Every time I hear the song "Creep" by Radiohead, I immediately think of my friend Eric Tomme, aka SeaMonkey, who parodied it with his own version called "Sheep".
When Rick Springfield comes across my speakers, specifically "Jessie's Girl", I can't help but think of Cara Thames, who still credits it as her favorite 80s song to this day. Same thing with Don Henley's "Boys of Summer", Kristi Carman's favorite 80s song. I made a mix tape of 80s tunes for us a few years ago, and we burned those CDs up on all of our road trips. Heck, even just driving around town was reason enough to pop in that CD.
I'll never hear Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" without thinking of Tiffany Begley. I've had to call Ginger Lambert more than once just because Cheap Trick's live version of "I Want You To Want Me" was playing on the radio. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's mash-up of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "What A Wonderful World" will always make me think fondly of Donna Bobbie, thanks to a mix tape made in her honor by Nancy Daley.
Some songs remind me of the people who introduced them to me: Ingrid Michaelson's "Just the Way I Am" came to me courtesy of Elaine Poplin. "Your Smiling Face" (James Taylor) still reminds me of Jeff Smith, who gave it to me my senior year of high school. Believe it or not, I had never heard Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" until two years ago; Carrie Dressler was so aghast at the discovery that she immediately gifted it to me through iTunes. One of my dearest high school friends, Jeff Pryor, introduced me to Pink Floyd, and "Us and Them" especially makes me think of him. I love that so many songs make me think of so many people. I've been richly and abundantly blessed in this life with friendship, and music seems to have played a big role in those relationships. I'm grateful that it helps keep them alive!
Perhaps the gift of song I'm most grateful for is that of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli's duet "The Prayer". I've mentioned it several times on this blog. Just after Aidan was born in early December 2000, our dear friend Sonny Tomme brought Dion's new Christmas CD to me as a gift. He was a huge fan, and he knew that I couldn't stand her. So when he handed me the CD, all wrapped up in paper, he watched with a huge grin on his face as I opened it. I tried to feign delight when I saw what it was, but he knew better. "Don't judge it until you try it," he counseled.
I judged it anyway, and cringed through the first several songs. Then "The Prayer" came on. Word to the Mommas, that was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard! I specifically remember, later that night, lying on my bed with tiny baby Aidan beside me, listening to the song on repeat until we both fell asleep. I never grew tired of it. To this day, it has that affect on me. Everytime I make someone a new baby CD, The Prayer goes on it. It played a huge part in my thyroid surgery a year and a half ago. Sometimes throughout the year, I crave it and pull it up on my iTunes. I would bet it's safe to say that I've never once listened to it that I didn't think of Sonny and feel grateful that he made me give that album a try. (For the record, the song made me a huge Bocelli fan, but I'm still annoyed by Celine Dion.)
It's been ten Christmases now, and Sonny's been gone for two years. Still, that album is the first one I pull out as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are cleared. I skip straight to The Prayer, and then allow the rest of the CD to play.