My records, and later on, cassettes, were among my most prized possessions. I remember patiently waiting for sometimes hours until one of my favorite songs came on the radio so I could hit that 'Record' button just in time to catch the whole song so that I could play it back over and over, pausing, fast forwarding and rewinding as many times as it took for me to get those lyrics down on paper and begin memorizing them.
I wasn't quite sure how to approach this list of only ten songs because my word, there are just so many! So many that take me to back to other places and times, so many that make me want to dance, make me crank up my car stereo as loud as that baby will go and sing like nobody's business, and still others that touch me down deep in my soul and bring tears to my eyes.
My musical taste is very diversified. One minute I'm rocking to Zeppelin and the next minute I'm twanging it out with Don Williams. True story. So I at first thought I'd maybe choose one genre and go with that for this listicle but in the end I just decided to go with ten songs, off the top of my head, that I either have a specific memory of each time I hear or it just simply moves me...
1. It's So Easy (Linda Ronstadt). This one never fails to take me back to the seventies, to weekends at my Dad and Lynne's house when my then new sister, Steph, and I would put this record on, get our hairbrushes ready and belt.it.out.
3. Jack and Diane (John Cougar, at the time). Ahh...middle school. Oh, how I loathed you so. But surprisingly enough, although this song takes me back there, I still love it. Always have. You see there was this cute boy named Jack and I was this quiet, introverted girl named Diane who just so happened to have a crush on the cute boy named Jack. And this song? Was at the top of the charts and we had a jukebox in the lunchroom. Yes we did. And Jack? Well, I can't remember the details but somehow he found out about the crush. And I? Wanted to crawl under the salad bar every single time it played. How I still love it, only God knows.
4. You Give Love a Bad Name (Bon Jovi). I had already moved to North Carolina and was in the tenth grade when Bon Jovi hit the scene with this one. I was, like every other teenage girl in 1986, completely love struck over Jon Bon Jovi. It just doesn't get any more 80s than this poster that we all had on the backs of our bedroom or locker doors. Be still my big ol' hair...
5. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard). This was my very first concert...1988. Def Leppard and Queensryche. And it is still one of those songs that always gets cranked UP. No other song conjures up more high school memories for me than this one.
6. Release Me (Wilson Phillips). This is not one of those songs that has remained a favorite but always transports me back to the summer of 1990. I was cruising down the highway with my girls, Myrtle Beach bound, when this came on the radio. We all did the whole "eee, turn it up!" in unison and then proceeded to sing it at the top of our lungs, straight through to the end. I still can't hear it without going back to that summer.
7. My List (Toby Keith). Darin was learning this one on his guitar when he died at the end of 2003 so his cousin and some of his friends decided to perform it at his funeral. For years I couldn't hear it without crying but one day caught myself singing along without the tears.
8. It Is Well With My Soul (Horatio Spafford). This beautiful song was also sang at the funeral at the request of my mother-in-law, Pat. At the time all was certainly not well with my soul. Today it reminds me how very far I have come from those early days/years of grief and although it brings my scar to the surface, I cherish it and no longer get that panicked feeling when it shows up in the church bulletin.
9. Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel). This song was sang (by the same cousin of Darin's who sang My List at the funeral) at Charlie's and my wedding in 2008, if you can imagine that. There is no greater feeling than being loved just the way you are...
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are
10. How Great Thou Art (Carrie Underwood). This was always one of my favorite hymns but never had it touched me so deeply until I heard Carrie Underwood's version. Covers me with goosebumps from head to toe and dang near moves me to tears. That girl? Can straight up SING!