I didn't start listening to the radio and becoming aware of Top 40 music until I was in fifth grade. Prior to that I only knew three popular songs by name. That's it. Three. No more.
Song number one was my mostest favoritest song of all-time that I loved more than any other song in the whole wide world with all my heart, mind, and soul. It was "Total Elipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. I didn't actually have a copy of the song so I was at the mercy of a friend who owned the cassette tape and who would let me borrow it on rare occasions. On VERY rare occasions. She probably guessed at the blackness lurking deep in my lusting heart. If had she stopped asking for her tape back, I would have kept it forever and ever. I might have even lied to her if the subject had come up later and told her that I had given her tape back and she must have lost it. I was THAT IN LOVE with this song.
It was the bane of my existence that MY SONG wasn't the first song on the tape so that I could easily rewind it to the beginning and play it over and over and over again. Not that that stopped me. I still played it over and over and over again. I never got tired of it.
Song number two was "(Making Love) Out Nothing At All" by Air Supply. I'd get chills up and down my spine when I heard the opening piano bars. My fingers would tingle as the choir voices would swell and Air Supply would become more and more impassioned, singing to a crescendo before finally confessing that he truly is making love out of nothing at all. It wasn't the lyrics at all that moved me, it was just...something that spoke to me.
(Song number three was "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan, but that really doesn't have anything to do with this story.)
Years later, my brother Dennis introduced me (accidentally, I'm sure--he was never into sharing his music) to an artist called Meatloaf. We listened to "Back Into Hell" on the way back to Utah after Christmas break one year. I loved it. I loved every single song on the album. It's rare for me to like music I haven't heard before and doubly unusual to love every single song on an album. It just doesn't happen for me. But I loved loved loved Meatloaf.
This was during my headbanger years and it wasn't too far off base for me to like Meatloaf. But then I heard a Celine Dion song with which I had the same immediate infatuation. I tried to deny it but I was powerless to stop it. "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" was my secret vice. Openly, I scorned La Dion and her songbird-warbling chest-thumping antics. But behind closed doors I was like Salieri, secretly attending Mozart operas while surreptitiously trying to ruin him.
Answers came when I met Jeff at work. Jeff was waaaaay into music and was impressed when I told him that one of my favorite singers was Meatloaf.
"So, you know all about Jim Steinman then, too, I guess," he said.
"Jim Steinman. He wrote all the songs for "Bat Out Of Hell" and "Back Into Hell" as well as a whole bunch songs for other artists."
"Oh yeah? Like who?"
"Well, let's see... he wrote songs for Bonnie Tyler, Sisters of Mercy, Air Supply, oh, and Celine Dion sang one of his songs. I know, barf, but it's actually a great song. It's called "It's All Coming Back To Me Now."
Turns out my favorite music ever since I was old enough to have favorite music was all written by the same guy. The Great Jim Steinman.
I had great taste in music... even as a nine-year-old.