Music and Memory

I’m old. I may have mentioned that before. I am also slowly turning in to my mother who constantly tortured me and my sister when we were growing up by making us listen to oldies in the car. K-Earth 101 represent! I do the same to Spencer, but mostly I listen to Jack FM which delights me in its heavy 80s/90s play list and its super random combinations of songs.

Today I was driving home from dropping Spencer off at school and singing along to What I Got very loudly and off-key, as one does, and then the song ended and shifted to Ironman by Black Sabbath, which is a transition both jarring and weirdly awesome.

Whenever I hear Black Sabbath, I am instantly transported to the summer after my freshman year in college, riding shotgun down the Yolo Causeway in a 1966 Mustang, with no air that was painted the sparkliest of navy blues. I wasn’t yet used to how hot the summers are in Northern California. It was my first time living anywhere that it would be over a 100 for weeks at a time. Hot, hot air blowing in the car windows from the freeway was a novelty and felt like freedom. The owner of that car only had three cassettes (yes, cassettes) in the car: Pavement Slanted and Enchanted, Black Sabbath Paranoid and Primus something horrible I always refused to let him play. I can’t stand Primus. Or Rush. He dated me anyways.

After my heavy metal reverie, I started thinking about what other albums immediately make me think of something familar and has attached memories so vivid I can almost feel them.

Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out I remember the exact everything about this album. It’s like my world actually stopped for the hour or so I first heard it. It totally was one of those someone brought it over and said “hey, let’s listen to this before we go out to the bar tonight, I think you’ll like it.” I did like it. I still do. Some of those songs are still my number one played in itunes 15 years later.

Beck Jackass This was our wedding song. It was a lovely choice because it’s a beautiful song, just the lyrics are sort of weird. We specifically requested that the DJ fade it out before the donkey starts braying at the end.

One of the weirder ones is Delta Dawn by Helen Reddy.  My parents were huge fans and we went and saw her in concert one year for my dad’s birthday. In a hotel ballroom. My sister and I were in high school and did not want to be there at all. We started having a water drinking contest for lack of anything better to do. It was a dinner & show sort of thing, by the time Delta Dawn came one we were going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. Delta Dawn is one of the only Helen Reddy songs I like. Of course I missed most of it by being in the bathroom…

Anyways. Sorry for the randomness, just thought I would share. What are some of your vivid music memories? OR tell me what song you danced to at your wedding. I love hearing them!


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6 Responses to “Music and Memory”

  1. Brigid Keely says:

    Tori Amos’ “Little Earthquakes” transport me to high school (as does Marilyn Manson albeit not as much) while Type O Negative and Rammstein are so college.

    We eloped but if we’d had a song to dance to it would’ve been Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” Which is our song anyway.


    Amy Reply:

    Thank You is such a pretty, pretty song.


  2. Tannis says:

    I was just thinking about this today – Steve Miller’s “Dance Dance Dance” came on the radio and I was immediately 11 years old, sitting in the back seat of the car with my fingers in my ears yelling, “DAAAAAAADDDDDDDD, Turn it DOWN!” I have the same initial reaction to Don McLean’s “American Pie.” (For the record, I love both of those song now.)

    Toad takes me back to high school, as do 10,000 Maniacs.

    I feel like I have a million of these. I’ve been digging out my old cds this week. Feeling nostalgic.


    Amy Reply:

    Oh Steve Miller Band, we were so weirdly in to him in high school. I saw him in concert! Multiple times!


  3. Ride Wit Me by Nelly brings me back to my high school boyfriend. I always thought he looked like a white version of Nelly (in a sexy way, not a white guy trying to be a black guy kind of way). We used to listen to that song all the time in his truck.

    And our wedding dance was to Hard to Concentrate by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In fact the lyrics “Take this moment to make you my family” were printed on our church program. And the wedding party danced to Finally Forever by Chris Cornell. Why yes, we DO like 90s grunge. Why do you ask?


  4. Jackie says:

    There are so many songs that take me back to a different time and place in my life! So many that I’ve had a few blog posts rattling around in my head about it for a while now!
    Steve Miller band and Fly to the Angels by Slaughter… both are high school reminders.


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