Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ahhh, I Don't Hardly Know Her ...

Once more dear friends, into the breech we go. Time for Mama Kat's Writer's Challenge. This week I have choosen to do only one topic:
1.) A song you can’t escape.
(inspired by Stefanie from I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne)

My take is a bit different than the standard lyrics rattling around the skull driving me to distraction. The other night I was listening to music as I finished working on some work work. What to my wondering ears should appear but
followed by
I was struck, in that off-hand stunning way that coincidence slaps you up side the head, by the fact that these songs are associated in my mind with two milestones in the journey to adulthood.

What milestones you ask? Well, Louie, Louie was the first rock song I ever heard performed by a live band. Granted it was a group of fellow junior high classmates playing at the first school dance of my seventh grade career, but it is cemented forever in my mind as the epitome of live and music. To this day more than 40 years later I cannot hear Louie, Louie (or Sitting On The Dock In The Bay by Otis Redding) without casting my mind back to the excitement and sheer joy the live sound brought me. The body throbbing bass, the impact of the drums, the crisp drone of the electric guitars - there is nothing better in the world.

A couple of years later it was 1969 and Crimson & Clover was dominating the AM airwaves. It coincided with the time when I was first seriously entranced by the idea of feminine companionship. Yup, that was when I suffered my first crush on a {*gasp*} girl. Heck, it was the first time I even seriously thought of girls as truly desirable to hang out with for reasons different than guys. Every time I hear Crimson & Clover, I am immediately back in the heady brew of feelings and desires and hormones and melancholy thoughts from that time. Not to mention all the drugs and hallucinogens that were rampant in the world as the 60's came to a close.

The powerful associations formed by music with our emotional and mental state when we first heard it is spooky and wonderful. Hearing the music brings the memories flooding back. But I wonder if the additional social element of community commonality that my generation had continues today. (Stick with me here - you'll soon understand what I'm blithering about!) When I was going through adolescence, we all heard the same songs at the same times on the AM and then FM radio. You and all your cohorts heard the same music at the same time, sharing the same music with a common set of experiences. It was only in college that non-synchronous introduction of different music via {*gasp*} vinyl records began to separate out tastes and preferences.

Contrast that experience with kids of the same age today. Each of them tends to listen to their own collection based more on the intesection of exposure and their social networking. Even a group as small as two is likely to have two separate iPods in their individual ears, listening to different sounds. Thus, I suspect that the common music/experience phenomenon is lost in the generations of today. The commonality is no longer in the experience of and while listening, it is the selection of what to add to the collection and to play. A very different set of memories.

What do you think?


  1. Sitting on the dock of the bay is one of my all time favourite songs....I totally think that music can take you back, it does for me...

  2. When I hear Louie Louie I think of the parade I marched in High School while playing that song. I will not mention what year it was as to not offend anyone, but we'll just say the song was considered an oldie already. :)

  3. good points about the "commonality of music" perhaps lost on the younger generation.

    i thinking about mixtapes recently -- they were huge for me during college and after -- but now...i guess you have playlists, but it isn't quite the same as the effort made to create a mixtape for someone.

  4. Excellent observation Dan--the common experience in music is being missed today with everyone walking around in their own world. I would also add that the process of thought and observation are negatively impacted by the constant roar of an Ipod, but that is off topic...

  5. I am with ya. Most of the songs I hear now I don't think I would associate with like I did when I was younger. They just don't have the same substinance like they did back then.

  6. Interesting thought and very true. I am so glad that my dad made me listen to all music when I was young. I love both of your selections and they bring back memories of driving to the river and listening to the oldies with my dad.

  7. CAme by from Mama Kat's to see my other friendly participants. I have a ton of songs that cna take me back. I was a HUGE country fan, Patsy Cline was my be all end all even though she was dead long before I was born. Something in her touched me even as a young girl with the heartache of love and life... Journey takes me to my first "time" with someone, not one song the whole album lol. that is another post. Yeah my kids walk around with their Ipods and have no connection to the first time they heard a song or whatever.. it is sad really


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