Time Travel Music

Tomorrow Maddy and I are going to the Boston Ballet's production of Prokoviev's Romeo & Juliet. Years ago (um...23 years? can that be right?) I was a sophomore at one universaity and G was a student at another university several hours away. We weren't the Montagues and Capulets but we were in the very beginnings of liking each other very very much, torn apart by miles and college mascots and student poverty.

(This is not us^)

Well. My mom also really liked G and took pity on our separated plight. She bought the family tickets to Romeo & Juliet, offered one to me and one to G, and we all met in the middle in Salt Lake City. I gussied myself up for an evening at the ballet in a black velvet skirt borrowed from my roommate and a high collared blouse (paging Laura Ashley...); G suited up and looked especially dashing. We were unabashedly thrilled to see each other, G and I, grinning and blushing and sending off all sorts of young love vibes, I'm sure.

Can music break your heart wide open? I think yes. Hat tip to Prokoviev. I can't listen to that music without time traveling to that perfect night.

. . .

Which made me think. What other songs take me directly to certain moments in my life? What songs would have to be on my life's soundtrack? Here are a few I came up with, listed chronologically. Keep in mind I didn't really have control over which songs would become important; some of them are pretty silly. The song chooses us, not the other way around! (Here's a link to the playlist if you happen to want to listen to any of these.)

  1. Help (The Beatles): I vividly remember dancing in front of our sofa to this song, kicking up my legs with every "Help!" 
  2. Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Crystal Gayle): This was on the radio when I went with my dad to pick up our babysitter and I suddenly realized it wasn't "doughnuts make my brown eyes blue."
  3. Annie's Song (John Denver): I thought this was for me. True.
  4. Copacabana (Barry Manilow): My friend Teri, my brother Matt and I would put together whole lip-synched, choreographed programs. Copacabana was featured often. I was a showgirl.
  5. Adagio for Strings (Barber): This was the first classical piece I remember being floored by. My parents told me it was played at JFK's funeral and I played it over and over on our turntable. I liked how sad it made me feel. Sometimes I could even muster tears.
  6. We Make a Beautiful Pair (Shenandoah): My mom played the harp in the HS musical productions and this was one of my favorites. We had the sheet music and Matt and I would sing it together. Years later I sang it with my mom and sister Nancy at my wedding brunch.
  7. Don't You Want Me (The Human League): One summer my cousin Isaac and I sang this as a duet over and over. It reminds me of swimming pools and hot un-airconditioned cars and singing my heart out.
  8. The Gap (Thompson Twins): I went to a girl's camp called Academy for Girls (kind of an EFY but just for girls). Our group did a dance to this song for the talent show.
  9. Almost Paradise (Mike Reno/Ann Wilson): My mom would tell you I played this NONSTOP on a family trip to Mexico. She would be right. I was really in love with love.
  10. Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini (Rachmaninoff): The neighbor boy would play this at the end of his piano practicing, his signal that I should come over. Me and Pavlov's dogs, so easily trained and conditioned. 
  11. O! Mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Schicchi (Puccini): My first date with G was after this opera; I was an usher and he played the bass in the orchestra. It was dreamy.
  12. Romeo bids Juliet Farewell (Prokofiev): See above.
  13. The Promise (When in Rome): To counterbalance all the gushing, I'll confess that this was playing on the stereo in the car during one of our worst dates ever. I was irritated, he was clueless and bewildered why I was irritated. We survived.
  14. Bullet the Blue Sky (U2): I ran to this song every single day in London for six months. Whenever I hear "pelting the women and children" I can smell car exhaust and feel like running really hard around a park.
  15. Could I Have This Dance (Anne Murray): The awesome and quirky big band at our wedding reception played this for our first dance. So kitchy, so corny. We laughed and went with it.

Okay, that's enough for now.

So, friends. What about you? What music makes you time travel to a specific moment, a certain memory?

. . .

Today I'm grateful for blue skies, pears on the early side of ripe, putting things in perspective, and this song (from the classic An Affair to Remember) that my mom always sang us as a lullaby