When I was younger, I knew all the words to all the songs on the radio. If I turn on the 70's station today, I can still sing all those songs, and remember the lyrics. I can't tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can sing, "Afternoon Delight" from start to finish.
I think I paid more attention back then. The songs meant the world to me and they shaped me. They sang to me. They spoke about my heartache, love at age 12, and being on top of the world!
I listened to The Carpenters over and over. I tried to sing like Karen Carpenter, and learned a lot of musical phrasing from her. Her sad songs were so darn sad. I still feel sad when I hear her sing.
I listened to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road over and over again, and didn't understand half of what I heard. (Pinball Wizard? Really?) I still don't understand most of it, but boy those are some good songs.
What albums did you have as a kid?