We grew up on Peanuts. Parked ourselves in front of the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas TV specials every fall, pawed through every book, and clung to our stuffed Snoopy dolls as tightly as Linus clutched his blanket. And it’s a testament to Charles Schulz’s subtle genius that re-reading the best of his comic strips as an adult reveals a depth and melancholy that we can relate to as grown-folk as much or even more so than we could as kids. And for those of us whose lives have been transformed and shaped by music, Schulz offers even more.
A serious music lover himself (the small slice of his record collection on display at the Charles M. Schulz Museum includes LPs by artists ranging from Brahms to Buck Owens), classical and jazz are integral to the stories of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and, of course, Schroeder, for whom Schulz made sure that the notes drawn coming out of his toy piano were accurate to the music of Beethoven and the other masters he worshipped.
Through the Peanuts TV specials, we were introduced to the music of Vince Guaraldi and the joy of jazz itself, making it almost impossible to even think about Peanuts without hearing “Linus & Lucy” playing in your head. But it was the comic strips themselves which so deeply portrayed the power of music to lift, comfort, inspire, and console. You can find panels from them printed on shirts, stickers, and even a Record Store Day special edition turntable. These simple panels perfectly express our deepest connections to music, our love for sharing it, and our complete bafflement at those who don’t quite get it. We might not have felt this way about music when we first came across these comics, but they certainly sum up the obsession we grew in to later in life.