The Soundtrack of Your Life

Movies are filled with music from which we take cues about how we should be feeling in a particular scene, or it may suggest what is coming next. Can you imagine a movie without it?

Since we can’t live our lives with movie music following us everywhere, I’m glad that somebody invented the portable transistor radio, the portable CD player and now the iPod –  because those boom boxes were really getting heavy.

I remember when I was younger, that my Sunday afternoons would be filled with music from perfectly calibrated speakers, thanks to my father’s endless tinkering. But I’m amazed at how certain songs can transport you back in time. Periodically, I would search the internet to find songs and artists that I remember from those days, since those 8 track tapes and vinyl records are nowhere to be found.

I must have been 8 or 9 years old at the time, so I’m surprised that I remember some of these songs, so it tells me that music is a memory that stays with you. Peter Nero’s “Summer of ‘42” will always remind me of my father. Forget “What a Wonderful World”; Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” is what always makes me feel that all is right with the world. The Eagles is my all-time favourite rock band, and “Wildflower” by Skylark is the best love song – ever.

I remember being in grade school when rap songs were becoming popular. The lyrics then, were harmless and inoffensive, and I remember that we were all so taken with singing one in particular, that my friend Michelle painstakingly wrote out all the lyrics so that I could have it. I don’t even want to know the amount of times that cassette tape had to be rewound, stopped and started again.

The memory of some songs stays with you sometimes not because of what they mean, but because of what happened when you sang them. My husband tells me of a calypso from his youth that his sister would sing incessantly, whose lyrics included, “Please sah don’t touch my tomatoes, touch me yams, me pumpkins, potatoes…”. She later understood what made her father so upset.

My teenage years were heralded by the young Whitney Houston, and Donna Summer was every teenage boy’s dream. My husband really took it hard when she died last year, although some younger folks had absolutely no idea that she was the queen of disco music.

The younger set will have their own memories, and their soundtracks – I mean – playlists, will likely be filled with Beyonce, Rihanna and Etana (look her up). I’ve noticed though, that I’m hearing remakes of some of the songs from back in my day. Which just goes to show that sometimes, you can’t improve on perfection.

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Am I talking to myself here?

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