Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lyrical Memories

Thanks to blog friend Vic I've been singing the theme song from "Up with People" since yesterday.

Up, up with people!
You meet them where ever you go!
Up, up with people!
They're the best kind of folks you know!

That's really all I remember, but that's fine because if I remembered anymore my teeth would fall out. My sister had dreams of touring with them like 30 years ago, and this is the remnent that remains.

My mind is filled with lyrical reminders of times past. For instance... there is the alternative version of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song that I learned from my counselor at church camp that went like this...

Here's a story about a man name Jed
Threw old granny down on the bed.
Down came the zipper, out came the worm.
Out of the worm came a bubbling sperm.

Ah... church camp. My sister, who was also a counselor that year, had a total crush on my surfer dude counselor whose name... at least in my memory... was Jay Gatsby, but now I wonder if memories have blurred. But he was pretty "Great"... at least in teaching us how to avoid "Flat On Back" time and teaching us inappropriate lyrics.

And I am wont to break into song when things are tense. I have an odd munge of show lyrics from long ago, to rock songs, to rap music, to made up lyrics that are spurred by mood and a scrap of conversation. The audience is always my kids. I won't sing for anyone else, so don't ask. But they are safe, and somewhat humored (at least for now) by my musical offerings.

I'm terrible at learning lyrics now. I will listen to a song for years, and still be hazy on the exact lyrics. I'm too busy or not interested enough to concentrate and listen over and over until I have it down verbatim. But songs from years ago are locked in to my brain like my social security number. I wonder what lyrics will form the base of my kids lyrical foundation. I listen as my daughter sings religiously along with the latest pop candy song. Or my son will suddenly start singing along with some old song that I'm listening to in the car that I didn't even think he knew.

I mentioned yesterday that my father was not a big fan of anything past Brahms... which pretty much rules out lyrics. So for him, the rock revolution and the silly songs we sing are pointless. Yet that is a ridiculous notion. The lyrics of life wrap up our collective memories. They provide connective tissue and conversations that last for years and spur memories that would have been long forgotten otherwise. I remember the song that was playing at important events in my life... at the first first kiss (Journey's Open Arms)... wedding... (Aaron and Linda's Don't Know Much)... first kid's birth in the car on the way to the hospital... (REM's The End of the World As We Know It).

Some are cheesy. Some not so much. Some invoke bad memories. Many of them invoke good. But they are tied to times and places forever.


  1. It seems to me that there is a song connected to every second of my childhood, and on for the rest of my life. The good stuff, the bad stuff, money woes, do*$#@ebag ex bofriends, good friends that genuinely care, and that I care about as much.
    Even reading has musical moments. Some books are attached to certain albums, most likely because I listen to music when I read.
    I would find it impossible NOT to have a song for all of my memories.

  2. worm? *shudder*
    bubbling sperm? *double shudder*

    There are so many pop remakes of old rock songs now. I'm always amazed when a kid starts singing an old Madonna or Beatles song, and then I learn that some Nickelodeon actress covered it and it's always a let down.

    Music is tied in to my memories and emotions so strongly, although sometimes it's a tangle that I can't make sense of. For instance, why do I cry when I hear George Michael's "Faith"? No idea. It's one of life's great mysteries.

  3. @Miss Chief... heh... I was wondering if anyone was going to ask.

    @Layne... the soundtrack of life.

    @Steamy... is so wrong on so many levels. I love pointing out the originals to my kids when they love some new remake. They used to be impressed... now they just sort of roll their eyes.

  4. Music is another of my therapies. When it's been a tough day I shut out the lights after the kids go to bed, crank the music and dance through the house in the dark till I sweat.

    Music is emotional and seems to spontaneously tie itself to significant memories.

    At least for me, a music addict, it does.

  5. And? So? What the heck is it then?

  6. @BEG... Amen.

    Cynthia... You people. It is the time when the campers are expected to be um... flat on their backs... aka "nappy time"... but no one naps, they learn wildly inappropriate lyrics.

  7. Hmm. I don't listen to much music. I prefer sounds of an ordinary sort.

    YET- (and this is where I turn this comment from a Debbie downer to an awesome group hug)

    -whevener I'm in a funk asking things like, "Why God, why??!" oldies lyrics will pop up in the back of my brain. I'll start singing the answer to my question without realizing it. Only an hour later will it register that I've been singing, "Let it be" by The Beatles.

    Peace, God. Peace.

  8. That's as far as I can remember in that song too! I think maybe that's all there was, and they just sang the same verse over and over.

    My whole life has a soundtrack. Play a song I know and there are specific sense memories attached to all of them.
    For instance, when I hear Neil Sedaka's "Laughter in the Rain" (meh)I am 8, lying under a rocking chair, reading Reader's Digest. Specifically the article about the Ande's survivor's and how they ate the dead teammates.

    So. Neil Sedaka = cannibalism.

    Somehow my story isn't as heartwarming as yours.

  9. So then - for the second time today, since I read a weeks blogs at one time:

    Yeh, you bleed just to know you're alive.

    Its funny you wrote this today, because this morning I had a mind to pop open the ole MS and write a blog entirely of song lyrics, which I have done in the past with good reviews.

    However, that would take effort on the part of my brain, and I cannot spare the energy.

    I've always considered my life a musical production - or wished it really were. I have a song and dance for every moment.

  10. @JK- The Beatles are on heavy rotation in my iPod of life.

    @Vic- There are more. I looked them up. They are funny. But not cannibal funny.

    @PC- Yeah... I thought your earlier comment was funny considering. Thought you would like this.

  11. Usually it's the music that takes me back, which is weird because I can't necessarily know what the song is, until I hear it. There is actually some music that was the intro music on Voice of American radio when I went into labor with my daughter when we were living abroad and I'd pay to have a recording of it.

    I used to find myself singing all the words to songs on the radio, and now when they come back to me, I realize I wasn't paying any attention to what the songs were saying...this is very embarrassing in front of my daughters. It was kind of like I was memorizing them phonetically in a foreign language. Maybe this explains why I'm a horrible poet and pretty decent with foreign languages. This is a new epiphany for me. Thanks :)