Playlist of My Life

As Dave and I were sitting on the Zilker lawn a couple of weekends ago, listening to some of the bands playing at ACL, I began contemplating the playlist of my life. I’m not a music fanatic. I like it when Dave turns on the stereo or when we attend some live event, but I rarely think much about music otherwise. Even so, I began to realize that there are songs that I definitely associate with some of the important periods and moments of my life. So here it is…the ten songs on the playlist of my life:

  1. “Jesus Loves Me” is the first song I remember learning, and one that has had a lasting effect. When we sang, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight,” I believed it, and I was a teenager before I realized not everyone else did.
  2. “Boots” by Nancy Sinatra was the first song I performed on stage, and when I say “performed,” I mean I lip-synced it while lying on the floor and having Monica pretend to walk over me in her white go-go boots. The other third and fourth graders loved it…mostly because they got a break from long division or speed reading or whatever else we were doing in class that day.
  3. “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night was the first 45 record I bought with my allowance. (For those of you in the CD and/or MP3 generation, a 45 was one of those little records that has two songs, one on the front side and one on the back.) It was the first of many, including several by the Jackson 5, all bought at K-Mart back in the days when they had “blue light specials.”
  4. “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the songs on an 8-track tape I’d listen to over and over again when I went to visit my dad after my parents’ divorce. I was usually waiting for him to come home after work to make tacos (the only thing he knew how to make). My dad also had Neil Diamond, but I didn’t care for that one.
  5. “Too Young” by Donny Osmond was the song that helped me get through the worst year of my life (sixth grade). My dad bought me an all-in-one record player/tuner/8-track tape deck like the one he had and some headphones for Christmas that year, and every night I’d listen to my Donny Osmond tape and daydream that he was my brother and came to eat lunch with me a school, making all the other kids sorry they hadn’t been nicer to me.
  6. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson was the song I remember most from the Thriller 8-track tape that I took with me to college (along with that same stereo from #5). We danced to it secretly in my dorm room at Baylor because dancing on campus was strictly prohibited. So was staying out past 11…another of the many rules we figured out how to circumvent.
  7. “The Wedding Song” was the one and only song that was sung at my wedding. The church would only allow one, and it had to be “religious,” so I asked my friend Beth to sing this song and she enlisted her brother-in-law to accompany her on the guitar. At the last minute she decided to turn over the whole thing to him, and as I remember he was pretty good.
  8. “And It Stoned Me” by Van Morrison was one of the songs on one of the very first CDs Dave and I bought. We put it on our new CD player in our first house in Raleigh,  cranked up the volume, and sang along. I thought the lyrics sounded similar, so instead of learning them all, I just sang “jelly roll” over and over. Still do every time I hear a Van Morrison song.
  9. “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” was the song I sang to Mitch every night when he was a baby. Why? I have no idea, but he learned to love music anyway.
  10. “Forever Young” by (now Nobel-award-winner!) Bob Dylan. When Mitch graduated from high school, I copied the lyrics for this song on a card I made for him, and today, on his 25th birthday, it’s still my one true wish for him: “May you stay forever young.”

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