Monday, August 13, 2018

My Musical Notes Part 6 - Grammy Awards

A big part of the musical revolution was the influence of friends. Vidyuth was one and I remember listening to Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' and 'Billy Jean' in his father's Fiat. A car with those Pioneer cassette players in those days was the ultimate in luxury especially when most did not even have a music deck at home. This was the time when we were just out of school and growing small mustaches and soft beards, struggling with hormones and freedom and insecurity. Music seemed to provide to us a language that made sense when nothing else did.

Of course, there was no way to get my hands on a Michael Jackson cassette then so it was very frustrating, more so because I'd meet Vidyuth rarely on some cricket match days. Luckily, i found another great friendship based on music, Naresh. Now Naresh owned a deck too and had an MJ album. Though he lived far away in Padmarao Nagar, I did make a few visits to satisfy the music urge. Another musical friend of mine (limited to Jethro Tull's album that had this brilliant song 'Orion') was Sai from my junior college St. Alphonso's Junior College who father owned a nice record player and a deck to go with it. Sai did not like music much, but generously played it for me when we went to his house.

And then magic happened. Doordarshan, the state-run television and the only channel available to viewers, for some reason got its hands on the 26th Grammy Awards presentation. It was magic. And perhaps it was the best music made in a year ever - Michael Jackson, Sting, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen were just some of the heavies that featured. MJ walked way with 8. Lionel got nominated for 5 and won none. But we who watched it were blown out of our minds. Check the players in the field - MJ, Lionel Richie, David Bowie, Sting, Billy Joel, Irene Cara, Foreigner, Talking Head, Duran Duran, Rod Stewart, Rick Springfield, Donna Summer, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Alice Cooper, Kim Carnes, Pat Benatar, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Culture Club, Eurythmics, Sheena Easton, Prince, Bonnie Tyler, ZZ Top. Absolute mayhem.

I do not know how but I got my hands on one cassette with some of those Grammy hits. I cannot forget 'Total Eclipse of My Heart' by Bonnie Tyler as one of those magical songs. The visuals, the magic of MJ performing, the sheer quality of performers and songs was an apt take-off. My cassette had Beat it, Uptown Girl, Total eclipse of my Heart, Karma Chameleon, Sweet Dreams, Let's Dance, Islands in the Stream and others.

That Grammy threw open a whole new world full of new sounds, fantastic performers and more and more cassettes to buy and listen. I finally got my hands on quite a few of those albums. A labour of love no doubt.

1984 was my second year of Intermediate. It was a breakthrough year for me in cricket. I just do not remember how and what, except that I did a two-week stint with Baig sir and played with a brilliant team for MCC - MLJ, Vivek, Vidyuth, Sunil Phillips, Ravan, Imtiaz, Sanjay, Chakkar and mostly Venkatapathi Raju or Lachi as we call him. Vijay Bhaskar and Umesh Soni were the others. Lots of cricket, music, the whole world ahead of me. What a feeling! Beautifully summed up by Irene Cara in her Flashdance song (above)..

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