I’ve discovered something odd about myself. (No need to pile on, I don’t need your input on my shortcomings or we’ll be here for a month). I never would have connected the dots if it weren’t for Facebook. Blame them. All those goofy memes asking silly questions. I actually don’t answer those questions very often because they seem too nosy/invasive/personal/inquisitive. I do however read some of the comments on these posts to get differing viewpoints/opinions on how others feel. Umm, hide behind anonymity much? Why yes, yes I do.
Some of these posts are about music which holds a special meaning for me. No, I can’t sing but that doesn’t mean I don’t like music. Through the biggest share of my life I was rarely without a radio blasting 1960’s and 70’s tunes every hour I was awake, in the house or car. Until I started going deaf. Music lost some of its luster for me because my head was suddenly overflowing with obnoxious, inexplicable, constant noise. Whooshing wind, power lines crackling, chain saws, dentist’s drill, yikes. One would assume deafness would mean total silence. Not in my case. My head is filled with so much noise, which in turn causes me to misunderstand or mistake what’s being said or sung. Add more noise to the mix (yes even the greatest music from my formative years) and it puts me on edge instead of being enjoyable or relaxing for me.
Since my hearing loss (starting in 1998) there has been one exception where music’s concerned. Listening while I walk in the morning. Music keeps my feet moving and puts a smile on my face. But I’ve evolved. After several years of Walkman’s, MP3 players, portable CD players and iPods, a dear friend gave me a pair of Bose headphones which has made a world of difference.
With these extraordinary headphones it’s been much easier to determine the words in lyrics. But my music preferences have changed somewhat too. Nothing’s going to change my love or loyalty to Neil Diamond, The Beatles or The Doors, but I got to the point where I simply couldn’t listen to the same music day after day. I thank Josh for that one. He was in charge of locating, buying, taping, transferring all the songs I wanted to whatever piece of equipment I was using at the time. After a few years of daily walks, he sent me a couple of surprise tapes with Offspring, Train, Lady Gaga, P!nk, Black Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, Flo Rida, Gary Jules, Jlo, Ke$ha, Maroon 5 (who are these people?) and more and I was literally off to the races. He’d finally spent enough time fiddling around making music for me and set me up with a Rhapsody account (before iTunes) and taught me how to acquire music without him giving up 3 frustrating hours in the process. Slacker.
So it could be the lyrics that give meaning to my old and new favorites, but my pull to a song often has to do with the melody. That definitely can suck me in. And don’t forget the beat. To a hearing impaired person the thump-thumps of the beat determines if the song is worthy of spending my money and something I’ll enjoy on my walking playlists.
Now about those crazy questions on memes. It’ll start out like this: What’s your favorite song by The Beatles? Or CCR, The Doors, Johnny Cash, P!nk and so on? Ok this is where I usually take a sharp right turn when the majority of comments are headed down another avenue. I’m just gonna blurt it right out. My favorite songs by groups or individuals are rarely the most popular choice of the masses. Anybody else feel this way? You have a favorite song by a group but it’s definitely not as well known as their top 10. Many times my pick is not even in their top 20. And if the group or solo artist are clearly recognized by a certain song, (Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler comes to mind while my favorite of his is Ruby), it’s never the one I particularly care for.
What does this mean? I’m an individualist? I swim in the opposite direction of the masses? I have odd taste in music? Don’t know. Here are a few of my picks. Ok, start shaking your head.
1. Neil Diamond: Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show/Desiree
2. Johnny Cash: Sunday Morning Coming down/I Walk The Line
3. 3 Dog Night: The Show Must Go On
4. Simón & Garfunkel: Richard Cory/Cecilia
5. Everly Brothers: Walk Right Back
6. The Beatles: Ob la di/Ballad of John and Yoko (kinda ironic because I believe she ruined him)
7. Wings: Mull of Kintyre (although it’s kinda slow for walking I love walking to it which is odd)
8. Abba: Angeleyes/Chiquitita
9. The Doors: LA Woman/Roadhouse Blues
I still select a few old favorites for every playlist, but also use a wide variety of music on most of them. There are a few tunes that are on every playlist such as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere over the Rainbow, 3 Dog Night’s, The Show must go on and Snoop Dog’s, I just wanna make you sweat (I know, I know, Snoop Dog??? but you’re not gonna make me feel guilty, it’s my favorite walking song. The only one I still hit repeat numerous times while it’s playing).
I haven’t walked “with purpose” (bad knee) for a couple years, so I’m just getting back in the swing of things. Since I only play music when I walk, hearing my old favorites is like a surprise visit from an old friend. I smile as the words come back to me and life feels fantastic. Those dang endorphins, gotta love ’em. On the other hand, I have not bought any new music in 3 years and in dire need of some new tunes. Really. Same old, same old. My granddaughter Peyton has been given the task of finding some new song suggestions so I can buy some tunes to add to my library. This old favorite from ABBA explains it best…
I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore,
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before.
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing,
‘Cause everyone listens when I start to sing,
I’m so grateful and proud, all I want is to sing it out loud.
So I say thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing,
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing,
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?
What would life be? Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me…