What Musical Albums Did Your Parents Play When You Were Growing Up?

The conversation started with Phantom of the Opera.

I was talking to a few friends about New York. One of them has never been, and she said she’d like to go to a Broadway show. I nodded and said, “Yeah, I’d like to see Phantom of the Opera someday.”

There was a moment of silence, followed by another friend saying, “What?” You see, I’m not all that musically inclined. There are a few bands I love and will gladly see in concert, but I’m not one to seek out symphonies and musicals.

So I explained that my parents went to see Phantom when I was around 10 years old, and they returned from their trip with a CD of the music. It must have played hundreds of times in our house. Imagine three kids (10, 9, and 5) running around singing “The Music of the Night.”

There were a few other albums that my parents also played for years. I might be forgetting one, but I’m sure that each of these got significant airtime in the Stegmaier household:

  • Amy Grant’s Christmas album: We listened to this so much that I assumed everyone listened to Amy Grant at Christmas. Like, to the point that Amy Grant = Christmas in our minds.
  • Pretty Woman soundtrack: I’m not exactly sure how or why this happened, because us kids weren’t allowed to watch grown-up movies, but we definitely watched Pretty Woman as a family a number of times, and the soundtrack–which is excellent–competed with Phantom for most plays.
  • Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band): This is my favorite because we had absolutely no idea what the lyrics meant. In fact, I didn’t find out what they meant until I watched the Arrested Development episode where several of the characters learn what it’s about. I think my parents went to college with some of the members of the band, so they had a personal connection to the song (I don’t remember the rest of the album, just this song).

What about you? What are the albums or songs that your parents played the most when you were growing up?

9 thoughts on “What Musical Albums Did Your Parents Play When You Were Growing Up?”

  1. I remember the “oldies” station being my parents’ go to choice in the car, but not any specific album they would play just around the house. I’m sure there was something, but I was often reading a book somewhere, pretty much oblivious to the rest of the world around me as a kid.

    On a related note, seeing Phantom of the Opera in Broadway a few years ago was one of my favorite experiences—I’d attended a few different performances of it before then at the Fox in St. Louis, but there was just something extra special about sitting in a theater that was designed for that show. When there were effects with fire, I swear we could feel the warmth of the flames on stage because it was a fairly small theater compared to the Fox, and I’m not sure there was a bad seat in the house. My next “bucket list” musical performance to see is Hamilton (it’s supposed to be back in St Louis next year, so hopefully tickets can be acquired). 🙂

  2. In my home there we also had the Phantom of the Opera CD. Funny thing is, I recently was playing it for my own daughters who’d never heard of it before. It was fun to try to explain what was happening during each song.

    At Christmas, there was one song that always played: Come on Ring Those Bells by Evie Tornquist. “Come on ring those bells. Light the Christmas Tree. Jesus is the King. Born for you and me. Come on ring those bells, Everybody say, Jesus we remember it’s your birthday.”

  3. For me, The Kingston Trio, Anne Murray, and The Carpenters played often in the Pilkus household.

    As for that Arrested Development episode…classic!

  4. My dad also loved “oldies” music – the Four Seasons, the Tops & Temptations. I distinctly remember my mom playing the Beach Boys in the car. The only music I can ever remember hearing at home is Christmas music. My mom loves Christmas music. She used to play the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, lots of Christmas classics, and even the Chipmunks Christmas.

  5. Hi Jamey! First time here on your page and the Phantom jumped right out at me! My sister and I grew up listening to The Premier Collection: The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I loved the songs and still do, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many other children grew up with such awesomeness.

    My Mom also tended to play some background music when we were getting ready for school. Kenny G and Christmas tunes (when in season) were regulars. For trips in my Dad’s classic cars, Atlantic’s Hit Singles 1958-1977 was often played. This included The Beat Goes On, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Son of a Preacher Man. Yes, it probably is a good thing we didn’t fully understand all of the lyrics. Good times!

  6. We always had music on. The ones that come to mind are the Beatles “Red Album” and lots of stuff that was new when I was a kid, like Bob Dylan’s “Infidels”, Van Morrison’s “Avalon Sunset”, and James Taylor’s “Copperline”. And Xmas was all about Nat “King” Cole and Emmylou Harris.

  7. I don’t remember albums in particular, but I remember my mom liked to listen to Neil Diamond and my dad like Hank Williams Jr., and there was also a live Three Dog Night two record set that I really enjoyed.

    I’ve seen a touring production here in Minneapolis of Phantom and have tickets for one of Dear Evan Hanson, and saw the Hamilton production in Chicago. As much as I enjoyed them all, I would love to see just about any show on Broadway; I think that would be spectacular!

  8. I have a weird synergy with your experience.

    My mother was a recovering hippie, so all of her musical interests leaned toward Credence and the Beatles. However, when I was a kid, she didn’t own a lot of music albums. (I was born in ’75) Most of here collection consisted of EP’s of George Carlin, the occasional prog rock album and some early Robin Williams.

    My father on the other hand had an extensive record collection, but I was always fearful of touching it because he took the $#!t very serious.

    But here is where the synergy exists, and this is something I would not have been okay with admitting ten years ago.

    In 1991, Amy grant had several songs on VH1 and MTV from her ‘Heart in Motion’ album. ‘Baby Baby’ and ‘Every Heartbeat’ in particular were storming the charts, and every one of my friends was dating (‘going with’ to use the age-appropriate parlance) a girl that was in love with Amy Grant’s music.

    In a strange bit of serendipity, Amy Grant was scheduled to be at a Target store near where I lived to promote her Heart In Motion album. Unfortunately, it was during the day and I had class.

    My father, whose musical interests were NWA and Lionel Richie at the time, volunteered to take me out of school so that I could get Amy Grant’s autograph for my girlfriend. We arrived at the target just after they had set up the tables and barriers, and I was the second person in line.

    With no CD for Amy Grant to sign.

    Upon realizing the error, my father went into the store to buy a copy of the album as I became good friends with the gay gentleman in front of me in the line. His enthusiasm literally defined the experience for me, and we were pen-pals for several years afterwards. My dad made it back with 10 minutes to spare, but he deliberately went elsewhere to ensure that this was an experience of my own, and to this day I am grateful.

    Because at the end of that line was a 1991 version of Amy Grant, and I was a 16 year-old kid. So when I got to talk to Amy Grant (being the third person in line) and ask her to sign my CD, I was forced to recognize that despite my anti-establishment musical preferences (it was the early 90’s, so I was all into the ‘Grunge’ scene) I thought Amy grant was a beautiful, talented singer. And I cherish the memory of talking to her while she signed my CD (which I still have).

    Unfortunately, I was unaware that the ‘Heart In Motion’ album was a foray into pop music for Mrs Grant, because she was actually a Christian music artist.

    As an Atheist, I tend to shy away from Christian music.

    However, Amy Grant will forever hold a place in my heart as the undercover VH1 artist that got me to skip school in order to make my girlfriend happy. And also because she was gorgeous and her videos made me desperate to find a girlfriend like her.


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