Music memories

November 8, 2009

What songs do you like? What songs, when you hear them, magically transport you to another place and time? There are a lot more, but here’s what I remember without effort.

Out and about:

Paul McCartney and Wings “Uncle Albert”: My dad and me waiting in the car in the parking lot outside the Sears store in the Lima (Ohio) Mall, waiting for my mom to pick up our catalog order.

Commodores “I’m Easy”: My parents and I driving in Lima and I wouldn’t let them change the radio until that song was over.

Almann Brothers “Ramblin’ Man”: My parents and I were out for pizza, again in Lima. We always just drank water because paying for soda pop was too extravagant, but on this one occasion they gave me the nickel or dime to play this song on the jukebox because it was my favorite at the time.

Cher “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” Carpenters “Top of the World”: The Ada (Ohio) swimming pool, where I spent most of every summer as a kid.

In my dad’s den listening to the radio and poised at any moment to record my favorite songs from the external speaker of the radio to the portable cassette player. Usually, I was working on the pedigrees and crayon pictures of the horses in my imaginary stable:

“Bennie and the Jets” and really, many of the Elton John songs of that time. I liked Elton John a lot.

Ringo Starr “Photograph”: It was summer and the window was open. I was recording this song when my dad walked past with the lawn mower. If I put my hand flat on the top of the radio, the volume would amplify. This happened during the chime solo in the middle of the song.

Segue on the cassette tape: Davie Bowie “Fame” into Bee Gees “Jive Talkin’”

Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody”: I didn’t really pay attention to this song, but I began to notice that every time after it was on, there was a commercial for Galileo wine. To this day, I go back to the den during the opera section.

High school:

The Cars’ debut album: Having the epiphany while driving with Bob S that the vocal production reminded me very much of what Roy Thomas Baker was doing with Queen (who by then was my undisputed favorite). I was right.

Journey “Daydream”: My high school had a little close-circuit in-house radio station that I worked at. Whenever I played this song, one of the other kids always gave me a hard time because the one riff made it sound like the turntable was going wonky.

As a club-going young adult:

Billy Squier “Everybody Wants You,” Romantics “What I Like about You”: Dancing in the Point Club (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) with Steve R who drove down from Wausau with his two friends to go out. We both loved jumping straight up at the appropriate moments in those songs.

Phil Collins and Philip Bailey “Easy Lover”: Singing harmony with John M.

Wham! “Careless Whisper”: Dancing with Paul G.

Thomas Dolby “She Blinded Me (with Science)”: SCIENCE!-ing at the right times with John G the DJ.

Really, very many early- to mid-80s hits take me right back to the Point Club.


Def Leppard “Photograph”: In the dorm, the girl across the hall and I would open our doors and synchronize our turntables to the Pyromania album.

INXS “The One Thing”: Same dorm without the synchronization.

Faith No More “Epic”: The campus bowling alley at the University of Wisconsin and the crew I bowled with.

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