Musical Memories

Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, 
flight to the imagination, and life to everything. 
~ Plato

I read this quotation the other day, and it sort of stuck with me.  Much like certain smells conjure memories for me, so does music.

Any song from this album, for example:

will always bring forth, for me, the memories of the times my dad would play this on the record player on a Saturday night when they had friends over. He and I would sing along to the lyrics printed on the back of this album.  I still know every song by heart.

Or how the song Maggie May– Rod Stewart always reminds me of my dad singing it to my mom as they danced.

I remember a boyfriend and I making out while this song seemed to get the most airtime. Thank you Pretty Woman for popularizing Roxette.  Hearing that song always transports me back to his car.

Fifties music like Rock Around the Clock reminded me of the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college. There was a 50s style band who was playing one night in the park. My parents and I met up with my uncle and his wife. My uncle was about 15 years older than my dad. When I was born, my dad was at basic training for the Army, so my mom and I lived with my uncle’s family.  He had three sons – and was thrilled to have a baby girl in the house.  He and I always had a special bond because I think he claimed me as his own from back then. While at this concert, he and my aunt were dancing.  The smile on their faces – his laugh – how much fun he was having  – it is what I think of today when I hear certain songs.  He died about 10 years ago now from cancer.  But it was that night, the night he decided he should teach me to dance the way he taught my aunt when they first met – that is the night I will always remember when I hear this music.

The Violent Femmes will remind me of the skater guy my friend from high school was pursuing.  She (and subsequently I) listened to Add It Up so many fucking times that I’m surprised I can still listen to it AND like it.  We would drive around trying to figure out where he actually was (she was the stalker type).  And I would try to convince her there was better things to do.  The night she finally caught up with him, I got left in the living room as they did their thing.  Had I been who I am now, I may have joined them.  On second thought, she was rather insecure – so it would never have worked out unless she could have been seen as the good one.  Yeah, it was probably best I sat in the living room getting annoyed.  Plus, there was probably not enough room in there with her, him and his ego.

Or along the same theme, Broken Arrow another Rod Stewart hit was the song that was playing on the radio (the radio used to cover the noise) the first time G and I had sex in the dorm.  Later for our reception, when asked what our song was, we decided it was the closest song we had to being our own. Thank God no one ever asked us why it was significant.

Cotten Eyed Joe will always remind me of going to The Field House in Iowa City in college my senior year with my friends. That song was incredibly popular, and I think they played it about 100 times a night.  It was during one of the playings when a guy got a little too friendly with my best friend. She is someone who could kick your ass (college soccer player, so you didn’t want to be on the receiving end of her kick), yet our other friend got a little too over protective.  It was in that moment it become clear to most of the rest of us that our little closeted lesbian friend had more than friendship on her mind when it came to my best friend.  Years later, we would realize that my best friend had no idea. And our closeted lesbian friend has barricaded herself in the closet sadly.  I think she’s still hoping for a divorce to finally allow her to pursue my best friend.

There are plenty of funny moments in the car.  Hearing my kids singing along to The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated.  Or listening to Pink’s Stupid Girls while Indigo belts out “I DON’T WANNA BE A STUPID GIRL” on the way home from preschool.  Or listening to DJ sing every song on Morningwood’s album.

Listening to New Wave music while TL and I laid on his couch – hearing his stories about going to this concert or that while he was in the Navy. There are certain bands that will remind me of that night.

Just like hearing No Doubt will remind me of the comments I received by TL and X about my comments about their inclusion on the local radio stations top 94 alternative bands of all time.  Oh hell, I got hell from many in real life about those posts.

It’s funny how any and all music can find its way into our memories – good or bad.  I personally like to think of it as the soundtrack to my life.

God, I just sounded like this:

and if you haven’t seen this movie, watch it!!!! High Fidelity. Hell, read the fucking book at least. Good stuff. Both are good. And I rarely say that about books and the movie.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. waywardrider says:

    Hi Fidelity is a brilliant movie. Brilliant I say. So many layers of self absorption, but so much fun!

    I too am a big fan of the Violent Femmes and No Doubt.

    Music triggers memories, just like smells. They both are set so deep in our psyche that it is almost startling when they surface to remind us of the connection.

    Oh, and I don’t trust anyone who says they don’t like music. That is just an unnatural affront to all that is right with the world.

  2. Maggie says:

    HighFidelityYes!!! I could watch the movie over and over (mmm… John Cusack…) but I do prefer the book. I actually read the book and then watched the movie in the same day. 🙂

  3. Billy Joel, Ramone, Violet Femmes, No doubt, I knew I liked you for a reason. 🙂 I have so many memories tied to music. I could list 100. Hmmm… a post maybe! Thanks for sharing, that was a great read!

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