Songs That Remind Me of Those I Love, and Songs That Saved Me
Updated: May 5
After songs are recorded and released, they often take on lives of their own. Many times in my life I have had songs carry me through moments in my life, and other times they accompany experiences I have while I'm with others close to me. Here are just some of these songs...
Songs That Remind Me of Those I Love
Some of the songs that remind me of others are songs that they actually liked, while often they are songs that people may not like or even know but remind me of them.
The Cars - Let's Go
I want to start with a song that is part of one of my earliest memories. When I was 4 years old, I went with my Mom, Dad, and older brother down the street from our house to a barbecue place called Hickory Barn. And as we walked in, this song was playing on the jukebox. This moment, with this song as the soundtrack, is without a doubt one of the earliest happy memories of my life. A happy, pure, innocent, care-free day and time of my life.
Songs that remind me of Dad
Police - Wrapped Around Your Finger
Dad was a country boy through and through. So I'm honestly not sure why, but this song was completely stuck in my head when he passed away. This song didn't have any significance to him that I know of, but for some reason it looped in my head for months and well over a year as I mourned him. The words in the climax of the song:
"Devil and the deep blue sea behind me
Vanish in the air you'll never find me
I will turn your face to alabaster
When you'll find your servant is your master"
This part made me absolutely...
This part made me absolutely fall apart with the pain of losing him. His passing was the first time in my life that I ever truly experienced this level of loss, and this song somehow spontaneously accompanied it. I still have great difficulty listening to it, although I have always loved the song.
Country Road Songs
When we would take the road trip to Mamaw's (Dad's mom, my grandmother) for most of my childhood, Dad would have this same country music compilation tape in the tape deck of our blue custom Dodge Ram Elk van. We heard these same songs for about a decade, until of course I got a Sony Walkman for Christmas one year and listened to my own tapes. These are some of the songs I remember the most:
Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Lynn Anderson - I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)
Mickey Gilley - Lonely Nights
Ferlin Husky - Waterloo
Johnny Paycheck - Take This Job and Shove It
Other songs that remind me of Dad:
Slim Whitman - Song of the Old Water Wheel - His favorite song as a little boy
Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
Songs that remind me of Mom
Debussy - Clair de Lune
Mom would play this on the piano frequently from the time I was in high school and I could hear it throughout the house. She played it beautifully and flawlessly every time. She must have known it from when she played the piano as a child because I don't remember ever hearing her learning it or struggling with it. The song fits her beautifully and perfectly.
Michael Jackson - Rock With You
I remember this song in the car on the radio one day when Mom was bringing me along on her errands. It was 1979, a very sunny day, I was a 3 year old toddler, and she was this young, vivacious, en vogue mom sporting these (really loud) popular wooden clog shoes that were the hottest fashion at the time. Every time I've ever heard this song since I always have a fond snap shot of that day.
Billy Ocean - There'll Be Sad Songs
When I was in elementary school around 2nd or 3rd grade, this song was played quite a bit on the radio and would be stuck in my head. In the summer during this time, my Mom, Dad, little brother, sister and I went to our neighborhood pool what seemed like everyday. These were some of the fondest childhood memories for me, and this song made me think of my Mom a lot and was in my head on one of our trips to the pool. When I hear or think of this song now, I remember just how tender and sweet she was with me, and this song captures the tenderness so well.
Other songs that remind me of Mom:
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata - Played beautifully on the piano
Marc Anthony - You Sang to Me
Songs that remind me of Papa
I had the privilege of being raised by 2 Dads. Here are some of the many songs that remind me of him.
Robert Plant - In the Mood
I would hear these songs a lot on the radio when we would be driving around town in Papa's truck. The Sting and Yes songs below in particular have an intelligence and quirkiness that remind me of the same qualities in him. In the Mood reminds me of him dropping me off on Sundays after our weekends together, which always made me feel sad and miss him instantly.
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Papa would take me to Chinatown just outside of downtown Houston to roam around and eat at my favorite Chinese food restaurant of all time Lucky Inn. One time when I was around 8 or 9 years old, we went into a grocery store in Chinatown and this song was playing on the store speakers, and he picked me up and put my feet onto his and kept walking, and took my arms and bounced my arms to the beat of the song. We laughed and just had a good time. This memory always comes to mind whenever I hear this song.
Other songs that remind me of Papa (that I no doubt heard in his truck):
Sting - Fortress Around Your Heart
Yes - Owner of a Broken Heart
The Fixx - Stand or Fall
Pink Floyd - Have a Cigar - Heard this playing on a little radio at a visit to the auto parts shop
Rockford Files Theme Song (Explicit) - I always thought James Garner looked like Papa and always thought of him when this show came on TV
Songs that remind me of my big brother
KISS - Flaming Youth
My older brother was the reason I ever got into KISS, and many years later when I was in high-school I always slept in on weekends. He being the early bird he always was, he would come into my room, put this song on my record player, and just start talking and cutting up while I was dead tired and still sleeping.
Other songs that remind me of my big brother:
U2 - In God's Country
Who - Pinball Wizard - Loved to play the intro over and over really loud
Jimi Hendrix- All Along the Watchtower
Jefferson Starship - Jane - Brought home on 7" record when we were kids
Rush - Subdivisions
Black Flag - Gimme Gimme Gimme
Weezer - Say it Ain't So
Songs that remind me of my little brother
LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
My younger brother and I shared a room most of our years growing up, and when I was starting high school he was finishing up elementary school in the 5th grade. Our parents would occasionally take us to music stores like Sound Warehouse back then and by us a tape or 2, and he chose this tape by LL Cool J. He was trying to get into his own music without so much of my influence, and he played this tape all the time.
Other songs that remind me of my little brother:
Pantera - Cemetery Gates
Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Outkast - So Fresh and So Clean - Fond memories of jamming this during the college years
Doors - Riders on the Storm - Was playing in his black Impala SS one night on a joyride
Led Zeppelin - Going to California
Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar - Sang together at karaoke
Queen - Keep Yourself Alive
LL Cool J - Around the Way Girl
Songs that remind me of my baby sister
KISS - Beth
I got Double Platinum by KISS on record at a flea market when I was about 6 years old, and I found Beth to be a sweet, beautiful song that made me think of and miss my 2 year old baby sister, even though she was in the house with me almost all the time. The lyrics are dedicated to a wife or girlfriend, but since I had no frame of reference for that as a 6 year old I related it to my sister because of the phrases like "just a few more hours and I'll be right home to you", and "our house just ain't a home". It's one of my earliest memories of feeling a sensitive side within myself, and a loving, brotherly affection towards my little sister that was different than the love I felt for my brothers.
Other songs that remind me of my little sister:
Scott Joplin - The Entertainer - Fond memories of hearing her play this on piano at home
Beatles - Black Bird
Beatles - Till There Was You
Mozart - Turkish March - Played this on piano flawlessly at around age 12
Boyz 2 Men - End of the Road
Songs that remind me of my Mamaw
Marty Robbins - El Paso
Songs that remind me of V
U2 - All I Want is You
There are many ways V has exorcized much of my past heartbreaks, and one major way she has done this is restored songs that I liked but were associated with some of these past heartbreaks. It takes someone incredible and indelible to take songs from my past and make it our songs without any reminiscing or longing for the past, other that the earliest memories with her and first associating these songs with her, but V has done just that without forcing it or even realizing it. Here are only some of the songs she has rescued and restored for me and others that remind me of her:
INXS - Don't Change
Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song
Lionel Richie - Stuck on You
Crosby Stills and Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Incubus - Echo
Bronsky Beat - Smalltown Boy
Ministry - Revenge
Psychedelic Furs - Heartbreak Beat
Songs that remind me of my homies
"Young Man" Songs
Black Sabbath - Trashed - Played in the background the first time we talked on the phone as kids
Ozzy Ozbourne - Mr. Crowley
LL Cool J - Bad (Explicit) - First heard in his older brother's system in his car
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
The Doors - Touch Me
The Smiths - William, It Was Really Nothing
Black Box - Everybody Everybody - Played on the radio in when his mom was driving us to somewhere in their family van
Candy Flip - Strawberry Fields Forever - Same as above!
"Texas Ranger" Songs
Alice in Chains - I Stay Away
Front 242 - Headhunter - Recorded from his 12" record onto my tape, changed my musical taste forever
Celebrate the Nun - Will You Be There - Would mix this song into Front 242 Headhunter
Die Warzau - Land of the Free
Nitzer Ebb - Join in the Chant
Umo Detic - Fahrenheit
Creedance Clearwater Revival - Lookin' Out My Backdoor
The Normal - Warm Leatherette
"Inday Badiday" Songs
Tears for Fears - Break it Down Again
Kool and the Gang - Get Down on It
Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me
New Order - Regret
Ralph Tresvant - Sensitivity
Songs That Saved Me
Heart - These Dreams
Growing up, my older brother and I had a sort of kindred relationship, with the two of us having the same last names while everyone else in the house had a different last name, going to our Dad's house on the weekends together, and he was the first hero I ever had. He is who first influenced me musically, and it was from this influence that I became an artist and musician.
When I was around 8 years old...
When I was around 8 years old he moved out, and after flying under the middle child radar my whole life I found myself suddenly being the oldest kid in the house with my younger brother and sister. In a very a short time, I truly missed my brother and felt profoundly sad and lonely. I had commandeered his room, Magnavox stereo, tapes, 8-tracks, and everything else left in his room. I slept in his bed from then on, and thankfully he safely resurfaced. Next to his bed, he had a clock radio that I'd wake up to every morning before school.
Fast forward several months later at age 9, and even though we knew he was okay, he still didn't live at home with me and I still felt an emptiness from being separated from my brother for so long. One morning the clock radio alarm went off, and I awoke to the most gentle, cradling, and comforting song that I would soon find out was These Dreams by Heart. The radio came on just as the song began, and in my jumbled half-awaken state I couldn't help but have the strong sense that this gentle song intro was God telling me that it was going to be okay, and that I am hearing this song to help soothe me.
The lyrics, the singing, the layered sounds (particularly of the synthesizers), everything about this song lifted me, and it was as though Nancy Wilson (I didn't know it wasn't Ann Wilson singing this song until I was an adult) was singing to me directly to comfort me, a little boy who missed his big brother and just needed to know he wasn't alone.
Even though it took me well over a year, which to a young boy feels like a very long time, right around the time after I experienced waking up to this song is when I started to come into my own and form my own identity, to heal, and to have slow growth steps after struggling instead of only struggling and acting out. Every time I hear this song now, I am taken back to the first time it lifted me up and am still in awe at just how beautiful it is and how tenderly this song reached me to reassure this little boy that everything will be alright.
Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash
In my childhood home in Alief, a fabled area of southwest Houston, Texas, there where many nooks and crannies in our modest but comfy 2 story house. Some of the nooks were dark and down right scary for me at night as a very young boy. Fortunately for me, my older brother was a Rolling Stones fan and for some reason anytime I felt afraid going through the dark, the main riff of Jumpin' Jack Flash would automatically pop in my head while I would briskly get my butt through whatever hallway or place I had to get through to reach wherever I was headed. For this reason and more, this is my favorite Stones song by far.
Anything Box - World Without Love
This is a beautiful song I love that I can't bring myself to listen to due to one of the hardest nights of my life for my family that is too painful to talk about. This song happened to be in my head that day, and as it was still in my head that night, it consoled me when I truly needed it. I avoid listening to it now, only because it takes me right back to that night. I hope to heal enough to share with others its true meaning to me someday.
Genesis - Hold on My Heart
It was the summer after my sophomore year of high school, and I had just gained a huge amount of freedom with my first car that my mom bought from our neighbors across the street for $1000, a Taco Bell sauce colored 1980 Toyota Corolla. It blew extra cold AC and had a radio that worked, and if you yanked one of the radio station buttons out just right you could program the radio stations, or pull it out altogether if you pulled too hard.
I had been dating my first girlfriend...
I had been dating my first girlfriend for over a year and a half at that time, and it was a year after we worked things out after I'd found she and another guy had gotten involved behind my back. Even though a year had past, I still hadn't quite gotten over it and there was a friend in the group that I'd heard rumors of becoming enamored with her. I just knew I didn't want to deal with the drama and hurt again, she and I had just fought over it one night at her house, and I was driving home from her house on this hot summer night with cold AC on. Hold on My Heart came on the radio, and it bubbled up my emotions pretty quickly.
Then the middle part came in with the guitar, and I suddenly felt a sense of calm and peace over the thought of me realizing I'd had enough, and after the year and a half of constant crippling fear that she was going to leave me for another or be unfaithful, that I was going to be the one to end the relationship. I was so codependent in this relationship, and the unknown beyond the relationship frightened me deeply. But I knew I had to change course, and that it was time. As I drive on closer to home, the song came full circle as it was ending, and faded repeatedly saying Hold on My Heart to give me some solace that as incredibly heart broken I'd been for so long, that it was okay to have a flash of strength, let go, and go on from there to something, while scary and unknown, that would nurture me and heal.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share in these experiences with me, and I hope it brings inspiration to you.