It was the summer of 1998. That was the summer I started combing my hair differently. That summer I didn’t go to see my dad in California until later in June instead of right after school was out. And that was the summer that both my parents and my best friend Aaron’s were out of town the same week. I didn’t have a car, so I stayed with Aaron and he drove me to and from work. My shifts ended at 10pm, so there was still time to go out and do something if we wanted to. I think we went bowling one night, or at least that was suggested. I know we went several places, because in the car we listened to “Abbey Road” the entire week. I had borrowed the cassette from a friend and copied the entire album on one side of a blank. The other side was James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, but whenever that came on, Aaron just pushed fast-forward until it switched over to the other side. That’s still one of my favorite albums.
Another song that takes me back, way way back, is “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. It was around 1987 or whenever it was I was in Kindergarten. My mom probably had that cassette in the car, among others, and as I listened to it over and over again, my lovesick little mind would think of my girlfriend April. She was my first ever girlfriend and she dumped me for my best friend . . . twice. And speaking of April, she always smelled strongly of perfume, probably her mother’s, and every time I unexpectedly get a whiff of that smell it stops me dead in my tracks.
It’s funny what memories stick, really. For some reason one that comes to mind every time I listen to “Liberian Girl” by Michael Jackson is the time my buddy Phillip and I were in his garage drinking grape Hi-C and “working out” on his dad’s weight machine. We were rocking the entire album because I had the cassette on extended loan from my friend Tony from up the street, but that’s the song that stands out the most. I love that whenever I bring it up, Phillip remembers exactly what I’m talking about. We seriously thought we were so cool pumping iron out there. Odds are, we were doing all the exercises wrong, but we were having fun and that’s what’s important.
I could go on. Being a musician means that there’s always a song to go with a memory. I got it from my parents who used to drill me whenever a good song came on the radio. “Who sings this?” they would ask, and I’d shout “Phil Collins!” or “The Beatles!” or “Farris Bueller!” (Until I was much older, I thought Farris Bueller sang “Twist and Shout” and “Donke Schoen”.) There are many songs I have heard throughout my life that I can tell you what I was doing the first time I heard it or a time I listened to it and it had special meaning for that moment. The first time I heard “Space Oddity” by David Bowie I was on the way to the Sacramento airport. At church camp, my friend Karl an I had a yearly tradition where we’d sing “Be Our Guest” over hot chocolate after the midnight hike on the last night. Now that I think of it, it probably would have been more appropriate to sing it at the beginning of camp . . . but what are you gonna do? And of course there are always the songs that have popped in my head every morning that I have overslept and been late for something since I was in grade school. There’s “Time For Me to Fly” by REO Speedwagon. And let’s not forget “I’m In A Hurry” by Alabama.
So honestly, there are too many songs to cover them all here, and there will be more to come. Why just today, I was listening to “Back In the High Life Again” by Steve Winwood and thinking how much I have always loved that song. That’s one that doesn’t have a specific memory tied to it because when it’s on, I am just in that moment enjoying it.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”