Nothing too special. Just a shot I took not too long ago. Someday books like this will be a memory. Probably not too far away.
It’s 2004 and I’m 42 years old. Not much on the charts or album releases that I can relate to.
I’m exploring the Toronto Public Library which has a great network of branches. You can order a book, magazine, CD or DVD online from any branch and a van delivers it to the branch of your choice. Add up all the branches in our geographically large city and that comes to quite a selection.
These days Spotify is rendering that a bit redundant for music, and the library should probably put its funds towards obtaining a free Spotify account for all Torontonians. But we’re not there yet. We do have Naxos, though, which is awesome for classical.
So this year I’ve settled on a song rather than a particular version of it. I like this tune a lot. Cat Stevens wrote and performed it in 1967. P.P. Arnold sang another version in ’67. It was a hit in Canada in ’73 with a take by Keith Hampshire. Rod Steward also did a cover in ’77.
Here’s the 2004 incarnation by Cheryl Crow:
And the version that spoke to me as a kid:
It’s 2003 and I’m 41 years old. My father would pass away this year so it wasn’t exactly a stellar year. However, my faith saw me through. I remember driving down to St. Michael’s Cathedral and hearing this song by the Canadian duo Appleton come on the radio.
The radio program was called Lovers and Other Strangers, hosted by Don Jackson. It was always nice to listen to this show while driving down to Mass. It dealt with love and spirituality from different perspectives so was a good precursor to receiving the Eucharist.
Sadly, one year CHFI decided to change its format a bit, and the show was canceled. Nevertheless, Mr. Jackson has reinvented his program online.
We can’t always control the Powers That Be but we can choose how to respond to them.
It’s 2002 and I’m 40 years old. I’m adjusting to Toronto life nicely, after spending almost a decade away.
The city has changed a lot since I was a kid. Not only bigger but a much better cultural and religious mix. Toronto is emerging as a multicultural powerhouse. Traffic is getting more congested, not just at rush hour but earlier and earlier in the day.
One of my favorite pastimes is to browse Dollarama, a Canadian biz success story for the new millennium. As prices soar everywhere else, more and more people are shopping at the dollar store and having a great time doing so. Back in those days, everything was just one dollar. And it was amazing what you could find.
I remember shopping at one of the earliest Dollaramas and hearing this song come over the store speakers. It was perfect. Looking around me, it seemed the shop was full of people from just about every nation and religion on Earth. I was full of goodwill and love for all mankind. A great time to be Canadian. A great song.
Carlos Santana has been around for many years. Our family owned his classic vinyl albums from the late 60s and 70s. He’s always had a tasty playing style but in this tune, the licks are not just tasty but happy.
I think he is one of the great guitarists. Not because he plays a million notes a minute but because he chooses his notes so carefully. And his instrument has such a delicious tone.
In this song, I’d say the vocal performance and lead guitar are about 50/50 in importance. Just like the game of love should be.
Daughtry brings cadre of hits to Palace Theatre (triblive.com)
It’s 2001 and I’m 39 years old. This was an eventful year. I formally converted to Catholicism at Easter in 2001. I remember feeling graces pouring down on me after leaving the church that sunny day.
The other main event, of course, was 9/11. I was with my parents that morning. We had CNN on and saw it happen. I recall thinking, Oh, they’ll just put the fire out and it will be okay. Little did I know I was watching a turning point in history.
In Toronto, the FM of 2001 had nothing to do with the FM I loved in the 70s. FM in 2001 had become what AM was in the 70s but with better, stereo sound. This programming trend actually began in the late 70s/80s but who’s counting…
So here’s a hit I remember liking by the Canadian singer Nelly Furtado. Things are getting better in the pop world; for me, anyhow.
It’s 1994 and I’m 32 years old. Cruising along with my doctorate, living in Ottawa and spending some time in Toronto during the summer while my parents are away.
Apartment living in Ottawa got pretty buggy at times, and my parents’ empty house was a welcome respite.
Also, the spacious Toronto Reference Library had The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, whom I was studying, and a lot of related material.
So in summer, I would wake up in the morning, get my things together and, clutching my Toshiba 286 laptop, take a long walk downtown to the library. If I had enough energy after my daily thesis write, I would then walk further south to St. Michael’s Cathedral, in the heart of the downtown core.
I was fairly active in younger years, jogging about 30 to 45 minutes most days in my late teens and early twenties. So by my thirties, I was still walking long distances in both Ottawa and Toronto, and loving it.
Choosing my favorite tune for this year was a showdown between TLC’s “Creep” and Bass is Base’s “I Cry.” After listening to both songs, “I Cry” comes out on top.
I like TLC but Bass is Base hails from Toronto, my hometown and where I live today. So this one reflects my turf in ’94. Its multicultural groove speaks to me as Canadian delighted that I can meet people from all around the word the moment I step out my front door.
Who needs to travel?
Whew. Those overblown 80s are finally over and I’m 28 years old. I’m living in Canada again. Not the happiest time in my life, especially after spending two years in tropical India, where the sound of frogs and crickets lulled me to sleep each night.
Musically, I just looked over the charts for 1990 and things aren’t much better. I wasn’t connecting with anything the radio was spitting out. Or very little. I remember going down to “Little India” as it used to be called in Toronto and hanging out, buying Indian tapes. But I knew that was over too. I was moving on.
I cannot find a tune for 1990 that I feel is memorable enough to list here. So I’m going to cheat again like I did for 1986 and list two songs appearing on a 1990 compilation album.
Peter Gabriel was key to the rock group Genesis. When Gabriel left, I felt Genesis suffered dearly from his departure. I suggested this elsewhere and almost had my virtual hide ripped off by someone who thought post-Gabriel Genesis was better. Whatever. Music is subjective. Not worth getting your shirt in a knot over who likes what.
So here’s two songs for (cough cough) 1990. They were actually released in the late 70s and early 80s.