I didn’t have a playlist until a few years ago. I know…I’m “old school” (CD’s were piled up in a corner with an outdated CD player)… but I have always loved to listen to music.
My first memories of music were when I was a young girl. My mom loved country (cowboy) music…Johnny Cash being her heartthrob. She even had a concert poster of him taped on the fridge!!! Western music droned on in the kitchen, her domain. Not my thing then or now!!! I would escape into my parent’s bedroom and turn the clock radio dial to the popular (top 40) music channel listening to the likes of Paul Anka (Diana, Lonely Boy), Bobby Vinton (Blue Velvet, Roses are Red) and Connie Francis (Where the Boys Are, Lipstick on Your Collar). Over the winter months, I spent my preteen years at the outdoor community skating rink where Leslie Gore (It’s My Party, It’s Judy’s Turn to Cry) and Neil Sedaka (Calendar Girl, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, O’ Carol) would blare out into the neighbourhood for hours on end. Do you remember that song, “Norman”? That was another standby…
At that time, Ed Sullivan found his way (through television) into most living rooms on Sunday evenings, bringing hours of entertainment across North America. Most significantly, for me, he provided the first glimpse of the British rock bands that dominated the music scene. I remember almost not breathing when the Beatles first hit his stage in 1964… not that you could hear the lyrics over the screaming and wailing from the audience of teenage girls! Hearing those simple tunes today takes me right back in front of that black and white TV screen praying that one of my brothers wouldn’t start to make fun of me or cause some kind of a fuss.
Once I was earning my own money, I would frequent the music stores buying the “top 10” 45’s and LP’s. I would play the same songs over and over again. When I found out my brothers were playing my records when I wasn’t home (never giving a care if the vinyl became scratched or warped), I would practically kill them!
I remember reading that an unborn baby could hear music while in the womb and I believe there may be something to that theory. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I played Carole King’s “Tapestry” album on repeat for probably the full nine months! To this day, this music is my daughter’s favourite! We went to see “Beautiful”, the Broadway Musical of Carole King’s story, in San Francisco several years back bringing us full circle.
When my children were preschoolers I would play Elton John’s, “Bennie and the Jets” full blast. It didn’t matter where they were playing or what they were doing they would come running to the stereo and we would all dance to the music. Now my youngest grandson loves this song too! Some of this music is just timeless!
Over the years we have come to hear our music from a variety of sources. For my younger self, it was the radio that entertained. My kids lived by MTV and my grandchildren go to YouTube or iTunes.
Many songs on my playlist are from movie soundtracks, and my most recent additions come from the music on the award-winning series, “Big Little Lies”.
Music is a powerful memory trigger. Even science is turning to music to help with memory loss caused by traumatic brain injury and dementia, as well as researching the emotional benefits for those suffering from poor mental health and depression. I’m sure you can remember what song was playing for all those dramatic “firsts”… like the first waltz with someone special or during the heartbreak after a nasty break up. Hearing those old tunes is a flashback of the past whether it be happy or sad.
Today I have 177 songs on my playlist, always adding to it when I’m reminded of something meaningful. Some of the songs mentioned above have made the cut, as well as classical, jazz, and even some rap music. It’s hard to pick a favourite song on that list, however, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin always seems to rise to the top. Your playlist is a personal anthology of the musical memories of your life…a part of your own DNA!
What’s does your playlist say about you?