from American seniors that ran the tape player on the lux bus that took us to school every day; to local German neighbors that appreciated everything from American rap to German rock; and to my weekly connection to Casey Casem’s American Top 40, a show that featured the best music in America during the 70s and 80s.
At the time, AT40 was only outlet I had to what was new in American music culture. As civilians stationed with the U.S. Army, our family had to live off-base. We lived in a small, 3-bedroom apartment on Pezzaloziweg in Waldenbuch, known well for it’s Ritter Sport factory. It was an idyllic, beautiful town 30-45 minutes from the nearest base.
As such, we didn’t have constant access to Armed Forces television or radio network, which was our only connection to American culture. That drove exploration into German entertainment, which was often difficult for me to decipher. Video got me breakdancing. Cassette tapes fed my hunger for music. Regular recordings of American Top 40 and copied tapes from friends were my regular groove.
Our later move to Belgium offered connections to SKY Channel and AFN, stores with more diverse music selections, and Monsters of Rock and other shows that featured the newest music videos. But AT40 was always there.
High school came, and AT40 faded from view, replaced by the Columbia House Tape Club, concerts, and a blue jean jacket with patches and logos. I spent everything I had on new music and supporting gear from the bands I loved. It energized my creativity and revved my content engine.
Decades later, keeping track of the music I love and listen to isn’t just an exercise in content creation and marketing; it’s a way for me to keep track of what I’ve listened to and appreciated throughout the years. Music connects deeply to my memories, and provides the soundtrack to my life. It reflects the years of struggle, the ages of wealth, the stresses of present, and the positive momentum of possibilities. It is a sandbox for my creativity, a playground for my music passion.
I’ve worked with bands over the course of the last couple of decades, and some are featured within these blogs. It is always an honor for me to partner with musical artists, to collaborate on projects with collective vision, and to instill movement in my still creations.
I started tracking my Top albums of the year in 2010. The practice began as a Note on Facebook, moved over to Blogger in a more formal experience, and ultimately found a home here. I’ve refreshed the experiences for consistency, and rooted them all in a central place.
I hope you enjoy my music recommendations, and genuinely give some of them a spin. There are a hundred or so talented artists locked within.
The key is yours.