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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, November 26, 2004

Music and memories

We had a lovely visit with the family, and came back home from down south this afternoon. Suitcases are unpacked and put away, the laundry is started, and we are settled in for the evening-- all except the teenager, who is spending the night at her girlfriend's house, and so will likely be going gangbusters into the wee hours.

The drive home today was thankfully unadventurous, unlike the trip down on Wed. We had our first real winter weather that day-- snow, sleet, gusting winds. The snow started to stick just after lunch; a lovely sight to behold from the comfort of our home, but not nearly as nice to experience behind the wheel. I took the first driving shift, while the rest of my family immediately dropped into slumber.

The good news is that I stumbled across an oldies station that kept me unexpectedly good company that evening. For whatever reason, they played a whole string of songs in a row, that kept that part of my brain not busy driving occupied in serious memory retrieval. Not that they were all what I might now class as particular favorites; but goodness, did they carry a lot of associations. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but music, for me, goes further-- it touches all five senses as well.

The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville," for example, sent me back to sitting crosslegged on the braided rug in my parents' family room, watching TV while I ate lunch (usually a PBJ on Wonder Bread, and a glass of milk).

Now, it's not unusual to have some song crop up that connects the synapses in my brain to something in my history. The amazing thing was that there were a whole slew of them, right in a row (and the fact that I know both title and artist to these tunes, off the top of my head, is something-- as those who know me will tell you that I am among the world's worst at remembering those details). In addition to the above, the playlist included
  • Cat Stevens Al Stewart, Year of the Cat
  • The Commodores, Easy Like Sunday Morning
  • The Eagles, Seven Bridges Road
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Turn to Stone
  • Beach Boys, Surfer Girl
  • Jim Croce, I Got a Name
There were a few others, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

Now, some of those associations are more pleasant than others, of course-- and some stories I'm more (or less) likely to share. But they all connected with me, in one way or another-- and made good company as I steered down the road.

So here's the natural question: what song(s) trigger memories for you? And if you care to share the connection, feel free.


Blogger AKMA said...

I think The Year of the Cat was Al Stewart. I wish I didn’t know that.

November 26, 2004 10:33 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

You're right, of course; thanks! Actually, getting the song title right is more than I usually manage, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that I've confused the artist.

November 27, 2004 7:44 AM  

Blogger Beth said...

The two that pop immediately to mind are the only two that have ever been "our song" with anyone: Catie Curtis' "Elizabeth", which was Biz's and my song (go figure... Elizabeth & Elizabeth) and Dido's "White Flag", which thankfully was not from a romantic relationship - it's Rory & Ryan's and my song, because it seemed that every time we got in the car last year that song would comeon the radio. It's fun to have an "our song" that doesn't depend on a romantic relationship lasting. :)

November 27, 2004 12:26 PM  

Blogger AKMA said...

Memories. Well, most prominently, the “Born to Run” will always remind me of Margaret’s and my trip to see Springsteen in Richfield, Ohio. I have intense, poignant adolescent memories of listening to songs from All Things Must Pass — “What Is Life,” “Isn’t It a Pity,” “My Sweet Lord.” The Furs, especially Talk Talk Talk, remind me of when I was living in Pittsburgh while Margaret finished her undergraduate degree. The congregation sang Lauda Anima as the processional hymn at our wedding.

I’m trying to think of a single particular song that would be “ours,” but we listen to and love so many that restricting it to one would entail an artificial constriction.

November 27, 2004 3:13 PM  

Blogger Dawgdays said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 28, 2004 10:37 PM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

Oh man . . . where to start? Styx "Come Sail Away," "Babe" and "Grand Illusion" are big. Billy Joel's "My Life." Boston "More Than a Feeling." Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven." Queen "Thank you for Being a Friend." Rod Stewart "Forever Young."

And, oh yeah, "Seven Bridges Road" :)

November 29, 2004 11:21 AM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

Oh, and I forgot Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."

November 29, 2004 11:23 AM  

Blogger Dawgdays said...

Memories light the corners of my mind....I don't think I'll find a radio station that plays all of these.

Early: Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel, Joy To The World - Three Dog Night, Levon - Elton John, War - Edwin Starr.

High school - Roberta Flack, Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, Tower of Power and Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding. The last was my best friend's favorite. He died in a motorcycle accident.

After high school - You're Still A Young Man and So Very Hard To Go - Tower of Power, Tiny Dancer - Elton John, She's Got A Way - Billy Joel, Celebration - Kool and the Gang, Louie, Louie - The Kingsmen, Tequila.

More recent - We Didn't Start The Fire - Billy Joel - New Year's Eve, 12/31/99. New York State Of Mind - Billy Joel - On one of the 9/11/01 memorial concerts.

November 29, 2004 2:02 PM  

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