Twenty Songs…and the memories to go with them
1. Simon and Garfunkel: The Boxer. I listened to this song over and over and over again when I was a teenager. I was around fourteen and I had just started writing poetry. I would listen to the song in the dark in our formal living room that no one ever used; by myself…it brought me to life somehow.
2. Jefferson Starship: We Built this City on Rock & Roll. The favorite song of a childhood, best friend and mine. We would make a fake band with improvised instruments and his little brothers in the basement. We would play it all day long. Good times!
3. Ben Harper: Blessed to be a Witness. In my first pregnancy we had to make an hour and forty-minute drive to visit my midwife. We were concerned for a period of time, because we believed that the baby was breech and that I would not be able to have a home birth. This song became my mantra. In the end the baby was not breech; I was carrying twins.
4. Edelweiss: From the sound of music. It was the song that I sang at my first musical audition at our local playhouse.
5. Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline. When we were moving out of town a few years ago, we sat around one evening with a couple of our best buddies, listening to music and dancing around. I have video off us singing this song at the top of our lungs. Hilarious.
6. Nirvana: Nevermind; the whole album. I rode with my host father in the car when we drove from where we lived in northern France to the Alps on vacation. I had this album recorded on cassette and listened to it on repeat for the entire trip. I have memories of driving the switchbacks up the mountain, taking in the beautiful scenery, and listening to these songs.
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Thrift Shop. So I have a friend who has always loved to shop in thrift stores, and buys all sorts of crazy old junk. His wife found this video and we were all blown away by how much they resemble each other, not only physically, but by their actions as well. It is uncanny.
8. The Romantics: Talking in your sleep. When I was in gym class in fourth or fifth grade my gym teacher coordinated a performance where we did some strange sort of hopping over sticks routine to this song. Very strange. I remember though.
9. Paul Williams: The Rainbow Connection. They played this at my kindergarten graduation and released a ton of rainbow colored balloons. My mother likes to remind me of it and make me cry.
10. Mike Post: Believe it or Not. The theme song to my first favorite television show; The Greatest American Hero. This song never ever fails to make me smile.
11. From the Muppet Show: Manuh Manuh. I looked for the particular writer, but could not find a name. This is the song that always pops into my head when I am stuck in traffic or in line or doing something else very mundane. It helps me surrender to the rat race.
12. Mumford and Sons: Little Lion Man. We lost a young friend to suicide a couple of years ago and it affected many people who knew him intensely. This will forever be his song.
13. Hall and Oates: You Make my Dreams Come True. I have danced to this song a million times with my friends in Jacksonville. It always reminds me of my old neighbor, and dear friend, who pretends not to, but loves the upbeat song just as much as I do.
14. Julie Brown: Cause I’m a Blond. It is from the movie Earth Girls are Easy. I could sing every word to this song as a teenager. It reminds me of my best friend in middle school and the hours that we spent watching the video.
15. George Michael: I Want Your Sex. I believe it is the first cassette that I ever bought with my own money. I was probably too young to have it. I remember listening to it on the train on a school field trip to Chicago in elementary school.
16. Ray Parker Jr.: The Ghostbusters Song. I remember dancing to this by myself in the living room of our home outside of Indianapolis. It was before my mom got to re-decorating the room and it had deep shag carpeting. It was a plaid pattern in cream rust and brown.
17. Groupelove: Chloe. To this day, it is the favorite song of our family, to sing at the top of our lungs while driving anywhere. It especially reminds me of Jacksonville Beach.
18. Jimmy Buffett: Cheeseburger in Paradise. When I was at camp, around age twelve, there was a girl in my cabin who could sing the song straight through. I always think of her when I hear it. Her name was Cynthia and everyone called her Cyn. It was very appropriate; she was a wonderfully bad influence on the rest of us girls.
19. The Beatles: We all Live in a Yellow Submarine. One of my foster sons loved this song, and loved to sing it at the top of his lungs. No matter where he was.
20. Tom Petty: You Don’t Know How it Feels. On the radio station in the small town where I went to high school they played this song over and over in ninety-four. I remember driving around in my old brown Buick, singing it at the top of my lungs, and stressing the adult lyrics every time that the radio station dubbed them over.