There’s something special about red heads.
Three weeks ago, I was at the hairdresser, and the woman in the chair next to me had red hair. She was also reading a book about the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world, from which she shared a few interesting facts.
Such as how, out of all the hair colours, redheaded people apparently have the smallest number of hairs on their head, how redheads can synthesize their own Vitamin D, how they’re harder to anesthetize, or how they apparently never go grey. Rather, their hair just starts growing in paler from the roots once they become men and women of a certain age.
That same weekend, I was scrolling through my iTunes music on my computer and made an interesting discovery. During three key periods of my life, one of my favourite recording artists—if not the favourite—was a woman with red hair.
I’m not really sure why this is, other than a reiteration of my opening assertion: there is something about redheads.
The woman at the hair salon also shared from her book that redheads are often portrayed as bullies (“Kimberly from Melrose Place!” was her stylist’s excited response, immediately dating all of us in the process), although they too are often victims of bullying, and that red-haired women in particular are frequently considered to be sexy, femme fatale types.
But the woman didn’t mention anything about redheaded musical appeal. Maybe she hadn’t gotten to that part in the book yet, or perhaps there is no correlation at all. Regardless, the pattern is inescapable in my music collection and history, which includes the following favourites:
Even without recognizing in my formative years what a subversive and intersectional figure Cyndi Lauper was, I was a huge fan of her music from at least ages 8-12, possibly longer, and owned her first three albums (She’s So Unusual, True Colours, and A Night To Remember) on cassette tape.
It was probably due to the influence of my older cousin who lived with my family that I was first introduced to her music. Regardless, a have very clear memories of receiving the first two of those three cassettes as Christmas presents, and then saving up my allowance to purchase the third one on my own.
I listened to them all repeatedly, singing along with my favourite songs while playing or drawing, and trying for a very very long time to be able to hold the end note of the song “All Through the Night” for its full 20 beats.
Favourite song: It’s surprisingly difficult to choose from among the three albums. Lauper had many great songs, both originals and covers.
However, I really did sing “All Through the Night” many many times in my youth, and still love it to this day.
It was this song that inspired me to first purchase She’s So Unusual on iTunes, followed by the other two of those cassettes that I used to own.
BONUS: A 2005 acoustic version of “Time After Time” performed with Canadian singer-songwriter icon Sarah McLachlan.
Tiffany was hugely popular when I was in elementary school.
As a young artist herself, if a bit older than my adoring 10-year-old self, I loved singing along to her debut self-titled cassette tape, even without understanding how relationship-heavy all her song lyrics and song meanings were.
Her breakout hit song was “I Think We’re Alone Now”, the video for which featured her performing at a shopping mall.
While this song wasn’t a favourite of mine, I was enthralled by the fact that she’d performed at a mall and longed for her to miraculously appear whenever I visited my own local shopping center with my mother.
Favourite song: Both then and now, hands down, the song “Kid on a Corner”.
I’m not sure if I understood it’s meaning then, but I know now that it’s about her refusal to continue in a relationship with a partner who didn’t treat her with the proper respect.
Which is a great message for anyone of any age.
(To be continued…)
What interesting patterns do you notice within your music collection?