In the Thread about the Meat Loaf album Bat Out of Hell, adaher says:
Note: The “2nd album” adaher is referring to is the second Bat Out of Hell album, the one from 1993, not the second overall Meat Loaf album.
Now, I am just a little bit younger than adaher but by the time Bat Out of Hell II came out in '93 I had already known Bat Out of Hell for years. This was because it was a favorite of my babysitters when I was very young. I almost knew the entire album by memory without even owning a copy of my own, then I bought my own copy on cassette probably around 8th or 9th grade.
My babysitters were great about getting me into the pop culture they loved (particularly music). I’ve come to realize over the years, though, that I was particularly lucky in this respect. Maybe babysitter pop culture sharing isn’t rare, but it seems it certainly isn’t to be taken for granted.
Lots of people get turned onto music/whatever from a cool older sibling but (typically) this gives you a 3 to 5 year extension at best. Exposure from a babysitter can give a 10 to 12 year extension. Yes, some people have decade+ older siblings but it’s not typical.
I was born in 1975 but I was already familiar with Elvis Costello’s full catalog (up to that point) by the time I was starting middle school. This, thanks to a cool babysitter. He’s still one of my all time favorites. The same babysitter got me into Tom Petty. Tom Petty has actually been my younger brother’s favorite artist ever since my younger brother was about 10 years old. Thanks, babysitter!
My babysitters loved Jackson Browne, Pat Benatar, Blondie, The Talking Heads. When I first started listening to “Weird Al” Yankovic, my babysitters made sure I knew all the original songs that “Weird Al” was parodying. The Knack became one of my favorite bands when I was in middle school- which was about the halfway point in the 10 year gap between their 3rd and 4th albums. When Run-DMC released their version of “Walk This Way”, a babysitter brought over her Aerosmith albums.
I had two babysitters who didn’t like each other. The cooler one of the two described the other using song lyrics “Everybody loves you so much girl, I don’t know how you stand the strain” and “I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, You’d know what a drag it is to see you.”
Before I was old enough to stay up for Saturday Night Live I already felt like I knew the show just from listening to my babysitters describe the sketches and recite the dialog. I could perform full Eddie Murphy Buckwheat and Gumby sketches without ever having seen Murphy’s performance. In the mid-80s our local video store started carrying SNL “Best of” compilation tapes for the original cast. Our babysitters made sure we watched the Best of John Belushi, Steve Martin, Gilda Radner.
Also thanks to the local video store, babysitters showed me Young Frankenstein, The Blues Brothers, Meatballs, and Stripes.
When I was 11 years old, thanks to a babysitter, I saw Monty Python’s The Holy Grail for the first time …and it pretty much changed my life. Soon enough, I figured out that PBS was playing episodes of Flying Circus and my favorite babysitter bought me Monthy Python’s The Final Rip Off compilation double album for a birthday or Christmas maybe.
So, anyone else lucky enough to have babysitters who were good stewards for pop culture?