Angel In My Life
The Jewels - Angel In My Life / "Hearts Can Be Broken" Imperial Records 5351 - May 1955
I didn't know anything about twelve-tone music then, but I liked the way it sounded. Since I didn't have any kind of formal training, it didn't make any difference to me if I was listening to Lightnin' Slim, or a vocal group called The Jewels (who had a song out then called Angel in My Life), or Webern, or Varèse, or Stravinsky. To me it was all good music.
There were a few teachers in school who really helped me out. Mr. Kavelman, the band instructor at Mission Bay High, gave me the answer to one of the burning musical questions of my youth. I came to him one day with a copy of Angel in My Life -- my favorite R&B tune at the time. I couldn't understand why I loved that record so much, but I figured that, since he was a music teacher, maybe he knew.
"Listen to this," I said, "and tell me why I like it so much."
"Parallel fourths," he concluded.
He was the first person to tell me about twelve-tone music. It's not that he was a fan of it, but he did mention the fact that it existed, and I am grateful to him for that. I never would have heard Webern if it hadn't been for him.
Zappa played the record on the 1968 KPPC, Pasadena Radio Show.