Part of our family lore is a story about me celebrating a very early birthday; I had the exact same response to each and every gift I received that year: “It’s just what I’ve always wanted!” That is to say, I was not very discriminating at a young age. But my Mother claims that even as a toddler I knew my mind when it came to music; at the age of three I requested she purchase the single “Julie, Do ‘Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman. She was so flabbergasted by the specificity of that wish that she granted it.
Music was a very intrinsic part of our home life. My parents favored classic Broadway musicals, Burt Bacharach and Herb Alpert; my siblings, 7 and 10 years older than me, kept me well-versed in all manner of classic 70’s music. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America, Three Dog Night, Led Zeppelin, Yes and so many others provided the soundtrack to my life for those formative years. One of my most prized wedding gifts was a boxed set of music from the decade, featuring classics and camp alike. This from dear friends who REALLY know and understand me.
The music of that era remains my favorite to this day; when someone recently commented on Facebook that Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” is one of the world’s greatest songs, I emphatically agreed. Seriously, it is desert-island worthy. But on the other hand, although I am fairly certain “Sister Golden Hair Surprise” is going to make exactly NO ONE’S list of the world’s best music, I still sing at the top of my lungs every time I hear it.
Music is life. Music is nostalgia. Music seeps into our pores, it colors our souls, it tickles our imaginations. There is a reason so many of us hero worship musicians and composers; they are telling our stories with more vibrancy and resonance than we could ever muster without the magic of their notes. Music tranforms, transports and reveals. Music is a vehicle for opening up deeper expressions of our emotions, for psychic release.
This month we are talking about the sound of music; how it has influenced, shaped and changed us. We hope you enjoy our wonderful contributors and that you will add your own voice to the discussion: what songs, or kinds of music influenced you? What are your earliest memories of music? I would not be surprised at all to hear some of you express the view that music “saved your life”. Because to be honest, I think we all feel that way.
Music is the gateway to healing; it lifts us up, brings us together and opens our hearts.