To say music can be the soundtrack to your life is a bit of a cliche, but it's true nonetheless. Hearing certain songs can bring back memories you might have otherwise forgotten. For your edification, here are some songs which recall memories for me.
"Blue Velvet," Bobby Vinton, 1963- Nothing takes me back to junior high school days better than this song. We even had a program in the William W. Oliver auditorium during which student Judy Pepin sang a memorable version of this hit.
"Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," Lesley Gore, 1965- From the film, "Ski Party," this wasn't one of Leslie's bigger hits. Still it reminds me of the crowd of kids going to Saturday matinees at the Delft Theater to see the teen movies starring Frankie Avalon and the titillating Annette Funicello. Following the show, I raced home to do my paper route.
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)," John Fred and his Playboy Band, 1967- A parody of the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," I loved his song and bought it as a 45. And, I snickered when I heard it on the radio, due to the salacious lyrics: "Cross your heart, yeah, with your livin' bra." Nothing takes me back to 10th grade like this song.
"This Magic Moment," Jay and the Americans, 1969- Our Escanaba High School graduating seniors picked this tune as the class song. Few probably realized it was actually a remake of a 1960 hit by the Drifters. We didn't pick the perennial "Color My World" by Chicago because it wasn't recorded yet.
"Bang a Gong (Get It On)," T-Rex, 1971- This song was a favorite, apparently, of our dorm neighbors at Central Michigan University's Herrig Hall. They played it disturbingly loud 24 hours a day. My roommates and I learned to detest the tune. In retribution, we played aboriginal chants and pounded beams into the walls. We probably annoyed ourselves as much as them.
"Wildlife," Wings, 1972- My friend Bob Nygaard and I kept this tape in the eight-track player during a road trip to Minneapolis. Thinking we were going to class-up ourselves by attending Shakespeare's plays "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "King Lear" at the Guthrie Theater, we instead became hooked on Paul McCartney's first disc with his new band. Critics, on the other hand, hated the album, but loved the plays.
"Angie," The Rolling Stones, 1973- This song broke out fast and received heavy airplay everywhere including the Green Bay market. It rang in my ears when, as a recent college graduate, I submitted job applications around Packerland hoping to secure work at the Green Bay Press-Gazette or one of the area's television stations. I didn't get a job, but the Rolling Stones scored a number one hit.
"Flat As A Pancake," Head East, 1976- Many local folks have fond memories for this album because it serves as a souvenir of the band's concert at the newly constructed Ruth Butler Exhibition Building. The place was jammed for one of the only major shows in Escanaba from that era not having to do with the U. P. State Fair. If you don't recall, Head East's hits included "Never Been Any Reason" and "Love Me Tonight." Unfortunately, most of their albums are out-of-print today.
"Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Gordon Lightfoot, 1976- This classic about the tragic sinking of an ore carrier on Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975, brings me clearly back to that day. As city editor for the Daily Press, I heard the news from wire editor Bill Cadeau, who was visibly shaken, upon reporting to work that morning.
"(Just Like) Starting Over," John Lennon, 1980- After a five year break from recording to raise his son Sean, Lennon had released a new LP, featuring this song. At 6:30 a. m. on Dec. 9, my mother-in-law, Helen Hahn, called to tell us she heard one of the Beatles had been killed, but she didn't know which one. During his 7 o'clock broadcast on WDBC, Dave Andrews delivered the heartbreaking news that Lennon's return was cut short by a crazed assassin.
Well, those are some of the songs that trigger memories for me. Now, review your own.