So I’m on the elliptical machine today – not my favorite activity, mind you, but a necessary step towards my overall well-being, as well as keeping my ass from needing its own zip code. As a general rule, I go to the gym four days a week, three days during my lunch hour. My time is very limited so it is a matter of cramming in as much sweaty activity into one hour as I can, aerobic or otherwise. At any rate, I always have my earphones with me so I can listen to music and watch videos circa 1984 (I like the 80s music channel.) Music gives me a rhythm, helps me keep up a pace, something Fox News, MSNBC or CNN is never going to do. Imagine my absolute pleasure in flipping to Channel 52 and seeing none other than Michael Jackson shaking his groove thing and singing “Rock With You” in all his sequined glory. It was like being transported back to my twenties. My pace picked up, I was mesmerized, captivated by his hip-swiveling and crotch grabbing moves. God I loved the old Michael Jackson…he made us all believe we could moonwalk...and own a chimpanzee.
It made me start to think about how much music has shaped my life, from the time I was very small. For many years, before I destroyed my vocal chords, I spent all of my time pretty much buried in my music…saving my pennies for the latest 45’s and trying to record songs off the radio with my sad little tape recorder. My musical tastes were all over the map then, and still are, from Sinatra and Ella to Led Zeppelin and CCR. But the truth is certain songs just get to me. It’s like closing your eyes and waking up in a different part of your life. I still feel that way when I hear Gary Wright singing “I Really Wanna Know You” or Carole King singing “Jazz Man”. I can’t explain it, but nearly every important moment I can remember is somehow connected to a song – some sad, some angry, some just remind me of a moment filled with great friends and wonderful times. There are few recent songs that bring me to any of those places, but plenty of old ones do in an instant. “Unchained Melody” always makes me think of my mom and dad, dancing really slowly, my dad trying hard not to step on Mom’s toes. They looked so beautiful, so happy…probably the one song that is marked by my most poignant memory. Maybe it is my way of tying the memories to something real so the memory is not lost. I worry about losing those moments.
Some songs aren’t really tied to a particular memory, they just put me in a mood. Nine Inch Nails or Jamiroquai always makes me want to turn up the bass and drive really fast. When I hear the Eagles sing “Best of My Love” or “One of These Nights” I pretty much would like to hit the dance floor for some fully-clothed vertical naughtiness. I can’t tell you why certain songs bring me to a very specific frame of mind. They just do. If Bill wanted to get lucky more often, he’d have those two particular Eagles songs on a constant loop…just sayin…
Music is like breathing for me. I’m pretty sure that if the music ever stops, I will just blow away like “Dust in the Wind”. (Yep, love that one too.) So for now, I’ll just keep the volume turned up, whether I’m on that stupid elliptical machine or driving aimlessly down the road to God knows where. I’ll happily go wherever my music takes me.