For me, it’d be Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Down on the Corner. As you may or may not know, I pulled the curtain for a play at my school. Some of my friends and I were driving to the cast and crew party, flipping the radio, when we came to our favorite, the classic rock station, where Down on the Corner was playing. We tried to sing along, got the chorus exactly right, and then fumbled around for the words to the verses. Good times.
I got Nirvana’s Unplugged album and Final Fantasy III for the SNES as Christmas presents one year. I still think of playing the latter every time I hear a song from the former.
I was in Guadalajara returning from a day of teaching, and I was absolutely exhausted. I am not really a city person, I find them overwhelming even in the states. Add to this the burden of trying to get around in another language for the first time in my life, and you’ve got some genuine culture shock. I was about ready to implode from the overwhelming tasks of flagging down buses and dodging traffic and teaching English to orphaned teenagers who really couldn’t have cared less about learning English. The bus was packed that day, and as I stepped off I really was about at my limit.
I was seriously considering an early leave when I heard Weezer’s ‘‘Say it Ain’t So’’ floating from the speakers mounted on the outside of an appliance store. This has always been an emotional favorite of mine.
So I propped myself up against the wall near a washing machine, closed my eyes, and stood there singing until the song came to an end. At that point I really didn’t care whether I looked like a freak. I figured there was no possible way I could stand out more anyways. When the song ended, I felt a lot better, but I also had the nagging feeling that whenever I heard the song I would think of that totally random moment outside an appliance store in Mexico.
Two other songs that take me back to Mexico in a split second:
‘‘Creep’’ by Radiohead
(blaring on the jukebox as we entered a pool hall in Guadalajara)
‘‘Love Song’’ by 311.
How ever far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you…
I was in Tonalá thousands of miles from my husband on our one year wedding anniversary. I was browsing in an art store and my eyes hit an enormous, beautiful painting. That song was playing, and I damn near started crying.
Now the painting is on our wall, and the song has permanently etched that moment in my memory.
Wonderwall by Oasis reminds me of winter and an ex-girlfriend… specifically driving to go see her. The song was on the radio all the time. I hear the song, I think of being in my car with the heat on and then I think of her.
This one is a bit silly, but All Cried Out sung by Allure. After a rough breakup I listened to that song non-stop. As in, I had it on repeat and would listen to it for 3-4 hours at a time. (who me, obsessive?)
Another is the song Jumper by Third Eye Blind. That song probably literally saved my life. Not to go into a lot of detail, but I was on the verge of suicide the first time I heard it. I remember breaking down crying and deciding that I still had more to live for.
When I was 10 years old, my dad gave me a copy of “The Hobbit” and a record of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. I played the record over an d over while reading, with the result that whenever I pick up the book (as I still do every couple years) I hear an endless look of “Rhopsody in Blue”.
“Don’t Bring Me Down” by ELO will always be associated with Friday nights when I was about 9 or 10 at a Mexican restaurant called El Cid on Decker Blvd. in Columbia, SC, despite the fact that hearing that song in that place at that time happened maybe twice.
Let it Be by The Beatles. This is depressing so skip this if you don’t like downers. I’ll even spoiler it:
[SPOILER]My wife was on hospitalzed bed rest because she was 20 weeks pregnant and had had 5 previous early miscarriages. The doctors had performed a cervical cerclage as a preventive measure.
She called me at work to say that she was funneling and that the sac was starting to slip. She said that the doctors wanted to try a radical procedure called an abdominal cerclage in the hopes that we could save the baby. This procedure had only been done on a pregnant woman 87 times worldwide at that point with a 70% success rate.
As I drove to the hospital I thought about the odds and the brief bits of information I was able to find before I left work. The odds weren’t great but we really wanted to try anything. Then I heard Let it Be.
I thought, “Maybe it’s a sign. Maybe we should just give up and not do this surgery. I know we’ve lost a lot but do we really want to try something so risky?”
I got to the hospital and my wife and I talked. I even told her about the song. We decided to do the surgery anyway. The surgery went well and the sac was moved back to a better place in her uterus.
Three days later the water broke for no reason. My son lasted 30 minutes and died in my arms.
I can no longer listen to what used to be one of my favorite songs without bawling.[/SPOILER]
(bump, because my computer wouldn’t let me post on Sunday)
At Seventeen by Janis Ian is the perfect description of my high school years. I know a lot of people feel this way about this song, but I distinctly remember hearing it on the radio when I was 14 and thinking, “God, it took her that long to figure it out?”
Tainted Love by Soft Cell will be forever associated with the birth of my daughter because that’s what my OB-GYN was listening to on the radio while he was performing my C-section.
I listened to U2’s Zooropa CD over and over (lazy) when I read *The Talisman * by Straub/King a few years back. Several of the songs fit certain passages pretty well. “Dirty Day” and “The Wanderer” makes me picture Jack walking through the desolate waste lands near the end (?) of the book.
I’m not a huge U2 fan these days, but *Zooropa * is one of my favorite U2 albums because of that book.
The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” reminds me of Guitar Hero parties from last Summer. Good times…
Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill always reminds me of my now-5-year-old daughter. I’ve told this before, so you’ve been warned.
When we adopted her, she was almost 2. She had been placed in a foster home. It is clear, from what we learned later, that she was sexually abused by her foster “father” and neglected by her foster “mother”. When they handed her over to us, she was concentration-camp thin and wearing only the outfit we had sent on ahead–they gave her NOTHING except emotional and physical scars.
When I sing Solsbury Hill, I always cry through the last line:
You can keep my things they’ve come to take me home!
Because now she’s home.
(too moving for words )
PS She’s now 5, starting school. She laughs, plays with her sisters, loves her mom and dad. There are still issues, but she’s doing great.
I spent a month in Russia when I was sixteen. Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” was crazy popular over there, and it seemed like I heard it everywhere. Now whenever I hear it, it takes me back there.
Mine is Civ II combined with Nirvana Unplugged. I must have listened to that album a few hundred times that summer and played that game alot too!
When my gf (now wife) and a friend and I drove to Florida to see the Apollo XVII launch, Crocodile Rock and Summer Breeze were on the radio all the time. That’s good.
When I was stuck in a lab over the summer the end of my senior year, the guy who owned the radio there had it to a station that played Kodachrome all the time. That was bad.
Song Sung Blue and Alone Again, Naturally both take me back to when I was ten, floating in the pool at camp every day until my hair turned green. One of the lifeguards had a radio and those songs were on all the time.