Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seven Random Song Memories


In lieu of one song of the week, I'm going to give you at least seven. Noodle of Thoughts From My Noodle tagged me with a meme to list Seven Definitely Random, Possibly Odd, Things About Me. I'm supposed to tag seven more people, but only if you read this and you want to participate in the meme should you consider yourself tagged. I've decided to keep the meme S & S blog-related, so here are

Seven Definitely Random, Possibly Odd, Things About Me in Relation to Songs

1) When my parents put me to bed in my crib, I would sometimes keep myself awake by holding up my finger in front of me. My father was concerned about this behavior and didn't make the connection to Woody Guthrie's Put Your Finger in the Air, which was the song going through my head:

Put your finger in the air, in the air.
Put your finger in the air, in the air.
Put your finger in the air, and hold it right up there.
Put your finger in the air, in the air.


2) For the first part of my life, my father was a coal-miner in MacDowell County, West Virginia. He played a lot of music in our home, and one of the songs I often heard was Merle Travis' song about coal-miners called Dark as a Dungeon. These are the lines that stuck out for me:

Oh when I am dead and the ages shall roll
My body will blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home
And pity the miner a-digging my bones


Yeah, even then, I was brooding about death.

3) When I was eight years old, the soundtrack for Disney's Songs from the Jungle Book and Other Jungle Favorites was one of my favorite records. The last song on the album was Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo). My father then introduced me to the version with the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye. For awhile, I listened to both recordings every day. If you follow the link, you will see just how horrid the lyrics are. I really don't get it why I liked the song so much. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed. However, I'm not as embarrassed as I would be if I confessed some of my other past music tastes (see #6)....

4) Flash-forward six years: After remembering how much I enjoyed "I Love Rock and Roll," I bought Joan Jett's album Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth. As Cherry Bomb, the first song, played over the speakers, I realized something: I was really, really angry with everything. In retrospect, it's an odd song to inspire a grouchy teenager when you consider that the lyrics are more in the vein of "I'm your hootchy-mama so take me now"* than "rally the youth against adult oppression." I think I was reacting more to the sounds of the music than the words of the song.

*The song was originally written for Cherie Currie, the lead singer of Joan Jett's teenage band The Runaways. You can see a video of Currie tarting it up here.

5) As a teenager, the introduction and opening lines to Led Zeppelin's Over the Hills and Far Away (before Robert Plant launched into falsetto mode) was one of my favorite pieces of music of what 1970's hard rock had to offer. Listen for yourself here. The Who's Baba O'Reilly was (and still is) up there, too.

6) After my three-year hard rock and heavy-metal binge, I went on a classical music and opera kick. Unfortunately, I also delved into musicals a la Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Once, as I was washing dishes and listening to Eponine's death song, A Little Fall of Rain, my mother said, "You know, I actually preferred Motley Crue to this."

7)A lot of people were introduced to the Proclaimers by their song "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles." I first heard about them via the swing-based I'm On My Way through two college friends. These friends performed the song for many a coffee-house before one of them split off to form Schpaklava (the best college band you've probably never heard). In recent years, this song has only been supplanted by The Sunny Side of the Street as the most effective way to get the House of Glee out the door in time.

8 comments:

Noodle said...

Excellent list! I'm so laughing over your young self brooding about death!

My parents were closet hippies, so I grew up listening to everyone who played at Woodstock. I betcha I was the only six-year-old who belted out Janis Joplin songs at odd moments.

Tony said...

My first consciousness of the Proclaimers was their disembodied heads attached to bricks singing on MTV. I thought "wow, if these guys can do this and get on MTV, there's hope for the world."

goddess of clarity said...

How fantastic to see a picture of both Danny Kaye and The Proclaimers! I had pictures of Danny Kaye (photocopied from library magazines) on my wall along with my Duran Duran and Beatles posters when I was fifteen. I first saw him in "The Inspector General" and I was hooked.

HipWriterMama said...

Great list! I love how you related things in your life to songs. By the way, I love Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. You cannot imagine how appreciative I am.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM: I admit that I did indeed see the "Phantom" movie when it came out on video. That was as much for Gerard Butler (vroom vroom) as curiosity, though.;)

Goddess: I'm glad you appreciated Danny Kaye, too. I was a big fan of "Hans Christian Andersen" (though oddly enough, not so much the stories).

Tony: Yes, the Proclaimers do bring hope to the world.

Noodle: I would have paid to see your six year old self belt out Janis Joplin.

jules said...

What a great meme and great post! I love your number one.

Speaking of Zeppelin, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss have a new CD out. Yes, the two of them together. I've heard bits of it, and it's so very, very good. While I think Alison is loaded with talent, I don't usually buy her CDs, but she's rather rockin' out on this one. So good. I might include it in my Sunday post.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Jules: Thanks for the tip! I imagine Robert Plant and Alison Krauss together is like combining chocolate and orange in ice-cream. Yummers.

Lone Star Ma said...

GROAMY! I always thought of Cherry Bomb as the unoffical song of the Juvenile Assessment Center I used to run.

And I do love show tunes, I admit.