Monday, July 19, 2010


Arleebird is hosting yet another FABULOUS Blog Fest... this one is about the TEN songs that form the soundtrack of your life.

Mercedes Benz, Janice Joplin

My parents were young when they got married, and neither was particularly savvy... about anything. They were pop music (mom) and big band hang back (dad). My dad had a lot of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Mom had a lot of folk rock. Being marginally tone deaf, the stuff with LYRICS was preferable, so I grew up choosing Carole King, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkle, Sonny & Cher... and Janice Joplin. I think the Scarborough Fair Album was most frequently chosen (still love it), Sonny & Cher was what—at the TIME, I would have marked as favorite... Carole King has stuck with me longest as a musician I STILL admire the heck out of, but if I am choosing a SONG...

Janice Joplin was raw and tortured, and her music resonated with the times. She was wild, but vulnerable, as I still think of my dad, and I love this SONG as my first awareness of the use of getting the point across by saying something different than the ACTUAL point. At four or five, I GOT that a Mercedez Benz or a color TV were NOT the kinds of things you asked God for. Seeds of irony were born a decade before I knew what the word meant. We also had a near miss with Dialing for Dollars—the Spokane station announced they were calling 882-4792 and the phone began to ring. I could hear it... but I was next door at my babysitter's house... missing the call... no money for the color TV that we didn't yet own... so there is a somewhat personal connection.

The Rose, Bette Midler

In Junior High I gave over to angst. I wanted LOVE and ACHE and LONGING in a big way—never mind that almost ALWAYS when a boy actually liked me back, I panicked and backed off... I had stereotypes of the feelings I was supposed to have, but it was the wanting I wanted... not the having... (my apologies to the boys I gave the wrong impression to—not that they were knocking down my doors, but there were a few). This particular song had an associated boy... a boy I eventually GOT but gave up due to peer embarrassment—being harassed about kissing in the dugouts... I guess I had been more comfortable with the thing just out of reach...

Wuthering Heights, Pat Benatar

The driving age in Idaho is 14. Moscow, however, was behind on driver's ed, so when my friend Michelle moved there as a Freshman, she was the only one our age with a license (AND a truck—a really OLD truck—a 58 Chevy, I think, with an 8-track tape deck... and two tapes). I don't remember what the second one was, but the one we listened to, almost all the time, was Pat Benatar. This was my favorite song on it.

I will take a moment to note that I'm rather surprised to see that my first third of life was most notably marked by songs by women. I have never had a noted preference for them—in fact 'pop' women tend to bug me. Oh well, there we have it...

Cum on Feel the Noize, Quiet Riot

When I got to high school (10th grade, because we had a Jr. High and a High School) I gave over to the heavy metal under-movement... because in a small town with a single radio station the options were pop music or heavy metal. I am STILL fond of it, from my first Loverboy LP , all the way through, but this song ushered in my 'high school party phase'... the metalhead in me.

Purple Rain, Prince

Purple Rain was a generational album which ties in MTV, Showtime, and a particular time of really angsty stuff for me. I had a long time romantic obsession—this time not free of contact, but never quite the level I wanted it to be—oddly, a person I've remained friends with, and have great clarity that it is for the BEST it never flew... he was a romantic attachment I might have given up dreams for, but because it wasn't to be THAT kind of serious, but the attachment was there, nobody ELSE ever had the strength of attachment for me to be willing to give it all up for. Funny how that works. I went away to college, the friendship converted to a WRITTEN one, and obsession mellowed to friendship.

Don't You Forget About Me, Simple Minds

I had such a strong feeling, as I left home for the first time, going out of state to college where NONE of my other friends would be, of wanting to be ME for the first time in my life. I'm not sure why I never felt free to be me before, but the freedom and release of starting fresh was tangible. I wanted to make an impression, every step of the way.

Nirvana, Memoria

First out of college I gave over to the grunge movement full force. I LOVED the stuff. By the time Nirvana came on the scene, I'd given up the field of advertising as the soul suck it was, and was working at a microbrewery and going back to school for my Master's degree. The anti-establishment played clearly in my life and on my stereo.

Strawberry, Everclear

I happen to think Art Alexakis is the best story teller writing songs. And for anyone who has ever loved an addict, this song will dig a hole in your heart and stay there—it makes you FEEL what it is like from the other side... and if you are to KEEP loving an addict, sometimes that is necessary.

You Learn, Alanis Morissette

And like Art can tell a story, Alanis can philosophize. I believe every word of this song absolutely and completely, and I think I just need to share them.

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone (I certainly do)
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time (Feel free)
Throw it down (concoction knocks you from the room)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

Mr. Jones and Me, Counting Crows

And finally... the quest to BE someone... to make a name. I want to be Bob Dyllan, Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky, but if everyone loves you, oh son, that's just about as funky as you could be... There are a fair number of songs out there about the quest for fame, but I think this is my favorite of them... we all wanna be beautiful, man, I wish I was beautiful...

So there we have it... not necessarily all FAVORITE songs (though I like them all) but definitely the ones that most notably mark my life stages...


RosieC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RosieC said...

Oh, I wish I'd thought to put Counting Crows on my list. Anna Begins is one of my favorites from that album. Oh, and Nirvana... *sigh*

Great list.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Love your choice of songs, but then I never doubted that I would.
I discovered Janis Joplin only a couple of years ago, and she is divine.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your soundtrack is huge and all over the map, Hart! Had to chuckle at the Quiet Riot right in the middle. Teen metalhead!

Will Burke said...

What a great list! Purple Rain is still one of my favorites, and I'll still check out any new Prince that comes out.

Ted Cross said...

I am so passionate about music, and I love to see other people who are, too!

Justine Dell said...

Great list! You Learn is one of the best songs evvver!


Old Kitty said...

Awww what amazing memories for each song!! Bette Middler's the Rose still makes me cry!!! Brilliant selection!!

Take care

Hart Johnson said...

Rosie-I'm sure I'm going to be doing that every time I hit someone else's list--DOH! I shoulda used THAT song!

Rayna--STILL love Janice--I like Bobby McGee better, but it isn't the same kind of life placeholder...

Alex-you calling me Schizo? *snort* Yeah... a little all over, I suppose...

Will-That Purple Rain album reminds me SO MUCH of my Freshman dorm, lining up in the hall to do The Bird *snicker* It IS great music though--love the whole thing.

Ted--Thank you!

Justine--ISN'T IT? I like her music, but that one, as life motivation, often makes me a little teary.

OK-It does me too--probably because I so rarely hear it anymore. I even had a rose necklace I wore for about 4 years EVERY day.

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed your list, especially Janis Joplin.

Thoughts in Progress

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I enjoyed your list but my favourite one there is The Rose, I have always loved that song. I enjoyed reading why you chose,
Thanks for sharing.

M.J. Nicholls said...

You have a delicious taste in music. I'm even willing to let the Pat Benatar go. I've actually been trying to sell that Everclear album for weeks now. No takers. Might give it another spin.

Alanis Morrissette's "Perfect" is also a haunting number.

Gregg said...

Great list. I am not familiar with the songs or most of the artists. Like the way you weaved your story through them. Thanks for sharing!

LTM said...

TWO "Joplin" listings? So much is explained... ;p

I'm hopeless at stuff like this. I'm the musical pslushpile. And I have obscure songs like "I Happen to Like New York" and "Aux Champs Elysées" on my list.

And "Party in my Tummy."

yes, so much is explained... ;p

B. Miller said...

I love it! What a fantastic list. Awesome that you put them in chronological order... a fascinating insight into the Tart. And I love just about every song you listed. The only ones I didn't know I'm going to check out now. Thanks for participating in this one, Hart!! :D

Dawn said...

I LOVE this list. Brought back some great memories for me as well, AND a reminder that I need to update my iPod. Love these kinds of posts.

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you so much everyone, for dropping in!

Mark, I think you're mocking me. It's okay, I know it's what you do... but just so you know I'm onto you...

Leigh, 2? Does one of my bands have a Joplin up there? I'm so bad about knowing who is in one group... I need to get around to more lists...

B.--yeah, insight into the Tart can be dangerous--careful...

Dawn--I know, right? I've got some songs I've jotted down from reading lists today, too.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Okay, I'll admit to not really knowing what "Everclear" is (except it was something we all partook of in college), but the rest of the list I'm right there with you. :)

DiscConnected said...

I'd forgotten the SImple Minds song-that would not have been so out of place on my list.

Great list-rare to find someone else who listens to Everclear.

Anonymous said...

I love this list. So many great tunes here and, strangely, one from Everclear I had never heard of before. Nice to get a peek into your life and musical tastes, Hart. :)

arlee bird said...

This is a fun list with a great story to tell. Pat Benatar on 8 track? I thought those were long gone when she came on the scene. Guess the technology just lingered for a while. Sonny and Cher were real fine. I used to watch their TV show every Friday night I believe it was-- they would have some great music acts.

Tossing It Out

Hart Johnson said...

Elizabeth-probably part of why I like Everclear so much is they are Portland based... the SONG refers to 'buying a coupla bags down in old town'--and the vision called up is SO CLEAR to me, but they definitely walked the Grungeline, which I love. (Oregon also sells Everclear--illegal in all the other states I've lived)

DiscConnected--Welcome! You listen to Everclear, too? YAY! My daughter scratched our CD badly, so Heroine Girl cuts off mid song, but most of it is in tact.

Kimberly-Sparkle and Fade is Everclear's first CD, but being in Portland, they were the local boys, so we got them early.

Lee--Yup--Pat Benatar on 8 track! I think the other one was the Guess Who or something--older. And I LOVED the Sonny and Cher show... Cher, the smart alec with her belly always showing... one of my early inspirations I think (if only I could sing!)

M.J. Nicholls said...

No, no mocking, no mocking! I genuinely like your selection. I really should use some of that "sincerity" stuff in my comments.

February Grace said...

Oh, love your choices...that Alanis song has always been really significant to me too. Purple Rain was always my favorite Prince song. Love Everclear. Love Counting Crows (Though The Rainking is my personal fave there). All great stuff- you really made me work here!

I had to jump on this blog-hop after seeing your post- but it was impossible to get it down to ten- I managed ten with one honorary mention.

The soundtrack of my life would be a boxed set...


Hart Johnson said...

Well that's a relief, Mark! Though it's okay when you mock me, too... I like your mockery.

Bru--great to know we've got some overlap! And I love Rain King, too, but Mr. Jones at the moment is hitting more personally...

And I've seen a number of cases of people listing more than 10--you're in good company.

The Yard Bard said...

Hmm, an intriguing personal map! I once sang "Mercedes Benz" at a gospel jam and failed to be hit by lightning. God has a sense of humor, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to participate but just got home. Crazy day. But I did have Nirvana Never Mond on my list. Awesome CD. Counting Crows had some great songs too.

Stephen Tremp

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Sounds like an eclectic choice of songs - that must be why your blog is always so interesting!)

Kat_RN said...

You know, there isn't a song on the list that I don't like.

Deb and Barbara said...

I can NEVER pick favourite songe. It's impossible. I love them for a moment and then it's on to the next -- and the first is forgotten like some abandoned lover. Poor music. I am a slut and a commitment-phobe.

PS your list is great. I may cheat on my music...

Anonymous said...

Love Alanis - definitely an apt song for many occasions. Thanks for sharing this list and I loved reading your reasons and descriptions.

Chary Johnson said...


We both had Pat Benetar but I had Love is a Battlefield! I can't believe I forgot Alanis Morrisette on my list. *facepalms*

Hart Johnson said...

Yard Bard--I love it!

Stephen--you can still do your list!

Jane-thank you so much!

Kat- *high fives*

Barbara *snorts* It's okay to be a music slut... I'm a little slutty too, but as in the rest of my life--once loved, always loved.

Cassandra--thank you!

Chary--I liked a lot of Pat Benatar back in the day...this just happens to be what was on the 8-track *snort*

Cheeseboy said...

What an interesting variety of songs. I mean Quiet Riot to Bette?

My favorites that you listed are Nirvana and Counting Crows. Pearl Jam was/is actually my favorite grunge band with Alice in Chains a close second, but Nirvana was the most influential and made the biggest impact on history.

That Counting Crows album is absolutely brilliant. It's too bad they peaked on their first album though.

Hart Johnson said...

Cheeseboy--Alice in Chains is actually my favorite SOUND of all those, but for some reason Never Mind is the CD that stuck--probably because my husband and I both liked it, where Alice wasn't his flavor.