MY LIFE IN A SONG: Middle school carpool opened door to classic rock


BP Drawing by Sara Adatto, Logo by Sarah Feuer

MUSIC: There may be no live music at school, but that hasn’t kept students from listening, or being moved by what they hear.

‘My Life In A Song’ will be a recurring column about music in the lives of Shalhevet students.  We invite any student to write about a particular song that is meaningful to them in some way.  Submissions should be 500 words or less and may be submitted to editor Liad Machmali or emailed to [email protected].

I was a Taylor Swift-obsessed and Brandy Melville-wearing middle-schooler when I was first introduced to classic rock.

In seventh grade, my dad would take me and my brother Avi to school every morning. With each drive, he became more and more frustrated listening to the newest hits I played on the radio. One day in fall of 2016, he reached his breaking point. 

“That’s it,” Dad said as I jammed out to Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” for the millionth time.“I’m going to show you some real music.” 

After that, he dedicated each day in the following weeks to a different artist. At first, I tuned out most of the music, wishing I could instead ride with my friends whose parents let them play whatever they wanted. Old music was simply not for me. 

That is, until the artist of the day was Billy Joel. 

That morning was already off to a unique start. The typical cloudless Los Angeles skies turned grey and rain started to pour. Avi and I filed into my dad’s dark blue Toyota Camry and I slumped over in the passenger’s seat, already excited to see my friends and not paying attention to whatever music Dad was queuing up. 
As soon as “Movin ‘Out” started playing, however, my ears perked up. The saxophone blasting out of the speaker, combined with the guitar, piano, drums — I loved it immediately. Before long, I found myself bobbing my head along to the rhythm and realized the lyrics weren’t half bad. Scratch that, they were actually pretty great. My dad looked over and beamed. When the song ended, I asked him to play it again. And again after that. 

From that point moving forward,

 I opened myself up to the music my dad liked that I had always tuned out. I discovered many great bands and musicians that year and in the years following, and classic rock is now my favorite genre of music. 
Billy Joel’s “Movin ‘Out” not only inspired my current taste in music, its lyrics are also incredibly powerful for me. When I hear Joel sing “Mama if that’s movin’ up, Then I’m.. movin’ out,” I imagine myself moving out and making a life for myself in New York City, a place I’ve always wanted to live and where Billy Joel himself grew up. 

Five years have passed since that rainy morning drive, and now I’m the one insisting on playing classic rock in the car — occasionally songs even my dad doesn’t know.