Teen Years

My teenage years: we've all lived through them. Mine were no better. There are five songs that encompass those turbulent years.

CRYSTAL BALL by Styx // The Lyrics // The Video
I think this one song sums up my teenage years in a nutshell. I discovered Styx when I was 13 years old and never looked back. Rock had a new voice in my life and the songs were paralleling my life. This song was my anthem. It was everything that was inside of me turned out for the world to see. To look in a Crystal Ball - how ironic considering the path my life has taken over the past decade - but that's for another page. ;)

"All alone and trapped in time..." That was how my soul felt.

Tell me, tell me where I'm going
I don't know where I've been
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
And then tell me again

HALF A MILE AWAY by Billy Joel // The Lyrics // The Video
Billy Joel's music always managed to touch me, but none as much as this album - 52nd Street. Oddly enough, it was his album tracks, and not the mega hits that affected me the most. This track, Half A Mile Away, is an example of that. I remember listening to this over and over, feeling all of it. I felt like I was split into two different people:  I was who I thought my parents wanted me to be; I was who I thought my grandparents wanted me to be... and I was good at it. Inside though, that was a different person altogether that very few people ever knew. My time for me, my time to be who I was, that was what I lived for during those turbulent years.
I've given everybody so much time
Now I need a moment that's mine...
Oh my other world is just a half a mile away

BUT THE WORLD GOES ROUND by Liza Minnelli // The Lyrics // The Video
What can I say about Liza Minnelli. I knew of her from 1972's Liza With A Z album that my mother had, and that I wore out. The reason why I have her under Teen Years is because that's where she had the most influence on me. Namely the very song from the very concert clip below. Liza, in the peak of her success and my life was at its lowest point. I was so lost. My only salvation was music, whether playing it or listening to it. I forget if this concert was an HBO special or not, but I know I recorded it and watched it often. This song made a huge impact on me, telling me that life isn't fair; in fact it can really suck, but you go on - the world goes round.
Sometimes your dreams get broken in pieces
But that doesn't matter at all
Take it from me, there's still gonna be
A summer, a winter, a spring and a fall
Watch this video and you will see Liza at her peak. This was why people loved her. Personally, I loved her because she gave me a reason - however small it may seem - to keep living life, and go round and round.

Six Weeks Every Summer by Vikki Carr // The Lyrics // TheVideo
It’s 1979, we're playing at the Polynesian Village in Ft. Lauderdale. My grandparents and great-grandparents are there. My mom introduces this song as the reason why she never wanted to be famous. By the end everyone was crying their eyes out!  Once again, it was through music that I learned the depth of my mother's love for me during my teen years. 

Hopelessly the ghost of me sinks down into a chair
And underneath the cushion there's a ribbon from her hair
A crumpled up reminder that my daughter's only here
For six weeks every summer Christmas every other year 

Ironically, I had never heard the original version of this song until making this site. I'm not sure if it was Margo Smith or Vikki Carr's version that my mother had, but I decided on Vikki Carr since I know my mom loved her. 

I Don't Care Anymore by Phil Collins // The Lyrics // TheVideo
Interesting discovery about this song: I always considered this my F-you song to my mother, and in a way it was. I can remember getting off the phone with her after one of our arguments and immediately blasted this song and sang it at the top of my lungs.
Now, over 27 years later, with 20/20 hindsight, I can see it for what else it was: this was my anthem to myself. Listening to it again today, I realized I was telling myself that it's okay to be different. Carol Neal may be my mother, but I am a very different person then her - always have been. I was announcing my independence from her. 

Get out of my way, let me by, I've got better things to do with my time
I don't care what you say, cause every day I'm feelin fine with myself

It was the beginning of the long journey of self discovery. I needed that separation - the not caring anymore what she said - to find who I was, on my own.