When I was in fourth grade, I was starting to have a burgeoning vinyl collection of some of the era’s greatest music. Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., Huey Lewis and the News’ Fore and Sports, Genesis’ Invisible Touch and Starship’s Knee Deep in the Hoopla (my first album!) were all part of it and when combined with some of the better albums that my parents had, it provided me with a nice little library for playing around the house and, before too long, making mixtapes to take with me.
It was neat to have all these options and especially once I started with the mixtapes, I really appreciated the variety of sounds I could hear and the mixing choices I could make. One day as I was about to put Steve Winwood’s Back in the High Life on the turntable, an idea came to me all of the sudden. It was an idea that seemed so revolutionary to me at the time that I can still remember it to this day. I suppose that it might have even been my first ever life goal: when I grew up, I wanted to have a really big music collection. It was just like that, at age nine or so, I had made up my mind about it and while so many other ideas, opinions and objectives have changed over the 25 years or so since then, that’s one thing that’s always remained constant.
I’m not sure if it was something about Steve Winwood in particular that triggered the thought, but listening to the album’s title track, it’s easy to think that Winwood’s earnestness and composition skills may have been an inspiration. Fortunately, the title track from his album has held up pretty well over the years… or at least better than the big hit from my first record (which I still love anyway!).
Back in the High Life Again – Steve Winwood