London Calling

Melissa Weinstein

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When I was filling out the endless paperwork to go abroad next semester, I was met with multiple essay questions asking why I specifically wanted to study in London, England. I knew I should probably just say what they wanted to hear; something about London’s rich culture and fascinating history. Although these are factors that definitely influenced by decision, my reasons for wanting to study in the UK are a little different than others.

I decided to write about the music. The British bands and artists I grew up with have been a huge influence in how I write my own songs and my overall appreciation for musicians and the creative process. As my passion for music grew, I became enamored with the British Invasion as well as the idea of some day visiting the place where all of these great performers got their start.

It all started when my Dad would make various illegal LimeWire CD’s for me in my early elementary school years. He filled them with the latest Disney bops and hit songs that all the second graders were into, but occasionally he’d throw in a surprise.

“Dad, this is good, what’s it called?”

“Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones.”

More and more he would toss in a Who song, The Zombies, The Animals, The Clash, and even some Dave Clark Five. But the real moment I became obsessed with British culture was when he introduced me to the The Beatles. Come on, we’ve all had that Beatlemania phase at some point in our lives. After listening to all the albums, watching all the movies, and talking in a British accent until my parents wanted to kill me, I moved onto their solo careers. Seeing Paul McCartney in concert was a religious experience that fueled my love even more. Soon enough I began writing my own music in highschool with hooks that my Dad claimed had a British Influence.  

While I matured as a singer/songwriter, my music taste exploded as I began discovering English bands like The Smiths, The Kooks, The Wombats, Keane, The Vaccines, and let’s not forget how 104.5 Philadelphia’s Alternative would play the same Arctic Monkeys song every single day at the same time on the way to school until I wanted to smash the radio with a baseball bat.

Long story short, my essay about my sentimental love for British bands landed me a spot in the program I applied for. So while I’m taking advantage of all that London has to offer, you can most likely find me walking across Abbey Road, paying homage to the music that shaped who I am.