My life is a soundtrack. I like to tell people that I have my own theme song playing as I walk, much like John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever. In truth, it’s playing through the headphones I wear while shopping for groceries. Music, among other things, keeps me moving and marks noteworthy moments.
My father was heavy into music when I was very young. By heavy, I mean top-notch stereo equipment with the most up to date format at the time (LP and cassette), type heavy. My earliest memory and introduction to the world of music happened to be around the age of one or slightly younger. Yes. . .I said one.
I was sitting on the floor, as most wee ones do when the adult leaves them there. I managed somehow, that bit I don’t remember, to get over to the stereo. Keep in mind, back then, stereos were like ginormous pieces of furniture.
Unfortunately for my parents, they happened to keep the cassettes at baby level. I distinctly remember the most fascinating shade of transparent blue cassette tape that had captured my attention. Between the blue of the cassette and the mesmerizing twanging of the strings being expertly strummed by Earl Klugh in his song Whispers and Promises, I was transfixed to the spot. That moment in time is forever etched into my mind.
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As I grew older, Whispers and Promises would be played from time to time and I would stop whatever I was doing, just to be sure I wouldn’t miss the hypnotic story being told just for me. It was, and in some ways still is, the sexiest and most romantic song I’ve ever heard. I daresay growing up that was my standard for romance – a subtly mesmerizing, deliberate seduction of not my physical, but mental and spiritual self. . .Ha! I could tell you some stories that would make your toes curl and smoke come out your ears! Grrrrrr! Sigh. . .sexually aware, impervious to limitations/inhibitions, with and understanding of sensuality that belied my experience. . . I was (and for all intents and purposes still AM) an OUTSTANDING lover/partner (if I do say so myself).
Earl Klugh, taught me everything I needed to know, before I knew there was something that needed knowing. Now that probably didn’t come out right. But let it be clear, I never met Earl Klugh, and no creepy things ever happened to the mini-me of this recollection.
There is something about guitars or stringed instruments, that always ensnare my attention. I’ve noticed in going through the songs that have been synced to moments in my life, almost all of them have a strong stringed instrument guiding my mind along (i.e. guitar, piano – not electric keyboard, bass).
Brian McKnight’s Anytime brings another distinctive set of memories to mind. I was at a debutante ball (yes, I was a debutante :-p ). After the official program with its mandated presentation and dances had been completed and people started to take their leave, a few families and participants remained in the ballroom. There happened to be a piano sitting off to the side. During this time, Brian McKnight was the voice du jour of R & B, pumping out albums and hits, it seemed like every time you turned on the radio.
One of the beaus sat down to the piano and began playing 4 simple notes. Everyone remaining the ballroom (about 10 to 14 people) began to hum the melody, already knowing by the repetition of the notes what song was to come. After a few rounds of the 4 notes, he sang “Do I ever cross your mind, anytime? Do you ever wake up reaching out for me? Do I ever cross your mind anytime? I miss you. . .”
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I wish he’d been my escort for the night. Alas he was not. My escort, though attractive, was not nearly as sophisticated or gifted outside of the basketball court. This particular song would make ye another appearance in my life, its last significant moment being in college.
There was this man. . .A most talented, terribly fascinating and genuinely good man. The first real man, outside of the ones in my family, that I had ever truly met. But he was not my first. . .nor was he my last. There was a time when I had thought he could have been. Needless to say, I messed that one up.
He was about 10 years my senior (the beginning of my love and appreciation of men older than me) and I thought I was in love. . .with someone else. Clearly I was wrong…wasting the good man’s time and mine, hoping that “the love of my life” (yes my first) would. . .man up, I guess would be the best words. The MAN left me to the man-child I thought I was in love with.
Shortly after I graduated and before I moved away, I sent the MAN some flowers with a note “Do I ever cross your mind. . .Anytime?” For some reason Brian McKnight, the song Anytime and this man became connected in my mind. A couple of weeks before I left my college home away from home, I thought I had spotted him. . .walking toward his office. But I wasn’t sure. . .and I didn’t bother checking to see. What for? I had made too great an error in judgement. . .and even if I had managed to get past the chicken factor, I don’t think I was ready for what he may have been prepared to offer.
There are so many songs that have so many memories attached to them. To pick 3 is really quite. . .challenging. The minute I think I have my mind set on one, another memory with its song attached to it comes pushing to the fore front. If it weren’t happening to me, I’d probably be thoroughly amused by the antics.
But I digress. . .So there I was. No shit, true story. I had just gotten off the longest flight ever, bringing my back to the good ol’ U.S. of A, from my free all expense paid vacation to Iraq courtesy of my favorite Uncle Sam. I had gotten engaged, to my now husband, while deployed. I even managed to plan a wedding and get most of the details taken care of before I even touched ground.
My husband, then fiance, had been deployed in the northern part of Iraq, while I was in the southern part. He managed to make it back to the states a week or so before I did, mainly because he was with brigade and with the Advance Party.
The day that we touched down on American soil, I pulled out my Zune (music player by Microsoft). After the long flight, I was pretty much tired of listening to my own music. Flipping through the stations, I heard the upbeat strumming of bass guitar, then the drums came in with the saxophone chasing on its heels. Bringing up the rear of the intro was the pull of a bow across a violin. I was like what the flip is this? Dave Matthews Band. . . Crush. I had to acquire this song ASAP.
By this point we had been loaded on a bus to take us to where they were going to corral us, so to speak, from civilization until we were properly processed. The sky had that sort of I’m-going-to-rain-but-let-some-sun-shine-through-the-clouds kind of look to it near the horizon. I’m listening to the fantastic sounds of the guitar, saxophone, drums and violin while taking in the rustic terrain of El Paso, TX. Then he (Dave Matthews) says in my ear:
“Crazy how it feels tonight. Crazy how you, make it alright love. Crush me…with the…things you do and I’ll do for you anything too.”
All the while he’s singing to me, the sensation of finally being back swam through me just as swiftly as the passing scenery. I was finally back. . .and I thought “Crazy how it feels. . .” He’s right. “It’s crazy just thinking that the world is round. Here I am dancing on the ground. Am I right-side up or upside down…” I was BACK. . .and I could hardly wait to see him, my then fiance-now-husband. “…With each moment the more I love you.”
I think I bought that song almost as soon as I heard it and had some internet connectivity. It described so much of what I was feeling at that time to a tee (or is it “T”?). I was home. . .because anywhere he was, was my home. I rocked out to that song from El Paso to Dallas, to Boston, to Miami and back to Dallas. Yes we did a little travelling once we were released.
My life, stranger than fiction, better than a movie and complete with its own oldie but goodie soundtrack. It should be on one of the TIME Life CD offerings that you see on the late night infomercials. I’d buy it.