Music Takes Me Back

This was written last January as one of our sibling writing assignments, where we wrote about how music helped us remember things in our lives.

Music plays such a big part in conjuring up memories. I hear a song, and a certain memory flashed through my mind, that I may never think of otherwise.

What gave me the inspiration for this writing assignment is the song “Saturday in the Park” performed by Chicago. I think it very interesting that each and every time I hear this song, I get a picture in my head of being up the river at Ted and Dorothy Turnbow’s river place. What I remember is sitting outside their trailer on a picnic table, and that song must have played on the radio. I also remember Kellie Turnbow being there, and Roxanne Ellingson. That is all I remember, but it is a very vivid memory.

I think I alluded to this in a previous writing, but whenever I hear Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”, I remember the summer of 1975, because Mom had purchased a radio that had the capability of tuning in to KHQ-FM from Spokane, and this song was a bit hit that summer. For some reason, I have one memory of being out in the front yard, in the late afternoon with a rain storm coming through, and listening to the radio and that song coming on the station. Getting FM radio was a big deal.

Certain pop songs remind me of Mrs. Williams, our music teacher at Sunnyside School. When I look back to the songs we sang in music, she was quite ahead of her time. Some included “I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing”, and getting to sing the afterpart, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”, and one of my favorites, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”, where she changed the words, and instead of having a “The whole damn bus”, she had a sing “The whole blame bus.”

In the fall of 1980, I remember being at a football game in Post Falls, I think, with my then boyfriend DG. We were in his car listening to the radio, and the song “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers started playing. While I was listening to that song, I felt the lyrics were talking about how I felt at that moment in our relationship. I think we broke up about a month later.

If PKR and mine’s relationship had a “theme” album, it would be Lionel Richie’s album “Lionel Richie”. I remember singing “My Love”, especially the lyrics, “My love…just thinking about you baby just blows my mind”, because that is what I felt about PKR when we first started dating, with me in Moscow at U of I, and he still in Dillon, Montana at Western Montana College. And I still feel that way about him today.

When Billy Joel came out with his “Glass Houses” album, AV and I took it upon ourselves to change the lyrics to some of the songs. We also did it with some of Queens songs from “The Game” album. One of my favorites was taking “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and changing it to “Crazy Little Lee Ely”, a “tribute” to one of our classmates in high school. Lee had the “privilege” of hearing our version at our 20 year class reunion.

Other memories of AV come back when I listen to Barry Manilow albums, and remember the singing group we formed with our Barbie Dolls, and the group sang many Barry Manilow hits. Manilow’s hit “Looks Like We Made It” reminds me of my freshman year at Kellogg Junior High School, because it was the theme of our freshman dance.

When PKR and I were still living in Meridian, Barry Manilow had a concert in Nampa at the Idaho Center. We attended, and the whole evening was like a blast from the past, reliving my childhood growing up because of the memories the songs brought to mind that evening.

There are a few songs that remind me of Dad. One is “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life.” If you want to listen to this song, please go to http://bertc.com/18Track18aj.mp3 This song used to come on KWAL in the morning when Dad used to use the radio as an alarm clock. And I remember Dad singing the title every once in a while. The lyrics are rather clever.

Another song I remember Dad singing one line to was “Help Me Make It Through The Night”, singing the first line “Take The Ribbon From Your Hair…” And, of course, I can’t sing or listen to “The Christmas Song” without thinking about Dad.

One song Mom used to sing to me when I was little was “I Love You A Bushel and a Peck”, and I remember especially the first two lines, “I love you, a bushel and a peck! A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!” I was pleasantly surprised the first time I saw “Guys and Dolls” and realized that song was from that musical.

Whenever I listen to the “Jesus Christ Superstar” music, I think of Raymond Pert. He took TC and I to the movie. She reminded me of this when she was in a production of it last year in Coeur d’Alene. I also think of the “Rocky” music from the original film, because he had the album.

I think Inland Empire Girl’s music holds lots of memories for me. There were the Carpenter’s records, “Tapestry” by Carole King, and Boz Skagg’s “Silk Degrees”, to name a few. There aren’t any specific memories, other than listening to them over and over again on the stereo at home.

Speaking listening to the stereo at home, I spent a lot of time upstairs in the “hall”, listening to record albums, and creating my own performances from the Ray Conniff records, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, (the girl on the front of that one covered in whipped cream always seemed a bit risqué), and others that were collections of famous singers singing songs like “Girl from Impanema”, “Scarborough Fair”, “Strangers in the Night”, and “Turn Around Look At Me”.

This song kind of goes along with a memory, but it was more of a realization. When I was in junior high and high school, and belonged to the Columbia Record Club, and, when you first join, you get to choose 12 albums for a penny or something like that. One of the albums I picked was James Taylor’s JT album. I listened to it a lot, and continued to as I got older and became even more of a James Taylor fan.

One day, while living in Meridian, probably in the mid to late 90’s, I was listening to a song on that album called “Another Grey Morning”. Here are the lyrics.

Another Grey Morning

When I feel as though my love is sinking down, the sun doesn't want to shine.
When it feels like she won't face another day, life is unkind, she's frozen in time.
And here comes another grey morning. A not so good morning after all.
She says "well, what am I to do today with too much time and so much sorrow."

She hears the baby waking up downstairs.
She hears the foghorn calling out across the sound.
Repetition in the morning air is just too much to bear,
and no one seems to care.

If another day goes creeping by empty and ashamed,
like an old unwanted memory that no one will claim.
The clouds with their heads on the ground, she's gonna have to come down.

She said "move me, move me, I'm locked up inside.
"Well, I didn't understand her though God knows I tried.
She said "make me angry but just make me cry.
But no more grey morning, I think I'd rather die."

It was as if I had a revelation. This is how I felt from the time I was pregnant with The Princess, to the time Kiki Aru was about 2 years old. It was a kind of grey feeling, and I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of this song when I listened to it growing up, but after my experience with depression, the meaning of the song became very clear.

The memories can go on and on, but here I gave you a sampling of the songs that help me remember times in my life.

1 comment:

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

It's interesting how songs can trigger memories.

I also remember when FM first came to the Valley. I must have been in college. (I wish it had been there sooner.) I used to wake up to the radio when I was in High School, and I could get one Spokane station that played top hits. At some point, they switched to a Country format, and I was really upset. I didn't want to listen to KWAL in the morning, and the alarm was too irritating to wake up to - kind of like when my mom used to call me in the mornings! I'd wake up angry if anyone said my name, or an alarm went off.

We had the Herb Alpert "Whipped Cream" album also. My mom was a real Tijuana Brass fan. I thought the same thing about the album, yet I thought the "dress" made by the whipped cream was kinda cute when I was young.