34 Years in 34 Songs…

I’m not really sure why, but this popped into my head as an interesting thing to toy around with for a blog post tonight and once I started the list, I couldn’t really stop until I was done!

So I basically chose a single song to represent each year that I’ve been alive … it certainly wasn’t easy for a handful of them, but it’s kind of interesting to look back and see just how many of them tie back to very specific moments in my life. And mind you, some of these are more in retrospect, so it’s not like I first started listening to each of these specifically in the year listed, and besides, some of those are 30+ years ago as it is … I had to make a few assumptions here as to what I was really into when I was two years old… 😛

Still, I think overall the list came out pretty good…

(1980) Mom – You Are My Sunshine
Who knows what year it started, but I have lots of memories of my Mom singing to me growing up, so it would probably make sense that she started at the very beginning!

(1981) Sesame Street – True Blue Miracle
I absolutely love this song – it’s probably still one of my favorite Christmas songs today.

(1982) Kermit the Frog – The Rainbow Connection
A special song for a special, particularly rough year.

(1983) Sesame Street – Everyone Likes Ice Cream
30 years later, I still hear this song from my Mom every year like clockwork on my birthday! And I wouldn’t have it any other way… 😉

(1984) Fraggle Rock – Follow Me
I was a big Fraggle fan growing up when it first started on HBO. I remember my Uncle Glen making a cassette copy of a Fraggle Rock record for me and just listening to it over and over and over again…

(1985) The Human League – Together in Electric Dreams
Probably one of the very first ’80s tunes that I was exposed to – I guess my parents really enjoyed this movie, and I actually have the song in my iTunes collection today!

(1986) Super Mario Bros. Theme Song
This only seems like a weird one until you consider just how pivotal getting my NES for Christmas really was – that console changed my life and shaped a considerable part of my 8-bit childhood very much so for the better.

(1987) DuckTales Theme Song
I also watched a fair amount of cartoons. Life is like a hurricane… 😉

(1988) Ghostbusters Soundtrack – Ghostbusters
One year around this time I actually went as a Ghostbuster for Halloween, though I think parts of my proton pack ended up in my candy bag by the end of the night.

(1989) Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
Some of the first adult music that I listened to – I remember this song was a big deal when it came out because it covered so much history.

(1990) Weird Al Yankovic – Beverly Hillbillies
From UHF – I think this would’ve probably been the very first Weird Al song that I ever heard.

(1991) Rockapella – Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
I was soooo jealous of the kids that made it on this show. I had been playing the computer games for a year or two and was getting really good with geography, so I just knew that I could identify all of the countries in time and win that grand prize!

(1992) Disney’s Aladdin Soundtrack – A Whole New World
We sang this in our 6-week choir class in the 6th grade, and I actually remember Tim and I practicing it outside of class. I eventually got to where I could play parts of it on the keyboard.

(1993) Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
My parents were kinda mad when I brought the album home that this was on because it showed two kids’ bare butts on the cover. Should’ve shown them the music video so they could see how serious of a song it really was … but then again, I probably didn’t really understand myself at that point.

(1994) Aerosmith – Amazing
My first Aerosmith song? The music video stands out in my head for this one, too, because Alicia Silverstone was in it and I also thought all of the computer/VR stuff was really cool! Plus, I think they played it for an 8th grade graduation or something? Some ceremony, anyways…

(1995) Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
My Freshman year in high school was when I traded in my oboe for a guitar, and the pretty much the next four years circled around music. Stairway was one of the very first songs that I learned to play, and I know that it’s that way for a lot of people, but there’s a very distinct reason for that. Stairway to Heaven is awesome.

(1996) Guns ‘n Roses – November Rain
I started getting into heavier music in high school, and November Rain in particular was great because there are some pretty incredible guitar solos in that song. I could never manage to play any of them, but I still definitely crank this song when it randomly comes on the radio and think about how awesome it must’ve been to be Slash.

(1997) Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears
Even harder yet, I also got into Ozzy between his Black Sabbath time and his solo albums. Another great solo in this one!

(1998) Aerosmith – Dream On
Ahhh – the high school talent show. The one and only year that my band performed, this is the song that we played. I was super nervous because I somehow ended up as the singer (huh?!), but we made it through ok. We didn’t end up winning, but the next day I got a compliment from one of the cool kids who said that we had been robbed by not winning, so that was pretty cool. 😀

(1999) Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
So this was our class song … or at least one of them alongside the obligatory 1999 by Prince, anyways. I didn’t really like it at the time, but looking back it’s actually a pretty good song and is a good representation of that time in our lives, I think.

(2000) Barenaked Ladies – Call and Answer
This song was a couple of years old at that point, but it reminds me of a place I was at with a girl who I’d been in love with during high school. It didn’t really get resolved for another year or two and even then it went down pretty disastrous, but a lot of the lyrics with this song really resonated with me about how our non-relationship relationship had progressed.

(2001) Jimmy Eat World – The Middle
I hadn’t moved to Florida yet, but I’d been out of high school for a couple of years by now and I was really trying to. That spring I had taken a trip down here with Tim, in theory, to spend a week looking at apartments and trying to find me a job. Instead we went diving a couple of times, went to look at a couple of shit-hole apartments, and laid around the motel room watching a lot of Judge Judy all afternoon. At night, though, we’d cruise around and I’d fantasize about actually getting to live there, and this song got a lot of play from my CD player during those rides.

(2002) Jimmy Buffett – A Pirate Looks at Forty
This is my all-time favorite Jimmy Buffett song, and my favorite memory of hearing it is from a trip down to the Everglades that I took with my ecology class in college that year. We stayed at a campground in Flamingo, which is about 30 miles into the Everglades and pretty remote, but one night myself and two friends had stumbled into a restaurant/bar/gathering place – I can’t remember exactly what it was – but there was a guy playing a bunch of folk music on guitar and eventually he got to this song, and it was just about perfect … a breeze blowing in off of Florida Bay, great company, and lyrics that just made you appreciate everything that was around you.

(2003) REM – Finest Work Song
This was it! This was the year that I finally moved to Florida! I honestly had a lot of music that served as my soundtrack during this monumental point in my life, but this song in particular I remember cranking as I drove over the Howard Frankland Bridge that connects St. Pete & Tampa for the first time, and that memory always resurfaces whenever I play this song. It was a very proud time for me.

(2004) Dishwalla – Somewhere in the Middle
This one is kind of random, but it was the summer of 2004 and the company I was working for was sending a bunch of people to a hotel north of Orlando for disaster recovery because Hurricane Charley was expected to be a direct hit on Downtown Tampa where we worked. Instead it landed early and actually came pretty much right over us in Lake Mary, which was more than a little scary, but anyways, I remember this song coming on the radio as I was getting off the highway heading to the hotel. I had kind of begged my way into the group serving as backup simply because my apartment was in a flood zone and I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

(2005) Jack Johnson – Do You Remember?
This was a tough year because I spent most of it trying to get over a breakup that had happened during the first part. I discovered Jack Johnson in general right around the breakup and probably listened to this song about 1,000 times on the road trip home from Florida to Michigan and back when I traveled up by myself for my sister’s high school graduation. I guess I was hoping that everything would work itself out just like it did in the song, but it didn’t.

(2006) Brad Paisley – Find Yourself
The following year was actually when I met the woman who would eventually become my wife, and coincidentally also the summer that the Pixar movie Cars came out. We both really enjoyed the movie, but even more so enjoyed this song from the soundtrack because it really represented where we both found ourselves in life and how we ultimately found each other. In fact, it was actually supposed to play at the end of our wedding, but the DJ overlooked it and played some dance song instead.

(2007) Rob Thomas – Little Wonders
This song makes me cry just thinking about it because it’s from the movie Meet the Robinsons and in particular, it’s from the montage scene at the very end where Lewis grows up into what he wants to be. I’m honestly tearing up a little right now just writing about it because I think it’s a really beautiful piece of cinema and after watching everything that the kid goes through, it’s awesome to see that everything turns out so amazing for him after all. Plus of course, the Keep Moving Forward quote from Walt Disney at the end just absolutely kills it.  8)

(2008) Colbie Cailat – Bubbly
This is another song that has a very special connection for me and my wife. It was the day after our wedding and we were leaving St. Pete Beach in my convertible to drive over to Disney World for our honeymoon. The sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and as we were driving over the first bridges leading back to the mainland, this song came on the radio and Sara started singing along with it. We held hands and exchanged lots of googly eyes as I drove, and it was just one of those perfect moments that you hear people still talking about decades after the fact…

(2009) Michael Jackson – This Is It
It was a pretty big deal for me when Michael Jackson died … probably even more so because I found myself surrounded by a lot of people who just had really nasty things to say about him. But I went back and revisited his entire catalog and reminded myself why he was such an incredible musician. Then this album came out with a new song that I’d never heard before, and it was a very bittersweet finale, knowing that this really was it.

(2010) Forgetting Sarah Marshall Soundtrack – Inside of You
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is still one of my favorite comedies of the last few years – it was the first movie that really got me into Jason Segel, and even though the song in question was sort of a goofy parody about having sex, I just really liked the tune and it’s still one of two songs that I regularly listen to off the soundtrack. (of course, Dracula Musical! is obviously the other one!)

(2011) The Muppets – Life’s a Happy Song
I was admittedly a little nervous about the new Muppet movie when it came out, but I ended up absolutely loving it. Jason Segel, again, was amazing, the music was great, and it was just awesome to finally see The Muppets back on the big screen again. Sometimes I’ll put this song on when I walk the dog and it’s all I can do to stop myself from walking down the middle of the street singing along!

(2012) The Muppet Performers – Just One Person
This is a touching one because I’ve only ever heard it from the tapes of when the Muppet performers sung it at Jim Henson’s funeral. It’s a song that makes me both happy and sad at the same time, but looking out across the crowd during the video, I think it’s pretty clear what Jim would’ve wanted everyone to focus on.

(2013) The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack – Concerning Hobbits
And finally for this year, I mentioned earlier that I’d kind of gotten back into Lord of the Rings between watching the first installment of The Hobbit and also getting my wife to watch the trilogy with me. At one point I finally decided to start downloading the soundtracks for each of the movies and it turns out that a lot of the original scores are pretty enjoyable, too. In particular, I really like the opening scene when we first meet the hobbits – I think because it sings of simpler times … playful, joyous, filled with friends and family and good food and even a little mischief. I’ve been listening to this track on and off when I’m feeling down and it kind of helps to perk me back up again. 🙂

So … did I miss anything?!

This ended up being a lot longer than I would’ve expected!

Time for bed now… :mrgreen:

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