My first musical memory is watching Arthur Fiedler’s Evening at Pops with my dad when I was 2 or 3 years old. I don’t remember anything other than the closing credits, where sad music played over images of the theater emptying. Somewhere, there is a recording of me crying hysterically because that closing sequence devastated me.
Yet I was hooked. I watched it over and over again, and as much as the ending credits destroyed me every time, I kept watching.
I’ve always been drawn to sad music. I suspect the music intuitively resonated with me because it was an expression of how I felt. Sad music became an outlet for what was happening inside my mind.
I’ve learned a lot about sad music since then. I’ve learned that D minor is the saddest of all keys. I’ve learned that Morrissey is one of my favorite singers, largely because his wordplay and delivery inspire great joy. I’ve learned which artists to avoid, and which are critical to hear, when I’m in a bad place.
When I look back, I realize that Arthur Fiedler and his Boston Pops started it all for me. Every album, every concert, every song, every moment of musical joy … it all goes back to me crying as that concert hall emptied to the sounds of sad music.
“Personal Stories” is a series of posts about artists, albums, concerts, and other experiences that permanently changed our relationships with music.