A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Traveling the Musical Time Machine

        One of the more effective stimuli that prompt past memories are the songs from our past.  How many times have you heard a song that took you back to some special time in your life?  Often I'll be in the grocery store or driving in my car and hear a song that sparks an event in the past, a special person, or a place that I associate with that song.   Music can be like a smell, a photograph or anything else that takes us back into our past.

        These thoughts are inspired as I listen to a compilation CD of pop songs recorded between 1957 and 1972.   This particular CD is volume 5 of a series called "Hey!  Look What I Found".   It's a CD that I found on Amazon a few years back when I was looking for a favorite song called "Look for a Star".   The internet is great for digging up things like that and Amazon seems to be the most comprehensive source for a lot of obscure things one might be looking for.  In fact, I found the song I was looking for on two different compilation albums and each contained rival versions by two different artists.

         The song "Look for a Star" came out in 1960.  I didn't hear it until late 1963 or early 1964 when I went with my father to see a film called Circus of Horrors.  I guess the song stood out for me so much because it is used several times in the film and it's a rather nice song that appealed to my taste.  In 1965 I found a 45 record version of the song in the cut-out bin at a Sears store.  I enjoyed my vinyl copy until 1969 when I gave away all my 45's, a move I later regretted.  But 45's were no longer in vogue and I was more into the LP albums.

        The CD I now own is kind of a fun recording.  I'm not familiar with many of the songs or artists.  Some I do recall hearing in my younger days.   One interesting cut is "Stand By Me" as performed by Cassius Clay.  Some of you may not know this singer by this name since he was not really known for his singing, but for his boxing abilities and the name he is now known by--Muhammad Ali.  Then there is a Kenny Rogers recording that was released in 1958.  I had no idea that Rogers had done any recordings prior to his rock/pop stint with the First Edition and then later in his most famous role as a country/pop superstar.

        Compilation albums such as this one can be entertaining and often a revelatory insight into our own pasts.  Listening to a collection such as this one can be reminded of days gone by and learn a bit of music history at the same time.  Those of you with collections of older music undoubtedly enjoy kicking back sometimes just to get lost in the music and dream away.

        A fun exercise you might want to try is to compile a soundtrack of your life.  This makes a fun blog post and a nice way to tell a bit about your own life story.   I've actually done two of these on my main blog.  You can see mine at The Soundtrack of My Life and the follow-up post The Soundtrack of My Life (Number Two).  If you decide to do one of your own, please let me know so I can be sure not to miss it. Have fun with it.  Music is a great way to journey back into your past.

        Have you put together your own life soundtrack?   What is the music that evokes the most memories for you?    Do you ever hear a song come on when you don't expect it and have it dig deep into you soul and memory?

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  1. Your 'Soundtrack of My Life' idea is a great one, Arlee. Might give that one go. As to hearing a song that digs deep into your soul and memory... hmm... The 80s stirred memories a short while back and caused me to add the following most recently to my song library:
    • Cruel Summer by Bananarama
    • Human by The Human League

    But really, everything is a memory when you get right down to it. Moments happen in an infinitesimal instant and then they're part of the past. I guess that's why I bought the odd 2002 little techno-electric ditty 'Breathe' by Télépopmusik just some weeks back. Yes, it's from this century, but more than 10 years ago. And a lot happened in those ten ;-).

    Thanks, Arlee.

  2. This post is right up my street,
    I love the old songs from my life.
    The song "Look for a Star" I well remember and sadly the words are very apt in my life at present.
    Thanks for a wonderful read.


  3. No soundtrack yet.... there wouldn't be as much from the second thirty years as there would be from the first thirty years. Something happened after kids arrived and I no longer listen to much new music - frankly, I mostly prefer silence. But, there are times when something comes on - like this rendition of Stairway to Heaven: http://sebtown294.blogspot.com/2013/01/knock-knock-whos-there.html

    It's towards the end of the post...

  4. Hi Arlee,
    Good to be back again, yet another wonderful post on music. Thanks for sharing, keep up the good work even in the hectic schedule of the upcoming A to Z Challenge.
    Keep Going

  5. Hi Lee .. I wish my memory was good with songs - when I hear them fine, but remembering their names, and who sings them etc .. I'm hopeless ..

    The bit about Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali makes some extra sense to me .. as his name popped up when I did my post on Desiderata at the beginning of the year ... and the radio life of California in the early 60s ...

    Cheers Hilary

  6. Hey Lee! This is a great post. I have tried before to compile a cd of my life, but I'm super bad at editing, and end up with about 50 songs, which is way too many for a cd. You've inspired me to try it again though! As with most people, music has been my best friend through much of my life. I'll post it on my blog as soon as I'm done.

  7. Hi Lee,

    My friend, a terrific idea and indeed, a reflective soundtrack of our lives.

    A compilation that may well go through a wide variety of moods. Music and the moments, a memory, a snapshot of your life. You are transported back to that moment when you hear a song of significance.

    Peace be with you, Lee.


  8. Leo -- Sometimes years after the fact I might hear a song that I never paid much attention to when it was popular and it will strike me in a new way. Old memories being tweaked I guess is part of the new interest in a song. We don't always know why, but a bit of music can take on special meaning when heard at the right moment.

    Yvonne -- I think you took part in the blogfest that I did about this.

    Gracie -- I've had periods of my life where silence was preferred, but music has been a great love for me over all. I'll check out the link.

    Phil -- Good to hear from you as always.

    Hilary -- I don't know why but my listening ear zeroes in on music. I guess it had something to do with the way I was raised.

    Eve-- My list was far longer at first as well but then I picked out what highlighted my life and not necessarily my favorite songs. Let me know when your soundtrack goes up.

    Gary -- You've captured the essence of what a good life soundtrack should be about.


  9. That's a great idea compiling favorite music from our youth.

    I just bought a new Carpenter's CD. Love it.

    There's something about music that stimulated our brain as young people that does the same as we grow older. It's not quite the same though. :)

  10. I've never considered making a soundtrack of my life, but I think I'd enjoy it. There are so many songs that strike a chord in me; it would probably be quite the soundtrack.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  11. Very interesting article, Arlee. I was wondering, how do you set up the hyperlinks? I will continue considering how I can enhance my blog. If you have any other recogmindations, they are welcome.

    Thank you.

  12. Before my life-partner died, a few songs characterized our relationship, one by Don McLean, one by Bette Midler. I sang them to Patricia while she was dying. I've heard them since. They take me to the places in our relationship that were precious and joyful, and to the saddest days in our shared life. I very much appreciate your life-soundtrack idea, and look forward to seeing how others will apply it. Thanks, peace and all good,


  13. Teresa -- Carpenters bring back a lot of memories for me. And yes kind of the same, but not always quite the same.

    Shannon -- I had a great time compiling mine. It made for a good blogfest as well--there were several good entries.

    Daron -- I will try to remember to respond to you directly about the hyperlinks.

    Diane -- Can hold such powerful emotions and probably the best ones were written with powerful emotions in mind. Music is truly a spiritual language.


  14. What a great idea! Songs from our life together! Great idea.

  15. I never realized that Ali was a singer. I do remember him as a poet in the ring spouting, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee..." Your versions of "The Soundtrack of My Life (volumes I and II) are classics.

  16. You know, there's always so many things to write about, isn't there? So many records, so little time...one song stands out very strongly for me - Seals & Crofts, Unborn Child. I was just a kid when Roe v. Wade passed, and I listened to that song numerous times, every single day.

  17. Hi Arlee,

    I recently started recording my memoirs. The project is rather mind-boggling!

    I saw your comment at Chris K's site about a life soundtrack. That sounds fascinating and I'm wondering if you have any further thoughts about how to go about that (beyond the obvious). I look forward to exploring your site!


  18. Okay, I started exploring your site and the soundtrack idea is right here on page one! Forgive me for being a dolt!

  19. If I did that, I think I'd get stuck in the 80s ;)

  20. Susan -- There are so many ways you could take a project like this. I had a great time of coming up with the songs and then finding the YouTube video to go with my post.

    Julie -- Ali as a singer was a surprise to me and actually the recording was pretty good.

    MJ -- Seals & Crofts did some wonderful music and many of their songs hold great memories for me. I can understand why you liked the song you mentioned.

    FWG -- Glad you stopped by. The musical memoir is such a cool thing to try and there's no one way to go about it. I actually got the idea from someone else for whom the idea was not totally original either. Any of us who've made the mix tapes in our past--or still do--have a good idea how to tap into musical memoir. Good look with your search into your own past and hope you will keep us posted about your progress.

    Lynda -- That makes sense. I could have gotten stuck in the 70's or 80's, but I made an effort to dig into all my years of living and connect some of the music. Not all the songs would be what I call favorites, but they all had some kind of relevance to my life.


  21. The song "I Grieve" by Peter Gabriel is touching to me. It brings me back to the times in my life when I've felt heartache. Oh the heartache. There are many other songs that are attached to my life--too many to tell. Great post!

  22. Dear Lee, a soundtrack of one's life is a great idea and one I'm going to use when I finally get serious about taking all my postings and adding to them to complete a memoir. The songs will help me fill in the chinks I think. Thanks so much for suggesting this. Peace.

  23. What a wonderful idea! My music is the music of the 60's I guess ... but not only that time. I can imagine such a soundtrack - some Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Dylan, Cat Stevens - and right now Rodriguez ... from Detroit who is here again in South Africa on tour .. much revered. I hear he passed you all by? But now at least you do know about him ...

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  25. Totally agree Arlee. Our kids made us a compilation album for our 40th anniv but I reckon a "tunes of your life" one would be even better. Easier to do for oneself than another ;-)Definitely food for thought.


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Arlee Bird