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Musical tastes evolve with age and peer pressure

Joyce Walter writes about the music of her youth
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

The household in which I was raised was always filled with music, and not just one style.

Musical tastes in the family ranged from gospel music from the radio broadcasts of church programs from the Alliance Tabernacle and Apostolic Temple with Dr. Breen leading the singing in his booming voice — to old-time dance music on Saturday nights from CKCK Radio with Porky Charbonneau.

In between there was the rock music of the 1950s and early 1960s, the Beatles, Bobby Curtola and Paul Anka. When television arrived in the house we were exposed to Don Messer and the Islanders, Andy Williams and the Osmond Family, Perry Como and Bing Crosby, the Carlton Showband on the Pig and Whistle, Anne Murray and friends on Singalong Jubilee and of course, the Ed Sullivan Show.

Closer to home, accordion band and solo music was part of the household musical genre, accompanied by Dad on the violin, and in later years, with Mom playing along on the portable organ. We enjoyed band music at the Kinsmen Band Festival, choral music at the music festival, and some light opera at Music in Colour performances at Zion United Church.

When CHAB changed to a mostly country format, I as a teenager was not a happy person until I started listening closely to the lyrics which were understandable and told stories of love and heart break. My girlfriends and I quickly learned the songs and belted them out on our road trips to Chaplin or Caronport or Moose Jaw.

We especially did excellent versions (in our opinions) of It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, The Race is On, The Last Kiss, Brown Eyed Girl and 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall to the round, Row Row Row Your Boat. I still don’t understand why our vocal careers didn’t progress past my Dad’s car.

All of these memories were generated by a news story that suggested musical tastes are developed early in one’s life and are cemented in place by the age of 13 years.

A study of musical habits said musical tastes are influenced by friends, what is played on radio, sound tracks from movies and by parents. It appears fathers have the least influence with their children while mothers are more adaptable to what teenagers want to hear on their digital devices.

Most parents, according to the study, indicated disappointment with the musical choices of their teenagers.

Maybe that explains why my Mother quite often stuffed her ears with Kleenex tissues when she travelled with her singing daughter and her friends. Dad just whistled louder.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.