I recently followed Alfred’s Almanac here on WordPress, and one of the first posts I see from him in my email is #6 in his 10 Anthems Meme Challenge post [Though, I’ve linked to the final post here]. I love music, and I’ve had a lot of songs that seem to follow me throughout my life. Songs that always hit a spot when I hear them, that take me back to the moment when I first heard that song and what it meant to me. There have even been a couple songs where, the very first time I heard them, I was moved to tears, literally. Number 3 on this list is one of them. And there’s one song a part of this list that rattled my brain after hearing it on a commercial. When I first downloaded it, I probably listened to it a million times in a row–no lie, probably an exaggeration, but no lie! [That song will be featured in the last half of the list, tomorrow.]
I’m going to take Alfred’s advice and break it up, but not as narrowly as he did posting one song per day. I’ll start with my Top 5 today, and with any luck conclude with the last five tomorrow. This is no particular order, other than the order I remembered them in, which might say something for how important they are to me.
So, if you want to take part–just link back to this post (or the second one coming up) and start posting the 10 songs you love the most, which have had the most impact on you.
1) Blackbird – Paul McCartney
I have loved The Beatles and mostly Paul McCartney since I was a small child. I used to take an ice cream scoop and belt out “Yesterday” and “Day Tripper” from the tops of my lungs. I still do, when I hear them on the radio, only sans ice cream scoop. But this song, “Blackbird” probably speaks more to my spirit, my resiliency even when all I’ve wanted to do was “take my broken wings and learn to fly.” My entire life, I’ve felt like “blackbird singing in the dead night”, a mere voice, with no one there to hear or respond. So, without further ado, #1 in my Anthem Memes Challenge:
2) One More Minute – “Weird Al” Yankovic
Dare to Be Stupid was only one cassette away from The Beatles Greatest Hits cassette I found messing around in my parents’ music collections. I’ve literally loved Weird Al for as long as I’ve loved The Beatles, and when I wasn’t belting out “Yesterday” and “Day Tripper” I was giggling through “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” and “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch.” But, the one song that I loved from Dare to Be Stupid was “One More Minute.” With a doo-wop feel and all kinds of sarcasm, Weird Al told the one he used to love just how much he didn’t love her anymore. It got me right here (as I point to my funny bone).
3) Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton
I heard this song for the first time in a living room in Grundy Center, Iowa, and I was very young. But, it was only just after my mother and father had divorced. I had been something of a daddy’s girl up until that point, and I never really understood why he’d had to leave (at the time, now it is more than clear why). Though, when I first heard this song, the beginning lyric “The love between us was dying” didn’t strike me near as hard as when the daughter begins running and calling after her leaving father that I just lost it. For the first time, in probably my entire life at that point, I felt like someone–even though it wasn’t the singer of the song–actually understood my feelings. It was a recognition I got from nothing and no one else at that point. I never got the chance to chase after my dad, and looking back on how things shook out–that was probably for the best.
(From robert harrison)
4) One of Us – Joan Osborne
I was on the cusp of high school when this song came out, and I was having a tough time of it. Struggling with depression and a misguided sense of isolation from the people around me, I began to wonder what my purpose was. This song puts me right back in those high school hallways, feeling lonely and lost. Considering God walking down those halls with me, didn’t make me feel better or bring me comfort, but it started me on the path to questioning religion totally. Why we believe, why we follow; what if God was one of us? Would he defend me? Would he have applauded me for turning the other cheek and letting those people say mean things to me? I’d like to think that He wouldn’t have, but would have told me to stand up for myself instead.
5) Bitch – Meredith Brooks
This song also came out around the time that I was in high school, and I related to this much better and in a much more positive way than “One of Us”–nothing Joan could have done about it, unfortunately. This was because Meredith was talking about owning your identity, and even more than that, owning the identity that you choose for yourself. She called herself a bitch, it wasn’t as though she was fighting back from Big Bad Patriarchy. No one had called her this “bad” word–she’d taken it for herself. She insisted that you use it, repeating the word over and over again in the song. I remember the newspaper articles about the now-mainstream use of the word Bitch, appearing in soap operas and all over the place because of Meredith Brooks. And, I’d like to thank her for putting forward the concept of embracing your own identity–no matter what other people want to call you instead.