Here are yet more songs tied to a particular time and place. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs, but they are resonant.
I have great affection for the Pointer Sisters, especially That’s A Plenty, an eclectic collection that’s a desert album. But the piece de la resistance is the last tune, Love In Them There Hills, a Gamble/Huff piece. You should listen to it sitting or lying in the dark. It’s the hypnotic middle section, “a cosmic, free-flowing funk jam,” that makes it.
I heard Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin in San Diego while hanging out with my sister’s friend Donald. Maybe it’d be a regional SoCal hit, I thought. What do I know? It went to #1 for two weeks in 1988.
About a year later, I saw McFerrin on NBC’s Today show. He was performing a couple of songs from the album Medicine Man with the acapella group Voicestra. I so loved it that I bought a half dozen copies of the collection and gave it to my father, my sister Leslie, probably our new church choir director Eric, and others. Eric arranged The 23rd Psalm for choir members Bob, Tim, and me to sing My Bible group just read Hebrews 12; the lyrics in v. 10-13 show up in the song Discipline.
On a car trip to Cooperstown, one of my office mates rediscovered This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads. In retrospect, this makes me melancholy.
My significant other at the time and I used to dance to Harvest Moon by Neil Young. The song still makes me incredibly sad.
Someone To Watch Over Me by Linda Ronstadt evokes another failed relationship.
You might not be surprised by the number of times people sang to me the Weird Al Yankovic song I Lost On Jeopardy after November 1998. Almost EVERYONE eventually loses on Jeopardy eventually!
When I was wooing my spouse, I put together a mixed CD. Put A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt was the linchpin of the collection. Given our track record, it was understandable that our wedding song was So our wedding song was At Last by Etta James.
My daughter was obsessed with the musical Hamilton when it first came out. She knew the lyrics by heart because she played the music repeatedly, as I noted here. The first song, Alexander Hamilton, is one of the best first songs in a musical.
At church, my daughter was in several musicals. Some were pastiche, while others were actual junior versions of productions. Several songs stick in my mind. I’ll note Glory by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma. The church choir performed some of the choral bits while the kids did the rap parts. It was surprisingly effective.