What Skeletons are in Your Musical Closet?

I was raised on rock and roll.

Being born in 1960, and having four older brothers who were already teenagers, well on their way to becoming full-blown hippies, my musical education began while my peers were still enjoying the tune played by their jack-in-the-box.

I was the only kid in my third-grade class to know who Jimi Hendrix was.  hendrix woodstock

I had trouble understanding why the rest of my friends didn’t know about Woodstock, and I could sing Born on the Bayou like nobody’s business (today, not so much).

It’s safe to say that my taste in music is predominantly rock and roll…or classic rock if you want to be more specific, but as I grew older my tastes expanded. In my early twenties I discovered the blues (which would also include soul and R&B). As I approached thirty I took a liking to jazz and classical and during my forties I got into country. rock and roll

I can honestly say that I at least try to appreciate all forms of music to some degree.

I’m not a really big fan of rap, mostly because I think it is often inspired by anger, hatred and violence – three things for which I have no use in my life. Even still, there are some examples of rap that I do appreciate and enjoy.

Disco…since dancing and the whole nightclub scene was never really high on my list of favorite things, I never had much use for it, but again, I have developed a taste for a small sampling of disco songs.

I also enjoy some good funk.

airplane disco

So, with all that being said, there is another category of music I think we all share…something that goes beyond “like and dislike.”

Each of us has music we like, and we’re usually not ashamed to talk about it. Likewise music we dislike, and these we are usually less ashamed to advertise.

There is a third category…the one we keep to ourselves…the one we refuse to acknowledge…the one we hope nobody finds out about.

I call it “skeleton music” – as in the skeleton(s) in your musical closet.

teach them to dance

A friend of mine is a huge metal fan, which is not only to say he is a fan in a huge way, but also that he is a huge guy. To look at him you’d think he would just as soon kick your puppy as look at you (he wouldn’t, but he looks like he would). Somehow, during a recent conversation, he revealed to me that he loves Bon Jovi. He even told me a story about him standing in line at Dunkin Donuts singing a Bon Jovi song out loud while he scanned the menu…drawing some pretty interesting looks from the other patrons.

Yet he doesn’t talk openly about his “secret affair” with Jon and the boys…


I don’t know, but to paraphrase the famous Life cereal commercial – “I’m not gonna ask him – you ask him.”

On a nine hour road trip with some friends back in the early 90s (all guys) we were in a remote part of Pennsylvania where there weren’t many radio stations available, so we were forced to listen to an Easy Listening station.

Imagine our surprise when one of the guys started quietly singing along with Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs.

After several miles of relentless torment from the rest of us, he finally copped to it (but, not before trying to blame his mother for listening to it so often that the lyrics were embedded in his brain).

“Hey,” he said in his own defense. “I don’t like him, I just think this is a good song.”

A co-worker of mine was born and raised in Nassau. Naturally, being from the islands his musical tastes lean heavily toward reggae with a healthy scattering of R&B and rap. He also has a fondness for 80s synth-pop.

One day a few of us were having a discussion about old time TV shows when somebody mentioned Hee-Haw. My island-native friend’s brain wasn’t fast enough to censor his own response…he blurted his love for the music on the show and even confessed to begging his parents to buy him a banjo when he was eight-years-old. (They didn’t, but if they had he would have been a pioneer of the rasta-billy scene.)

hee haw

When he saw the looks on our faces (mostly stunned confusion) he laughed and tried to pull the old “just kidding” defense – unsuccessfully.

They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes…

Despite my love of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Willie Dixon, Miles Davis, Dwight Yoakam and Mozart…when I’m alone in the car I will crank the hell out of an ABBA song (until I get to a stop light).


There, I said it.

I’m out.

Laugh if you will – but they have some great songs! (I even attended a live performance of Mama-Mia in Rhode Island and was blown away!)

So what are the skeletons in your musical closet?

Come on – you can share it with us, we’re all friends here…


As always – thank you for reading


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30 responses to “What Skeletons are in Your Musical Closet?

  1. Too many to count! Born in the late fifties I ran the whole gamut of rock and roll, grew up on Led Zep and the likes… but I’m old enough now not to give a damn if I want to play Manilow or Elvis or Snoop Dog… and sing along.
    I do draw the line at Abba though 😉

  2. Oh-oh … all the way through this, I was thinking, How will I ever confess my love for …ABBA!! I too saw Mamma Mia in Toronto and could not stop singing and dancing. Loved Priscilla Queen of the Dessert for that campy soundtrack, too.You’re in good company, Timmy!

  3. How fun! My mom raised me on old cry in yer beer country western songs shh, I can still sing along to all of them.

  4. Tweety

    Great article, made me laugh out loud! Born in 1954, I loved the Beatles as a pre-teen, but had such a love of Motown and Johnny Mathis from my older siblings.

  5. Great article! I wonder why so many are a) so embarrassed for liking music, whatever it may be, and b) why are some so judgmental about music they deem ‘not real’?

  6. I agree with Sahar…but…ABBA? And Sue…you too? Not judging. I am also Rock and classic rock, but like Tim I like everything, but I have a short tolerance for Rap, unless the words work for me. I…kinda liked Olivia N John…voice like a spirit. 🙂

  7. Author Rebecca Heishman

    I’m so nervous. I’ve never spoken of this before. When I was a naïve teenager in high school, I became infatuated with Conway Twitty, and I can still cry a river when I play his gut-wrenching hit, Goodbye Time. Plus, he was the first artist to sing openly about healthy all-American lust, love, and sexuality between a man and a woman. In my parents’ house, I could stretch out on my belly in front of the Magnavox and spin Conway’s records, and my mom wouldn’t even know what I was thinking about. I felt like I was putting something over on her while I was getting an education in relationships.

    There. I said it. I feel so much better now.

    Oh, and I have always listened to a lot of romantic old Dean Martin tunes. He was totally cool.

  8. My skeleton music is only known by one person…until now. For some unknown reason I have a place in my heart for “truckers music”. Teddy Bear by Red Sovine started it all. As you know, I am not from a country music family. My older brothers and I would stay awake to watch the King Biscuit Flour Hour and The Midnight Special religiously . But somewhere along the way, a record player turned to play this song for me and that was the beginning of my “skeleton music”. Shhhh, we’ll just keep this between us.

  9. Oh sheez…here’s where I have to confess my infatuation with Donnie Osmond.

  10. I love ABBA too! Should I be embarrassed? Well… maybe a little. 😀

  11. laurie27wsmith

    I’m with you on Abba, although I’ll keep it turned up. 🙂

  12. ABBA is great. Any band Elvis Costello likes is good enough for me.

    A couple other of my skeleton songs (but I freely admit to them) are Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep from Middle of the Road (1971) and How Do You Do by Mouth and MacNeal (1972).

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