A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere.
Here are the staff picks:
Leeann Ward: “American Pie” – Don McLean
This song and the album from which it comes reminds me of my childhood living room. My dad was almost as much of a music fan as me, but my mom was much more limited in the music that she could tolerate without considering it needless noise. Perhaps having so many children does that to a mother.
However, she never complained when this album was played, even at reasonable maximum volume. So, whenever I hear this song, I associate it with my childhood home, as part of its soundtrack.
Tara Seetharam: “As Long as You Love Me” – Backstreet Boys
I lived in Scotland when I was 12 for about a year, during which I may or may not have been mildly obsessed with the Backstreet Boys. This song –a favorite at my very first set of school dances– reminds me of the treasure trove of experiences I had that year.
Kevin Coyne: “Silent House” – Dixie Chicks
I associate Taking the Long Way with all the major life changes of my late twenties, as that album had so many songs that I was able to relate to because of the upheavals around me. “Silent House” will always be associated with my childhood home, and how it moved from being a place where memories were created to a place that they were left behind.
My pick is “Everything’s Changed” by Lonestar.
It reminds me of a vacation I took to Cleveland, OH the last week of Aug in 1998. On the last day, when I didn’t want to leave, this is the song that woke me up. The alarm clock was set to the local country station and this song was playing.
August, 2000. Friends of mine and I went to Chicago, taking in a Cubs/Rockies game at Wrigley Field just hours after making the drive. Over the next few days we hit a comic book convention (Wizard World Chicago) and assorted activities about town.
During our visit we also attended a Clint Black concert at Ravinia, a gorgeous venue with an amphitheater set on a sprawling lawn. We congregated just behind the amphitheater itself. My friends elected to lie on their backs on the lawn behind me, but I stood at the rail nearest the back of the amphitheater and soon I found myself surrounded by a group of guys.
Between two of the earliest songs, one of the guys called out, “State of Mind!” Black didn’t play it. Then he called for it again. And again. Eventually all of his friends were joining his pleas. By the beginning of the second act of the show (yes, there was an intermission), I had lent my voice to theirs. It was a song I always liked, but it wasn’t until that concert that it meant something to me.
The perfect thing about all this is that the lyrics of “State of Mind” are specifically about how a song “can bring back a memory.” I never imagined it would become self-referential, but it did. It was a gorgeous night, lots of fun and a highlight of my youth.
Cliche and copying other’s sort of, but Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”. Reminds me of all the different homes and places I’ve grown up in. Now that I’m off in college, remembering those places and times seems more important than ever.
Two songs remind me of my first vacation, a 1965 trip from Long Island to Virginia Beach with two friends in a rented Ford Falcon: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by the Four Tops and “Engine, Engine #9″ by Roger Miller, a country crossover hit. I didn’t listen to country in those days.
I love Leeann’s pick,”American Pie”, the single and the album with its cool cover pictured above. Other great songs from that album include “Vincent”, which someone mentioned for the songs that make us sad, and “Empty Chairs”, all solely written by McLean.
“Does He Love You” -Reba McEntire & Linda Davis.
Reminds me of my High School track, because one gym class (about 3 years ago) I was showing one of my good friends the video of this song on my new iPod (I had went crazy and brought a few music videos from iTunes). And she was telling me how it was a powerful video, but that white turban made Reba look like sh*t. It was pretty funny, so I think about that and my High School track whenever I hear the song.
“Stay Together for the Kids” by blink 182, I was a freshman college student that time. We were in our dormitory, having some gigs with my roommates. I know, I know, it’s a devastating song but this one introduced me to rock, then country. :)
Brad Paisley’s “Come On In (Feat. Buck Owens)” always reminds me of my grandparents and family in India, because I put the song in our home video from the trip as background music.
And the DJ Otzi cover of “Hey! Baby” reminds me of camp in my final year of primary school. I wasn’t into music at the time, but all of my classmates sang it all during the hike and it reminds me of the great end I had to primary school after some pretty bad years.
“Lily The Pink” by the Scaffold – this record was the number 1 record on the BBC charts the week we moved to London in 1969 (Dad was transferred there by the USN) – it was a cool song and actually the first song I heard played on the radio there. I was 16 when we moved there and I had a blast – didn’t like the climate but loved the city
“Small Town USA’ reminds me of a few places I lived wien I was a kid.
Little Big Town. “Boondocks” Cause I too was born and raised in the boondocks of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia!
“Drift Away” by Uncle Cracker and “Why Georgia” by John Mayer always remind me of being a kid in our towns summer daycare program since they were played on the radio a lot!
‘The Wind That Shakes the Corn’ by the Irish Rovers takes me back to my Gran’s front porch and the stories of her Grandfather and Father’s fight for an Irish Republic, which came only after they left Ireland in 1914 as it was too dangerous for my great-grandfather to stay.
Paul- ‘Lily the Pink’ is craick!
This is my favorite topic so far. I do something every summer that a buddy of mine and I started doing when we were 19 (about 11 years ago). We started making summer CD’s. They are basically soundtracks for the summer comprised of songs that have stuck with me throughout the year or songs that just struck up an old memory. I always say- think of it as a soundtrack for a movie- mix some up tempo stuff with a ballad or two, and you got the mix together.
Anyway this topic made me think of my story.
1.) The summer I graduated high school 3 buddies and I drove to Hershey Park Stadium to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert. It was July 5th and it was a road trip similar to anything out of those 70’s coming of age films as we drove out in a baby blue 1980 Chevy with no air conditioning. My one buddy was an offensive lineman on the football team and primarily only listened to hard rock music. As we were driving out we were flipping through the music stations and on came “Wild Wild West” by Will Smith. Being that I’m a musical sponge, and a troublemaker, I decided to start singing the song as the second verse picked up. Halfway through, my buddy in the backseat with me starts joining in. The song ends and the football player riding shotgun says, “Why would you know the words to that dumbass song?” So we hit the scan button on the radio and the very next station that comes in goes right into “Wild Wild West.” This time I pick up singing from the beginning with my buddy joining in again, and then my buddy driving joined in. My football playing buddy takes this for about a minute and then changes the station.
We are then about 10 minutes from the venue and have to go through the stations again. You can probably guess which song comes on. I just go right into singing again and before anyone can join in the football player hits the radio buttons and screams, “We’re not listening to this f%$#ing song again.”
This then led to us in the concert and anytime a song started we’d take turns asking the football player if this was “Wild Wild West.” About halfway through the concert he just gave in and found the humor in it all.
So anytime I hear that song, I’m 17 in the car with my buddies living out our last summer before college.
…garth brook’s “beaches of cheyenne” always reminds me of a holiday visit to wyoming’s capital/capitol and the “frontier days” compound with its museum. a beautiful state.
Kevin, I was wondering what day the first Chicks song would show up, ;)
My place song would be the Macarena; I know, super cheesy, but they played it everytime we were at skating parties.
Oddly, Reba McEntire and Linda Davis’ “Does He Love You?” reminds me of Myrtle Beach, SC. We took a family vacation to Myrtle Beach when I was 11 years old and it was the first time I had been there since I was 5. That song had not been out very long and I heard it several times on the radio during the vacation, so I associated it with Myrtle Beach.
“Only Prettier” by Miranda Lambert. During one trip my family took to Florida, I pretty much pumped “Revolution” the entire time, so really any of those songs could be there.
Extremely well written post!