It’s no secret that we are music people. Aside from all three monkeys playing instruments, Little Man and Little Monkey both are performers. I hope that in some measure, it is because music has always been a requirement in my house, whether in the car driving to the store or at home in full “clean the damn house” mode, there has always been something blaring for everyone to dance and sing their hearts out to. Recently, I was having a conversation with Middle Monkey about an old episode of Ally McBeal where it was discussed how everyone has a soundtrack song, something that defines them, their go-to melody but as much as I love music, and all types of it, there is no way I could pick just ONE song. Songs tend to define periods of my life…it seems impossible to pick just one. For that reason, I present the soundtrack of my life so far…
Bad Bad Leroy Brown (1973) My parents where music people in their youth. This is the first song that I can remember singing at the top of my lungs in the backseat of the car and getting in trouble because I said “damn town” in the lyrics. What can I say, I was a rebel early in my life. Later I would find that this was the anthem of the Redcoat Marching Band because of the line “junkyard dog”…I felt vindicated sitting next to Granddad in his seats in Sanford Stadium.
You Sexy Thing (1975)/Play That Funky Music (1976)/YMCA (1978) These songs began my life long love affair with funk music and disco. With Earth, Wind & Fire, The Bee Gees, and all things Village People, I learned that shaking my groove thing was something I loved to do. It also made roller skating pretty damn cool too.
Heartache Tonight (1979) This song is why I love all things Eagles. I was 11 and the cool teenager down the street (Angie) who drove a T-Top Trans Am told me every time she heard this on the radio, she knew she was going to get into trouble before the night was over. She was grounded from using her car often and had to take the bus so I knew this was both true and the greatest thing I had ever heard. Later in my life, many times I would use the same excuse when Rock Me Like A Hurricane came on.
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough (1979) First album I every saved literally every piece of spare change I could find around the house until I had enough to go to the record store. This is the memory of Michael I retain, along with that of long gone record stores. I miss them both.
Rappers Delight (1979) My first pirated song. I would sit at the radio with an old school tape recorder, wait for it to come on and record it over and over again until I got the whole thing. I knew it backwards and forwards and still to this day, LOVE THIS SONG.
Black Out (1982)/Photograph (1983)/Shout At The Devil (1983) This started my Freshman year in high school and pretty much defined where I was headed for four years musically. While I still threw in Beastie Boys and Run DMC while rocking my fat laces, this is what I bought and these are the concerts I went to see. This music was particularly helpful in drowning out the family when you wanted to pretend they were not there…LOL IPods now make it much easier to use any music to do this.
Your Love (1986) Every time I hear “Josie’s on a vacation far away…” I can’t help but be transported. This album marked the beginning of me trying to figure out what being a grown up was. I am not sure I did very well at that but post-graduation, you do what you can with what you think you know.
Silent Lucidity (1990)/Jeremy (1992-video) These songs became significant because of my oldest two monkeys. One loved Silent Lucidity as a lullaby and Middle Monkey would have been named Jeremy if she had been born a boy. Two great and theatrical bands from the Seattle sound.
Come to My Window (1994)/Longview (1994)/Fly (1997)/Slide (1998)/Happy Day (1998) This string of albums represent a period in my life where I struggled to find my footing as an adult and make decisions solely based on what was best for my kids. I am not sure that they were always the correct decisions but it’s what’s made them what they are (and they are pretty damn awesome) so I will take it. (I don’t care who you are, Johnny was smoking hot in that Slide video…:) To this day, Better Than Ezra remains one of my all time favorite bands and I continue to see them in concert at least once a year. As a side note, though its not the best recording, I put that video up for Happy Day because we were at that show. Middle Monkey texts me from the front row simply with “Happy Day!!!” As a mom who has tried to give my kids great musical experiences and positive songs to embrace, this made me very emotional…
Happy (2003)/Ugly Side (2003) Another of my all time favorite bands and I was sad to see Socialburn fall apart and Blue October not really regain the epic feeling generated with the History for Sale album. I cross my fingers on both. This marked a transformative and largely painful part of my life that lingered for another six years. Still looking for the sheet music for Ugly Side because that’s a tattoo I am still waiting to get.
So What (2008) This is the anthem for my resergence. I think this was when I conceiously decided I was entitled to a great and glorious life. Many Pink songs have this feeling and she is one of my favorites.
Breathless (2008) Another great BTE song, these were lyrics I sent to a wonderful man. I felt I knew him my entire life (even though I was 19 when we first met) and to be reunited in our advanced age seemed impossible. Despite the odds, that broken soldier came back into my life and we are both much better for it. He was so touched by the lyrics that he went out to buy the album and we have been together ever since. It was a glorious day when I could take him to his first BTE show. This band continues to by my road trip music, my need-to-feel-better music and my in general go to band. Lucky for me, they have tons of material and all of it great!
Hot Chocolate (1970’s) What goes around, comes around. I play Hot Chocolate’s Greatest Hits in my car, open the sun roof, crank it up and make my kiddos sing at the top of their lungs with me. It feels good. Here is hoping the music and art of being silly rubs off on them. I would be so happy to hear, years later, one of them does the same with their kiddo in the car.
While certainly not comprehensive, this is a list of those songs for which strong emotional responses are produced. They are so ingrained in my life, it is impossible to hear one and not be transported back to those times, both good and bad. Music is powerful in that way.
If posed the same question, what’s your soundtrack? Can you put it on just one song? I hope some of you have the same wonderful problem as I!