Thursday, July 2, 2009

Songs: an aural time machine

I was just on Facebook and read a note posted by Angie Bailey aka Eclectic Catladyland. She listed fifteen songs that have been influential or conjures up a specific memory in her life. There are numerous songs that come on the radio or pop up on my iPod and I am immediately transported. It's like stepping into a time machine.

So, without further ado, I give you myTEN in no particular order. Like Angie, I am listing off the top of my head as they come to me. In addition, I provide explanation. I must warn you that many songs are otherwise shittastic. Forgiveness isn't necessary.

1. True ~ Spandau Ballet: I had a huge crush on a guy my first and second semester at Kankakee Community College. Whenever I saw him outside of school, TRUE seemed to be playing on the radio. I never did connect with him. He was the kind of guy who was awesome to look at but rather vapid.

2. Brand New Key ~ Melanie: I was a just a little kid and actually thought the song was about roller skates and bicycles. I can picture myself putting on the roller skates that attached to your shoes. In view, my friend Renee and I making our way over the bumpy sidewalks of our Riverview neighborhood singing this song and laughing.

3. American Pie ~ Don McLean: Making the sign of the cross while they sang the words, "father, son and the holy ghost." I had no idea at the time they were paying homage to Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valenz. The song was long and I knew every word. I had no clue what a levy was nor why it was dry.

4. I'll Be There ~ Jackson 5: I've already covered this twice on my blog. Huge influence.

5. I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing ~ New Seekers: My sister or brother bought me a multi-language album that featured this song. Coke-A-Cola used a version of it for advertising. I always thought I was cool because I sang it without the Coke verse. OK, maybe not cool but I knew more lyrics than the 30 second commercial spot offered.

6. Tubular Bells ~ Mike Oldfield: F'ing song scared the bejeebus out of me! I knew it was from the Exorcist. My sister Maureen had seen the movie and I heard her telling my mom about the movie. Having been raised on ghost stories and sightings in our own house, I doubt I slept for about 2 years of my life while that song was on WLS and WCFL AM radio.

7. The Lord's Prayer ~ Sister Janet Mead: Ironically, this song would be played right after TUBULAR BELLS on the aforementioned stations. Talk about a dose of freakiness right before bed. My sister Mary had to have the radio on. We shared a room. I hardly slept. Although, this did give me comfort and I learned the prayer. Well, I learned it as long as I was singing it.

8. I'm So Excited ~ The Pointer Sisters: I made out for the first time ever to this song. My friend Suzette and I were with three guys we met at Olivet Nazarene University (College back in the '80s). We were roadloading (boozing it up behind a barn in the country since it was verboten for the guys -- totally stupid and I apologize for being a dumbass.). The boy with whom I'd liplock was originally riding shotgun. I was sitting behind the driver, Suzette in the middle and another dude to her right. For whatever reason, musical seats occurred. My position never changed, but Make-out boy would find his way next to me. The song came on and suddenly we were alone and voila! Make out city to one of the lamest songs ever conceived.

9. Southern Cross ~ Crosby, Stills and Nash: In high school, I was in the Celebration Singers ... a show choir. Think GLEE (the new FOX television show). We'd traveled to Wisconsin for a competition and the hosting school performed this song a capella. The standing room only gymnasium observers were on the edges of their seats. The performance was amazing. I'll never forget it nor the emotions it evoked that night.

10. Rock Lobster ~ B-52s: Again, high school. Hello Dolly!The combined efforts of Westview and Eastridge High Schools music departments (cross town rival high schools). Make up and hair were done. Elaborate up do's executed. Thrashing on the floor making like lobsters. Not good. This is when I learned the joys of a little party band out of Athens, Ga.


  1. I love that you explain the reasons why these songs are important to you. A song can completely take you back to smells, feelings, and complete vibes. When I read your post, I went there with you. This is good! I think I might want to re-do mine w/explanation.

  2. I bet Sean Daly would be thrilled to hear the story behind your first song on here. Actually, it's kinda sad that now I think of Sean Daly whenever someone mentions that song.

    Also, since seeing Boogie Nights, Melanie's Brand New Key will remind me of Heather Graham as Roller Girl.

    Oh, and for shame, Marissa. For SHAME! America didn't sing American Pie. Don McLean sang it. America is the band best known for the song A Horse With No Name.

    And yeah, I have to agree, the Pointer Sisters does make for a pretty terrible make out song.

  3. Holy egg on my face, Batman!! I can't believe I f'd that up, Nathan. EEK! What a dipshit. I knew that. I'm not that moronic. In my defense I was teetering with "Horse with No Name" because I knew it from start to finish and never knew what the frak it was about.

  4. I've always wished my mind worked the way yours does, evoking memories and thoughts based on songs played. My friends all do it .. my family does it ... but music is *just* music to me. I love to hear it, and certain types of music can keep me in certain moods or bring on the good moods. I tend to like music that others do not, and that doesn't bother me. I've always been a bit of an antisocial loner anyway. ;)


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