The Three Most Important Songs In Your Life

Okay so day three’s exercise is to write about the three most important songs in your life and what they mean to you.

The twist is that you have to commit to a writing practice. So I resolve to spend at least fifteen uninterrupted minutes a day writing.

Today we’re meant to do free writing, where we are to let the memories and emotions to the three songs, carry us.

So here goes. I don’t know how I’m going to stick to just three songs however, as there have been so many different songs at different times throughout my life that have had significance.

The first song that I really recall is Buddy Holly’s, ‘Everyday’. I must have been about 2-3 years old. We had a wooden swing that hung from the top of the door frame between the living room and the kitchen. I remember swinging in it bathed in  bright warm streaming shafts of sunlight that were coming in through the open veranda doors that led out onto our balcony. My Mum was polishing our huge walnut veneered gramophone which seemed to have the sun’s rays bouncing off the shiny polished veneered surface whilst ‘Everday’ blasted loudly out into the surrounding air, my mum laughing, singing and dancing around the living room in between pushing me on the swing and polishing.  Every time I hear that song I get a warm feeling in my heart and can’t help but have a smile on my face. I recently saw a photo of my cousin Jill Shaw whose Mum, my Aunt Madge is my Mum’s sister, she looked so like my Mum when she was smiling, that I instantly was drawn back to that day in our house in Southhouse in Edinburgh all those years ago.

The second song I vividly recall is Simon and Garfunkel’s, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. this reminds me of my Grandma Neill who used to play it on her Gramophone, which was so different to the one that we had. Ours was a huge vertical one about the size of a sideboard, whereas my grandma’s was a horizontally long low one. My father had died just before his 22nd birthday whilst my mother was pregnant with me and my Grandmother used to play this record a lot when I was younger, she told me that it helped her to get through the difficult days. When she died we played this at her funeral and for a long time I couldn’t listen to it without bursting into tears. Nowadays I find it evokes loving memories of her in me and I find the part about, ‘sail on silver girl, sail on high, your time to shine has come, all your dreams are on their way, see how they shine, oh if you need a friend I’m sailing on right behind’, especially beautiful. I had some pretty awful times in my childhood and when that part played, my grandma used to say to me, ‘this will be you one day’. If I listen to it now I can feel her love surrounding me, lifting me up and encouraging me to believe in and to hope for a better future.

The third song isn’t just one song, the first of the third is Whitesnakes, ‘Here I go Again’. I hear this and I am instantly back in my late teens/early twenties with my friends Tracey Bradey and Karen Lamb. We would ponder over which songs we could talk about to sound like we were cool for when we were chatting to guys that we fancied. I remember Karen saying, ‘my big brother knows all the right music, he’s really cool, he was listening to Whitesnake’s, ‘Here I Go Again’ tonight’. From that moment on this was a song that Karen and I would listen to often down the years and laugh about how we had come to know it. We also listened to AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell and Whole Lotta Rosie. Tracey and I loved The Scorpion’s, ‘The Zoo’, ‘Love You Like A Hurricane’ and ‘Still Loving You’. One of mine and Karen’s favourites, was The Kink’s, ‘Lola’. But there are so many, many songs from that time, that have great significance for me, especially now that my friend Karen has passed away, it was four years this year on the 30th of March. Songs like, The Yardbird’s, ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’, ‘Smokestack Lightning’, ‘My Girl Sloopy’ and Heart Full of Soul. Thin Lizzy’s, ‘Whisky In The Jar’, Rainbow’s, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, ‘The Time Warp’ from ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and Prince’s, ‘Purple Rain’ and the film of the same name which we played relentlessly in the Nurses Home where we stayed at that time whilst doing our Nurses training and driving about on motorbikes and riding about in cars with our other friend Karen Dickson at that time. The sad thing is, that when Karen Lamb died, Kevin’s Mum asked me what song I thought Karen would have wanted played at her funeral? Despite having so many memory invoking songs, my mind was so overcome with grief that I couldn’t think of a single one to suggest to her. I think, however that this turned out to be a good thing as in the end Kevin and the girls chose two songs that were special, memory wise in relation to Karen for them.

The song that reminds me most of Karen, however, was one that wasn’t actually very successful when it first came out. It was Christmas 1987 by this time and Karen, our other friend Jacqueline Johnstone and myself decided we would put out a request to the universe to send everlasting love to each of us. The putting a request out to the universe was a new thing that we had heard about doing and thought we would give it a try. As we talked about love Karen mentioned a new song that she had heard and said that, that was the kind of love that she wanted the universe to send to her. I laughed and replied that the couple in the song hated each other. She smiled and said, ‘no, it’s about real love, not the fairytale, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow kind, but the sort of love, where even when you do fall out with one another and argue and scream and shout, you never actually stop loving each other. You stay together through the good and bad times because the love you feel for each other, allows you to work through the bad times and come out even stronger at the other side, that’s the type of love I want the universe to send to me.

Well the following year I gave birth to my daughter, Georgie McBride, the universe had sent me my everlasting love. When I was being taken to the delivery room in the hospital I heard ‘Cavatina’, the theme tune to the film, The Deer Hunter’ blasting out of the telly in the waiting room. It is a beautiful piece of music and helped to keep me calm during the birth of my daughter, it is a song I will always love now. During my pregnancy, Karen, Jacqueline and I went for a drive up to the north of Scotland in the car. One of the songs that played on the radio was Foster and Allen’s, ‘Bunch of Thyme’. I told Karen and Jacqs that I loved the line in this song that said, ‘the sailor gave to her a rose, a rose that never would decay’ as that’s how I thought of my as yet unborn child, ‘a rose that never would decay’, although her father wasn’t a sailor and in those days it wasn’t possible to tell if you were having a boy or a girl, so at that point I still thought of her as being ‘my child’. Jacqueline said she also loved that song as it was one that her Mum and Dad liked. Jacqueline broke up with her fiancee in the year that followed her, putting out her request to the universe, which Karen and I found hilarious, but we also realised and pointed out to Jacqs that this was the universe making sure that the everlasting kind of love she wanted was being enabled to come into her life by, taking away the one that wasn’t everlasting. Sure enough Jacqs did meet someone else and now has two amazing, beautiful children, her son Michael Johnston and her daughter Ashleigh Dren Johnston and Karen?

Hhmm, well there’s a line in the song that she loved that says, ‘I’m the lucky one, came in at ten to one,’ and she was, as she herself said, that was her line, her song, she got it all. The following year after we sent our requests out into the universe, we were at our friend Mary Forsyth’s wedding. Jacqueline was Mary’s sister and Jacqueline ended up going out with Gary, who was the friend of Keith, the best man or was Gary, Keith’s younger brother, my memory is letting me down on this point. Anyway, Karen ended up going on a blind date with the friend of Gary. That blind date became her husband Kevin Doman and they then went onto have two amazing, beautiful daughters, Kirsty Doman and Rachel Doman. Karen was right she got it all. She had a wonderful loving husband and marriage that gave her two amazing daughters, all three of whom she adored and who all loved and adored her. And all this came about because of a request put out into the universe by three young hopeful girls and Mary’s wedding lol and the song that Karen loved so much? It was,The Pogues and Kirsty McColl’s, ‘Fairtale of New York’, which has since become a classic. Every time I hear it I am transported back to that night before Christmas in 1987 watching three young girls trusting in the universe to send them what they needed and it did, as indeed it always will. Trust in God and the universe my Grandma Neill would tell me and as usual Grandma, you were right.

3 thoughts on “The Three Most Important Songs In Your Life

  1. One of my favorites I have read for day 3. I love how you connected songs to memories that you could share with such vivid language.

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  2. I love this, the universe really does give us what we ask for! I love Simon and Garfunkel as the songs remind me of my father, who loves to sing along very loudly. I guess we have that in common.

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