Monday, November 16, 2009

Music Magic

I have, for years, wondered how and why certain music brings back very strong memories. Every once in a while I hear a song and it takes me back to a specific time in my life. I am fairly sure the rest of you experience the same. I am going to list a few songs, no links or anything, so if you haven't heard them, you'll have to do the googling if you're curious.

Whenever I hear "Going Down to Liverpool" and "Hero Takes a Fall" by the Bangles, or any one of several Cyndi Lauper songs, I am taken back to a time in my young life (Circa 1984-1986) when my dad and I would travel from home to Portland taking papers for my Uncle's trucking business down to some place in the ugly part of Portland. I remember we usually left in the early morning hours, 3am or 4am. We would be in Portland by about 7am. We would deliver the papers and then head for home. Often we would stop for breakfast at a McDonalds, before the sun had even risen. A few times we stopped at Multnomah Falls or some other rest stop and went for a short hike. I believe it was on one of these stops that we walked around behind the falls. That was WAY they have it fenced off and impossible for normal people to access. As I got older (read eleven, hey! it was the eighties!), my Dad allowed me to drive. He would get tired, and at the ripe old age of 11, he would have me drive for awhile. Often he would fall asleep and I would drive along on I-84 for 20 or thirty miles without input from the Co-Pilot's seat. That was a source of pride for me...young as I was.

Sometimes, I when hear the Beatles' songs "Glass Onion" or "Savoy Truffle" or "Care Free Highway," and "Sundown," by Gordon Lightfoot I remember listening to the stereo with my mom when I was still an only child. It was probably the summer of 1979, shortly before my lovely sister was born. I remember my mom listened to the radio station and I danced (OK, I was only four!) and she vacuumed or did some sort of housework. I am not sure, but I think I tried to sing them to her. Still, I have strange visualizations of life as an only child when I hear these songs.

When I hear "Love of a Lifetime" or "Oughta be a Law" by Firehouse, or any number of Hair Bands like Mr. Big, or early eighties bands like Journey or Def Leopard, I think of nights I spent driving around with my best friend. Nights spent talking about girls, the meaning or life, and Star Trek ( I may have that in slightly reversed order...). We developed theories about all sorts of things. How do we get the attention of that pretty girl? How do we figure out what it takes to be cool? Why is Worf SO cool? Those were the days with my best friend. I knew they were special, but never knew just HOW special they were. I lost my friend just a few years later.

When I hear certain other songs like "No Rain" by Blind Melon, I think of a trip to the coast I took with my wife for the wedding of my best friend's widow. I remember the rain and the drive. She fell asleep in the passenger seat and we ate at a Greek restaurant in a mall.

There are some Seven Mary Three songs that remind me strongly of college and of my wife's dorm room.

When I hear certain songs by Queens of the Stone Age, or White Stripes, or Modest Mouse, I think of our time in California.

There are many others, but I am sure you get the picture. Perhaps you have your own audio memory reminders. I wonder, do we all? Leave a comment and tell me about yours.

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