Saturday, 29 August 2009

Musical stepping stones

I’ve been thinking a lot about music lately, listening to a lot of music lately, talking about music a lot lately. Rediscovering a song on Youtube recently made me think about how certain songs have stood out for me over the years.

The song I found was my first ever ‘favourite song’. Suddenly I was seven or eight years old again asking Mum to turn the radio up. She didn’t like to. She didn’t think Richard Harris was much of a singer, but to me MacArthur Park was the best song in the world. Who else but a seven-year-old has the imagination to ‘see’ a park melting in the dark?

On to my teenage years and the song that sticks out for me is Don’t Cry for me Argentina. I loathed it with a passion! I still do, though I could never begin to explain why. I normally love anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber. My father, though, knowing how much I hated it would turn the radio up full bore every time it was on. When it wasn’t on, he’d walk around the house whistling it – verrrrrrrrrrrry slooooooowly. It drove me crazy, and I’ve never been more thankful than when that song dropped out of the charts.

The song of my twenties was from a past era. P and I were engaged to be married and due to move into his grandparent’s home on the farm until we could afford something better (haha - we’re still here). The kitchen was typical 1950s, painted apple green. That had to change, so we found a light blue we both liked and spent a hot few weeks of summer painting the kitchen. Unfortunately the name of the paint was “Blue Moon” and P kept breaking into song the whole time we worked. I say ‘unfortunately’ because P can’t be described as a musical man. In fact, my mother often wonders how all four of her daughters, whose father sang with a lovely baritone voice, all managed to get tone-deaf husbands? But Blue Moon remains one of my favourite songs – even with P singing it.

My thirties was when my kids arrived so I think the one song that stands out there is Colours of my life which was on a Seekers album P bought. I listened to it a lot when I was expecting Eldest and as a baby I’d put it on when he cried and it settled him. It described how I felt (especially, maybe, the first line ‘I can’t seem to get much sleep now, any old night…’ )

This decade? I’ve gone back to listening to songs from my teenage years (except Don’t Cry for Me Argentina of course) and from my twenties. Then there’s been a few new discoveries like Karine Polwart and Capercaillie. But I think I’ll remember this decade of my life as the time I discovered my latest obsession – the voice of Colm Wilkinson. Well maybe not ‘obsession’, but I’ve bought 5 of his CDs in the few months since I bought the Les Mis DVD. I just love his voice. He can sing a note so long, so high, so sweet, it’s like listening to a flower open. There’s no way I could choose a favourite song though. I like them all. He even makes me enjoy songs I’ve never really liked before. Maybe I should write and ask him to sing ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ and see if he can change my opinion on that?

How about you? What songs do you remember your life by?


Christina Farley said...

Okay, so I kind of like Don't Cry for Me Argentina! Ha! But as a song for life, I can't think of one. Maybe Enya's Sail Away or Caribbean Blue?

Kate said...

Hi Christina, I know lots of people who love it. It's not a bad song. I just don't like it for some reason.
I like Enya too.

Rena said...

I love "Blue Moon" -- there are so many different versions of it, which keeps it interesting.

A lot of songs that remind me of my childhood are from Elvis because my mom played him a lot. I also remember loving "Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho as a child, as well as "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window".

Fun post -- I'm sure with time I could think of a bunch more. :)

Kate said...

Yes, there are lots of versions of 'Blue Moon', Rena. P's version is definitely different! :D

Luc2 said...

Ouch, too many to choose from. Youngest years, plenty from the Beatles, but especially "The Fool on the Hill".
In high school Joe Jackson's "Real Men", Elvis Costello, Sade and Monty Python's "Always look at the bright side of life.
In my army time "Brother in Arms" by the Dire Straits and since university many things, including John Cale and Michael Franti.
Oh, and I really dislike "Don't cry for me Argentina", especially since I was forced to see the musical/movie with Madonna...

Kate said...

lol, Luc. I'm glad I'm not the only one. No, I don't think Madonna would make me like it either.