By now you probably noticed that I seem to end each entry with yet another video, but to anybody who knows me it probably isn’t too much of a surprise. Many of my earliest memories are attached to Radio, which has always been within reach.
In the early fifties (yes, before Rock and Roll) my parents would put me to bed with the sounds of the Make Believe Ballroom coming out of a huge radio. The music was hit records from the late forties and the early fifties, and being too young to know any better the host of the show had me totally convinced that the big bands and singers were actually there in the studio. I can vividly remember the night I changed the dial around, found Little Richard screaming about Molly, and got up and danced around the room. Shortly thereafter I was put to bed downstairs without a radio. Within a year WMCA and WABC were playing that new Rock and Roll, and I was there with them. Throughout elementary and high school I used the radio to drown out my brothers while I did homework or read books, and when I went off to Nashville to go to college I ended up as a disk jockey doing a Saturday night oldies show. Over the next decade, while I was busy learning to program computers, I also spent time helping program various radio show playlists.
And then the fun was over, but the radio was still there. Even better, we had a show called Popclips on fledgling cable TV and later I got to go to a local bar when I watched the birth of MTV.
We can all think back and remember songs that were playing at specific events, or the time we heard some songs for the first time, but I think our memories are even stronger than that. I can’t name all the small countries around the Horn of Africa anymore, but I can recite all the lyrics to Toto’s Africa. I’m not sure about the names of all the rivers in Europe, but it appears I know the words to Emotion better than Mariah. I don’t remember the main export of Argentina, but I tap along with most of the drum solo in Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida on the table in front of me without missing too many notes. Somehow our brains seem to permanently store music-related information better than other information and we get better recall as well.
And sometimes I find myself humming or singing a song that has lyrics that reveal something about how I’m feeling or what I should do when I’m not paying enough attention to some part of my mind that has answers I don’t even know I’m looking for yet.
We really don’t understand how music fits into our minds, but I’m glad it does.
Today’s music clip is a live version of a song that I never heard on the radio, but certainly remember from the live version I found years after it came and went: