This is the song.
This is the song you listened to when you first started getting into music... not just the stuff that everyone else was listening to, not just the stuff that was playing on the radio, though you knew that you've loved music and how it made you feel since you were a little girl, sitting on the yellow counter in kitchen of the first house you ever lived in, watching Solid Gold on a 13 inch black and white tv. You could have crawled into that tv you loved that show so much, with its glitzy dancers and live performances. "Talking in Your Sleep" by The Romantics was the first song you ever knew all the words to, and you loved it.
This was the song that you listened to a few months after you first heard a Mamas and Pappas song, "California Dreaming", you think it was, on the overhead speakers when you were out to dinner with your family. You were completely mesmerized by its sound and dreaminess and when you asked your parents if they knew what it was, they said, "Sure... I think we have it on a record at home," and you rush through that dinner as quickly as you can so you can hear it again. And they do have that album, and tons of other albums by great artists of that time, some with the cellophane still on them, which cracks you up because it makes it seems like they were just recently bought, which is even more hilarious because your parents are old, with two kids and jobs and responsibilities, and this cellophane makes it seems like they just ran down to the record store last week to buy this.
This is the song that you listened to when you used to listen to music in your family room of the next house you lived in, on a fairly good sound system with a record player on top, and you wore huge, remarkably cushioned headphones with a long curled cord that plugged you into that sound, that beautiful sound, as you laid on the floor twirling and stretching that cord. The cord was black and smooth and vaguely powdery and many times you zone out listening to the music and when you came back to Earth you realize you were rubbing the cord against your face. This set up worked beautifully for you, because you were with your family but not, connected to them but in your own little world: you could see your grandmother sitting at the kitchen table, her face in profile; your mom standing at the kitchen sink, always working but also glancing at you every once in a while; your dad sitting in the recliner watching tv and unwinding; and your brother coming in and out of the room, playing and always in motion. You love them wildly but are starting to need your own space and time and place and this area of the room is yours, to listen to what you want, and somehow the idea that you hear things that they don't helps put a little distance between them and you.
This is the song that you listened to over and over and over again, mostly because you had a mad, mad crush on a boy in your high school who didn't really give you the time of day, which is kind of ironic, because one of the only times he ever spoke to you it was to literally ask you what time it was, and you panicked because you've never been a strong time-teller, and you always wished he had asked you a different question. This song summed it up perfectly: there was so much for you to tell him, so much time and emotion spent on him, invested in him, and if only he knew. If he only knew.
This is the song you hadn't thought about or heard for years, and then tonight after your nine year old daughter was searching iTunes for songs to purchase for her iPod, you got on the computer and started poking around and remembered that all the Beatles songs were now available. So you start looking at the list of Beatles songs, so many of them associated with powerful memories of growing up, and you stumble across this song and you of course buy it.
And you listen to it and you remember every word.
And it is rich and nostalgic and beautiful.
And you think of all that's happened between then and now, the people you have gained and lost, the experiences you've had, the changes in the world- records? headphones? cords? Seriously?- since then, and the multitude of other music you've fallen in love with between then and now: Sinead O'Connor. The Doors. CSNY. The Stone Roses. Simon and Garfunkel. Coldplay. The Killers. Nelly Furtado. Kanye. JT. David Gray. These songs are the soundtrack to your life.
And now here you are, old(er), with three kids and jobs and responsibilities, and when you make your daughter listen to this song, this song that has spoken to you for decades now, and you are so eager for her to hear it and love it like you do, she rolls her eyes and says, "I want to listen to my song now" and your realize that her music is hers and creating her space from you.
And that is rich and nostalgic and beautiful.