We did a “get to know you” activity at church a while back (2005??) where several people assembled a “soundtrack of my life” CD (used to be a thing…. keep your old-people jokes to yourself.). Think of it as an autobiographical mix-tape (yeah, that’s right, I’ve made those, too). That sounded like a fun thing to do, but every time I tried to put one together, I came up blank.
Windmills of Your Mind (Remastered Album Version)
Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman & Michel Jean Legrand
Life Is A Dream
This was my first favorite song. I first heard it on the Oklahoma City “easy listening” radio station and once called them to request it. They had a hard time with that because a) there weren’t may pre-teen boys calling them to request songs, and b) they didn’t actually have DJs selecting the music, just a program director who apparently wasn’t interested in listener requests.
Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s lyric for the “Theme from The Thomas Crown Affair” (A. Bergman, M. Bergman, & Legrand, 1968) starts like this:“Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel,Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel,”
The song goes on with metaphors of snowballs, carousels, clocks, planets, tunnels, caverns, doors, ripples, and more, all on the way to saying something about the memory of lost love. By the time the song finally gets to its point, the listener is so lost in the spinning litany of metaphors that the point comes and goes without being noticed. That is also the genius of the song, because that feeling of “lostness” is exactly its point.
When I heard it as a child, I didn’t understand it, I just liked the insistence of the melody and the way everything in it spins. Reflecting on it now with more than thirty years passed since my first hearing of it, I realize that part of the appeal of this song is that it reflects my thought process, with its many nested spinning metaphors and confuse me and anyone else who makes the unfortunate mistake of asking, “what are you thinking about?”.
Up, Up and Away (Remastered 1997)
The 5th Dimension
The Ultimate 5th Dimension
I remember hearing this song on the radio in Seminole, Oklahoma. It sounded adventurous. As I listen to it now, it sounds happy and reminds me of my earliest years.
Gold: Greatest Hits
Karen Carpenter’s voice might be my favorite in all of pop music. This is another one that I remember hearing on the radio as a child. I’ve always enjoyed singing, so I guess it makes sense that this encouragement to do so would stick with me. Though I’m not sure I’m completely behind, “sing of good things, not bad; sing of happy, not sad”. That doesn’t satisfy my need for authenticity, but it loud, strong, simple, lifelong … love all of that. And her voice!
Jim Croce Compilation
I first heard this song on The Muppet Show, so that’s the version I’ll link here. This song captures that sense of longing for connection that has followed me as long as I can remember. It wawsn’t until years after the muppet show encounter that I realized this was an actual, popular song. I’m glad to have finally met “… the one I want to go through time with” when I met Krista in high school.
Our family lived in Snyder, Oklahoma when I was in middle school and junior high. The town’s water tower sat atop a pile of granite a few block from our house and you can see it in the top third of the frame in this video from 0:45 to 0:58:
When I hear this David Wilcox song, High Hill, I tell myself the hill he’s singing about and the small town it rises above are more picturesque than this little town of 3,000-ish people surrounded by wheat fields in Southwest Oklahoma. But, the top of this hill with the water tower was one of my favorite places to think and watch the sunset. That’s why this David Wilcox song is on this list: because it reminds me of this high (by Oklahoma standards) hill.
Gordon M. Sumner
Every Breath You Take: The Classics
It’s a little harder to enjoy these days, having learned more about the very real threats of stalking and domestic violence. It does do it’s job as a time-machine, though, whisking me back to 1983.
A Million Dreams
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Going To Another Place
Hold It up to the Light