Kids Music Week: Sonic youth milestones

September 10, 2014

It's Kids Music Week on Colorado Public Radio. Check out our special programming throughout the week, and read up on the OpenAir staff's childhood musical memories.

Many of our biggest music names got their start on a musical life path in their formative years. Here’s a sampling of ages and the events that affected the artist:

Age 4

  • Mick Jagger meets Keith Richards, also age 4. (1947)
  • Jerry Garcia, attempting to chop wood, removes the top of his right middle finger. (1948)

Age 5

  • John Lennon is expelled from kindergarten. (1946)
  • Trent Reznor begins playing piano. (1970)

Age 6

  • Ray Charles loses his sight. (1937)

Age 7

  • Tammy Wynette is a cotton picker on her grandparents’ Mississippi farm. (1949)

Age 8

  • Duke Ellington begins piano lessons. (1907)
  • Hank Williams receives a guitar for his birthday. (1931)

Age 9

  • Paul Simon becomes interested in singing in 4th grade after hearing his classmate, Art Garfunkel. (1950)
  • Recovering from polio, Joni Mitchell enjoys singing for other patients in a children’s hospital. (1953)
  • Kurt Cobain takes up residence in his father’s trailer following his parents’ divorce. (1976)
photo: Elvis Presley as child
Elvis Presley
  • Elvis Presley takes 2nd place in the youth talent contest at a fair in Tupelo, Mississippi, singing “Old Shep.” (1945)

Age 11

  • Stevie Wonder signs with Motown. (1961)
  • Michael Jackson earns his first gold record for “I Want You Back.” (1969)
  • The bicycle Elvis Presley wants for his birthday is too expensive, so he receives a $12.95 guitar instead. (1946)
photo: Jack White as child(Photo: Eric Hanson / Harmony Books)
Jack White
  • Paul McCartney meets George Harrison, 11. (1954)
  • David Byrne is rejected from his middle school choir because they claimed he was "off-key and too withdrawn.” (1964)
  • Jack White appears uncredited as an altar boy in The Rosary Murders (1987).
  • Annie Clark (St. Vincent) begins playing guitar. (1994)

Age 13

  • Frankie Lymon records “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” with the Teenagers. (1955)
  • Judy Garland signs a $100 a week contract with MGM. (1935)

Age 14

  • Hank Williams wins  a talent contest in Montgomery, Alabama. (1937)
  • Ahmet Ertegun (future founder of Atlantic Records) receives a record cutting machine from his mother. (1937)
  • Aretha Franklin makes her first record. (1956)
  • Paul McCartney receives a trumpet for his birthday.  He trades it for a guitar. (1956)

Age 15

  • Billie Holliday sings in a bar in New York. (1930)
  • Jerry Garcia picks up his first guitar. (1957)
  • Jimi Hendrix does the same. (1958)
  • Ozzy Osbourne leaves school. ”When I left school I wanted to become a plumber. When I heard the Beatles I wanted to become a Beatle.” (1963)

Age 16

  • John Lennon meets Paul McCartney. (1956)
  • Alex Chilton sings lead for the Boxtops on their #1 hit “The Letter” (1967)
  • Lorde records “Royals.” (2013)

Our lives have changed ...

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