The first record I remember getting my hands on in a real way was Paul Simon’s Graceland. I had been listening to music for years, of course, but this record was different. I sought it out on my own, mowed my neighbor’s yard to get money for it and begged my mom to take me to the cd store to buy it.
Backing up – I lived in Okinawa, Japan at the time and one day while shopping for school clothes I heard “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes” for the first time blasting from a cheap boom box behind the register at a counterfeit clothing shop on the infamous gate 2 street. The shops were all the same. An organized chaos of musty smelling fake Quicksilver T-shirts missing the “i” in “silver” or phony Hugo Boss sweatshirts made in Korea with Boss monogrammed on them twelve times with no mention of Hugo. I digress, the sounds pulled me in right away. I leaned in through the door to hear more. A chorus of Africans, harmonies, voices that fit together so seamlessly they sounded like a gentle army. I asked the shop keeper what he was listening to and through his thick accent, possibly Japanese, but more likely to be a transplant from Thailand, he said Paul Simon.
I’m almost sure I was wearing a completely blank expression because a) I had no idea who Paul Simon was and b) He went on to say “you know, Simon and Garfunkel? Mrs Robinson?” Boom! A lightbulb went on. I loved that song, my mom listened to Simon and Garfunkel on her record player. I thought, “I have to get this album. I want it. I need it!”