The Sounds of Summer
We've been talking a lot about books and movies but nothing about that other art form: music!
Why is it we can hear a song and it takes us back to a specific time and place?
In my house, the radio was set to the Juarez station XELA so I grew up listening to Mexican tunes. It wasn't until I was in junior high that I was exposed to American pop music.
One of the first songs that wowed me was I Got A Line On You
, by Spirit. A really cool tune and their only real hit. It's the kind of song that still sounds fresh though only if I listen to it every five years.
Whenever I hear Steppenwolf or Led Zeppelin it takes me back to skipping Sunday school and hanging out at my friends' house listening to the Devil's music.
Back in 1973, the year I got out of high school, I was hooked on Tubular Bells
though I despised The Exorcist
. Back then, the composer Mike Oldfield was hailed as the vanguard artist of a music genre so new it didn't have a name. Ten years later that genre became known as Music for a New Age and has since been re-labeled as ambient (wallpaper) music. As much as I liked Tubular Bells
, I get bored whenever I listen to it now. Give me Australasia instead.
The 70s. Bleah.
REO Speedwagon. Elton John. Bread (points if you remember them) Everytime I hear BTO's Taking Care of Business
, I'm back in summer army training. The humidity. The mosquitos. Raccoons finding contraband candy bars hidden in our bunks. A guy in our barracks had an 8-track player, and I must've heard that song fifty times on any given day.The Cars.
One of my all-time favorite albums. Whenever I'm blue, I put this on the play list and I'm 25 again and strolling the Monterey Bay pier.
We detour into big band. I hear Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade
and it's 1979. I can hear the song cooing out the speakers of this awesome card store in Cannery Row. I'd be admiring these
beautiful cards from Paper Moon Graphics (featuring work from the phenomenal airbrush artist Peter Lloyd who did this cover for Rod Stewart). The store was one of the first places to bring neon back, snazzy glowing shapes on the walls and ceiling. The music, the art, the ambience, everything seemed to fit so perfectly together. Wish the rest of my life was like that.
I can peg other moments to songs of that time. The B52s--it's 4am and I'm at the airfield in flight school. Gary Numan, Cars
--Austin, TX: beer and BBQ.The World of Private Music
. Big change in my life. I'm out of the army and hooking up with artists in Dallas, TX. I was listening to this cassette while we were hanging an art show inside a warehouse.
A silly, silly tune yet it celebrates another change. I've escaped Fresno, CA, and have settled in Denver. So dance with Dee-Lite.
Another album I love. Portishead's Dummy
. The lyrics make little sense but who cares with Beth Gibbon's ethereal voice? These songs, plus Cake's Never There
, and Falco's Der Kommisar
bring back dreamy times in San Francisco.What tunes shape your memories?Busy weekend.Friday.
The Lighthouse Lit Fest has begun. The festivities kicked off with the kick-off party. Co-director Andrea Dupree documents my alibi.Saturday.
La Piazza chalk art festival in Larimer Square. Jennifer Mosquera hard at work bringing oohs and aahs.Sunday.
Chicago author Daniel Smith was in town, touring his book, One The Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department
. Our chapter of the Mystery Writers of America hosted a party for him at Bonnie Ramthun's house. (Bonnie, left, Daniel, Chris Goff). Awesome buffet. Awesome wine. Awesome time. Funny as I can't remember any of the music.