How listening to oldies music shaped my heart


Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hall and John Oates. They are all musical icons, and I have seen all of these artists live.

Spanning from grassroots country to top-charts pop, from the start of rock and roll to the end of the disco era, all these performers have shifted my life a little bit since experiencing them live.

I have been to many current, top-chart performer concerts as well. My heart skips a beat when the arena goes silent in anticipation; I jump in awe when I hear the first note of the first song blasting out and echoing through the arena. That is a feeling that is the same for all generations of music.

The first artist I ever went to go see live that wasn’t from my generation was Daryl Hall and John Oates. Their music had been ringing through my house since I was a little girl, but my family really became fans after I started to perform their song “Private Eyes” at every karaoke event. “Private Eyes” soon became an anthem for my family, and it only made sense to go to their concert when they came to Grand Rapids in the season of my family’s musical addiction.

Going to a concert with my family was a whole different experience than going with my friends. People have always whispered about how music brings people together, but I never truly understood that meaning until I went with my family. It was a delightful and carefree feeling while singing along to “Rich Girl” and “Maneater.” Knowing that my parents had a plethora of memories accompanying the songs I was listening to, I enjoyed the music even more. Learning about what has impacted people you love is a true honor. The music of legends candidly fused two generations together.

Not only did I feel connected to the music, but I also learned from it. I have spent an evening with Dolly Parton on her “front porch” set while she told stories of her life growing up poor in the mountains and pursuing her passion. She taught me that heart, kindness, and love can take anyone far. I listened to Barry Manilow advocate for musical education in children. The “Mandy” and “Copacabana” singer used his fame to humbly encourage the arts for youth.

And Stevie Nicks– don’t even get me started on Stevie Nicks. I could talk for hours and hours about my love for her as well as Fleetwood Mac. Stevie, as well as many others (including Sir Paul McCartney and James Taylor), told stories of the inspiration behind each song. She spoke poetically in depth of the process of writing the song and who influenced them. She breathed life into the songs, urging a deeper connection to her melodic tunes.

Hundreds of artists can put on a performance with choreography, sparkly sets, and trippy graphics ensuring an entertaining evening full of dopamine (*cough* Elton John *cough*). It takes a humble person and an inspiring career to bring people together and leave the concert with a changed heart. Listening to all the legends of ages past can have a huge takeaway. I listen with a sharp ear as if it was my grandfather telling me his life stories. Each word important; each note filled with life.