In the middle of my ninth grade year, we moved to a bigger town in Colorado. In the small town, I was in high school, but in the bigger town, ninth grade was junior high. I went from open campus to needing a pass for the bathroom. I still remember shivering out on the parking lot during lunch break--the snow keeping us off the grass, and teachers spaced strategically along the periphery. Not allowed to even go back inside to my locker, I felt like a prisoner in "the yard" with the "bull in the tower" and waiting for someone in the crowd to "shank me."
Ok, it wasn't that bad. But it was a bit of an adjustment. The next year, I reentered high school and found my stride. My brothers were all in college and my new classmates knew nothing of them or my parents. When you live in a real small town, the youngest is never really him or herself, but a collection of how the family is perceived. To be fair, most of that was positive in the small town, but it was also confusing. I enjoyed my new found anonymity and took up new sports and hobbies.
Musically, however, I must say that I floundered. My brother played guitar primarily with a finger-picking style, which is great for folk music. And that is what I thought I liked. I was a little afraid of rock music, and somewhere in this period, I think I falsely assumed that music evolved in a rather odd way--from folk and nice music to loud and rock. That said, I did listen to the music that my classmates did. The aforementioned April Wine and Def Leppard weren't bad--all things considered. Van Halen was ok, I guess. And there were some notables mixed in with the Little River Band and others. The Pretenders were cool, and I still remember listening to the Cars "moving in stereo" in my headphones and loving how the sound moved from one side to the other. I discovered Rush Moving Pictures and considered that a great album at the time. It really was pretty decent an I still give it a listen.
But high school, for me, really didn't provide much in the long-term musical experience. It was more me looking for a sound. It was after high school, that my next album came to my attention.
My oldest brother lived close by and I used to go visit on the weekends. He had really good beer, great music, he and my sister-in-law would usually have a great time together. One weekend (and it must have been in 87) he went to the video store to get our movie and came home with "The Three Amigos" on VHS and U2's Joshua Tree on vinyl. Joshua Tree went on the turntable and Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase all went back to the video store unwatched. No way to watch that film after listening to that music.
Over the years, this may be the album I have listened to the most. I am still amazed by the sound and the emotions it evokes. While my bro and I disagreed about "Bullet the blue sky" (he thought it didn't fit, I knew he was wrong), we all loved the rest of the album. The hits are one thing, but the other songs--"One Tree Hill," "Red Hill Mining Town," "Running to stand still" and "Mothers of the Dissappeared." It is still great. Some U2 fans disagreed and said that it wasn't as good as their early stuff. I don't know. This album holds together and over time about as well as any album can.
Tomorrow I cheat and go backwards--kind of.