July 02, 2009

40-some years in 20-some songs

Artifacts excavated in response to this meme:

Down In The Boondocks - Billy Joe Royal: the earliest pop song I can remember. Loved the word "boondocks" - had no idea what it meant.

Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan / The Byrds (tie): with an older brother and four older sisters, songs like this, "Puff The Magic Dragon," and "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" were my nursery rhymes.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles: apart from a vague recall of The Ed Sullivan Show and Gemini launches, my first memory of a big cultural event, as my sisters went to the Grand Central on State Street to buy this album the day it came out.

Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight: "The VCR the DVD, there wasn't none of that crap back in 1970." AM radio was wondrous when I was my son's age. I loved my family's radios, Radio Shack stereo, record players, player piano, reel-to-reel tape recorder. Years later I was delighted to hear Everclear sample this song.

Baba O'Riley - The Who / Wasteland - The Jam (tie): of course later I morphed into an alienated and angst-ridden underachiever who took himself way too seriously (the term "emo kid" had yet to be invented).

Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones: I snuck into a bar to see them senior year of high school. What an unexpected place to find such a gust of fresh air.

Don't Worry About The Government - Talking Heads: happy college days, looking forward to a proud future in public service (this was just before Morning in America).

The Walls Came Down - The Call: "They all stood there laughing... They're not laughing anymore!" I galumphed around my dorm room to this on the morning of graduation.

Independence - Gang of Four: "It's enough, but less than I imagined." Post-college days, soundtrack to ramen dinners.

Gulf Coast Highway - Nanci Griffith: studying for the bar, a true friend sent me mixtapes which (along with "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd") got me through.

Free Nelson Mandela - Special AKA: Great song still captures my shared basement office with the Mandela picture, and a good era for watching walls (and The Wall) start to come down.

Runaway Train - Soul Asylum: I reacted to a request for a marriage proposal by high-tailing it to the Baltics. I swear Margi paid every radio station in Rīga to play this song non-stop to bring me back to my senses (and her). It worked.

About A Girl / All Apologies - Nirvana (tie): another gust of something fresh, this one Olympia-scented. I drove around singing along with the Unplugged CD on the morning of my wedding, the first and only, to the aforementioned Margi.

If I Were Brave - Shawn Colvin: "Would I be saved if I were brave and had a baby?"

Lord Protect My Child - Bob Dylan: the answer to the previous question, for my wife and me - "Yes."

Into The Fire - Bruce Springsteen: September 11, 2001, my Brooklyn-born mother-in-law called us to turn on the TV immediately... "May your strength give us strength, may your faith give us faith, may your hope give us hope, may your love give us love."

Ne Klepeći Nanulama - Nedžad Salković: less than four months later, January 2002, sadness and selfishness, noble and ignoble motives found me thousands of miles from my wife and toddler volunteering in an ethnically cleansed city in Bosnia. I came back. Bosnia stayed in me.

Twin Falls - Built To Spill: My wife the TF native hates this song. She also hates when I preface warm feelings for the town where I started my little family with, "As much as I hate Twin..."

Olympia, WA - Rancid / NOFX (tie): For the first time in decades, I don't wish I was on the highway to anywhere else.

1 Comment:

Woman in Black said...

Had not heard Free Nelson Mandela since my college days. Perfect. Thanks.