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Musical Nostalgia: Where Were You When Your Favorite Song Played?

Just like a best childhood friend, music memories will always be remembered.

As a young kid growing into a teenager in the Boston area, I became attached to certain songs whether great or truly awful music. I felt so attached to the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, lyrics and vocals that, to this, very day, I can associate the Boston and New England places I was at when the songs played.  I usually heard these songs on the older versions of WRKO, WMEX and WBZ, as well as WCOP 1150 AM, WEZE 1260 AM, and WVBF 105.7 FM (now WROR).


I think that part of this musical nostalgia and association simply comes from being introduced to music so early in life, and, thus, having that enthusiastic, fresh perspective outlook that could have well made some of these songs better than they really were -- but then again, maybe not.  If it sounded good, they played it on the radio way back in the day. It took very little effort to love so many of these songs, as the simplicity of the music entered the mind like the way sugar consumption instantly offers happiness to the taste buds.  Hmmm, maybe all those Skybars and Zarex fruit drinks played a role, too!

More importantly, these songs spurred emotions and personal memories. The connection to this music never went away. Since modern day radio in the Boston area plays virtually nothing from the past, I created a list on Spotify entitled "Soundtrack to Childhood." It's an amazing feeling hearing 16 hours of music from childhood and often I will experience goosebumps, a warm memory, and not afraid to say, a tear or two (for some reason "Day After Day' by Badfinger strikes an emotional response, perhaps having something to do with the melody). In my mind, I do think back to those places and times when the songs played and the connections becomes even stronger. The power of music is clearly undeniable!


Here are some of my musical nostalgia song associations...

"Nashville Cats" by the Lovin' Spoonful -- Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, N.H.

"In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry -- our backyard in Arlington, Mass., during a summer barbecue.

"Merry Christmas Darling" by The Carpenters -- just outside Eric Fuch's model train store in Boston on a cold winter night

"Don't Pull Your Love" by Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds -- Driving past Manchester, N.H., on the way to the White Mountains with our grandma and grandpa from Michigan Ave., in Lynn, Mass. My grandpa wasn't feeling well and it worried me.

"I Am, I Said" by Neil Diamond -- Museum of Science, Boston

"Can't Get it Out of My Head" by the Electric Light Orchestra -- Taking a mystery ride on Routes 9 and 20 to West Springfield after my dad bought a Mercury Marquis station wagon with the phony wood paneling. The new car smell created equally strong memories.

"Mother and Child Reunion" by Paul Simon -- Newport, R.I., near The Cliff Walk

"To Sir with Love" by Lulu -- Dale Pharmacy, Burlington, Mass.

"Peace of Mind" by Boston -- Heading to the Acropolis Greek restaurant in Cambridge.

"Mandy" by Barry Manilow -- Driving to Bates Farm ice cream stand in Carlisle (which is now Kimball Farm).

"She'd Rather be With Me" by The Turtles and "You're Just Too Good to be True" by Frankie Valli -- Almy's department store in Burlington, Mass.

"Let's Pretend" by The Raspberries -- Arlington Pet Shop in Arlington, Mass., in the heights.

"Superstition" by Stevie Wonder -- Tropic Isle Aquarium, Framingham, Mass.

"Black Betty" by Ram Jam -- Hall's Nostalgia baseball card shop, Arlington.

"Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins -- Marshalls clothing store in Bedford, Mass.

"Joanne" by Michael Nesmith -- Hyannis, Cape Cod day trip.

"Mr. Bojangles" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band" -- downtown Lexington, Mass.

"Take Me Home, Country Road" by John Denver -- Parmenter Elementary School music class, Arlington, Mass.

"Flirtin' with Disaster" by Molly Hatchet -- riding with a friend in his blue Ford Mustang in Winchester, Mass., heading toward a baseball card shop in Stoneham.

Just wondering, do you also associate an old song with a certain place or time?






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