Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, August 2, 2021

A soundtrack for all things possible?

 

From a reader:

It is often said that, after smell [pace Proust], nothing stirs the memory or tugs the heart-strings so much as music.  In the 70s I would often return late on a summer's night to my Oxford college to be met by the sounds of Riders on The Storm and Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street blasting out through open windows.   Motown was also much in vogue.  As life passed I learned to like other genres, such as jazz and, to a limited extent, opera.   But nothing quite presses the emotional buttons like a blast from the past, when life was golden and all seemed possible.  Me and Mrs Jones continues to  send a shiver down the spine and you still can't beat Bacharach [yes, I've said it].  My children think I'm crazy, but nothing IMHO holds a candle to the 1970s. 

A question for the community: what is the soundtrack of your life?

 

56 comments:

  1. Frederick J JohnsonAugust 2, 2021 at 10:43 AM

    Frank Sinatra: My way

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  2. Motown and the early Beatles make me instantly feel like a teenager again.

    And, you're right, certain songs take me right back to a certain place accompanied by a certain emotion. Music can be so nostalgic! Gotta love it!

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  3. I read somewhere that a great way to set the tone for a party is to play the music that was popular during the high school years of the guests. For me, that was the 70s.

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    1. That's an interesting suggestion, although you never know if some of that music may bring back less-then-pleasant memories for those who had angsty or troubled high school years. May I offer the alternative of light, relaxing, sophisticated Brazilian jazz ... especially for cocktail parties?

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    2. You may, but not at my cocktail parties ;)

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    3. Sergio Mendes. Makes me want a gin and tonic and a lounge chair by the pool.

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    4. For someone who grew up listening to classical, jazz, folk and rock, not to mention countless live concerts, my list would be long. I do remember nights at Maddie's sail loft in Marblehead and practically every tune on their juke box, especially Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, a song that was played ad infinitum. It's still one of my favorites and hearing it brings back visual memories all the Maddie's regulars who sang along with it, especially my brown eyed girlfriend at the time.

      MGC

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  4. There is a theory that although our taste in other forms of entertainment evolves over the years our minds retain an innate receptiveness to music heard in adolescence. It appears we are kind of "wired" to enjoy it throughout life.

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    1. I've always wondered about this. Because nothing brings me greater nostalgic warmth than when I hear the first music I fell in love with as a young teen. It does seem that we form the strongest bond with the music we listened to as our brains were still forming.

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  5. Everything from the 1950s through the 90s and some few things from the 2000s. Mostly, pop and rock from the 1960s and 70s though, which has held up a lot better than much 1980s output.

    Musical Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  6. Grateful Dead. Simple as that. GLH

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    1. Have a close boyhood friend. High school class of ‘71. Talented musician. Started with the sax. Plays piano and guitar equally well. Back in the day, schooled me on Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Louie Armstrong, Dan Hicks (!) and many symphonies. Received his PhD in music composition from one of the top music schools. Then went avant garde and has never looked back. Is now a music producer and keyboard innovator. Brought me into a concert at Webster Hall in the ´90’s. We walked in on an at-that-time big name act, for whom he was consulting. My friend turned to me and sighed, saying “the music was better when we were young.” Among his favorites, Grateful Dead and Hot Tuna.

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  7. Any song by Simon & Garfunkel, Carly Simon, Carol King, Judi Collins and The Mamas & The Papas brings me straight back to my parents' 1970s den with their corduroy sectional and wicker lamp shades... Nothing is more nostalgic for me.

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  8. My soundtrack is too eclectic to make sense, but the one constant for many years has been cleaning house to the Stones on Saturday morning, usually Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, or Exile. Brubeck and Coltrane are always nice, but so are Ravel and Stravinsky. I grew up with a lot of Richard Straus and Dvorak. Diana Krall, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis are regulars at the cocktail hour. For rock I am mainly late sixties and early seventies, but I love Motown, too. I just like music. Little Honda takes me to high school. Hit the Road, Jack takes me to junior high. CSN and Jimi take me to college. Big Brother takes me to SF in the summer of 1967. Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett take me to Austin.

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  9. Barry Manilow - Weekend in New England, Earth Wind And Fire - Reasons, Al Wilson - Show and Tell, Joni Mitchell, Blue..the list goes on. Great writing and arrangements all. The 70's were so rich.

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  10. i have always listened to jazz and classical music - dad loved jazz, mom was a piano teacher - but I graduated high school in '84. The music that stirs the most memories of high school and college are what I heard on the radio then - punk and post-punk, ska and reggae, new wave. the clash, early U2 and R.E.M., the specials, the selector, bob marley, elvis costello, talking heads.

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    1. I thought I would raise my children on music from the 80's, with a little more focus on Eurasure, New Order, and Depeche Mode. However, my husband wanted us to focus on classical music, which I've learned to appreciate. We are raising four classically trained pianists who I assume will eventually find other music they enjoy in addition to classical.

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    2. My mom often said that i stopped playing the violin and viola and started playing the radio.

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  11. Early Beatles from my childhood days on the Wirral; Seals and Crofts, Jim Croce, early Chicago, The Eagles for junior high and high school; any Broadway musical of the 40s through the 70s in college (spent a bit of time as a theater major); as an old fogey, it’s back to the 70s moving forward with Dan Fogelberg, the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan - your basic yacht rock playlist.

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  12. While I concur with most of the prior posts, no list would be complete without Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, CSN and CSNY, Jimmy Buffett, and Willie Nelson. Let's also include Jimi Hendrix, Laura Nyro, Tom Rush, Tom Paxton and others whose names are not popping into my head at the moment.

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  13. The Beatles White Album hands down
    Brandeis 1969

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  14. I guess I'm the nerdiest "old soul" here. What I adored during my teen years in the 1960s-70s were The Julian Bream Consort (Elizabethan lute music,) Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Strauss waltzes, and Gilbert & Sullivan. Also - Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C from my then-favorite film, "Elvira Madigan," and the entire soundtrack from Kubrick's masterpiece "Barry Lyndon," which resonates with me to this day.

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  15. The soundtrack of my life links Classic Rock n Roll with passing time. The artists are too eclectic and numerous to mention, but I could mention the wildest song I ever heard -- "Can you see me?" by Jimi Hendricks.

    And like Rick in "Casablanca", there are a few songs which are so emotionally charged as to be unlistenable -- stirring up associations with those sorrowful episodes we all go through sooner or later.

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  16. I love most genres but as far as nostalgic music I’m stuck in the early to mid 90’s. Dave Matthews Band, Cranberries, Better than Ezra, 10,000 Maniacs & Counting Crows to name a few. Those groups take me back to driving to school in the wagon and listening to the old tape deck in fall.
    -JM, VA

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  17. The smell of pipe smoke (tobacco) brings back a favorite uncle of mine in an instant. While the post was about favorite eras and genres, I’m willing to bet that for many of us, with certain songs you can remember, who, where, and what you were wearing when you first heard it. Music is powerful and a great joy.

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    1. The smell of cherry tobacco reminds me of my favorite uncle, who was also my godfather.

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  18. I've been playing the 5TH Dimension album The Magic Garden. This takes me back to my youth and old memories.

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  19. Your children are correct.

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  20. I love music from the 80s and 90s. But the 70s, for me, provides a wide array of wonderful tunes. Easy listening, California rock, heavy metal, punk, disco. From the Carpenters to the B52s. Hearing certain songs can make me stop in my tracks. "I'm not in love" by 10cc, "December 1963" by Frankie Valli, "Major Tom" by David Bowie.

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  21. Linda Ronstadt - ‘nuff said.

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  22. 1959 Newport Jazz Festival!

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  23. I was a teenager in the 80’s, but the soundtrack of my life is music from the 40’s. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother during my formative years, and she always had records from her younger years playing. When I want to feel like myself I put Bing Crosby on the record player.

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    1. I'm with you there. Graduated from high school in 1980 but mainly interested in Glenn Miller. My wife, who is eight years younger, was raised on Glenn, and that helped bring us together.

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  24. What a fun question! Oh my. Some songs mentioned bring back memories of endless summer days at the neighborhood pool with a radio playing "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc and "Baker Street" or songs by Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder or Earth Wind and Fire.

    Crunchycon--I'm with you too. Dan Fogelberg, Doobie Brothers (saw them at 12 at Kings Dominion in Virginia--my first large show). Later I went through a Blondie, David Bowie and then alt-rock period.

    Now I prefer John Rutter and Kings College or St. Thomas Episcopal NYC for choral music (peaceful and sublime). Memories become precious as I age. Thanks everyone for posting---a joy to read!
    N from VA

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  25. I was a child in the 1960s and '70s, and I think it's interesting and sad that Herb Alpert has been consigned largely to the bins in thrift stores. His music was EVERYWHERE then. At one point he had four albums in the top ten and five in the top twenty at the same time. Maybe the problem was that he had multi-generational appeal, which in and of itself became unfashionable.

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    1. Multi-generational appeal is right! Whenever a new Herb Albert album came out (even that one with the quite risque album cover - "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" - LOL) my mother bought it right away. She immediately put it on the stereo to enjoy it while we were both cooking and baking together.

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    2. Still the only recording artist ever to have number-one records as both an instrumentalist and singer. (He wasn't much of a singer, so I'm glad he quit while he was ahead on that.) Fun fact: He and Jack Kemp were classmates in high school. I hope Herb was in the marching band. I like to think of him out on the field blowing his horn at halftime while Jack was in the locker room plotting his heroics for the second half.

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  26. Obviously dating myself, but Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody album, anything by Burt Bacharach and anything Johnny Mathis. (Odd that I grew up in the late 70's/early 80's but this music takes me back.

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  27. There is a radio station in our area that promotes “diversity in music.” Alas, this usually amounts to a folk song sung in Portuguese. You can’t go back. But some readers may recall AM radio in the mid sixties before FM took over. It was not unusual to hear three or four songs in a row; Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, and The Beatles. Now that’s “diversity in music.”

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    1. WLS-Chicago was like that in the early '70s. We could pick it up 700 miles away, and the variety in the Top 40 then was truly noteworthy. If there was a song you didn't like, you just had to wait three minutes for something very different.

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  28. Everyone bashes Lawrence Welk, but he employed some of the greatest clarinetists of all time and featured them frequently: Pete Fountain, Peanuts Hucko, Mahlon Clark, and Henry Cuesta each had the hot seat. Cuesta was the last of the line, and I heard a lot of him during my growing-up years. Turns out I heard a lot of Clark too, without knowing it at the time, since he performed with Linda Ronstadt and Madonna and on the "When Harry Met Sally" soundtrack.

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    1. My husband and I watch Lawrence Welk every Saturday "night" on PBS when not pre-empted by anything else. The band is fantastic!

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    2. Amid the cornier offerings, the Maestro offered one of the most talented orchestras ever assembled. The small combos also did some superb work. Some of his recordings from the '60s would be a revelation to people who think he was strictly for old folks.

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    3. Jarvis, it's so nice to hear someone bring up the show and recognize the band's exceptional talent. To add to your names we also really enjoy Johnny Zell and Neil Lavang. I enjoy the corny offerings as well along with the outrageous period-appropriate costuming by Rose Weiss. Bobby Burgess was a very talented dancer. I do have to cover my ears when Norma Zimmer sings. I could go on but will stop here. :) This was fun!

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    4. Levang was one of the greatest session men of all time; his resume is nearly unbelievable. Bobby's story is very intriguing, with coincidental encounters early in life with people he later worked with--or became related to by marriage. I enjoy Russ Klein on sax. (I forget the name of the sax man who had a side gig with the Captain and Tennille; he'd been in the dance band with her at Auburn.) Bob Havens on trombone. On and on.

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  29. Miles Davis-Miles Ahead, Boplicity and Henry Mancini-Cool Shade of Blue for lounging at the beach or sailing in the Chesapeake Bay. CCR-Born on the Bayou for running through the swamps at Seashore State Park. Brazil '66, Al Green Greatest Hits, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Queen on long driving trips with wife and pre-teen daughter (daughter doesn't know any Lady Gaga). Barney Kessel's Jazz for Carmen-for..um humm...time with my bride. Claire de Lune for morning sunrise watching on the sun porch with coffee. Goldberg Variations for concentration. So much more.

    Will

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  30. Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Anything with the Wrecking Crew or coming from the Laurel Canyon era.

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  31. "Hey Jude" always conjures up raucous 3 martini lunches at a bar near my office. A young lady would play it over and over and after a while we'd all sing along with it. Those were the days my friends but they ended.
    And then, on Tony Bennett's 95th, I have to mention the first time I heard "Rags To Riches". It was spring of 1953 and I had just left the high school I was applying to. A restaurant had it blaring from inside onto the New York street. Memories . . .

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  32. https://youtu.be/UYJtU6WV_J4

    and

    https://youtu.be/RXlxJ2TfNqE
    Sent with love,
    from Newer Mexico

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  33. Joao Gilberto & Stan Getz, "The Girl From Ipanema" 1963.Vocals by Astrud Gilberto. The story goes that a 17 year old girl who lived in Ipanema inspired the lyrics as she walked past the same cafe daily.

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  34. What a great discussion. Like many others I was raised on a diet of strictly classical music. I remember cramming for chemistry tests as a high school junior while the local New Haven Symphony orchestra played on and on and I grew exceedingly sleepy. I had deep fondness for Handel's Water Music and D'Indy's Symphony on a French Mountain Air. And anything Brahms or Grieg.
    Yet once both parents had passed, in 1993, I was lucky enough to indulge in a two-month cross country trip from LA to Connecticut. I acquired a box full of tapes in LA and drivetime became time to hear artists my friends all loved but which for me were virgin territory. So now when I hear Genesis or Pink Floyd being played, I close my eyes and I am driving north of Yosemite in the Stanislaus National forest. I hear Jon Mark's Alhambra and I am somewhere on Highway One admiring the vistas of Big Sur. If I hear Fleetwood Mac I imagine being my inner California gal some where between LA and San Fran. I recently resurrected Larry Cansler's music; I close my eyes and feel the intense dry heat as I walk the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Those are the songs of my life that mean so much to me.

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  35. Bev Bivens singing anything, but in particular "You Were On My Mind" and "Softly, As I Leave You". She was the girl all us guys wished we knew.

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  36. These days I tend to listen to European folk/pop music, mainly Swiss, German and Slovenian, leavened with Spanish guitar. There is a mind-boggling variety of music on YouTube both old and new. I never listened to any of that when I actually lived in Germany, though. Instead, I listened to pop music on Radio Caroline. I have an acquaintance who is Irish and a few years older than I am. We were talking about our college years at a dinner party and he said he also listened to Radio Caroline instead of Irish folk music. Small world.

    I grew up hearing a variety of music, including the Grand Ole Opry, as well as local performers who were all Country and Western or Blue Grass. There was a lot of good music on the radio when I moved to the Washington, D.C. area, everything from classical, renaissance, Blue Grass, pop, 'vintage pop,' and what one DJ called 'obsolete music.' Those days are gone. So I'm my own DJ now.

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  37. Spent many a night driving down a dark desert highway with cool wind in my hair.
    As a rural southerner who's music values were set in the late 70's and early 80's, you can't go wrong playing some Skynard (and Allman Brothers) man.

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  38. The 70s were the Golden Age of rock. Misty-eyed recalling the jukebox full of 70s classics at Nick's in Madison, CT.

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