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If You Don't Like The Music, Change Stations
13 February 2005
Reaction to music can be subtle and slow, something savored by the ears. Or it can be immediate, something embraced or rejected in just a few beats or measures.
Pardon me if it seems as if every pundit at the Orlando Sentinel has already had something to say about the change of formats at 100.3 FM (WEBG). And excuse the fact that I decided to jump into the fray, even if I'm a little late to the dance. The furor is more about cultures clashing than music -- though often the two are intertwined.
Not for me. I love music -- just about any kind.
Music is its own language, and I have listened to all kinds throughout my life. There was a huge collection of 45s by Glenn Miller and his orchestra that were from an uncle's collection.
My father had eclectic taste in music. There were Elvis, the Righteous Brothers, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. There were the Beatles, Grand Funk Railroad and Johnny Cash. There were Perez Prado and numerous other Spanish acts on disc in the house, too.
When I lived in Lake City, I remember listening to the radio when I was supposed to be sleeping, picking up staticky broadcasts from the power AM stations in Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago.
Two good friends worked at radio stations -- one during high school and the other during college. I used to hang out with them no matter what was playing.
When I got my first newspaper job out of college, I also wangled a gig on the local AM station on weekends. The format was country music -- something I didn't know much about. I played the standards and whatever was on the charts. It was fun, and the music wasn't that bad.
Like most teens growing up in the 1970s, I listened to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and all the Southern Rock bands. I listened to funk, disco, rhythm and blues. I also had an appreciation for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Broadway musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Stephen Schwartz's Pippin. Did I mention jazz and the blues? I like them, too -- from Cab Calloway and Miles Davis to Robert Johnson and B.B. King.
Back when cassettes were the audio technology, I always kept Rossini in the car for when I just wanted to DRIVE.
When I moved to the Virgin Islands, I fell in love with reggae, calypso and soca. Salsa, merengue and other sounds also were in earshot from stations in Puerto Rico.
After reading The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, I was disappointed by the Hollywood movie but not the soundtrack featuring songs by stalwarts Celia Cruz and Tito Puente.
Rap is not one of my favorite forms of music. Nor is reggaeton. And while I can't listen to a lot of it, there are certain songs and certain artists I like.
Mentirosa by Mellow Man Ace is one of my favorites. His Web site lists him as the "Godfather of Latin Rap." Quite a claim. And while I can't stomach some of his work, the combination of Spanglish to the backbeat of Santana's "Evil Ways" is irresistible. I could go on and on.
On the other hand, I don't get Daddy Yankee at all and I find his hit single "Gasolina" unlistenable.
That's why they put tuners on radios -- and why there are plenty of other ways to listen to your favorites.