Sunday, January 16, 2011

Name That Tune, Any Tune

Think back to your earliest memory, to some of your first impressions in life.
The first thing I remember
I was lying in my bed
I couldn't of been no more
than one or two.
Maybe it was a book that was read to you over and over, or a special toy you played with for hours on end.

Jesus, I am overjoyed
To meet you face to face
You've been getting quite a name
All around the place.
Or, if you're like me, it's a song. Or two. Or two hundred.

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure - Measure A Year?

My iTunes account has 2,350 songs in it, and I can sing probably 80% of them when I hear them. Isn't that amazing? Actually, it's not. A quick Google search on the number of songs a person memorizes indicates that I'm about average.

Just a small town girl,
Livin' in a lonely world.
She took the midnight train going anywhere.
As a grade schooler, I remember a weekend when I was stuck inside the house because I was sick and my parents spent the day doing chores outside. They had an 8-track playing (yes, I remember 8-track) of the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. The only other 8-track I could find was John Denver's Greatest Hits, and I spent the day alternating these two 8-tracks on the stereo. They heard it here and there as they passed through the house throughout the day, but I listened to both albums, over and over.

Pick any John Denver hit, or any track from that controverial play, and I will sing it back for you.
Look up on the wall baby,
hand me down my shootin' iron
Call your mother long distance,
tell her to expect your body home.
Okay so I didn't really want to shoot myself, but I did learn most of the lyrics to Stevie Ray Vaughn's songs on the day he died in July 1991, when his helicopter went down in Alpine Valley WI and the Milwaukee radio station I was listening to played only SRV songs for the next 24 hours. I hadn't heard his music before, but fell in love with it and have been listening ever since.
I like that boom boom pow
Them chicks are jackin' my style
They try to copy my swagger
I'm on that next shit now.
And my musical memory continues to grow, as I discover more and more new music. What would happen if we put facts to those melodies? Imagine how smart we would be. Instead, we've captured our own lifetimes in snippets of silly, stupid, somber or serious songs. None are exactly like the other, making us all unique in our musical memories.
You always reached out to me
And helped me believe
All those memories we share
I will cherish every one of them.
I think I'd rather have a musical lifetime of memories than a bunch of facts set to music in my head. 

Psst. Without scrolling back up, how many minutes are there in a year?


  1. It takes a lot to make me cry, but I did openly weep the day SRV died.

  2. You've proven me wrong. Remember when you first started watching MTV videos and I'd say that your generation is all going to have the same memory of the music 'cause you all see the same video and wouldn't be able to tie it to an emotionally attached time and place. I'm very glad you've proven me wrong.

  3. I do remember that, Mom. What's interesting is that many of my classmates have memories of first discovering MTV and can remember the videos. But then media splintered and people could find music in so many different places; that sense of a collective cultural reference has been diluted.

    The music you guys used to listen to has really stuck with me -- goes to show how influential parents are to their kids.