OK, I’ll play! I’m giving away my age here, but … “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer bring up memories and feelings when I was in my prime. Getting dressed up, a hot summer night, ready to hit the dance clubs with my friends, all the possibilities of the night ahead of me, equal parts apprehensive and excited. Nothing terribly good, bad, or exciting happened, but it could have! Those two songs were the soundtrack of my young adulthood. (This was of course pre-marriage and the mundane suburban life of work and parenthood which is a whole other animal
There’s a lot of songs from my youth that are sort of “comfort songs”. Usually soft rock songs that I’d hear playing on the radio as I played in the house while my mother did mom things or we drove to the store, etc. Hearing them gives a vague memory of being a child and worry free and safe with mom around.
I believe studies have shown that smell(s) are closely linked to memories. I know that there is one perfume that if I catch a wiff of it in a crowd my mind immediately goes back to 5th grade. Must have been the teachers brand. I’ve wondered if any similar studies have been done with music. For me, White Bird by It’s a Beautiful Day puts me back to cool September mornings during those first few weeks of Junior High School.
And why is it that when your mind is just idling along, so often with no apparent trigger a random memory will pop into your head, and it is always of one of your more embarrassing or otherwise unpleasant moments in your past. Why can’t it be of your most pleasurable moments? Although now that I think about it, any of my music related memories do seem to be of enjoyable times.
If I hear Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock” or Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn” it reminds me of one afternoon as a kid, building a plastic model from Aurora’s Monster series at the kitchen table. Sun streaming throug the window, my mom listening to the radio as she cleaned the house.
I was working as a parking lot attendant near Rockaway Beach in the summer of 1979, and there are certain songs that automatically transport me back to that parking lot. Your two songs are definitely on that list. The others:
Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me”
Amii Stewart’s “Knock on Wood”
Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”
ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”
Supertramp’s “The Logical Song”
Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell”
Blondie’s “One Way or Another”
I don’t know if they qualify as “mundane” events, but certain songs bring back memories of driving down particular stretches of road. For example, “Runnin’ Down A Dream” always reminds me of the long downhill into Death Valley on Wildrose Rd. And “The Four Seasons” brings to mind cruising the loop road in Yosemite Valley.
I heard .38 Special’s “Teacher Teacher” on the radio this morning and it always reminds me of the day when my Dad, Uncle & I drove to Toronto so I could go to a store called “The Wiz” and buy stickers. I must have been around 10. That song was stuck in my head for part of the road trip.
“Cupid Shuffle” reminds me of Fremont Street in Las Vegas the day after my wedding. A street performer was playing it and getting everyone to dance. It makes me think of how happy I was that my Mom was there and got to see Fremont Street.
The Wiz? As in Nobody Beats “the Wiz”, a fairly sizable regional electronics chain in the Northeast US (and maybe Canada) that’s been gone for 10 years now, and where I brought a decent amount of home electronics, and many CDs, back in the 1990s (and of which a bastardized version was the basis for a Seinfeld episode “The Junk Mail”).
For me, a number of then-moderately popular corporate rock songs of the 1970s & early 1980s (e.g. Greg Kihn, “The Breakup Song”; Tom Petty, “Woman In Love”; Rick Derringer, “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo”; Moody Blues, “Tuesday Afternoon” and so on) bring back memories of working in a local warehouse/distributor as a summer job during my “Care-free” college summer vacation days during the mid-1980s (103.5, WAPP, anyone?)
When I was around six, I got a radio similar in feeling to this one and I remember those same kinds of songs you mean, from my special radio. “The Things We Do for Love”, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”, that one about he tonight he’s gonna break away. I was just sitting around on my pink shag rug, but those were good times.
I don’t really have any songs like this, but I do have a couple songs that I’ve identified as exactly average–I neither like nor dislike them. All other songs can be judged based on these two songs. Oddly enough, both are by Steve Winwood: “Roll with It” and “Higher Love.” I associate these two songs with boredom because of their perfect mediocrity.
REM’s cover of “Superman” always reminds me of doing homework on a completely ordinary afternoon in the dorms where someone down the hall was playing “Life’s Rich Pageant”. No other song from the album, not even the hit “Fall on Me”, triggers that memory, but “Superman” always does.
The Rolling Stones “Hangfire” always brings up a high school conversation. The song was playing on the Lunch quad PA system. I said “Hey, this was playing on the radio when I woke up today”. My friend, who was not a fan of the song, replied “Maybe you should set your clock radio to a different station”. I don’t remember any other part of the conversation, but those two lines always come back.
That reminds me – “I Just called to Say I Love You” reminds me of doing my homework in high school. The Woodstock station would play it pretty much every day as I worked at the kitchen table with mom nearby.
And “Beast of Burden” always reminds me of our bowling alley.
When I was a freshman in high school in creative writing class, we had to write an essay describing the atmosphere of an event. So a few nights later I went out for pizza with my friends and that’s what I wrote about. “Black Hole Sun” was on the jukebox at one point and that song always reminds me about writing an essay about going for pizza with my friends.
I remember American Pie specifically because I never bought it at the pizzeria on the jukebox when I was a kid because it was two songs worth of begged quarters from my parents! I’d get Kokomo or Red Red Wine. (Likewise I also will always remember singing American Pie on the dock with my friend Renee at her graduation party from high school, which was a non-thing really, it just stuck to that song.)
“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith - makes me think of my first job post-high school (summer before college.) I was working at a taco & sub shop called “Ziggy’s” and it was playing on the radio one night as I cleaned up the dining area.
Literally nothing memorable at all occured that should make this moment in time stick out in my head, but when I hear that song I think of it.