The Bells' Toll on Rock 'n' Roll:
Sweet Childhood O' Ours
Posted Nov. 17, 2006

“The years disappeared; much has gone by since then” — Stevie Nicks

A world of lyrics composed by songsters and songstresses surrounds us; a simple explanation for the constant bombardment of broken phrases and tunes floating in our heads.

But there is a world inside “ our world,” reminding us of songs for every occasion — on the road, on our pillows, on the dance floor, on our laptop, and perpetually on our minds.

From days in the cradle, when only Stevie Nicks’ “ Beautiful Child” could calm us down to devilish high school years devoted to heavy metal, thick eyeliner and leather pants, our “ Momsy” has served as a hub of influence.            

Her rock ‘n’ roll tendencies, hippie spirit and gypsy style will forever impact our perspectives on life, music and everything in-between.

Though our upbringing remains a jumbled mix of long-ago adventures involving Barbie and Ken, Kerplunk, Skip-it, Crayolas and our cherry-red cassette companions, an eclectic blend of songs still cause moments of déja vu.

“These Dreams” — Heart

We fell in love when we were only five.

Hot-pink lipstick, a mass of Aquanet curls teased to perfection, skintight blue jeans and a leopard-print blouse paired with an oversized belt and heels.

It was 1990 and our mom adored Rod Stewart and Axl Rose.

Heart’s self-titled release became a memorable first cassette, played in those cherry-red cassette players found stuffed in our glittery Christmas stockings.

We listened to “ These Dreams” over and over again, routinely kissed a Rod Stewart poster that hung behind our bedroom door before climbing into white wrought iron bunk beds every night and built castles in the sky, envisioning an eternity with members of New Kids on the Block – our first and only boy band fixation.

“ These Dreams” spawned the monster that became our own musical mania, but it was not until much later, when “ tall enough to reach for the stars,” that we fully understood the power behind the Wilson sisters and many other rock ‘n’ roll ghosts.

Thank you for introducing us to our one true love.

“Hold On” — Wilson Phillips

Deep burgundy lipstick, long black glossy hair, holey 501’s over black leggings, a man’s tweed blazer, combat boots and a velvet button-up vest.

It was 1993 and our mom wore a Swan Song necklace like a cross around her neck and rings on every finger, collecting crystals and repeatedly playing Fleetwood Mac in her Sony Walkman.

She attempted to rescue us from the Wilson Phillips and Paula Abdul by reintroducing us to one of the greatest female voices in rock ‘n’ roll, but we had yet to stomp out pop-culture trends, losing ourselves in hand-me-down cassettes.

Choreographing a talent show routine to Abdul’s “ Cold-Hearted” which never quite made it to the main stage; we lived for MTV and hardly cared who Stevie Nicks was.

Thank you for “ Tusk” and bearing with us.

“Save Tonight” — Eagle Eye Cherry

Rediscovering music in our mom’s maroon Mercury Marquee, a car that signified a new beginning, we sang along to radio staples and received a stereo and four CDs for our 14th birthday in 1998; thereafter collecting records like tomorrow was coming to take us away.

“ Save Tonight” was an eighth-grade anthem; a gateway to bands such as the Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20 and the Goo Goo Dolls, all of which were welcomed into our early CD pool.

Not yet ready to slide into the past, we became active members of the alternative scene, sharing promising findings with our mom as a passion developed for anything absorbed over the airwaves.

Thank you for starting over.

“The Rover” — Led Zeppelin

Joining hands as Robert Plant advised in “ The Rover,” we became immersed in the music of our mom’s wild-child youth in high school, while she trekked into hip-hop – a path our little brothers would follow.

Falling back in time during our junior year, we consumed classic rock, setting our sound standards at Led Zeppelin.

Hours were spent listening to Arrow 93.1 and KLOS, as we reacquainted ourselves with the musical past thanks to another large collection of hand-me-down cassettes. Whatever path we chose, our mom continued to feed our souls, buying us old band t-shirts and posters to pin-up on our walls and finally convincing us to listen to her Stevie.

Thank you for getting us rockin’; then telling us which way to go.

“Know it All” — Angela McCluskey

The years disappeared; much has gone by since then.

Wearing a pink long-sleeve top, jeans and tennis shoes, our mom tells us we are just like the old her, shooting off to a yard sale with one hand on the steering wheel and the other swinging back in fourth through the air in feigned spanking motion, as she mouths the lyrics to Akon’s “ Smack That.”

Her lipstick shade and hairstyle remain the same, but we are now divided in musical preference, rarely convincing her to explore new tuneful territory or to return to rock’s roots.

But of course we can always reach a listening agreement when it comes to Stevie Nicks and newbie sound-alike Angela McCluskey, whose smoldering vocals have been deemed repeat-worthy along with our mom’s latest obsession – Beyonce’s “ Irreplaceable.”

Luckily, we never grow weary of the same songs every night.

With love, we dedicate this column to you, Mom. Whatever road we choose, we know you will be right behind us, win or lose.

Jessica Bell, a senior communications major, is web editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at

Kady Bell, a senior communications major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at

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