How does someone decide what the most important song is in their life? Is it the song playing in the background when you experienced your first kiss? Could it be song you and your partner danced to on your wedding day? Maybe it is the song playing on the radio as you start on a new life adventure. As I pondered this question, I discovered that there is no one song that is more important or significant than any other. So many songs have touched me in a special way and left lasting impressions.
Some songs choke me up as soon as the first few barsare played. I grew up during the Cold War, a time when the Pledge of Allegiance was said first thing every day at school and patriotic pageants were the norm. Over the years my political beliefs have changed but my throat still tightens when I hear The Star Spangled Banner. There are other songs, like Pomp and Circumstance played at graduations and The Wedding March, that invoke the same reaction. I found that it is not the song itself that makes me weep, but the memories the song invokes.
My father died when I was 13 years old. I remember sitting in family section at the funeral parlor, waiting for the service to begin. A thin curtain protected the family’s privacy, shielding from concerned onlookers any display of emotion. I was strong for a 13 year old, that was until The Old Rugged Cross began. That song still triggers memories of how it felt to be 13 years old and losing my Daddy.
There are songs that just make me feel good, no matter how lousy a day I’ve had. I absolutely love Pharell Williams’s song, Happy. Let’s face it, how can anyone be in a bad mood after listing to that song? Once I listen to it, however, it stays in my head for days. I guess that is the price I have to pay to be Happy.
Some songs make me want to get up and move. I admit I have two left feet but it doesn’t stop me from making a fool of myself as I join the dance line when The Electric Slide, The Macarena, and The Cha Cha Slide begin.
I feel empowered when I hear Gloria Gaynor sing I Will Survive. It may be about getting over a lover’s rejection but her message of survival applies to any tough situation in life. Sometimes just a reminder that this too will pass is all I need. Another favorite power song is I am Woman by Helen Reddy. I grew up in the 70’s during the Women’s movement and this song taught me to be proud of being a strong and capable woman.
As you can see, there are many songs that I consider my most important. For me, song is powerful, thoughtful, happy, sad, uplifting and sometimes downright silly. As I sit outside, thinking about what I wrote, I notice small white clouds floating slowly across the sky and I think of Otis Redding, sitting by the dock in the bay. Sometimes we just need to waste a little time.