My first relocation was from Kansas to Germany when I was only 18 months old. I didn’t that from then until now I would average a change of address every 18 months of my life, from as long as 9 years to as little as 10 months. Music helps me remember.
Like many others I’ve come to associate certain songs with specific places, either for a specific memory or due to a general feeling. I don’t have a song for every city or country I’ve visited or lived in but here is a sample list and the reasons why:
Indianapolis – “These Eyes” by The Guess Who. They and Three Dog Night were all over the radio in the late ‘60s and early 70s when my family lived here. I liked “These Eyes” better than “Joy to the World” or “Domino” by Van Morrison.
Dallas – “In the House of Stone and Light” by Martin Page. It was 1994 and I was about to move from Dallas to Los Angeles. It anchored me to Dallas while setting the stage for life in L.A, echoing in a way the journey of the man in the song.
Atlanta – “Boogie on Reggae Woman” by Stevie Wonder. You couldn’t find a bigger artist in 1974 when my family lived here for just under a year.
New York – “Piano in the Dark” by Brenda Russell. It caught me as I was walking along 43rd heading for the office. The lilting jazz simply said this is how New York must feel.
Los Angeles – “Tinseltown” by Ronnie Jordan. Funky jazz instrumental that made the year I lived in L.A. quite positive. This was a “go-to” when things weren’t going well.
Heidelberg – “Strawberry Letter 23” by the Brothers Johnson. It was my first “grown-up” funk album and, along with “This Will Be,” “Best of My Love,” “Get Down Tonight,” “Getaway” and “Jive Talking” made 1975 a very upbeat year along the Neckar.
Boston – “Giving You the Best That I’ve Got” by Anita Baker. This was a rough year for me but Anita got me through. It was warm and smooth in a rough, cold place.
London - “White Ladder” by David Gray. I was in London on business when “Babylon” first caught the ear of the world. I liked this one better and felt it my own personal link to the city.
Paris – “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins. I was staying with a friend for a few days here while this tune was all over the radio. Collins wrote a perfect paradox about the hardships of the disenfranchised versus the everyday lives of others.
I can’t wait to find out what song will connect me with Rome or Moscow!