I should be in a more reflective mood today, I suppose, since I have turned sixty-two. When my mom was forty, I thought she was ancient. Looking back, forty was actually pretty good. Every birthday is good, and bad, in its own special way. This year I decided to revel in it. I learned well the lesson (thanks Mom) to never call attention to myself. But I decided today to pay attention to myself. I'm pretty easy to please -- I turned on Sirius and searched my favorite channels for songs to mark the day. I found three that essentially sum up my weird musical history:
1. "It's A Beautiful Morning" by the Rascals
2. "I Wish I Could Fall In Love Today" by Barbara Mandrell
3. "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen
(I danced in my chair to that last one.)
What have I learned this year?
Well, I learned that just when I thought music was all in the past, I still love it. Thank you, Sirius Radio. As I gaze about this room, I see approximately 300 CD's, which I never play. They've become part of the decor. In a bookcase in the hall sits all the albums I've possessed since the mid-sixties. I never ever toss one on the turntable. My external hard drive holds songs I really wanted and didn't have until Amazon offered me anything I ever wanted. I never click on my music player. It took Sirius to remind me that I still love music. I don't have to make any choices other than which of my favorite stations is playing a song I want to hear right now. Based on my Sirius experience, I estimate there are approximately 10,000 songs I really like - give or take a thousand. Of course, when one has been on this earth for sixty-two years, they accumulate a lot of favorites. And they forget a bunch of them.
I've learned that music is my best friend. It'll never have a snit and stomp off because of something I've said or didn't say. If I feel sad, music will accommodate me. If I feel like chair-dancing, shoot, music is right there egging me on. If I want to sing, music offers lots of harmonies, at least one of which I can latch onto.
Right now on Sirius, The Shirelles are singing, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". My big sister played that record in 1961. I was six years old and I remember seeing the red 45 spinning on her turntable.
"Oh, Pretty Woman" is playing now. Wow, that song, in 1964, was a revelation. I watched Roy Orbison in his sunglasses perform that song on the Lloyd Thaxton Show in my uncle's dark living room. Nineteen sixty-four essentially set my life's path.
Now I'm hearing "A White Sport Coat". The very first concert I attended was a Marty Robbins performance my mom took me to in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I was maybe five? My mom urged me to go up after the show and get Marty's autograph, but I was too shy.
Most every song I hear dredges up a memory. I wonder sometimes how many memories I've lost that would be recovered if only the right song turned up on my Sirius playlist.
"Norwegian Wood" came from the best Beatles album of all time -- "Rubber Soul". If a voice seeps into one's soul, John Lennon's is the one for me. I think it's an organic thing. I can't explain it.
"Bye Bye Love": Well, again, 1964. I had a little trio with my two cousins, and this was the only song I got to sing lead on. "There goes my baby..." I can't tell you how proud I was to be able to sing lead on that song.
It's too bad one can't make money knowing music inside and out, because I guess I would have the market cornered. Name a song and I can give you a dissertation on the state of the world when that song was popular. Unfortunately, it's a talent not much in demand. I'm still glad I have it, though.
So, as my birthday winds down, I figured I would post videos of the first three songs I listed in this post:
(Sorry if an ad plays before this song, but somebody (Bruce?) decided that ads before great videos were a good thing):
That one makes me happy, and it's a great finishing touch for today.
Through these sixty-two years I've also heard enough bad songs to know what good songs are. But even the bad songs evoke fond memories, if only because they made me laugh with friends.