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Born to Rock

Divorce Brings Stronger Devotion To Music

In 1962, Stanley and Sheila Dwight divorced after many years of estrangement, or separation. The divorce meant that Reggie and his mother had to move from his childhood home on Potter Street to an apartment building called Frome Court. This period of Reggie's life was a tough one. He had to adjust to a new home and his mother's new boyfriend. Plus, the move meant he had to leave his friends behind. Though his parents' divorce was not a huge surprise to Reggie, it still made him feel upset, angry, and frustrated. His whole life was uprooted and changed, and although Reggie had known for a long time that his parents were unhappy, he still mourned the loss of their marriage.

Reggie had never been a social butterfly, but now most of his time was spent alone in his bedroom listening to records. He was in love with the Beatles, a four-man band from Liverpool, England. The Beatles were made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, and Reggie would listen to their music endlessly in awe of their magnificent rock and roll beats. Reggie also liked a singer named Dusty Springfield—a deep-voiced gospel-like singer. Like Liberace, she was known for her flashy clothes and eyes that were always heavily made up with black eyeliner. Pictures of Dusty Springfield covered his bedroom walls like wallpaper.

As Reggie began to heal from his parents' divorce, he became a little more social at school than he had been before, at least musically. Two of Reggie's greatest traits in the eyes of his classmates were his sense of humor and his great ability to mimic. He could mimic anyone's voice, whether female or male, at any octave (the highness or lowness of a person's voice). Reggie also began to give more lively concerts in the assembly hall of the school. Much to his peers' amazement, Reggie could play the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, a popular musician at the time. While playing, he would suddenly jump straight up in the middle of the song, kick back the piano bench, and dance around. His classmates loved it, and they would cheer him on as he entertained them with “Great Balls of Fire” (one of Lewis's hits) at school concerts, socials, and dances.

Additional topics

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