"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Sunday, September 25, 2011

For the love of music ......

I was reading a post from my friend Tony over at Home Thoughts and he was talking about a British radio show called "Desert Island Discs" where celebrities have to choose 8 songs they would bring with them on a desert island. These are not your favorite songs - just ones that are important memories so that the people can use them to discuss their lives. I have tried with all my might to come up with only 8 songs! It is impossible! Music has always been such an important part of my life from the time I can remember. When I could not find the words, music always did, it has always been my best friend and brings back memories in the way that a photo or a particular scent can. How can I narrow my life to eight memories?

I thought that I would just pick the first songs that came into my head .... those obviously are the most important right? I came up with 20 without even thinking. And then once I read that list I came up with 20 more. I obviously would not be a good choice for this radio show, but for a blog on the other hand, a list of songs that made an impact on my life may not be such a bad idea!

"On a warm summer evening
on a train bound for nowhere
I met up with a gambler
we were both too tired to sleep....."

My Yia-Yai was not a great fan of modern music, she liked Big Band and Greek music. She did have her favorites:Elvis, The Beatles, Englebert Humperdinck, The Rat Pack and Kenny Rogers. She had a great old record player that was really a piece of furniture. You could put the albums in it and it had a radio that I don't remember ever working. But I remember as a kid playing Kenny Rogers greatest hits over and over - in particular the Gambler. Not exactly the most appropriate song for a 5-year-old to be running around singing - but I did, over and over again!

Beethovan - Fur Elise
Fur Elise reminds me of my mom in so many ways! She was a music teacher & this was one of her favorite pieces when she was a child. My Yia-Yia had a piano in her livingroom & my mom and I would play this song. I took piano lessons for a few years, but I never got the hang of reading music. I learned this song from watching my mom play!  Yia-Yia's piano is now at my mom's house and while I have not played in many many years, I can still sit down and play the opening bars of this one song!

"When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother what will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?
Here's what she said to me ....."

This is another song that reminds me of my mom. When I got my first record player, I had no records. It was a plastic little thing and after a time it was used so much I would have to tape a quarter on the needle so the records didn't skip. But when I first got it I had no records. So, my mom gave me one of her old 45s, and it was Doris Day. I played it over and over. The record player was great because I could carry it around the house with me, plug it in and listen to Doris all over the house! I am sure my mother was thrilled! But she would never tell me "what will be will be" she told me I would be pretty and I would be rich and I would have rainbows ................. well, she was right about the rainbows!

The next three are important to me because I loved them as a child and I have shared them with my children. I don't think I am tone-deaf, but I will never win American Idol. And yet both of my children loved for me to sing them lullabies. The three that I sing over and over are the ones that bring back happy memories of my childhood, back when watching movies on television was a big deal, involving staying up late and popcorn because they were only on once or twice a year, so if you missed it you had to wait a whole year to see it again.

"Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops.
Oh way above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me."

"Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things."

Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it. I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

The next two just give me warm fuzzy feelings about my childhood. I remember getting dressed up and performing for my mom. She loved Barbara and Olivia and we would play these songs over and over. On the record players you could move the arm to the right and it would play the same album or single over and over (for those of you who have never seen a record player, it would be similar to the repeat mode on your ipod). When we would clean the house or just hang out one of these two women would be singing in the background. So, for this exercise I picked my favorites from these albums, obviously there are many more albums and songs to choose from, but when I thought of them these are the ones whose lyrics I remembered instantly!

"Please Mister Please
Don't play B17
It was our song, it was his song but it's over
Please Mister Please
If you know what I mean
I don't ever want to hear that song again."

"Love, soft as an easy chair;
Love, fresh as the morning air,
One love that is shared by two,
I have found with you."

So, those are the eight songs I came up with that remind me of my early childhood. Songs that bring happy memories - though sometime melancholy. I will continue this project another time. For I still have preteen, adolescence, early adulthood and today to go through.

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