Welcome to today’s totally self-indulgent blog. Should I become uber famous and “they” make a movie of my life, I want to make sure “they” get the songs right. Here goes–sixteen songs that define my life.
My Tweenage Years
1. Convoy by C.W. McCall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI5eT4UmyFY
CB radios were the craze during my adolescent years, and my neighbor and I spent our afternoons making up new lyrics. He sang. I played guitar. It was just a totally stupid thing to do. Surprisingly, a few kids today have heard of the song because their parents still play it. One of my newspaper kids put it on our classroom iTunes playlist last year.
2. Chevy Van by Sammy Johns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiEIToOWr64
Remember 45’s? I would put on a stack and turn up the volume then sit and listen on my front porch swing. By far, this song was the most provocative, scandalous song of them all. But it was my favorite. I didn’t have a clue what the song was about. There was also a little boy I liked whose parents owned a Chevy van. He lived across town near what used to be Dairy Queen. Sometimes his parents would drive down my street, and I always remember looking for his van.
3. The Joker by The Steve Miller Band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmVusVh4TRQ
Quite possibly, the best song EVER. I think I wore out the album. I spent a lot of time alone, listening to this song, picking the needle up on my record player, starting it over and over and over again. It was so nice decades later to go to a Steve Miller show and to have Steve Miller himself put his guitar pick in my hand. I did a lot of dreaming to that song.
My Teen Years
5. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9TGj2jrJk8
Best birthday present during my teen years? An eight-track tape of Van Halen’s Women and Children First, hand-delivered by a couple of Thieves. Afterwords? Snow falling, a ride home in a shop-painted pick up, and a guitar lesson of Stairway to Heaven. A defining moment.
6. Love Hurts by Nazareth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZhNW_jKrQY
This song brings back memories of The Barn, a backdrop, and a couple of broken hearts. Ah, love hurts.
7. She’s So Cold by the Rolling Stones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xrx_55SgwAY
One of the best decisions I ever made as a high school student? Becoming a band geek. When I think of this song, I think about my sisters on the flag corps and a group of incorrigible drummers. I hear us singing this song at the top of our voices and see us trudging out the door to afternoon practices, and remember wreaking havoc on a very young, very kind (and very forgiving) band director who changed my life by opening my door to music.
The College Years
8. The Stroke by Billy Squier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-oyLm-_fg
I HATED my college years—the music, the clothing styles. I have nothing good to say about this time except for one moment. My friends and I were in B&L Pizza, The place was crowded, and there were these guys there who were ina typical unknown garage band. The lead singer lept up on a table and sang along with the music. I don’t remember the dude’s name, but I remember his very eighty-ish white jacket and white gangster-type hat. I’m sure the moment didn’t happen like I remember it, but the moment was like a music video.
9. Rock You Like a Hurricane by The Scorpions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxdmw4tJJ1Y
I do not know why my roommate and I liked The Scorpions. It was a short-lived infatuation, but I can’t think of college without thinking of Domino’s pizza, braided headbands, leg warmers, and The Scorpions.
10. Celebration of the Lizard King by Jim Morrison http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMDYRNUV7o4
Self confession –I spent a lot of time in my door room listening to Jim Morrison’s Lizard King. Always the loner, I was fascinated by what made Morrison tick, so I tried to psycho-analyze him through his music.
The CCM Music Journalist Days
11. Cross of Gold by Michael W. Smith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1CI8P1MHS0
When the church convinced me secular music was evil, I shut the door, but then this thing called contemporary Christian music appeared on the scene. Michael W. Smith was at the forefront. I was walking down a Nashville street, and I saw this man who looked me square in the eye and smiled. I just KNEW it was Smitty. Whether it was or wasn’t, the blip in time changed my life. I dove headfirst into CCM and started writing for magazines. I met everyone and anyone associated with the business and probably interviewed almost all of the artists from the 90s. But Michael W. Smith was my hands down favorite. His love for teens changed my heart. I admired him so much, I named my younger son after him.
12. This Is Not My Home – Three Crosses http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkfZziiZqM
Serendipity, my favorite word, comes to play here. I went to a bookstore with a meet and greet because the store was giving away tickets to a MWS concert. We won! My son had his picture made with the lead singer of Three Crosses. I bought the CD and absolutely FELL IN LOVE with the music. The vocals were/ are IT, everything I like in music. As for the serendipity part of the story, my son now frequently works with the lead singer. I’m still the geeky fan.
13. Black Bird by Third Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmZ38HehKxE
Other than Three Crosses, I had never heard a CCM artist sing songs the way I like them, i.e. a bluesy rock style. Third Day introduced me to the Black Crowes. As I mentioned, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting just about every 90s CCM artist, but Third Day was a special treat. Even though I don’t listen to CCM much anymore, I will forever be a Third Day fan.
My Journey to the Crossroads of Rock and Blues
14. Crossfire by Stevie Ray Vaughan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77e2_0fUyo
When I finally realized that God would not send me to Hell for listening to mainstream music, I finally realized my true passion was The Blues. My all-time favorite is SRV. I think Stevie had a gentle spirit with a troubled soul. But he found his way back to God. I will meet him someday.
15. Voodoo Chile (blues version) by Jimi Hendrix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C6wSGcFEmA
Another troubled soul. Another life lost too soon. I can’t tell you why I like the blues, but I can show you—Jimi Hendrix. Mystery. Imagination. Fodder for my creative writing.
16. Thorn in My Pride by The Black Crowes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmWtBTX8rhc
Some of you wouldn’t put this song in the blues category, but it is my all-time FAVORITE song. I melt.
P.S. Anyone who knows me well, may notice I left out one very important artist–Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. I’m still waiting on Steven’s personal visit and phone call. I wouldn’t call myself desperate, but….take a look at this video and, you’ll see how desperate a teacher can be. No students were harmed physically (can’t guarantee emotionally) in the making of this video.
Suppose someone stumbled across your diary and decided to make a movie about your life. Create a soundtrack for the movie of your life. Be sure to comment on WHY these songs mean something to YOU. And share! We all love comments on our blogs. Comments remind us SOMEONE is reading.