Two things happened this week that made me decide to write a follow-up music/memory post.
1) Petaluma Vale Livelli sent me a link to this New York Times article about Daniel Levitan's book I mentioned at the end of my original post...check it out:
This Is Your Brain On Music
Just an old-fashioned love song Part 1
2) Yesterday I was driving Max to fencing and "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston came on the radio. I thought he'd change the station, but instead he started pretending to disco dance in the passenger seat. So I joined in the fun, while still steering the Monte Carlo (i have a rental car till next week). And once again, I was bombarded with the instant memory of dancing at the Flamingo Club in NYC. When Abbi visited me at school during spring break of our sophomore year, I took her to see a borderline pornographic, disco version of A Midsummer Night's Dream called The Donkey Show. At the end of the show the place turned into an interactive disco and suddenly the audience becomes part of the show. We anticipated this and dressed the part, I in a one-piece spaghetti-strap jumpsuit, she in my butterfly-print shirt. They played "Don't leave me this way" and we went wild.
Those two reasons on top of the fact that ever since I posted the original entry, I keep hearing songs and thinking, "Oh man, I should have included this one too..."
So here you go...a double dose of memories made by music.
"We are the Champions" by Queen--Freshman year at NYU I was out late with a few friends--Zach, Kayla, and Chase--and we stopped in this tiny walk-in healthy Mexican joint called Cosmic Cantina to get some food. We were eating our burritos and commenting that it was funny that they were playing Queen on their sound system. Enter: a girl supporting her very drunk boyfriend (his arm around her shoulders)...they approach the counter to order food, and the man asks if they'd like to add guacamole to their meal. The drunk guy, right on cue, starts punching the air with his fist and shout/singing "NO GUA-CA-MO-LEE NO GUA-CA-MO-LEEEEEEE..." to the tune of the chorus, "We are the champ-ions, We are the champ-ionssss...." The girlfriend was clearly mortified, and tried to get him to stop singing and flailing around. We all thought it was hysterical and sang "No Guacamole" on our walk home.
"The Sign" by Ace of Base--In 5th grade I left Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to be part of the Special Opportunities Program (S.O.P.) at Paddock. In an attempt to keep my friends at TJ and prove to them that I didn't think I was better because I left to go to some smart-people program, I went to their annual skate night at the Orbit Roller Rink. The rink's emcee announced that it was time for couples skate and switched on "The Sign," which happened to be my favorite song at the time. I searched for Joey--I was under the impression that he was still my "boyfriend" (even at a young age i idealistically thought that love triumphed location)--only couples were allowed on the floor for the duration of the song, and wanted my first experience skating with a boy to be with him. Finally, I spotted him, skating past...and holding hands with Mary Kate. Game over.
"She Loves You" by The Beatles--(This is really bizarre...i just typed that) and the song came on shuffle on itunes...out of 5200+ songs!) Speaking of Joey...every time I hear this song, I picture myself standing on the choir risers during our fourth grade concert, a bunch of 10-year-olds singing The Beatles. I was on the right curved side and Joey was on the left, directly across from me. We looked at each other the whole time we sang the song.
"Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks--The first time I heard this song, I was sitting in the back of Amy's Buick while she and Abbi drove around the parking lot of this Asian market singing at the top of their lungs.
I believe we were sophomores in high school. I picture them singing in the Buick every time i hear this song.
"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" by Betty Everett--The one time I deviated from my regular dance lessons, I took a poms class at the Palatine Park District. Age 8? Our final routine, which we performed in the basement studio for our parents was to this song. I remember thinking I was old shaking my hips and my poms.
"Easy Like Sunday Morning" by Lionel Richie--During my spring break while studying abroad in Madrid I traveled around Europe with my friend Pat (a friend from high school who was studying in Ireland) and his roommate (also Pat). We were in Prague's town center and there was this guy with an accent sitting on a box, strumming a guitar and singing American songs. Quite a large crowd gathered around him and it was like a universal sing-along. This is hard to explain without a sound clip, but you know how Lionel sings, "Cause I'm eeeeeasy, easy like Sunday moooornin...woah oh oh oh..."? Well this guy in Prague sings the line and then goes "WHOAH. OH. OH. OH." Like, i said it's hard to explain without me singing it to you, but it made us laugh so hard...for the rest of our trip Pat would randomly look at me and in an exaggerated voice go, "WOAH OH OH OH!" and it killed me every time.
"I swear" by All 4 One--The first time I danced with a boy was to this song. It was at my bat-mitzvah...the DJ instructed me pick someone to start off the snowball dance with...I didn't know who to choose, so I went to the boy's side of the dance floor and said, "Can someone just dance with me?" A lot of eyes stared nervously at the floor. Finally, Joe stepped forward. "Thanks," I said.
"No Diggity" by Blackstreet--I think I may be prohibited from ever reentering Dallas because of this song. Abbi and I were visiting Amy in Waco, Texas. We went with to cheer her on at a half marathon she was running in Dallas. It was approx. 7:30 in the morning, and to get everyone pumped up I decided to blast "No Diggity" in Amy's Lincoln and start a dance party in the parking lot. My intention was to everyone jazzed for the race, but I think I only managed to scare a bunch of people.
"Red Red Wine" by UB40--Carrie and I sat together on school bus ride down to Galena, Illinois for a field trip in fifth grade. We listened to this song over and over and laughed hysterically every time at the line, "The lion smoked and the monkey get choked..." To this day I still laugh out loud when I hear this song on the radio. Just today I decided to look up the lyrics...turns out that's not even what they say! "The line broke, the monkey get choke"
Two other songs that remind me of that same bus ride: "What's Up" by 4 Non-Blondes and "Again" by Janet Jackson.
"Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling--Freshman year of college I woke up in the middle of one night to Brianna (my roommate, who's bed was two feet away from mine) screaming. I sat bolt upright and saw her covering her mouth with one and hand and pointing at the TV with her other hand. I was scared to look, as this was not long after Sept. 11 and I assumed the worst. Instead, there on the TV screen was a blonde boy with a low voice singing in a ravine (?)...a music video on MTV (or VH1?) Turns out Brianna knew the band from back home in L.A....not only that, but she had a CD recording of them from when they were just a garage band and one of them wrote a song about her.
"You Gotta Be" by Des'ree--I listened to this song every morning before going to school in sixth grade. As silly as that sounds now, at the time it kept me going. Now, when I listen to it, I still feel this renewed sense of sticking up for myself and taking control of my own life. Funny that these are the thoughts of a former 11-year-old...
"Black Water" by The Doobie Brothers--Sitting in the back of a Jeep with Amy and Abbi on our senior spring break in Fort Lauderdale, FLA. Amy's aunt and uncle were driving us to dinner. This song came on the radio.
"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis--I was in Galway, Ireland visiting Pat, who was studying abroad there. We went to a diner place called Eddie Rockets for some french fries. I wanted to choose a song on the jukebox, so I walked over there, only to be stopped by a stumbling, drunk Irishman who also wanted to choose a song. We agreed on Elvis. I walked back to the table of boys, the drunk man followed. He insisted I dance with him, the boys of course egged me on. So we danced for a few measures. Then he kept asking if we wanted his burger in a bag. We politely declined. A bouncer (no joke, the diner had a bouncer) made him leave. He came back in and headed straight for our table again. "You want my cigarette?" he asked me. I don't smoke to begin with, and the slobbery half-gone one he put in my hand pretty much solidified the fact that i will never smoke. Gross.
"Thinking of You" by Hanson--Nicolette and I jumping on her bed with our arms outstretched as though they were wings..."Fly the wings of an eagle/glide along with the wind/no matter how high/i'll be thinking of you the whole time"
"Do You Remember" by Jack Johnson--Shawna and I started each morning of our roadtrip around the country by playing this song. He sings, "Over ten years have gone by..." and we called our roadtrip the 10th Anniversary Tour, to mark our 10 years of friendship. It was a good start to each morning, as we woke up with the sun and sang along.
"Shall We Dance" from The King and I--When my dad would come home from work around dinner time, he'd put this song on and we'd dance around the kitchen.
Again, I open the floor for anyone who wants to share a musically-induced memory.