Sixty Years Of Hanson Music
In May 2000, a Saturday morning children’s show on UK TV changed my life forever.
Hanson were promoting This Time Around and something about the intensity of their conversation, the humour and their musical intelligence stopped me in my tracks and whispered, “ This is for you”.
Music had always surrounded me. The Beatles, The Monkees, Motown and Ska, were followed by Marc Bolan and Joni Mitchell.
In the 80’s Cyndi Lauper became a voice of reason yelling that I just wanted to have fun and in the fun find the music that was mine. I had a brief affair with Mozart in 85 after watching the movie Amadeus but nothing contemporary spoke to me until Hanson, all the way from Oklahoma, came like a wind and cleared the fog.
I have no memory of MMMBop, but I do remember Where’s The Love and then it was all Smile and If Only and This Time Around, which became the album played on repeat – day and night.
I learnt every word, phrase and breathing space in that album and to date it remains my favourite.
That summer was about copying song lyrics on to pieces of paper and following a tour around the USA on an enormous map. It was my summer of love.
Finding pictures of Hanson, piecing together their story and discovering the unreleased music were my new hobby. The dust piled up and the rust got rustier but I got younger and younger and the music sounded clearer and kinder.
Hanson.net, the website that their label didn’t really see the point of, became a second home, introducing me to things and people who shaped me as a fan and helped me to accept myself as one. It was strange at 43 to fall totally in love with something so youthful and promising, but I wasn’t alone in this rebirth and many others can attest to the same.
Patient waiting and mostly grateful acceptance of the new music marked my journey through the next 4 Hanson albums.
I am an uncritical fan of Hanson’s music. I deliberately entered into a relationship with artists whose intentions I trust. Their art is my passion and whether a song is to my taste or not, I treasure it as a part of their story, a story that I have chosen to care about.
It is like being married – there is a richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to death us do part-ness about it.
With each new album came a tour. The crazy world of Hanson shows with all the frenzy, anxiety and exhaustion came as a delicious shock. The long queues and hours of waiting hardly mattered once inside a venue where the reward was Hanson live, just feet away and 2 hours of electric energy.
Long before Hanson made beer they made batteries. Plug your spirit in at a Hanson show and run on high voltage.
Hanson’s fan community gave me life long friendships and reasons to travel.
Hanson inspired me to take risks and enjoy life without shame.
Their own unhindered determination to do what comes from the heart has given strength to many fans looking for a nudge in an unexpected or uncomfortable direction.
For much of my life I have been a person of phases … Mozart was a phase, geology was a phase and I worried that Hanson would be a phase. What happens if this exhilarating love of a certain sound and way of living passes? I count myself very blessed that with each album and each chapter of Hanson’s story, something intangible, something very beautiful which is always just out of reach has kept me going on and on.
On March 14 this year I celebrated my 60th birthday and I realized that I have loved Hanson music my whole life.
In their music I hear the rock and roll of the 50’s, the creativity of the 60’s, the ambition of the 70’s and the audacity of the 80’s. Their lyrics resonate with every stage of my life and change of circumstances.
Maybe it is because their music feels timeless and without conceit. Whatever it is, their songs are as much the great tunes of my youth, as they are contemporary.
Yesterday Tulsa World published an interview with Hanson called Full Circle: Special Hop Jam brewing in Hanson’s 25th anniversary year
In this interview Hanson said,
“Here we are in the same neighbourhood literally a block and a half — actually not even a block and a half — from where we did our first show 25 years ago,” Isaac said. But this time, the crowd will be in the thousands. “So here you are, you are looking out at a great crowd of people who are there to have a good time, and you are able to be the person giving them that good time and giving them encouragement and so on,” Isaac said. “It feels extra cool to have that full-circle element of 25 years ago there were 10 people. And, now, look at this.”
Just as Hanson have come full circle, so Hanson brought me full circle. Over seventeen years, their music and their story have brought me from a simple love of music to a greater one, a love and thankfulness of all that music can do, the places that music can go and the adventure that music can be.
Whatever I was born to do or be and wherever I was born to go, I am very grateful to have walked this earth at the same time that Hanson have made their wonderful music.
Such a beautiful, poignant and eloquently-written piece Chris. I adore hearing about the ‘Hanson experience’ from other perspectives. It really makes you think, and in some cases, encourages those hairs on the back of the neck to stand on end. I feel like I can’t remember not having them in my life, so it really screams volumes when those who discovered them at a different stage in their life speak of the revelation 🙂 Much love, Niki xx