Music creates an indelible mark on our memories.
Think about it; I bet you can outline the story of your life by listing the songs that hold special meaning for you.
Give it a try. I did. And oh, what wonderful memories I uncovered.
Thanks for prompting this, Mark.'Twas a good (open) call, yours.
1. "With Love, Bobby" - Bobby Sherman
In 1970 I was in love with Bobby Sherman. David Cassidy was pretty cool, and so was Peter Brady, but Bobby was the man for me. My brother gave me this album for my birthday, and as I look back at them now, "Julie Do Ya Love Me," "Sweet Gingerbread Man," and "Good for Each Other" were perfectly appropriate for a 9-year-old girl with her first celebrity crush. And truthfully? I still think Bobby is kinda cute.
2. "Superstars of the 70s" - compilation album
Right around 1973 adolescence hit, and "Superstars of the 70s" was the first album I actively studied in an attempt to discover the meaning of life. I wore the grooves right out of this 4-disc set analyzing "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, celebrating summer with "School's Out" by Alice Cooper, and figuring out what all the fuss was about "Woodstock" by Joni Mitchell. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Doobie Brothers, Deep Purple, the Rolling Stones, America, the Bee Gees, the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Seals & Crofts. . . this album had 'em all, a last bow to flower children and hippies, and the beginning of my young adult life.
3. "Boston" - Boston
As a high school freshman, many afternoons were spent in my best friend's brother's 1976 Firebird, windows down and radio blasting Boston. Duh, I grew up in Mass! Me, Sally, and Jeanne would squish together into the backseat and sing at the top of our lungs: "Well we were just another band out of Boston. . ." And we thought we were Just. So. Cool.
4. "52nd Street" - Billy Joel
1978. Senior year of high school. This was the first Christmas we exchanged gifts with our group of friends that now included boys. Andy gave me "52nd Street," and we all rocked out to the likes of "Big Shot" and "Stiletto."
5. "Cheap Trick at Budokan" - Cheap Trick
While I admit that this is one of those "I'm embarrassed to admit I liked this" albums, Cheap Trick was the first concert I ever attended. In Boston. We got there by subway. Yes, I was 17 or 18, but my mother was very, very protective; I still can't believe she let me go. Going into the arena I had barely heard of Cheap Trick, but coming out I was hoarse from screaming, "I want you to want me, I need you to need me, I'd love you to love me, I'm begging you to beg me." The album was purchased the next day and played ad nauseum for about a month. Then the fascination was over. Just like that.
6. "Off the Wall" - Michael Jackson
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Rock with You," "She's out of My Life" . . . In 1979 this album kicked off college life, which wouldn't have been the same without Michael. 'Nuf said.
7. "Silk Degrees" - Boz Scaggs.
Best girlfriends + Riunite + Boz Scaggs = all the ingredients for melodrama, and as college freshmen in 1979/80, we were masters of the group dirge. We'd start off belting out "It's Over":
"Why can't you just get it through your head
It's over, it's over now
Yes, you heard me clearly now I said
It's over, it's over now
I'm not really over you
You might say that
I can't take it, I can't take it
Lord, I swear I just can't take it no more"
And, usually after we'd popped a few corks, er, twisted a few caps, there'd be more mellow and less drama. "We're All Alone" fit the changed mood perfectly, but when Boz told us to "let it out," we didn't hold back.
8. "Blow Your Face Out" - J. Geils Band
I didn't discover J. Geils until my sophomore year in college, but once I did, I was hooked. My friends and I camped out overnight -- an event itself -- to buy tickets for a Geils concert. At the event, the balcony had to be evacuated due to the thunderous foot-stamping that went along with "Freeze Frame," and J jumped atop a blow-up doll and, well, you get it -- on stage during "Centerfold." Oh my virginal eyes. Oldies but goodies like "House Party" and "Give It to Me" make this my favorite J. Geils album.
9. "Flashdance Soundtrack"
As college was coming to a close in 1983, I had high hair and high heels, and I was cutting the hoods off my sweatshirts to let them droop off one shoulder aka Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance." Donna Summer . . . Laura Branigan . . . Irene Cara . . . Kim Carnes. . . Joan Jett. . . this album showcased iconic 80's female pop stars, and I danced many a night away to "Gloria," "Manhunt," "Maniac," and the title track.
10. "Thriller" - Michael Jackson
My college career also ended with MJ. As part of a senior project, I helped stage a fashion show where the finale was danced -- in self-torn T's -- to "Beat It," and my very last night at school was spent dancing on tables to "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" with my girls. Like young women everywhere at the time, we thought the song was written just for us. We displayed egocentrism in its finest form.
11. "Always and Forever" - Luther Vandross
Okay, this one is a single, but it holds a special place in my heart. My husband chose this song for us to dance to at our wedding in 1987. He still croons it to me sometimes, and I still melt, just like I did back then. Oh, so romantic. . .
12. "Dirty Dancing Soundtrack"
1987 was a great year. I married my husband, and "Dirty Dancing" was released. ;) Who could resist Baby and Johnny falling in love to Otis Redding's "Love Man," Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind," and Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes' "The Time of My Life"? I introduced my daughter to the movie and the music, and we happily sigh every time we watch and listen. Indeed, in 1987, "I had the time of my life."
13. "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby
I don't really know how or why my fascination with Bing began, but I can visualize this album sitting on my father's dresser. I've always associated my Dad with Bing -- not the crazy abusive Bing, but the handsome, charmingly laid-back Bing of songs and movies -- and perhaps that's why I still enjoy listening to his music and watching his films. Every pop artist comes out with a Christmas album these days, but to me, nothing (except, perhaps, the unlikely pairing of Bing and David Bowie singing "The Little Drummer Boy") compares to Bing's renditions of "White Christmas" and "Silent Night."
14. & 15. "Momma's Mix CD I and II" - my daughter
These days my exposure to music is limited to what I hear in the car on my way to and from work. But I still love music! Knowing this, two years ago my daughter started making me mix CDs for mother's day. She has introduced me to new songs and artists, and with one exception, I've loved them all. That's what's so cool; she picks music that she *knows* I'll like, such as "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, "Capri" by Colbie Caillat, or my absolute favorite -- "The Real Me" by Natalie Grant. Which, by the way, is where I came by my OpenSalon name: TheRealMe. But that's a story for another day. For now, just listen. My eyes tear up every time I do.