April 15, 2020 by Harriet Kaplan

In our ongoing series on what we’re all doing while on Lockdown, we’ve asked our writer’s, musician friends, and others in the entertainment world what they’re doing to keep themselves busy. We asked them if there are any movies, NetFlix series, bands or albums they like to listen to that they could recommend. We also asked if they would be interested in something a little more personal. Like telling us what life was like for them in high school, and what their Top-10 songs were back in the day.
We posed this question to Harriet Kaplan. She went with the Top-10 list and her high school days; this is her story.
“I’m a Native Californian and grew up in Los Angeles. I was born in Downtown L.A. and I was an only child. I lived with my parents in Culver City. Later after my parents divorced, I moved to live with my grandparents in Florida until after I graduated 6th grade. After that, I came back to California. I went to live with my dad and stepmother where they bought a house in the San Fernando Valley. Not long after, I moved in with my mom into her apartment. That was during the latter part of junior high and throughout high school. I was strange kid… I used to dress up in silly hats and sing off key in my grandparents backyard and in the shower. They thought it was hysterical and didn’t know why I did it. I guess I liked to play pretend a lot. It was a form of escape looking back on all that was going on with my parents divorce.”

I liked 70’s rock and pop on AM radio. Soul and R&B sounded great on my transistor radio. It was always by my side or in my bed like a good friend or teddy bear comforting me at night to sometimes drown out the yelling and screaming. Radio was my savior and refuge. I’m sure many of us that went through a tough period like this can relate.”

“I can’t really say either parent had a huge influence on my musical tastes; other than they knew exactly what they liked and why. It was definitely a reflection of the time they grew up in, but kind of safe choices. I respected and liked some of the artists. Dad loved Dion and The Belmonts, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and an assortment of 50’s music. “

Mom was a huge Barbra Streisand fan and devotee of Judy Garland. She told me she was pregnant with me when she went to see her concert. When she passed away, my father who was still alive at the time and I decided to put the phrase “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on her headstone. She also liked show tunes from Broadway musicals and we had a number of them at home. “

I know without a doubt they didn’t like the music I bought because some of it was too loud and rude for their ears. I remember when I bought Back In Black by AC/DC and my mother cringed when I cranked it up and she screamed for me to turn it down!

When Prince came out, my father couldn’t understand why l liked his music and thought he was weird. Personally, I think it was his fluid sexuality that was scary to him. Though he liked The Village People because of the military imagery and was shocked later when I told him they were gay. He said it made sense because at their concert during a sing-a-long they asked the audience to wave their hands in the air if they were straight of gay and divided up the crowd for the chorus. He kind of laughed thinking back on the show he went to with my stepmother and he continued to be a fan to my relief. We went to a Jerry Lee Lewis concert at the Palomino and had a great time in the late 80s or early 90s. He liked Michael Bolton and we saw him and Celine Dion play at the Greek Theater. My fondest memory was of using seeing Dread Zeppelin play and him at the front of the stage shaking his fist in excitement with the crowd. He loved the Elvis concept that’s why he agreed to go. Dad didn’t really know who Led Zeppelin was.” 

“Like most teens, back in high school I was insecure… I was an insecure kid and teenager that wanted to be liked. My dream in high school was to be popular, but knew kids in all different groups on campus… but I had a very small group of close friends. I became a big disco fan around 17 and that was my outlet to find my acceptance and identity because I was a good dancer and got complimented and attention for it. I got heavily into going out to clubs that played it with my best friend at the time. It was freeing and liberating for me. Maybe those years on jumping on my dad’s couch watching Soul Train paid off!”

During high school, I was probably listening to what a lot of people my age were at the time. My tastes were slowly changing because of adventurous friends and reading music magazines. I was discovering bands and artists I either knew very little about or not at all, and I found that very interesting. One friend in particular introduced me to Ted Nugent before he took off on the West Coast and Alice Cooper. It was the first and last time for many years I smoked a joint and it was because of her. I remember going to a head shop with her in North Hollywood which was actually up the street near Licorice Pizza!  I also went regularly to Music Plus in Van Nuys and Studio City and Big Ben’s in Van Nuys. I listened to KMET and KLOS.” 

Anyway, here is a list of my Top-10 favorite songs in high school in no particular order. “


Shoot to Thrill | AC/DC 

The Logical Song | Supertramp  

Mystery Achievement | The Pretenders

Rock Lobster | The B-52’s

Burn This Disco Down | Michael Jackson

Boogie Wonderland | Earth, Wind & Fire 

Those Shoes | The Eagles

Good Times | Chic

Don’t Do Me Like That | Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Rappers Delight | The Sugarhill Gang

Look for more stories coming from our writers!
Now I believe in what you say is the undisputed truth, but I have to have things my own way to keep me in my youth

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