and if the music is good, You Dance

The other day I was listening to my iPod on shuffle.  My diverse taste in music makes this practice interesting at times.  I can go from Johnny Mathis to Panic! At The Disco to Jethro Tull to Beyoncé to Mitch Miller in the course of twelve minutes.  But what really throws me off is when I hit a song I don’t know or don’t like.  How the heck did that song get on my device?  Did I pay money for this song on iTunes?

That said, I do have a handful of songs that I purchased not for me, but for my mom.  She didn’t have her own digital device, but she loved music.  I would burn CDs for her to listen to on her boombox, and also make playlists on my device that we would listen to when we were together.  She liked a lot of current music, but I would also downloaded some throwbacks for her.  Whenever I hear Fred Astaire break into song about dancing cheek to cheek, or The New Seekers start on about teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, I remember putting ‘soundtracks’ together for her.  Recently, that put an idea in my head, and I texted my niece.

Me:  2019 goal.  I’m going to put together a soundtrack of my life.  A playlist that covers my life span with my favorite music.  My descendants will play it at my funeral on Sunday.

My niece:  OMG!

Me.  Uh… hopefully that will be someday.  Not Sunday.  Stupid auto-correct.

My niece:  LOL!!  Oh okay.  Love the idea though!

So I started putting together my list of favorites and also songs that mark special occasions – one for each year.  Wow!  That has turned out to be harder than I thought it would be.  Don’t think so?  Give it a try yourself.  For me, there are far too many favorites from each year I was a teenager, and then there are years that I can’t think of a specific song marking that year.  Surely, there must be one.  Music has always been an influential force in my life.  I could see I was going to need Google’s help in this endeavor.  Clearly, I don’t just want a list of the most popular song from each year, but I thought perhaps a review of the Billboard Charts Archive would jog my memory of events and situations.

I’ve made some great progress since I started this endeavor.  It’s even been fun trying to choose between two ‘really important’ songs from the same year.  I did need to loosen up my self-imposed rules a bit.  Sometimes the year a song came out is not necessarily the year it was significant in my life.

If you’re lucky enough to attend my Celebration of Life, here are a couple songs you can look forward to hearing.

1982:  Riders on the Storm by The Doors.  I’m a huge fan of The Doors and although their songs were mostly released during the 60s, they punctuated my high school years in the late 70s, early 80s.  During my senior year, I scored tickets to a laser light show featuring music by The Doors at Abrams Planetarium at MSU.  It was fabulous and I will remember it always.  The last song played was Riders on the Storm.  When it started to thunder, a weedy smelling bloke sitting next to my boyfriend leaned over and said, “Dude, is it raining in here?”  Actually, to my amazement, and the stoner boy’s great relief, it was indeed raining inside the planetarium.  Best show ever!

1997:  Baby Did a Bad, Bad, Thing by Chris Isaak.  I’m also a huge fan of Chris Isaak.  The Forever Blue album was released in 1995 and I played it until I wore out the cassette and had to buy a CD.  I remember rocking out to BDBBT while riding in the car and my four-year-old son expressing his frustration from the backseat.  “I wish that he would just tell us what bad thing that baby did.”

1967:  It Must Be Him by Vikki Carr.  Much like my son will always remember my love of Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing, I will always remember my mom’s love of Vikki Carr’s single which reached number three on the U.S. pop chart and spent three weeks at number one on the easy listening chart.  Mom had a 45 rpm vinyl record and would play it over and over, often humming to herself when it wasn’t playing.  We teased her over the years about how much she enjoyed it and 40 years later I would put it on my iPod so that I could play it for her when I visited her.  She would close her eyes and sing along, working up to the big crescendo…  “Let it please be him. Oh dear God, it must be him, it must be him or I shall die… or I shall die.”  Drama was clearly alive and well in 1967.

1983:  Faithfully by Journey.  I had two tickets, but no date, for the Journey concert at Joe Louis Arena.  I invited a guy from work that I hardly knew.  We had been introduced previously at a basketball tournament.  I remembered him and asked him to the concert.  He didn’t remember me, but accepted the invitation anyway. The rest is history.  We’ve been married 31 years.

At the present time, I need 52 songs on the Soundtrack of My Life.  (I’m not picking any songs for the years before I was three.) It’s been a fun project and I currently have 32 tracks that have been determined.  I hope to get to at least 86 before I’m “done.”  So far, so good.

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