The Songs Of My Life


Music has been my life for as long as I can remember. What I love about it is that it is the only universal language and as yet I haven’t heard of a culture that doesn’t have music as a part of their community. 
Music has given me the life I currently have. As a violinist I’ve had the opportunity to travel a little, and during my teenage years I toured Europe with the International Youth Orchestra and European Vacation Chamber Orchestra. I’ve played in orchestras where myself and my desk partner haven’t spoken a word of the same language, and yet we’ve been able to play exactly the same notes. It’s given me a job as a music teacher and I’ve made lots of friends through it.
What I find most interesting about it is that there is always a piece or a song that will remind us of a particular place, event or emotion. When couples marry it is common for them to have their first dance to ‘their song’. I still have friends that will ring me up at 3am o scream down the phone “they’re playing your song!” (which is lovely, but I now put my phone on silent at night). 
So what is my song? The truth is, I have hundreds. However, there are certain ones that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’ve included ten in my list, but i’m sure I could add so many more.
1. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Rogers and Hammerstein. While most people associate this song with a sporting match, I’ll always remember the ‘Carousel’ original version being played at my Granddads funeral. This often proves awkward as it makes me cry, and so when my friends are drunkenly singing it at the end of a night I can be found hiding in the toilets.
2. I Won’t Send Roses from the musical ‘Mack and Mabel’. Another one I associate with my grandad-he played it whenever we went to his flat. My favourite is Robert Preston’s version.
3. Don’t Stop Believing -Journey. This is truly my song. It was released the year I was born (1981), but it seems to have followed me my whole life, and is always played wherever I seem to be. I love both the original and the newer version with their lead singer, Arnaud Pineda.
Note: GLEE destroyed this song. This is why I have never watched it.
4. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy. One of the highlights if my life so far has been lying on a sun lounger in Malia at the age of 19, bottle of Blue WKD in one hand, cigarette in the other (I was a classy teenager) in scorching heat whilst listening to this. I’ve never been that relaxed since…
5. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen. My dad used to pick me up from school in a red Fiesta 1.1 with a registration that I can still remember and we’d crank this song up and sing it all the way home. 
6. Seasons of Love from the musical ‘RENT’. At sixth form college we sang this as a choir. Some of the best times of my life were there.
7. Come Go With Me – The Del-Vikings
I watched a fantastic a capella group, which i’ve since discovered are called ‘Select Blendz’ perform this in Washington Square in New York a few years ago and it instantly created a sense of sheer fun. Ever since, whenever I hear the song I am transported back there. Here’s a video of this group in action:
Video credit: tatum piano 
8. A Thousand Years, Part 2 – Christina Perri
I hate Twilight, but this song has stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. It’s one of my ‘go to’ songs when I’m feeling stressed or need to relax. 
9. Always – Bon Jovi
This song always evokes images of me and my friend AS practically screaming this song whenever we go to watch Bon Jovi in concert. I adore it – every time it is played I get an instant buzz and sense of elation. It’s a beautiful song.
10. Witchita Lineman – Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell is one of my mother’s favourite singers, and this particular song was played many times when we were growing up. She’s seen him in concert since she was a teenager, and I took her to see his farewell concert a few years ago (he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s). When he played this song I instantly had an overwhelming sense of familiarity. 
Now it’s your turn – what are your favourite songs? What do they mean to you? 
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14 thoughts on “The Songs Of My Life

  1. I’ve a serious soft spot for Wichita Lineman.
    So many songs, where to start? Somewhere from West Side Story; I Want You by Elvis Costello; Little Green by Joni Mitchell; The Devil Went Down To Georgia by Charlie Daniels Band; Sign o The Times by Prince; Miss Otis Regrets by Cole Porter; Arthur McBride by Paul Brady; and many, many more.

  2. Great song list. I grew up in Eva Cassidy’s hometown. My oldest sister knew her. Such a talent and if God is not using her voice and cloning it for ALL ANGEL’S, I’m going to be PISSED when I get to heaven and hear otherwise…

  3. You’re so right. Music instantly takes you back to a place and time.
    I think my autobiographical list (in chronological order) would be something like:

    Loser – Beck (The summer of 1994, living with my Dad in regional Tasmania).

    Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine (1999. I was in my first band and RATM was pretty much all we played. It also awoke the activist in me)

    Lover You Should Have Come Over – Jeff Buckley (2001. When I started to take songwriting really seriously. I couldn’t believe such an incredible song could exist)

    Everything In Its Right Place – Radiohead (2003. I moved out of home and started university. Would get lost for hours in the Kid A album)

    The Halcyon Days – The Tea Party (2006. I had quit my original degree and moved back to my home city to start a degree at the conservatorium of music. I was in my first really serious gigging band and looking to expand my listening. This album struck me so hard)

    Pirouette – Lisa Mitchelle (2009. My girlfriend and I moved to Melbourne so further our careers and it was really really hard. We scraped up enough money to escape to Byron Bay for a week with family. It was the most relaxing time of my life, especially compared to the life we’d temporarily left behind. This song album got played at least once a day while we were there).

    The District Sleeps Alone Tonight – The Postal Service (2011. I had just started the band I’m in now. We drew so much influence from this band. It reminds me of all the exciting ideas I had running through my head)

    All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks. (2013. My first dance with my wife after we got married)

    Sorry about the long comment. I just got on a role. Thanks for that. I really enjoyed writing it.

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