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I’ve been a music lover my entire life. Literally: I received my first album, Mister Rogers’ Won’t You Be My Neighbor, at such a young age that my mother had written my original name, Paul McKiernan, on it in her careful script and then later had to cross out the last name and replace it with “Thurrott.” I was adopted---and legally changed my name---when I was three years old, so the album must predate that.

Helping matters, my stepfather, for all his other problems, was also a music lover, and I grew up surrounded by original albums from 60s bands like The Beatles, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones. I would sing along to music on the pop radio stations my parents preferred, and in 1979, when we spent a summer in Washington D.C., I bought an album for myself for the first time: The soundtrack to the first Star Wars movie. I also received Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits as a Christmas present that year.

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