Saturday, November 18, 2006


One Soundtrack Of Many

Tony Myles (see sidebar link) posted a while back about soundtracks for life. He got me to thinking. Well, I'd already been thinking, and had assembled a couple of partial playlists. Last Saturday I decided to make a more complete playlist and run it for my friends in Uru. Here's how it came out.

Note that in several cases I've chosen less commonly known songs from albums that have big hits. Everyone knows the hits, and they're often not my favorites. They certainly don't need to be repeated all the time.

I Salina, Kansas, 1952-1966

I don't know when the portable stereo record player showed up. We had that and a stack of 45s. I don't remember all of them, and of the ones I remember, "Walk Right In" is the only song I have available right now. Then my brother started buying LPs.

1. Rooftop Singers: "Walk Right In" (notable for guitar break in the middle, although I didn't know what it was called then)
2. Jan and Dean: "Drag City" (my brother was the record buyer. I made a tape of this for myself)
3. The Seekers: "Georgy Girl"
4. Jan and Dean: "Popsicle"

Lawrence, Kansas, 1966-1968

I don't remember any songs from this period. We didn't have a stereo, nor a radio. I spent most of my time outside.

II Fort Collins, Colorado, 1968-1970

My mother bought a stereo record player and a few records. I mainly listened to a portable radio in my workshop as I built model airplanes when I was ostensibly doing homework. I heard Mason Williams in an English class and wanted the record for my birthday, but ended up getting "Bridge Over Troubled Water" instead, which is also good. "Phonograph Record" became the first record I bought when I got an old turntable at college in the summer of 1970.

5. Mama Cass: "It's Getting Better"
6. Waylon Jennings: "MacArthur Park" (no one understands this, but I like it)
7. Mason Williams: "Long Time Blues"
8. Frank Sinatra: "Moody River" (my mother bought this and I ended up liking it)

III Boulder, Colorado, 1970-1971 (college)

I bought a stereo and then a set of better speakers for it, setting the pattern for the next several years of looking for better playback equipment. In between there was time and a little leftover money for records.

9. It's A Beautiful Day: "Hot Summer Day" (heard this from a dorm neighbor, I think)
10. Moody Blues: "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)" (heard at speaker maker's house in Crisman)
11. Gordon Lightfoot: "If You Could Read My Mind" (bought in record store on The Hill)
12. Peter Paul and Mary: "Early Morning Rain" (record club purchase)
13. Simon and Garfunkel: "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall"

IV Christmas Interlude, Denver, Colorado 1970
With my sister and some friends. Brewer and Shipley should also be here, but not until recently have I been able to find a copy of "Weeds." It will be on the next version.

14. Elton John: "Your Song"

V Salina, Kansas, autumn 1971
I went back to Salina for a few months. Should have been for the rest of my life, but the sirens were in Colorado. And my friend Craig.

15. Carole King: "So Far Away" (sent in a cassletter from my friend Craig)
16. Paul Stookey: "John Henry Bosworth" (Album bought on a flyer)

VI Greeley, Colorado, 1971-1978

I got ever better stereo equipment but had trouble finding records. I expanded my Moody Blues collection, added a lot of classical, and some others. Because I've played songs form this period before, this is just a small sampling.

17. Moody Blues: "Lost in a Lost World"
18. John Denver: "Rocky Mountain High"
19. Ken Medema: "Touching"

Maine, 1978-1980

Went to visit a friend in Maine and stayed for a year and a half. While there, I learned of Karen Lafferty, and also got more into the Beach Boys. They're not on this playlist because I've played them before, but if they were I'd have "Father of Lights" and "Fun, Fun, Fun" here.

VII Nebraska (Lincoln and Omaha) 1980-1984

The Maine experiment ended badly. I left in March of 1980 and went back to Greeley for a time, then Estes Park for the summer. That fall I moved to Maine to take a job. The main thing I learned in this period is that no stereo system will sound like live music, so save money on the machinery and buy more records. I had a simple Philips receiver, a turntable and a pair of decent Polk speakers.

The Alan Parsons songs are from the album "The Turn of a Friendly Card," and I've always thought of the last part as a suite. It's included entire here.

20. Dan Fogelberg: "In the Passage" (bought this after hearing a song in a store)
21. Supertramp: "Take the Long Way Home" (heard over credits on a TV show)
22. Mannheim Steamroller: "Mere Image"
23. Alan Parsons Project: "The Gold Bug" (music for writing when I should have been studying)
24. - "The Turn of a Friendly Card, part 1"
25. - "The Turn of a Friendly Card: Snake Eyes"
26. - "The Turn of a Friendly Card: The Ace of Swords"
27. - "The Turn of a Friendly Card: Nothing Left to Lose"
28. - "The Turn of a Friendly Card, part 2"

Denver, summer 1984

The Nebraska experiment ended in more failure. I went to Denver to help my sister build a deck and visit friends. Roman introduced me to Windham Hill recordings of what's now called "New Age" music, mainly from their 1984 sampler.

VIII Los Angeles, Calfornia, 1984-2006

One of the first things I did after I got a job was buy a portable cassette player. After that, I bought that Windham Hill 1984 sampler to listen to when I went to bed. In the summer of 1985 I went out to buy a better cassette deck but discovered that CD players were now the same price, so I bought that instead. There followed an explosion of new music. CDs solved many of the problems that had irritated me for years with LPs.

This period is worth several playlists. My musical taste broadened quite a bit, especially when I discovered used CD stores. I'm willing to experiment when it's cheap, and a steady paycheck helped. What follows is just a sampling, starting with the Windham Hill 1984 sampler, which was one of the first CDs I bought. It ends with Rich Mullins, to whom I was introduced last week by a friend.

"The Unicorn" represents a class of music that has become more common with my DJ activities. People talk about music and that will suggest something, or remind me of something. One night I was playing my animals playlist, and someone mentioned "Bear Necessities" and "The Unicorn." I promptly bought the CDs, and put the unicorn song here because I'd played "Bear" at another party. People's recommendations and reviews on the Web have helped me find new music.

Note that while playing this, I was asked to talk more about the songs. I had to remove "Orabidoo" from the playlist because I was getting tired and the comments made things run late.

29. Billy Oskay and Michael O'Domhnaill: "The Cricket's Wicket"
30. Mark Isham: "Man Before the Mirror" (another Windham Hill artist)
31. Mike Oldfield: "Orabidoo" (not played due to comments taking more time)
32. Clannad: "Journey's End" (played on bus rides, portable CD player)
33. Billy Barber: "Martian Love Song" (also used on the bus)
34. Peter Gabriel:"Mercy Street"
35. Cat Stevens: "Foreigner Suite"
36. Bruce Hornsby: "White Wheeled Limousine"
37. Renaissance: "Ashes are Burning" (live version with bass jam)
38. Bruce Hornsby: "The Road Not Taken"
39. The Irish Rovers: "The Unicorn"
40. Rich Mullins: "The Maker of Noses"

Moods in music. There are many ways to do this.

I am impressed that you have such a good memory to be able to remember all those years ago! I would love to put together a song track of my life sometime. Maybe I'll work on that :)

Very fun list, and you're right most of those songs I had never heard of!
Okay, great minds and all that... you stole my idea. :) Well, sort of anyway. A friend of mine posted a crazy little exercise about the "Soundtrack of my life" and involved letting iTunes shuffle pick the tunes. That got ME to thinkin' (as if I ever stop!!) about the songs of my life.

Actually, about two months ago I put together a playlist, 2 actually, entitled "Story" and involved the songs which had a profound impact on me, or which were anthems for me over the last six years or so -- the first "Story" had from high school till that time.

But you went crazy with the idea, taking it all the way back to childhood. Sheesh. I don't think I can remember that far back... nor do I have all the music available. Like Ken Medema. Can't find him anywhere anymore. That was a big part of my soundtrack from grade school through high school.

Cool beans post, bro. Like it alot. :)
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