Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.
~ E.Y. Harburg (Edgar Yipsel) (1898 - 1981)
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THE MUSIC OF MY LIFE
7 May 2004
I have extremely eclectic tastes in music. I was going back over Bozoettes old entries today, when I read her journal and found that the Friday Five a couple of years ago was about music and I thought it would be fun to think about it. I've written about music in my life before, but not quite like this.
I dont listen to music during the day and am woefully behind the times with most of the current music, though if I were to listen to the radio more, I probably would have more current music on my list. But I think this reflects me pretty well...
Name one song you hate to admit you like
Oh this goes waaaay back to my childhood--and I still get a smile when I hear it. It was the infancy of Rock n Roll, which my father, a jazz pianist, thought was terrible music. I remember I wanted to buy two records. One was Lollipop by the Chordettes (the link goes to a sound file--warning to gin!), with those immortal lyrics:
I hate to admit that all these years later, if I happen to catch it on an oldies station, I still smile and I still like it. I never did buy the record. My father convinced me I shouldnt. I always regretted that. (The other record was by Sam Cooke and is considered a classic today. I never bought that one either.)
Name two songs that always make you cry
Funny, one of Lawsuits songs, and the song for which this journal is named. It was written as a stupid throw-away song, but I liked it from the beginning because its a ballad, not a rock tune. After David died, the only thing that kept going through my head was a line from the song, "...theres a broken soldier whos going home." Funny got to be a "thing" between Paul and me. At the first concert after David died, when he came to the break in Funny, while the band was playing, he jumped off the stage, threw himself in my arms and we both sobbed. At Lawsuits last ever concert, when the break in Funny came, Paul climbed up from the stage to the booth where I was sitting and we cried together again. No matter what its roots, Funny always reminds me both of David and of Paul and it almost always makes me cry.
For You, by John Denver. I always get moved by emotion, and this is a very emotional song that still brings tears to my eyes.
Name three songs that turn you on
Again, I go back to one of my very favorite Lawsuit songs, Thank God, Youre Doing Fine, a very upbeat, dance number with great horns and lots of spirit. Never fails to lift my spirts.
Also, back to John Denver again. He has a song that probably nobody ever heard of called All This Joy which is just a simple song--I suspect someone gave him 8 words and dared him to write a song using those 8 words--but it builds and builds, adding more voices to it until it reaches a peak with this multivoice choir. The first time I heard it I practically had to stop the car, it affected me so strongly. I even had tears rolling down my cheeks because it was just so damn beautiful. I really get turned on by great choral numbers.
Beethovens Ode to Joy. Actually, the whole 9th symphony turns me on, but since this is "songs," Ill go for the choral movement. Sit in a symphony hall with a hundred-voice choir coming at you singing Ode to Joy. Man, it doesnt get better than that!
Name four songs that always make you feel good
When you Care, from The Last Session. I once campaigned to make When You Care the theme song for PFLAG, but it got all political and the idea was dropped. But it pretty much expresses the central theme of my life: "...you can only make a difference when you care..."
Us Catholics, the song that was cut from The Big Voice. It makes me feel good because I wrote (most of) the lyrics and I feel good that (a) Steve asked me to write lyrics, and (b) that he and Jimmy managed to turn them into such a funny song. (Im also glad that the song wasnt cut from the show until after the soundtrack album had been recorded!!)
Dont Be Stupid by Shania Twain gets my toe tapping when I have the CD on while Im driving in the car.
76 Trombones from The Music Man. I love the song to begin with, but our family has been involved in so many productions of it that it tells the whole story of our lives, remembering the various productions, from the very first one that Jeri and Paul were in, to the last one that I reviewed. So many productions, so many memories. Robert Preston was the consummate Harold Hill.
Name five songs you couldnt ever do without
Well, we have to have Judy Garland in here, dont we? Hard to pick one song, but surprisingly it wouldnt be Over the Rainbow. It would probably be something like The Man That Got Away or San Francisco or Stormy Weather.
Bing Crosbys White Christmas, because without Bing Crosby, Christmas would never come (though I admit that along about December 23, Im getting mighty sick of hearing that particular song everywhere I go!)
If Im in the Bing Crosby era, I have to say that the world would be significantly less rich if there had never been a recording of Tenderly by Rosemary Clooney. I have Bette Midlers album, paying tribute to Clooney and she does a wonderful job of most of the songs, including Tenderly, but Rosemary Clooney holds the title of champ with that song. Listening to her sing it is like tasting warm, smooth butter.
The world will little note nor long remember that there was once a song called Ugly Butt done by an obscure little band in northern California, but could I ever live without it? I think not. Even if it never was one of my favorite songs. It makes me smile. Still.
I realize that my list is more obscure than mainstream, but its what I listen to. The last on the list of the five songs I couldnt live without is Steves recording of Save Me a Seat from The Last Session. That song--and his rendition(s) of it--hit me on so many emotional levels. It makes me cry, it makes me smile, it gives me hope, it depresses me. Its kind of my all-purpose song and I cant see life without it.
Im also wondering how many songs on this list anybody but me will have
even heard of!!! (Well, other than the 2 B's--Beethoven and Bing!)