Last week I read a post about one blogger's list of "The Ten Best Songs of All Freaking Time". Not surprisingly, I suppose, the songs on her list, while okay, were not ones I would have chosen. We all have different tastes, and I have to admit that I am not very musically inclined. I tend to remember the songs of my youth, not so much because they were necessarily the best, but because I associate them with some of the best years of my life.
While I have the sort of singing voice only cats seem to appreciate (and we all know how musically inclined cats are), I do have a rather impressive repertoire of songs I know by heart. The main reason for this is that back in my younger days I used to do a lot of cross-country driving by myself, with only my dog for company. I frequently traveled from college to home and back, and later made a few solo trips just to visit places I wanted to see. When I met my husband, we did quite a bit of long distance driving in the summer, and sometimes he would have to take a flight to some meeting while I would drive home alone (again with my faithful canine traveling companion). I would also still make periodic trips back to my home town, and as I moved farther and farther west these trips got longer and longer. I loved traveling by myself, but often when the trip was especially long I relied on music to keep me focused, and the louder the better.
Back in the day, there was no satellite radio, MP3 player or the like, or even CDs, just whatever local radio stations were available in the area. At first there weren't even any cassette players in the cars we owned! Often I would pass through a place that had no radio reception, and that was when I was forced to resort to my own singing to keep me going. I memorized quite a few songs back then, and to this day I can still remember most of them, although it sometimes takes a little while for all of the lyrics to come back to me. The post I read last week reminded me of these oldies, and I decided to make a list of them. I surprised even myself with the number of songs I can belt out from memory. It just goes to show how desperate I was all those years ago when I had to sing to myself on my solitary long distance trips!
As I mentioned before, the one requirement of all these songs was that they were rousing enough to keep me alert for driving, and some were chosen for this quality alone, so don't expect only critically acclaimed music on this list. (Melanie? Really? Well, it was certainly a memorable tune, and trying to hit those high notes took some real and not always successful effort!) Also, I am completely uninformed as to the newer methods of listening to music online, so I just link to the best YouTube videos I can find. Are any of your favorites on my list? Maybe I can sing them to you (but only if you're a cat!).
1) Cher (her Dark Lady album cover, shown above, is my favorite from back when album covers were so important)
Apples Don't Fall Far from the Tree
2) Cat Stevens (whatever you think of his politics, in my day his songs were beloved by many)
Moon Shadow (I just loved this song -- still do)
Sad Lisa (this is the best version on YouTube, but the blinking image is annoying; scroll down the page to remove it from sight)
Another Saturday Night (don't know why I memorized this silly song, but I can't unmemorize it so it's in my repertoire!)
3) Jim Croce (some of his fun songs -- his untimely death deprived us of a truly delightful singer)
Roller Derby Queen
Bad Bad Leroy Brown
You Don't Mess Around with Jim
4) Linda Ronstadt (such a shame she lost her singing voice to Parkinson's disease)
Poor Poor Pitiful Me
I Never Will Marry (with Dolly Parton, who wrote the song)
I Ride an Old Paint
5) Joan Baez (one of the best singing voices I've ever heard)
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
6) Roger Whittaker (he was actually from an older generation, but I just love his voice)
The Last Farewell
7) Carly Simon (she was wildly popular when I was young, with good reason)
You're So Vain (so who was she really singing about?)
That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be
Brand New Key (such a silly song, but so catchy!)
9) Bobbie Gentry
Ode to Billy Joe (a sad song that just got into my head and wouldn't leave)
10) Simon and Garfunkel (the only duo -- for some reason I've always preferred solo performers)
I Am a Rock
I did try to remember the lyrics for favorite songs by Gordon Lightfoot (Sundown and Rainy Day People) and Don McLean (American Pie and the hauntingly beautiful Vincent, see below), but somehow they were just too frustratingly complicated for my poor musically-challenged brain, and I never could keep the words straight. There may be a couple more songs I memorized in the past that have slipped my mind at the moment (hey, it happens when you get to be my age), but this has been such a fun trip down melodic memory lane!