My dear friend Jenna, who has known me through all my various hair color incarnations, sent me her list of 40 songs that shaped her life. She challenged me to create mine. I’ve been mulling it for a while. Here are ten.
1. Puff the Magic Dragon
Dad used to strum this on the guitar or banjo when we were getting ready for bed. I wish I had learned to play like him.
2. The Age of Aquarius
My parents had a large vinyl collection, and musicals made up a good part of it. I loved dancing with my sister to this one.
3. I Am a Rock
Besides parsley and sage, I remember listening to Simon and Garfunkle’s, trying to pick out the harmony, the tension just before the song crashed into silence.
4. Someone Left the Cake Out
My mom loves music as much as my dad, and she collected tapes to play in her car. This is one she sang often to us when we were feeling oppressed by the weight of our teenaged worlds.
Wherever I worship, wherever I go, the doxology is always the same. The words, sung in community strike a blend of faith and assurance that can seem so elusive.
6. Anything from The Carpenters
I’m not sure I can even name one song, but The Carpenters rang out at our cottage when Grandpa brought his 8-track.
7. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
My parents have interesting and varied musical taste.
8. Add it Up
The Violent Femmes were my introduction into a new and vaguely angry world. I liked it. For a time.
I can’t hear U2 performing this without understanding the depth of desperation from the psalmist who first begged God to bring him out of the pit.
10. We Are Family
Sometimes songs define or soundtrack a generation or place. In this case, the generation and place was Pittsburgh in the late 70s.
Can you name a song that defined you? Why?