Have You Lost Your Song?

Once upon a time, my life had a soundtrack. 

The first album I owned was Meet the Beatles, which was already almost a decade old when I received it, used, from a family friend. I can only surmise the friend must have pitied me. Although our house overflowed with music, thanks to my father’s fanatical collecting habit, the fare was strictly classical, opera, and Broadway show tunes with a few eclectic smatterings like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Russian balalaika music, and a single Peter Paul and Mary album.

This is a later Peter Paul and Mary album than the one in my parents’ collection, but you get the idea.
Warner Bros. Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

I listened to Meet the Beatles over and over and over, alone in my room, on a tiny portable turntable. It’s safe to say that at the age of 11 or 12 I didn’t understand exactly what was going on in the songs, but I sang along to I Wanna Hold Your Hand and All My Lovin‘. From there I went on to discover a world of music.

I got a radio and listened to the Top 40.

Still alone in my room, I moved on to Elton John, Eric Clapton, The BeeGees, Rod Stewart, and Billy Joel. In college I found Steely Dan, The Ohio Players, Cream, The Alan Parsons Project, Renaissance, and Rush. Post college came The Neville Brothers, Dire Straits, Squeeze, Genesis, and the Police. Early married life brought The Ramones, Blondie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, and Nirvana. 

And then I turned 35.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that was around the time I had my first child.

Coincidence or not, I can count in one breath the number of new musicians I’ve come to include in my listening repertoire since then—and one is my own son. According to research, however, I’m not alone in losing my penchant for new-music discovery at around that age. I also listened less.

My life no longer had a soundtrack.

This year, during my birthday month, I decided to remedy that. I matched each day in August with the corresponding year going back 30 years. So: August 1=1991, August 2=1992, etc. Every day I unearthed a piece of music that related to the year or the day of the month, whether it was something I’d never heard or an old favorite I hadn’t thought about in ages. Every day I tweeted out my selection using the hashtag #31DaysOfMusic. 

My world filled with song again. 

The self-imposed challenge and structure gave me an excuse—and a push—to spend time listening to music again. Who knows—I may even keep at it.

In case you missed it, below is the list of songs I discovered and the tweets I sent about them. You can always follow me on Twitter for more regular updates.

Does your life have a soundtrack? Has it gone silent? Do you miss it?

#31DaysofMusic

Day 31, Song 31, 2021 @DianaRoss – Thank You. Released 2021. We’ll go out on a bit of a comeback. Thank you all, especially @carrie_rubin, for listening along with me this month.

Day 30, Song 30, 2020 @bobdylan – Highway 61 Revisited. Released Aug. 30, 1965. Had to get in some Dylan before this was done.

Day 29, Song 29, 2019 Herb Alpert – Over the Rainbow. The legendary trumpeter with a career that began the year I was born and included a passel of gold albums and a platinum and silver.

Day 28, Song 28, 2018 Carlos Salzedo – Ballade for Harp, Op. 28 (1914). See what I’m doing here with OPUS 28 on the 28th day?

Day 27, Song 27, 2017 @WuTangClan – People Say (feat. Redman). Released August 2017

Day 26, Song 26, 2016 @NinaDiazSolo –Tiny Desk Concert. “As a solo artist, Diaz finds new ways to sound ferocious” wrote @TioFelixC

Day 25, Song 25, 2015 Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes. Released 2015. I’m a sucker for the blues. Slow burn on this one.

Day 24, Song 24, 2014 @Franz_Ferdinand – Leaving My Old Life Behind (Late Night Tales Cover Version). (2014 release)

Day 23, Song 23, 2013 @nineinchnails – Everything. Named song #91 of the top100 in 2013 by @RollingStone

Day 22, Song 22, 2012 Chopin – Andante Spianato e Grande Polonaise Brilliante Op.22. Performed by Evgeny Kissin. All I can say is “ahhhhhhh.” No connection to 2012 but I wanted to get in some Chopin.  

Day 21, Song 21, 2011 @KaceyMusgraves (happy birthday!) – Everybody’s Got a Story

Day 20, Song 20, 2010 @train – Hey Soul Sister. One of the top ten most played songs in 2010

Day 19, Song 19, 2009 lwrcs – Normal. Jjust released. Note the family connection. 

Day 18, Song 18, 2008 @brianeno & @DBtodomundo – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Released Aug 18 2008

Day 17, Song 17, 2007 Joe Anderson – Hey Jude. From 2007 movie “Across the Universe”  

Day 16, Song 16, 2006 @davematthewsbnd – Crash Into Me. Live at Fenway Park, Boston, MA, July 7, 2006. One of my favorite songs ever.

Day 15, Song 15, 2005 Zero Mostel – If I Were a Rich Man. In honor of the 2005 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Sung at the Tony Awards in 1965

Day 14, Song 14, 2004 @KingBeenieMan – Dude

Day 13, Song 13, 2003 @JohnnyCash covering @nineinchnails – Hurt

Day 12, Song 12, 2002 Sir Mix-A-Lot – Buttermilk Biscuits. Happy Birthday @therealmix)  

Day 11, Song 11, 2001 @staind – It’s Been Awhile. No. 1 alternative song on August 11, 2001.

Day 10, Song 10, 2000 J.S. Bach – The Art of Fugue-Contrapunctus I-IV. Played by the incomparable @GlennGould 

Day 9, Song 9, 1999 @prince – Party Like It’s 1999. Released in 1985 but had to include it.

Day 8, Song 8, 1998 @HarryConnickJR – Happy Birthday Song. Sung in 1998 on a Cleveland radio station. 

Day 7, Song 7, 1997 David Byrne – Fuzzy Freaky. From the @DBtodomundo album “Feelings”

Day 6, Song 6, 1996 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – She’s the One. Music from the motion picture

Day 5, Song 5, 1995 @beastieboys – Aglio E Olio EP. Happy birthday and RIP Adam Yauch (aka MCA).

Day 4, Song 4, 1994  Pato Banton – Baby Come Back (w/@UB40OFFICIAL). On retro chart, #1 for 2nd time in 26 years.

Day 3, Song 3, 1993 Italian pianist Simone Pedroni – Rachmaninoff. Pedroni won the Ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1993. I’m partial to Rachmaninoff.

Day 2, Song 2, 1992 Sade – No Ordinary Love

Day 1, Song 1, 1999 L7 – Pretend We’re Dead. Every day in August I am listening to a song, starting with 1991 and working up to 2022–31 years of songs in 31 days. What would you listen to from ’91?  #31DaysOfMusic

And finally, a giveaway

What Remains Unsaid is featured as part of another book giveaway, Sept. 1-9. Grab your copy here (along with selections of other fine literary fiction).

2 thoughts on “Have You Lost Your Song?

Add yours

  1. What a fun idea! When I finally switched from Pandora to Spotify, in the past year or so, I started creating playlists of all my old favorites from the 1970s and 80s. What pleasure I get out of humming along to them again! Because my sons both grew up playing and performing music, I always had a soundtrack going while they were home…More recently, during the pandemic, I was soothed by kirtan and chanting, like Ajeet Kaur and Snatam Kaur and my friend Carrie Grossman. Now, it’s fun to see how my 1-year-old granddaughter Ellie perks right up when the music comes on, and starts dancing in her own little way! She seems to like strong beats and acoustic guitar, probably because her daddy plays guitar a lot. Anyway, yes! It’s great to keep the music going in our lives!

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