So it comes as a shock to absolutely no one that most of my music was melodic rock and pop. A cross-section in no particular order: Journey, Billy Joel, anything written and/or produced by Jim Steinman (I swear he was born in an orchestra pit somewhere), Styx, Dan Fogelberg, Barry Manilow (no suprise there) Air Supply (shut up! they're great!), lots of movie and musical soundtracks (Ice Castles , Footloose, and Amadeus are favorites to this day), Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, (which got me listening to vintage '40s and '50s music) and a host of contemporary Christian music like Steve Taylor and Keith Green with their really intense lyrics, and Petra which you would swear was a clone of REO Speedwagon if you closed your eyes. The Barry part is coming, I promise...
For all of the names listed above and more, there is a single memory of the moment I heard their music the first time. Usually it was radio or a movie, or a friend brought over a record. (Yes, record, not CD.
But here's the strange thing - Barry's music is the only one I don't have that kind of starting point for. It was just "always there". My memories start crystalizing around 1974 - kindergarten/first grade and along with the usual school and friends memories, there's "Mandy" and all the rest - including the TV specials, the movie tracks, the radio, TV commercials for a new record. Sure there are certain songs I know those "first time" details but Barry in general is a standard, like my family and my home, like that favorite childhood knick-knack that you don't know exactly where it came from, but it's always there for you to see and touch whenever you want; and if you don't see it for a while, that's OK - you'll find it again, because you always do.
And this year, it was a good thing I did.