I can't really think of major players and events in my life without a song to accompany that thought. Here are some of the ones that shaped my formative years:
We Built This City (On Rock and Roll) - Jefferson Starship: This is the song of my childhood. I have two older sisters, and there were both really into Dance, and somehow I got sucked into one of their choreographed routines at least once a week. Routines were almost always set to this song. I can still remember part of the choreography. We always started balled up on the floor, and then, one arm after the other, we "came alive." My sisters are the reason I hate dancing. And they are the reason I love Jefferson Starship.
Red, Red Wine - UB40: My brother used to love this song when he was 4. I can't hear it without thinking of his curly little head bobbing back and forth to the reggae beat. My brother was my best friend until I was in high school. I have only good memories of this time.
Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce: My dad really loved Jim Croce, and because I really loved my dad, Jim Croce because one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters. My dad didn't have a great singing voice, but that didn't stop him from singing along, and so I never let it stop me. I like to think my dad and I sound best when we're sitting in the front seat of an Astro Van with the windows down. Something about the acoustics up there. Side story: In college, there was a soap opera that used this song in one of their promos, and whenever I would hear it, I'd start crying like a baby because I missed my dad so much. I think my roommates were scared of me.
We Belong Together - Ritchie Valens: My mom's sister was always hosting family functions at her house, because they had a swimming pool. We'd swim for hours and hours, and then we'd get out and play video games and eat grilled hot dogs. One of my favorite things about being at her house was that my Tio Rick had a music room. The sound of his amped guitar and muffled singing through the closed door takes me back to a simpler, happier time with my extended family. Most of the time my Tio Rick played Beatles songs, but every so often, he'd play this one, and it was always my favorite. I can't hear it without smelling sunblock, beer, and charcoal, and that just happens to make me really, really happy.
Theme Song from 'A Man and A Woman' - Francis Lai: This song IS my mom, or, to be more clear, it is what I always thought she deserved. Romance, Adventure, Foreign Men Who Wear Turtlenecks...
Dammit Janet - Soundtrack to Rocky Horror Picture Show: I was 17. My first date. It was Halloween Night. We spent some time hanging out on Mill Avenue making fun of drunk people, and then we went back to his parent's house, where we both got really excited about watching Rocky Horror Picture Show on Vh1, mostly because it meant he didn't have to take me home just yet. And my very first kiss ever was during this song. By the time "Time Warp" came on, we were making out. I feel like, somehow, this all seems oddly appropriate for a beginning to my experience with Boys.
I've Just Seen A Face - The Beatles: Eric used to play shows with his best friend Jon outside his local Zuka Juice when he was just out of high school. There came a time, after we were really good internet friends for a while, that I wanted to see him more often. Like maybe I was starting to fall for him, but I wasn't really ready to admit it. Still, I looked for any excuse to be around him. So my friend Tessy and I drove out to his side of town, about an hour away, and we sat at the very back of the audience at one of his Juice shows, making silly song requests, and avoiding the glare of his ex-girlfriend. At one point, Eric played this song. It became my favorite Beatles song, right then and there. It still is.
You Are Invited - The Dismemberment Plan: I can't hear this band without thinking of my ex-boyfriend, The Artist. He used to play them while he painted. I hated the way he danced. I hated this band. Doesn't mean they don't get a place on the soundtrack. (P.S. I don't hate him..... even if the only picture he painted of me was after we broke up, and he painted it just so he could throw it in the Pacific Ocean. No really, we're square now.)
Jolene - CAKE: My good friend in college was a fan of CAKE. We decided to go to their show together. After that night, she became my best friend in college.
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles: This one is Harrison's song. I sang it to him every night when he was a baby. It was the only song that could instantly calm him down, no matter what. I will never hear it again without thinking of the way he felt in my arms.
Make Your Own Kind of Music - Mama Cass: This song seems to show up in all my favorite places. One of my favorite places, however, was at a drag show. I was going through a pretty bad breakup (see above: Artist/Pacific Ocean), and my friends took me out to cheer me up. Somehow, this song transcended beyond the really entertaining queen who was dancing to it, and took me to a place where I actually felt good about myself, despite the depression I was in. I owe a debt of gratitude to it. Also, this song was in Lost. So... +23.
Butterfly - Weezer: Still my favorite song by Rivers Cuomo. It was High School for me. Well, this and...
Exit Music for a Film - radiohead: I can't even begin to count the number of times I played this song while I sat in my room, getting all teenage angsty. My mom had to have been worried.
Mama Mia - ABBA: ...will always be the song I had the most fun dancing to with my little Lennon. The fact is, she loves ABBA. The fact is, this makes everyone's life just that much more awesome.
Deadweight - Beck: This is the song that encompasses all that my friend Tessy and I lived for in high school. It is every good memory I have of her. It is easily one of the best songs ever composed.
Life is Better in the Movies - Butterfly Joe: The early years of dating Eric. We listened to this song on road trips to Payson, Arizona. I think it's important.
At My Most Beautiful - REM and Somebody - Depeche Mode: Shaped my notions of romantic love. I used both of these songs as a checklist of sorts before I married Eric.
Honorable Mentions: Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding; Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson; You're So Great - Blur; If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight and the Pips; Married with Children - Oasis; Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel;
This was difficult. I know I'm forgetting something. I may just need to do another one someday soon.