Louis Armstrong once said, “Music is life itself.” I don’t know if I would go THAT far, especially since if I had to choose between music and karate, I’d still go with karate. That being said, music has always played a big role in my life. I’m one of those folks who can be influenced by a song simply by hearing it. An upbeat song will have me bopping along and singing at the top of my voice while passing drivers look on in awe at the crazy guy in the suit whose cheese appears to be sliding off his cracker. On the other hand, hearing certain ballads will remind me of sad memories, make me maudlin or even tear up, if the song is right.
I’ve owned at least one guitar since I was sixteen (at one point, I had four) but I’ve never put the amount of effort into it that I could have or should have. Once again, this came down to a choice between focusing on music or karate. Since karate was keeping me healthy and well… alive, I opted for karate. But believe it or not, there was a time when music was a pivotal part of my daily life, where I would listen to music, try to strum along and singing became common place for me. In high school, I tried doing the whole “band” thing, but the able participants weren’t willing ones and we never really got it off the ground.
When I went away to college, I actually had the opportunity to sing for a few guys that played at college events and a few venues. I actually performed in front of several hundred people, making the introvert inside scream in fear, but it definitely contributed to why I can speak in public with relative ease and comfort. I currently own two guitars; an acoustic that my late aunt left me, which she autographed for me before her passing and an electric Les Paul style guitar that my wife bought me as an engagement gift.
“Music And Rhythm Find Their Way Into The Secret Places Of The Soul…”– Plato
I bring up the subject of music because, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to have a Zoom meeting with the group of friends I hung out with during my formative years. It was an amazing feeling but I was reminded of some amazing music, as well. That’s why I’ve decided to share the playlist we came up with in this post. This will seem like a long post, but it relatively short in terms of reading. Whether or not you watch the YouTube videos is up to you. Let’s take a nostalgic journey…
Who doesn’t recognize and appreciate the incredible vocals of Freddy Mercury? I only discovered Queen by virtue of having watched “Wayne’s World,” which came out in 1992. But this song holds a special place in my heart as, after purchasing the cassette tape (yes, you read that right, it was on tape) my friend Leon and I crooned along to that one song to the point that we basically burned out the tape. We even recorded ourselves singing it, using the lyrics sheet inside the cassette case. We didn’t have Google to supply us with such things, back then.
I owe the discovery of this song to my friend Leon. This was a tape of his that he brought along and slapped into my shitty car’s tape deck. I always felt the opening riffs stirred something in the soul. My Sensei’s son and I actually tried learning this on the guitar, back when we were young and stupid. Moving on…
Where do I even start with this group? April Wine holds a special place in my heart, for a variety of reasons. Other than the fact that they’re from the Maritimes like I am, I was introduced to their music as a child by my father. I grew up listening to them in every iteration; on the radio, on 8-tracks, cassette tapes and later on CD’s. I’ve even seen them perform in concert on three separate occasions. Although none of their songs are bad, this one has been singled out as reminding some of my high school friends of me.
Ahh, Ace of Base… If this doesn’t scream 90’s teen years, I don’t know what does. They have a pretty pure and simple sound and although many of their songs start to sound the same after a few listens, you can’t help but nod your head and croon along. This song, along with “It’s A Beautiful Life,” definitely graced the inside of my Toyota Tercel on more occasions than I can recall.
This one is particular because I actually learned how to play this one on the guitar. I had a fellow blogger suggest that I film myself playing and upload it on The Blogging Buddhist’s YouTube page, but the amount of rust on my fingers could put a derelict ship to shame. But I may get there.
I have no shame in admitting that this one was a guilty pleasure that was often indulged in, especially on the weekends when there was nothing to do but cruise up and down the main drag in my shitty car with the windows down, waving at all the girls that somehow knew from a distance that I simply wasn’t cool. Que sera… It’s catchy, it’s feel-good and it holds up. I regret nothing!
Anyone who doesn’t understand why this song is on here is lying to themselves. Fight me! Seriously though, I drove a 1987 Toyota Tercel hatchback that struck an eery resemblance to Garth’s hatchback in Wayne’s World (except in color). Ergo, we nicknamed my Tercel “The Mirth Mobile.” And what would a cruise in the Mirth mobile be, without a batch of people head banging the way they did in the movie.
This album came out while I was in high school and I grew to have an appreciation for Meatloaf’s theatrical efforts for his videos. The song was quite popular, but I was already into Meatloaf, thanks to “Bat Out Of Hell.” I remember thinking how foolish everyone was to “suddenly” discover this artist, but as I look back, I don’t think there’s ever really a bad time to discover great music. Same on teenage me…
Oasis is a great band with a great sound to them, some of which are feel-good tracks and some kinda have you reflecting on life. I drove some of my friends crazy with this one, because the opening strum is what I originally tried learning the guitar with. And I. Was. Not. Good. I improved with time, and the song totally stands up. Which leads to the next one…
From the same album, this one is a direct reminder of my childhood and teen years and the tone makes me a little sad, despite being a fantastic song. The old gang didn’t include this one in our exchanges, I simply love it.
Alanis Morissette’s album “Jagged Little Pill” pretty much oozes 1990’s teen years. I always found that people always either really enjoyed her music or absolutely hated it. I had the album on CD and still have it now as part of my iTunes library/
This is an absolutely wonderful song, and is only a few simple chords, making it fun and easy to strum along to. Although I can’t quite hit the high notes of the artist, I’ve played it on couple of occasions recently. Even my son Nathan croons along with it when it comes on in the car, proving that it totally stands up, even decades later.
If someone can tell me what the hell the term “Tubthumping” is supposed to mean, I’d greatly appreciate it. My autocorrect is losing it’s shit, right now. On the flip side, the band calls itself Chumbawumba, so what am I expecting? this song is pure, unadulterated joy. That is all. Simple, repetitive lyrics, I’ve yet to meet a person who’s able to resist singing along at the top of their lungs to this tune, and I’m no exception.
I know that not everyone is a Jim Carey fan, but I loved “Dumb and Dumber” and can still get a laugh from watching it. this song was part of its soundtrack and still totally stands up. I know I’m saying that about a lot of these songs, but I’m pretty biased. It’s upbeat and fun, and usually results in my using the gas peddle a little more than I should.
Everyone in the world knows this song. Prove me wrong. And you can’t, because if you didn’t recognize it and played the video, now you know it! See what I did, there? Bryan Adams was a household name all throughout my childhood, teens and into my adulthood. This song always elicited happy feelings and had me purchase every Bryan Adams album I could get my hands on. I’ve learned some of his songs on the guitar. I had my first real slow dance to one of his songs. He’s timeless.
Last but certainly not in any way least, is this song. Featured as part of the soundtrack for the movie “City of Angels,” (one of Nicholas Cage’s only good movies) Goo Goo Dolls have a very unique sound, especially with the fact that their songs always have some strange tunings that i can never seem to match. But most of their songs are equally as good. I currently own their greatest hits album, and listen to it often.
There you have it! The soundtrack of my youth. There’s plenty more, but I can only spend so much time linking YouTube videos in a single post. As I said in the beginning, this post seems long, but if you’ve just read the paragraphs because you already know the songs, it’s no longer than any of my usual posts. Hopefully, this will have helped remind some of you of a simpler time in your youth, as well. ☯