Music of My Life

I drove to a nearby town this morning blaring Adele as loud as I could.  I love Adele--not to sing along to--I can't sing with her. When I want to sing along, I have another set of CDs to play. But, it got me thinking about songs I associate with different parts of my life.

When we were young and lived at home, my sisters and brother and I remember our parents and their friends getting together to play cards many weekends.  Country music blared throughout the house. Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams.  Our lullabies.  One song stands out from this. The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton.  One year at Christmas my siblings and I sang the song from beginning to end because Mom didn't believe we all knew it.

In high school I listened to whatever was on the radio.  My best friend and I cruised up and down Main Street with the radio blasting.  We would scope out the cute guys as we drove for hours up and down the same path, honking and giggling as we would pass them.  But one song always takes me back to high school. I heard it in the parking lot of Walmart this morning as I parked my car. It reminds me of all my friends in contest speech and riding the bus to contest. Black Water by the Doobie Brothers.

In college I really broadened my music horizons--I hung out with many music majors.  I listened to and liked many different styles of music (except opera. Just never could listen to it) But mostly I listened to folk singers with acoustic guitars, Barbra Streisand and Melissa Manchester.  The song that stands out takes me right back to a certain place and time. As part of my work study,  I worked in a little greasy spoon on campus. It was called Dantes.  On weekends they would have live music. This was the song

I met my husband several years after college. One of the ways I knew he was the one--we had many of the same albums.  Although, old hippy that he is, he had a lot more than I did.  But no one I knew listened to Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Murphy, or Michael Johnson--a favorite from college.

When we had kids, the song was Puff the Magic Dragon.  When we would get together with friends, the women would sometimes take over the song choice--Mom's Night At the Stereo we called it. All songs you could sing along to!  I still love Down at the Twist and Shout by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The guys didn't always want to admit it, but they enjoyed what we played. Except for Billy Ray Cyrus. They weren't too fond of him.

And now, I still listen to many different genres. Country, Rock, Jazz, Musicals. But I have to have lots of songs because I never know what I'm going to be in the mood for. Sometimes I shuffle through, other times I listen to a whole CD.   My students are often amazed at the songs I know and what's on my ipod. Though they are more amazed that I have an ipod.


  1. I loved the trip through your life via music. Some of the songs I knew and have my own memories. It's funny how a song can take you to a place and time in your life. I am terrible with song titles and groups, but A Horse with No Name by America puts me in college.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! And a wonderful idea! We are doing photo-essays with my high school students. Wonder if I would dare to try music-essays??

  3. It is so interesting how we associate music with the times in our lives. Thanks for sharing your journey. Love you last line that your students are more surprised you have an ipod (and know how to use it).

  4. I loved this walk through your life of music, Deb. It brought back memories for me, but more importantly it gave me a different window into who you are, both musically and personally. Your diverse tastes in music don't surprise me, because I see you, albeit from a distance, as someone who is open to different genres and styles and people and creative expressions. Lovely slice, and thanks for the musical interludes!

  5. Songs have such a way of connecting us to times in our life. This was like a timeline in song, very cool.

  6. Deb,
    I love Adele. This was a great post about the music that has been important in your life. I enjoyed the walk through time.


  7. Deb, as a fellow audiophile, I enjoyed this post immensely. Johnny Horton even impacted here in Australia all those years ago. North to Alaska bubbles up into my conscious memory. What your recollections highlight is that as we get older our musical tastes often become more eclectic. It's a long journey from singers like Jerry Jeff Walker to Adele, but it's great that they co exist in our musical library. Keep astounding your students with your musical awareness. I love it!

  8. Music has been the subject of a couple of my slices thus far too, so I was drawn to this one, Deb! It's amazing how much stored-away sense memory a song can awaken. And it's neat too how a post like this can tell people you've never met so much about who you are! Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake." Loved the Magical Mystery Tour here! :)

  9. Excellent post! I haven't heard Johnny Horton in a long time. He used to come through my dad's speakers a lot growing up, but he isn't heard much anymore except when my dad wants his memories with his little brother. It's been close to 10 years since my uncle passed and North to Alaska was one of their favorite songs. Thanks for having good ol' Johnny on your list for today, it was nice to think about my uncle. And I love how music can take us to different times and places

    1. I could have picked about any song from the album because my folks played them over and over again. I can pretty much sing along with any song--including "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd"! How's that for a title.

  10. I don't have many songs memorized any more actually, but can still sing along some of my old songs from even college. Music was much more important earlier than now, but I do listen, mostly old blues singers or quiet classical. I do fit the mood too, Deb, & I too have impressed the students by using an IPod. This is a great post, & interesting to hear some of your music memories.

  11. This was such a great post!!! I love how you walked through your life and named some of your favorites. My iPod is full of music from high school and college and I love introducing my kids to the "old" music.

  12. I love the way music is intertwined throughout our memories. I never knew the name or artist of "Battle of New Orleans", but it's a big memory of mine, even though I'm probably more in your kids' generation. I can just hear my mom and dad singing "We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'..." in the car along to a tape we had when I was little! Puff the Magic Dragon is another good one -- I used to act out that song with my mom's piano bench as the "cave" when my parents put that record (or maybe tape?) on. What a fun post! :-)

  13. It is so true about songs representing different parts of our lives. This slice is such a fun glimpse into your life through music. The dark secret music from my past is The Statler Bros. (my very first concert as a child). And when you are alone in the car, you can to sing along to Adele!


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