My brother Bill and I got seriously into rock music about the same time. I was in junior high and he was in his early high school years. We shared tunes and pushed each other deeper.
Then one weekend I took the bus down to Cambridge from our home in Woburn, Massachusetts with my buddy Bryan. We had begun enjoying racing bicycles, and The Bicycle Exchange was known for its selection of superlight Italian imports. I learned that Campagnolo was not pronounced “cam-pag-no-lo” but rather “cohm-pan-yo-lo”.
So they had deeply intriguing music playing over some warm walnut-veneered speakers. I heard Bach, followed by bluegrass, followed by Jimi Hendrix, followed by reggae. Anything was game. I asked the bearded shop expert the radio station’s name. “WBCN,” he said.
When I got home, WBCN became my staple. I was stretched over and over but learned that music was far richer and deeper than what the mainstream stations played. I still returned to those highways from time to time to get a pop fix. But I was changed forever.
Epilogue: WBCN is now one of those mainstream music outlets. The Bicycle Exchange is still operating, but they outgrew their little shop at 3 Bow Street. They’re now at 2067 Mass Ave. And my brother and I still share music.