Moments in life are often associated with a song which upon hearing again, even years later, can trigger both the memory and the feelings associated with those memories. I spent some time recently listening to songs from my youth deciding which ones to add to my playlist, the best part of this exercise was experiencing those memories all over again.
Ten Guitars released by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1967 soon became a New Zealand favourite because at the time parties in New Zealand, always included someone playing a guitar. Originally released on the B side of his hit ‘Release Me’ the song resonated with so many that it became our unofficial national anthem with everyone knowing the lyrics including the local additions (Hula replacing Dance was probably the most common). Fast forward fifty years and New Zealanders still rock out the song when a guitar is being played.
When we were young my dad was a bit of a social butterfly and our house was always filled with friends and well known entertainers of the time and this song was the one the most popular that we sung. Whenever I hear this song, a memory of a happy young man playing the guitar and all of us kids singing and dancing around fills me with joy; memories of family fun. You can hear the song and it’s history in this ‘New Zealand on Screen’ documentary.
Sailing by Rod Stewart from the Atlantic Crossing album and Money by Pink Floyd from the Dark Side of the Moon album take me back to another happy time at Intermediate school, when I had who I considered to be a hip (trendy) form teacher who also took drama. These songs featured in the two productions that I was involved in. Drama challenged me and provided the confidence to perform in front of an audience whilst extending myself, something I have been grateful for throughout my life, thanks Mr Earnshaw. They remind me that it is good to challenge yourself to do new things and there is joy in achieving your goals.
Paradise by the dashboard light from Meatloaf’s album Bat out of Hell, this was the first album that I immersed myself in during my late teens, so much so that I still know the words to all of the songs. The song reminds me of the struggle of finding oneself as it tells the tale of youth and deals with the question of choice and consequence that so many have experienced. I love how the music is interspersed with a variety of commentary, themes and tempo that starts slow and explodes towards the end making it quite different to most songs. This song reminds me of young love.
The Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie filled with people confident in their own skin taught me that it’s ok to be ourselves no matter how weird and wonderful we might be. The song is simple as the lyrics tell the listener how to perform the dance associated with it and it has become so iconic and I suspect that it is as well known as the chicken dance for audience participation. In addition to the live shows, the internet is full of examples of time warp versions forty years on. For me the song provides a big smile with visions of fun and the show itself along with leather, whips, stilettos and pelvic thrusts along with the unforgettable appearance of Tim Curry as Dr Frank. N. Furter with his rendition of the ‘Sweet Transvestite’ in the original movie. This song reminds me that life is about enjoying your time and have fun.
Whatever the songs are from your youth, the memories that they hold are worth the trip back in time.