THANKS for this Post, inspired by Morgan Callan Rogers on Cat Stevens (see below)
Penny2 is a regular commenter on the Celebrities in Disgrace blog.
My Intimate Hit List: The Power of Celebrities’ Music to Transport Us to Another Time by Penny2
Morgan Callan Roger’s beautiful essay about Cat Stevens reminded me of the power of celebrities’ music to transport us to another time. Here’s my own personal hit list of my most transporting music memories:
**Madonna: This is really both a musical and a celebrity bonding. Whenever Elizabeth Taylor passes away, I know I will call my mother to commiserate because Elizabeth Taylor is 3 years younger than my mother and has been a defining celebrity in my mother’s life–following each marriage, each movie. Madonna has been mine–and like Mom, I don’t generally agree with all my chosen celebrity’s choices (A-Rod, now really!) but I will follow her for the rest of her (or my) life.
She is 6 years older than me but seems much closer in age to me (maybe because I have aged faster than she has!). Material Girl is the song that defines 1984 and Halloween 1984 when a friend used my face as a canvas to truly, truly create Madonna–the hair, the bracelets, the make up, the whole effect. Madonna MET Elvis that night–not really Elvis but a cross-dressed Elvis. We all know that Madonna SHOULD have met Elvis.
**And Ray of Light–an amazing album that my husband and I listened to over and over and over again. It came out the year we married, but we mostly listened to it when we had a toddler running around–it captures the frantic hyperactivity of a toddler boy in a way no other song ever has.
**The fastest I ever drove a car was along a stretch of Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale, Arizona listening to Born to Run. I was, maybe 23, had never had a ticket and was conservative in car driving behavior to say the least. I looked down at my speedometer and was going 80! I did not get a ticket. If I hear Born to Run and am behind the wheel, I have to think “check yourself,” because I know that even today, at 46, it could easily happen again.
**”Even when I was young, I always thought that grocery store music would transport me to my youth–and it does. The other day, I was in a freezer section of the grocery store and could see my face in the glass. I stopped short when John Denver‘s You Fill Up my Senses came on. What a hokey song. Yet I pictured the same kind of pretty, sensitive college boyfriend that Morgan Callan Rogers pictures when she hears Cat Stevens. I did not move for the entirety of the song. It was transformative to revel in the middle of Shaws while other shoppers thought I was deep in thought comparing Lean Cuisine to Healthy Choice frozen entrees.”
** “My husband sang to me on our third date. He got out his guitar and sang The Las’ There She Goes. I also cannot move when I hear that song. I pull over and envelope myself in the music and transport back to the moment when he serenaded me. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel is our song and evokes a similar response.”
**”On a completely different note: Green Days‘ hilarious and dark Basket Case. Whatever is happening, whatever is being discussed, it goes on hold for both of us when it comes on the radio and we laugh together about whiny friends who it evokes.”
**”One of the many things I love about my husband is the goose bumps reaction. There are songs I know (including There She Goes) where if we are together in the car, I can look over at his arm and see goose bumps. It physically changes him–not necessarily because of the song itself but because of the memory it evokes. I am glad I am married to someone so in touch with this feeling in himself.”
**We sang Peace Train in Unitarian Sunday school recently with my 6 year old son. Maybe my son will someday remember who he was sitting next to when an earnest Sunday school father played it on his guitar and sang. I am grateful to be a mother in this age when we can like the same music as our kids. My son has heard a lot of Beatles in the car and recently told us his favorite song is HELP. When he was a toddler, it was Lovely Rita Meter Maid. What songs will evoke these kind of memories in my now-7 year old? He just directed me to You Tube to hear Fireflies. I respect it as a future evocative song for him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psuRGfAaju4
** My Life: the most purposely evocative song ever written. Those of us who never married or married late probably get carried away by that song more readily than those who married at a young age. Because “in my life, I’ve loved them all.” Each one defined a chapter, each one defined a version of the self. And I can be happy that I married one to whom “of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you. And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new. So I know I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before. I know I’ll often think about them. In my life, I’ve loved you more.”
(photos: flickr.com, amright.com, capitalistliontames.com)