My parents would buy me kiddie records like Disney and Yogi Bear type stuff. I loved those too. I’m talking about when I was four years old. I think I was aware of newer style of music called “rock and roll” but my grandfather, who I very close to, always made fun of it. He would say it was nothing but (mock sing-shout) “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Oh Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” I’d laugh and agree with him though I really didn’t have a clue.
Then one day my friend across the street, who had a few older brothers, invited me over to listen that he liked and he played me an album by this band called The Monkees. The first I heard was She and by the time I got to the third song Mary Mary I was completely hooked. He told me the band had their own TV show and it was on that night. I couldn’t wait, I sat by the TV until it was on and enjoyed a few minutes of the coolest, zaniest comedy I’d ever seen, until my mom made me turn it off and come to dinner. I couldn’t make her understand how heartbreaking it was to press that off knob and go and eat.
I think I started making up my own songs around that age but they were not very original. Just stupid kid lyrics set to an already famous melody. The first actual song I wrote that was any good at all was called Georgia Apple Wine. I was twelve years old. I never recorded it. The first actual reel to reel recording was on my 17th birthday (9-2-1979). It's called I'm Laughing. Other previous recordings done on cassette or 8-track cartridges are pretty much assumed MIA."