Karen: My parents had very different tastes musically. My Dad leaned towards country music. The man in black, Johnny Cash, was a favorite. But I really remember my Dad less for playing records than for playing his guitar and singing. He had both an acoustic guitar and an electric (a Gibson, don't recall the specifics now sadly) and he would often strum and sing. Usually it was country music, but he surprised me and my brother once by getting the sheet music to the Monkees' theme song and playing that for us! One record I do recall Dad playing frequently, although it wasn't music, was a Bill Cosby comedy album. He loved that album -even today he'll talk about "chocolate cake for breakfast."
Karen: My Mom listened to a variety of music. It was not unusual for her to put Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, or Otis Redding on the turntable. She had quite a collection of R&B singles too. When I was really small I recall her getting a lot of use out of the stereo. For awhile, we were members of one of those record clubs, and albums by the 5th Dimension, Santana, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Three Dog Night, Elton John, and Chicago all made their way to our house. I think my brother had some influence over those selections, but I know my Mom liked lot of those artists. Later in life, she became a fan of Billy Joel -I think she always dug piano men.
Doug: "Easy listening" would have been the prescription for our big console stereo. I have vivid memories of Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, the Mamas and the Papas, but especially of the Carpenters. I think my mom was the main influence for these artists -- did anyone notice that the singers are all women? The songs have stuck with me, and still bring a smile to my face, especially the melodies of the Carpenters. I have about 20 cuts from them on my iTouch and enjoy them often. I'd also like to add that my mom, when taking us somewhere in the car, indulged our preference for Top 40 AM radio. That was incredibly formative to my enjoyment of pop music from the 1970's.
Doug: As an aside, my aunt (my mom's sister) had a nice collection of LPs, and the first time I ever heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was after removing it from one of her crates. On my dad's side of the family, I can recall a time when the family was together at my uncle's house to play cards. He had a very nice collection of Four Seasons 45s, and I spent part of one evening going through those. Great memories -- definitely moments frozen in time!
Karen: These were our formative music experiences -what about yours?
Doug: And totally off-topic, below you'll find the updated Bracketology standings.