In response to an invitation from the always engaging Deb at Debs Dispatches, I am joining her in sharing the songs which perhaps best represents me as a person. Deb’s choices are all really good, not to mention the fact that I was delighted to see she chose Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dance,” which was a huge favorite of my father’s (cue lump in throat on 1, 2, 3…).
In keeping to the same style and format in which Deb presented her list, below are songs which in some way perhaps represent that person I am also.
Out of respect to Deb and her kind overture to me (Ha, overture! See what I did there? Okay, sorry…), I promise not to list any Spike Jones, Monty Python, “Weird Al” Yankovic, or the “Shaving Cream” song of my youth, which once incited my mother to almost wash my mouth out with soap after I sang it. Also, some of the YouTube links might not work for international readers. My apologies if that happens to you. So with these housekeeping matters established, away we go…
A song you like with a color in the title: “Pinky” from Elton John’s Caribou. Right out of the gate I’m cheating here because “Pinky” is obviously not a color, but in fact a person in either Elton or Bernie Taupin’s world. I nevertheless always thought this song captures the absolute essence of having a wonderful someone in your life. So lets pretend it’s a color just to stay in theme here!
A song you like with a number in the title: “Questions 67 and 68” from Chicago’s ‘Chicago Transit Authority’. If “Pinky” provides the feeling of being with the perfect person, then perhaps this song helps answer the questions of how we found that special someone.
A song that reminds you of summertime: “Hot Fun in the Summertime” released as a single only by Sly & The Family stone (later included on a greatest hits album). This song always takes me back to my summers as a kid in the sixties and seventies, when the world seemed full of unlimited possibilities: Hitting my first home run while playing baseball with friends, getting a brand new Schwinn bike, and keeping the anxieties of schoolwork a very distant memory until September.
A song that needs to be played loud: So, so many possible choices for this one: “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and so many others. But the one I never fail to turn up LOUD when it comes on in the car radio is “Street Fighting Man” from the Rolling Stone’s ‘Beggars Banquet’ album. I was never a fighter nor much of a rabble rouser myself, but for me this is the song that will exorcise any demons currently taunting my psyche. Mick and Charlie shine on this one to boot.
A song to drive to: And speaking of driving, I have three favorite artists or groups whose music I like to take out on the road with me: Tom Petty, Steely Dan, and Van Morrison. But if I have to pick just one song here it has to be “My Old School” from Steely Dan’s ‘Countdown to Ecstasy’. For me its rhythmic melody not only screams “Road Trip!,” but it’s also quite evocative of my own college days shenanigans.
A song that makes you happy: “Raspberry Beret” from Prince’s ‘Around the World in a Day.’ This song never fails to give me that extra spurt of energy when it plays in my ear buds while I’m in the middle of a workout.
A song that makes you sad: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles. She reaches in and just pulls you right into the heartache as she beautifully sings about a former lover of hers. This is a torch song, and you can’t help but feel her emotions. For me it’s Sara’s absolute best song, and that’s really saying something given her discography. She’s such an underrated songwriter. Her live solo version of this song for iTunes is also worth a listen.
A song you never get tired of: “Firth of Fifth” from the Genesis ‘Selling England by the Pound’ album. It’s a tour de force of prog rock, from Tony Banks’ impressive opening piano to what is probably Steve Hackett’s finest moment in Genesis, with his soaring and beautiful guitar solo towards the end of the song.
A song from your preteen years: “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” from the Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out’ album. I’ve specifically linked to a live version below even with its lousy sound quality. The Four Tops were always such an exciting band to watch. They remain my absolute favorite from that great Motown era.
One of your favorite 80s songs: Oh come on, Deb, you’re making this incredibly hard! It will have to be another Genesis song because they are my favorite band. I pick “Abacab” from the album of the same name. This is a very controversial song among Genesis fans. For many it’s the final straw of those who loved them for their prog roots, and for others it makes the band more relevant in a music decade that was clearly shoving the old guard out the door. “Abacab” is an audacious song and makes no bones about it. It’s good to be audacious now and then.
A favorite song to request at a wedding: Would pick “Fly Me To The Moon” by Tony Bennett, off his neato-titled 1965 album ‘If I Ruled The World: Songs For the Jet Set.’ This is my favorite Tony Bennett song.
A favorite classical song: The first movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter“). This piece was performed at the very first classical concert I ever attended (The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Sixten Ehrling conducting). From the very first notes played, it grabs you and sweeps you off your feet.
A song you’d sing at a karaoke bar: Well…. truth be told, I’d much rather just sit in that bar and watch Deb perform “7 Seconds.” I have been told over and over that I cannot sing in tune or in a key that resembles that actual work I’m trying to honor. So, provided the audience is sufficiently lubricated, I would love to give Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” a try. Off his magnificent ‘Back in the High Life’ album, this is also a great dance tune. Which, hopefully people would be doing instead of watching me.
A song from your childhood: The earliest song I can remember, no doubt from my sisters playing it on the record player, is the Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I can clearly remember singing it back to my mother when she asked me to hold her hand as we crossed a busy street once, and her laughing in response. Those are good memories.
A song you know entirely by heart: It would have to be Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Teach Your Children.” I would suspect Gorgeous can probably sing it by heart at this point too, because she hears me sing it regularly whilst I’m in the shower. She suffers long.
My thanks to Deb for inviting me along on this musical ride of hers. Now, don’t just sit there listening to the tunes; Sign up for her wonderful blog if you haven’t already!
Until next time..