It got me thinking about what songs take me back to different times in my life...
As a kid, my parents only listened to country music. We had a record player and about 25 or so records and I would always grab The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Album and put it on- no matter what time of year it was. It was my very favorite and I'm pretty sure that I wore that record out- along with the other Oak Ridge Boys record they had. Any other 80's kids fond of Elvira and My Baby Is American Made? My mom also had a Richard Simmons workout on VINYL that had a book you had to follow while you worked out. I loved that workout and hearing Richard's voice sing with the music, "You put it there, now lift it up and put it down! and SQUEEZE!". As a 4 year old, I had no idea how to squeeze my butt muscles but I freaking loved trying. So Richard Simmons and the Oak Ridge Boys make me smile whenever I hear them.
When I was in the fourth grade, I was going to have some of my friends over for a slumber party. I had a little clock radio in my room set to the country stations that my mom and dad always listened to. About 5 minutes before my friends were supposed to come over, I suddenly realized that they would probably all make fun of me for listening to country (after all, it seemed like my entire class had been to the New Kids on the Block concert the previous school year and I didn't know a single NKOTB song). I hurriedly put my radio dial onto the popular top 40 station and pretended like it's what I listened to all the time. I studied pop radio and made mixed tapes of all the "cool" songs so that I could fit in. And I totally participated in the fourth grade birthday party right of passage when all the girls gave all the other girls tapes of Wilson Phillips and Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul. I came to love it. At my fifth grade talent show, I played The Rose on the piano while all the other girls did dance routines to Paula's "Straight Up". The routines all included everyone suddenly doing a hand stand every single time Paula said "Straight Up." So I went home and practiced hand stands while Paula cheered me on from the tape deck.
Later that year, my parents bought a boat and we started spending weekends at the lake skiing, swimming and camping. Those weekends are some of my fondest childhood memories. Our boat had a tape deck and my mom and dad had 4 tapes that lived in the boat's dash compartment. If we were on the boat we were listening to The Eagles' Hotel California, Jimmy Buffet's Songs You Know By Heart, Bad Company's 10 from 6 and Alabama's 40 Hour Week. When I learned to ski for the first time, I remember changing the words to the Eagle's Peaceful Easy Feeling, to "I'm already standing on my skis" (instead of standing on the ground) I still to this day sing it with the word "skis" in it because it just makes me happy and reminds me of such a carefree time in my life.
I kept growing up, and so did the reasons that music was important to me. In the 7th grade, I danced with a boy for the first time at a school dance. We danced to Lady In Red. Most of my other friends' first dance that night was to Whitney's "I Will Always Love You" and in middle school, we truly thought that we would love those scrawny little 12 year old boy for-evah. I was so embarrassed about wanting to go to a dance that I wrote "VDD" on my calendar instead of Valentine's Day Dance. When my mom asked me about it, I think I froze and panicked and told her it meant Valentine's Day in Different Countries (Where did the "c" come from?!) and that is was something we were working on in social studies. I can't remember if she saw through it or if I finally confessed and told her about it. Either way, she found out and dropped me off at the dance.
At that dance, I discovered that I could NOT dance (like, at all!) and my best friend, Annie, tried to teach me in front of the mirror in her bed room. We blasted Boyz II Men and she taught me how to sway back and forth with slightly more grace than I had before. I can not hear Boyz II Men without thinking about my "dancing" lessons. Boyz II Men's "Motown Philly" was the first CD I ever bought with my own money when my aunt and uncle gifted me with their old CD player. My uncle was not impressed and I remember him saying, "I wouldn't have given it to you if I knew you were going to play that kind of crap on it!"
Then, in high school, I got a serious boyfriend. He had a car and we would drive around the back roads of Kentucky, pulling over every now and then to make out (sorry Dad). I was so enamoured with this boy that I don't even remember what we would listen to on those long drives. I do remember watching the movie "Say Anything" on New Year's Eve not long after we got together and "In Your Eyes" became our song.
Then I went to college. Holy moly, there's great music in college! My suitmates and I jammed Dave Matthews, Ben Folds Five, Eminem (I can't believe I admitted that!), Rusted Root, every chick flick soundtrack that we could find, and whatever we had downloaded on Napster the night before (those were the good ol' days!) But the one song that stands out the most to me was an oldie. My roommate and I never shut our door in college. Our room was always open, music was always playing, and we were always dancing. We made up this dance that we called the "crazy dance" and it consisted of flailing around like a jellyfish and pretty much moving like you just didn't care. For some reason, our song of choice for crazy dancing was Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecelia". Later on when I had kids, I totally taught them how to crazy dance to that song. It also is the song that makes me think of church camp in the summers since my favorite counselor had it on a mixed CD. When the part about making love in the afternoon came on, she would scream out, "Making Kool-aid in the afternoon!" because it was church camp and there wasn't supposed to be any love making.
Midway through my first year of college, I met the man who would become my husband. He was a senior and I was a freshman. After dating for a few months, he came and picked me up at the dorm and took me to his apartment. No lie, the boy tried to seduce me with a mixed tape that he had that he entitled "Mellow Tape". He might as well have called the tape, "Songs that I hope make girls want to get busy". Unluckily for him, I saw through his plan and I still make fun of him for this ploy. But the tape was really GOOD! All of the songs on it make me think of those early days of falling in love with my husband. The first song on it was a deep Led Zeppelin track called "I'm Gonna Crawl" that later became the song we danced to at our wedding. (And we walked in and were introduced as a married couple to U2's "Beautiful Day.")
Not long after we got married, I found myself great with child. I was a young gal, driving around in my car with my belly just starting to get big. UB40's "Red Red Wine" came on the radio and the sweet, little baby in my belly started kicking for the very first time. Turns out, that Sadie really loved that song in utero. Any time it was played, it got her little feet going and she kicked the crud out of me to that song for the rest of my pregnancy. After she was born, her favorite song changed to "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon. We played "Call me Al" for her at least a million times in her first year. Made her grin and dance every single time.
When Noah came along, he was the one always making music in our house. He sang constantly. Whether it was nursery rhymes or songs off the radio, he was always singing loudly in his crackly, little, high pitched voice. So the soundtrack of the years since I had Noah are all songs that he sang to me. "You Are My Sunshine" was his favorite and I love hearing him belt it out.
If you want to see what my favorite home movie of ours is click HERE. Noah goes ballistic singing "No More Monkeys"
And then there's Miles... when we were preparing to adopt Miles, I listened to a lot of praise and worship music... with the exception of one of my favorite songs of all time... Toto's "Africa". Now when we hear it Miles always says, "Heeeeey! I used to be in Africa!"
Now that I'm a mom of three, I find myself listening to whatever is on the latest version of Kids Bop. Thankfully, this is just a season of life with questionable music!
What about you? What's on the soundtrack of your life?