Tag Archives: The Beatles

5 Amazing Songs

As per request (and writing prompt) from one of my dear readers and a fellow music devouter, I’d like to share 5 amazing songs that build up emotion in my chest, take me to happy and far away places, or just leave me whirlishly dancing on the chipped-tiled kitchen floor.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds

This song of course is married to the ever-universal teen angst classic The Breakfast Club, making it even that much more endearing. That last scene when the song smacks in and John Bender gives a requited fist pump in a freeze frame forever is one of the best movie endings.

Don’t You Forget About Me reminds me of precious 80’s nostalgia, the innocence and simplicity there regarding music and hand-written letters and Walkmans and trips to the mall sans security personnel.

And the meaning: Don’t you forget about me. We all want to be remembered. We cannot let time or circumstance or distance allow the brain to turn us into static and the heart unforgiving or worse, ignored.

This one is for belting out fearlessly and dancing feverishly.  My students have seen me do this. On my fortieth birthday this is the song I boldly requested at the skating rink among all the preteens and their Taylor Swift enthusiasm. I’ll be singing and dancing to this one when I’m an old, old lady.

Don’t you forget about me. I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it, baby…


Us and Them by Pink Floyd

I listened to The Dark Side of the Moon on a constant loop along with The Cure’s Disintegration on a summer stint in Italy in my early teens. I know Roger Waters was talking about war in his lyrics but to me the “us” and “them” represented both the subtle and not-so-subtle differences I experienced between Americans and Italians. We spoke different languages, ate at different times of the day, looked different, but in the way we were different we were also the same. Just people trying to make it in the world, experience life, try not to trip on pebbles.

To this day, every time I hear that keyboard intro I feel the welling up in my chest. I am completely transported back to that balcony in Sardinia, back to that innocent 15 year old taking in everything never witnessed back in Antioch, Tennessee. I’m reminded of all the people I met and their cultural and nurturing influence on me.

Us, and them. And after all, we’re only ordinary men…


The Fool on the Hill by The Beatles

The Beatles were a big part of my growing up. They were not forced on me but rather gently introduced as my parent’s record collections included many Beatles albums and 45s. My brother and I would sit on the shaggy carpeted floor of our basement-turned-playroom and listen to them on our Fisher-price turntable. We fashioned ourselves as rock singers, belting out tunes as the grated vinyl spun round and round.

But when Fool on the Hill rolled along and into the tiny speaker, we would quietly sing together. Never looking up, frozen in that moment with lyrics and melody I swear brought welling up in my goofy sibling’s eyes.

That is one of my strongest and most fond memories of us together as children. Later in our teens we traveled to Lexington, Kentucky with a group of like-minded friends to see Paul McCartney in concert. I was enthralled to be in the presence of a Great. And to enjoy it with my bro at my side.

But the fool on the hill, sees the sun going down, and the eyes in his head, see the world spinning round…


A Forest by The Cure

This haunting song is one of the reasons I will forever be a Cure fan and Classic Alternative junkie. I was first introduced to the Cure when Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me came out. During this era I was blown away by this sound which at the time never reached the local radio airwaves.

A Forest mirrored my teen angst, depression, and need for creative inspiration as sheets of rain seemed to fall endlessly in the grey, Tennessee winter. This dirge didn’t exasperate my feelings as my parents agonized. Instead it encapsulated and provided solace. I wasn’t alone in my fervor.

And just the word forest. It conjures images of lush foliage where mystery hides and escape is possible.

A few summers ago I was driving alone in North Florida on a windy road away from friends and family with whom I’d just spent an unforgettable week. As soon as I entered Tate’s Hell State Forest, an unforgiving ominous expanse of swampy woodland, my GPS fell silent and A Forest shuffled on my auxiliary. I don’t know if there’s ever been more perfect timing between song and circumstance.

Come closer and see, see into the trees…


The Dead Heart by Midnight Oil

I could write an entire blog post about songs by Midnight Oil but for the purpose of not turning this into a biography I’ll sample this one.

I was introduced to Midnight Oil via the video for Bed’s Are Burning, seen on MTV’s Friday Night Videos. This unique sound from Australia fronted by a bald, passionate giant literally left me gasping in its strum guitar and water tank drum beats. I was instantly transformed. Life would never be the same. And then began a life-long love and adoration for the band, their extensive collection of songs throughout the decades, and their messages about equality and the environment.

The Dead Heart evokes singing and whirling, and to the tune of aboriginal rights in Australia. It’s as serious as it is heartfelt and in the end a hopeful dance. The Oils do a fantastic job of informing while entertaining and this song is no exception. When I hear it I’m in the Outback as well as on my old friend’s balcony (what’s with me and balconies) back in ’87 when all this alternative rock hoopla began voluntarily infiltrating my soul.

Midnight Oil will forever be my favorite band of all time. And The Dead Heart is just one of many that fill me with emotion, the need to research, to help bring about change, and yes, to belt it out and move.

These 5 songs helped shape who I am. What are yours?




Filed under Observations

Hippy Music

I just took a road trip back to the motherland (Tennessee) with my son Ian. He usually has his ears plugged into his music via iTunes collection on iPhone and cushy headphones. “I’m gonna listen to some music ok?” He always tells me before going into his music world. Because god knows he cannot hear me once that happens. 

He appreciates a pretty decent range of genres for an 11-year-old. Lately he has been into Rhett & Link, YouTube stars who create some pretty humorous videos and songs. My favorite is the one about OCD because I can relate to wincing when a chip bag is opened from the wrong end or one blind slat is flipped the opposite way. 

Ian usually shares what he’s listening to and loves to sing the songs to me, especially if there’s a rap bit. He’s got a great memory (multiplication tables excluded) and can repeat lyrics quickly after he hears a song a couple times. 

He knows my complete adoration and need for music as there is some sort of speaker in every room in the house. So his love of music is well, music to my ears. But he has still not grasped the importance of appreciating The Beatles.

My brother Art and I spent hours and hours of our childhood in the basement listening to our parent’s old 45s. Thus a lifetime of Beatle love was born. 

Halfway into the road trip Ian didn’t have his headphones on and wanted to just sit quietly next to me wondering if we were there yet. He needed a break from his electronics. Bob Dylan was echoing out of the car speakers. 

“Sorry you gotta listen to my hippy music,” I said half apologectically. 

He shrugged under his downy blanket. 

“Do you know what a hippy is anyway?”

“I know some of what a hippy is.”

“Well what do you know?” I asked.

“Someone who drives a van covered in peace signs and does drugs?”

“Well not exactly.

I explained to him what a hippy was. How their culture came from a revolutionary movement during a time of war and unrest. He wasn’t fidgeting or distracted. He was listening to me. So I decided to take this time while we were encapsulated in the car together to teach him a bit about history. Musical history. 

I have my Sirius satellite radio favorites at the ready and will switch between them depending on mood. Each time I landed on a great road-trip worthy song (mainly those that you can sing along to and don’t put you to sleep or drown you in their sorrowful lyrics) I took the opportunity to tell him a bit about the artist, the genre, and what was going on at the time. 

When a Paul McCartney song came on I told him how each member of the Beatles had their own solo career and how I had seen Paul in concert back in the nineties in Louiville with his uncle Art and some friends. “Is Paul dead now?” He asked. I explained to him that Paul and Ringo are the two remaining Beatles on this earth. 

I told him about grunge music when Nirvana came on. And what an integral part they played introducing the Seattle-based guitar heavy sound to the world. “What is he saying, Mom?” 


I told him how I couldn’t listen to Stars by Hum when he was away from me because it reminded me of how much he loved that song when he was very little. 

I told him about New Wave and early alternative when Morrissey’s melodic groaning flowed through the satellite airwaves. And how I got a speeding ticket once while rocking out to Pop Muzik by M. 

I’m hoping he’ll remember some of what I explained to him. I don’t have old 45s for him to listen to (my bro took all those before I could protest). But perhaps he’ll raid my cassette or CD collection one day or download a Beatles song. And perhaps he’ll even remember the lyrics to Let ’em In the next time he hears it. 

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Filed under Yep I'm Becoming My Mother


It comes in threes. That’s what I’ve always heard and that’s what we seem to experience when it comes to deaths. First it was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Now Harold Ramis. Who will be next? I dreamed last night there was only one remaining Beatle. I didn’t have an image of Ringo so it must have been Paul. I’m hoping this is not a prediction dream. I’m hoping it has to do with perseverance or honing in on my creativity or whatever the cerebral cortex is having me work through at 3am.

A few days before Hoffman died I watched The Big Lebowski. Hadn’t seen the film since it came out in ’98. It was even better than I remembered. I could relate to the main character “the Dude” played by Jeff Bridges in his passive way of dealing with the world and the fact that my choice of drink in the late 90’s was also a White Russian. Another facet I loved about this movie was the way Hoffman made this little sidekick character, a personal assistant named Brandt, a memorable part to this cult classic. It further reiterated what an intensely talented actor he was.


A few days before Ramis died I watched Ghostbusters, one of my favorite childhood movies of all time. I’d been craving to giggle to Bill Murray’s kooky Dr. Venkman and Harold Ramis’s droll witty nerd banter. I turned on the cable (which I rarely do anymore) and there was my early evening fun snack. I could recite every line in this movie and still crack up seeing a gigantor apocalyptic marshmallow man.


Lately I’ve been singing “Let it Be” to myself. A lot. I don’t think this is because one of the two of the fab four is gonna travel to his star in the sky. At least I hope not. It’s just a damn good song to sing. And the lyrics “When I find myself in times of trouble/ Mother Mary comes to me/ speaking words of wisdom/ let it be” and “When the broken hearted people/ living in the world agree/ there will be an answer/let it be” really ease the anxiety of many a despair-induced circumstance. And perhaps it gives some kind of solace when the question is asked, “Why did this person have to leave us so soon?”

All answers come in their own time. Although it can be grueling to wait for them. Do deaths always come in threes? I don’t know but it sure seems to happen that way. I’m hoping no more news is good news. These legends of film, theatre, screenwriting, songwriting, and music will always live on through their art. And they make the 3rd rock from the sun even brighter.


Filed under Weird Dreams