Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Life, In Stereo: The Music Chronicles

While I'm sitting around this weekend listening to really old music favorites, I've got a story for you. Actually, I'll be beginning a new series of blog posts. My Best Friend has inspired me to dig up some of these old memories to share. And I want to share some of my favorite musical memories with you. I think she and I have also been inspired by another of our friends luring us into Facebook Land. WAY too much nostalgia and old memories living there! But anyway, you'll get to enjoy reliving my awkward high school moments right along with me (and believe me, they won't be any less awkward in review!) And if any of my high school friends (or boyfriends) are reading this, you'd better stay tuned, because you may be featured! :-)

There's also a bonus feature to this new series. I'll be sharing some of my favorite music mixes from various points in my life. If the high school stories aren't humiliating enough, you'll get to see what insanely bizarre wide-ranging musical taste I've got! :-)

So first up is a specific song that I strongly associate with one particular person and time in my life. I expect today's song will remind some of you of years ago, as well. But first, a little background.

One of my favorite summers during high school was the one between junior and senior year. It was great for a number of reasons, not the least of which was we all had cars by then (and enough experience driving them that at least most of us stayed on the road in one piece that year!) So this particular summer, a group of us spent a lot of time at our local gym. We showed up almost every day, and worked very diligently on our tans. In addition to our diligent slacking work, the gym had hired a few actual employees who did real work there that summer. One in particular, a very cute bartender whom we'll call Paul (not his real name), was home for the summer from a nearby university. We all though Paul was to die for, and to my amazement, he took a return interest in me. He was about four years older than me, though, a galactic age difference at 17 & 21. But I wasn't about to let that stop me, and it seemed neither was he.

We quickly struck up an informal routine, which consisted mostly of him doing his bartender thing, occasionally bringing us girls pretzels and yummy but (mostly) non-alcoholic drinks (my mother would be so proud) by the pool, and me watching (covertly, of course) with stars in my eyes. This was the era of the movie Cocktail, and this guy really did bear a resemblance to Tom Cruise. Tall, dark and handsome, with velvety brown eyes and a clean cut appearance that would have qualified him for GQ. He was just plain adorable.

So for a couple of weeks Paul and I flirted and I spent a lot of time pretending to be much cooler than I actually was. He finally asked me out, in one of those annoyingly vague guy ways where they leave themselves an opening to make it seem like they weren't really asking you on a date, just in case you say no. My hometown holds an annual music festival each year, which is loyally attended by every redneck in a three-county radius. It's also loyally attended by every high school kid in a six-county radius, hopefully toting fake id's and dreams of finding the next love of their lives. Or at least dreams of getting through the gate with an over-21 wristband, and finding enough wine coolers and Jack Daniel's Lynchburg Lemonades so that they don't care anymore whom they date... But that certainly wasn't why we were there (LOL!). We only went because there was, literally, nothing else to do for that two weeks. At least, that's the story we all agreed to tell later in life.

So Paul and I survived our slightly rocky first date pretty well. He had asked me to meet him at a designated spot at the festival (see what I mean? not an actual date-date), because he would not get off work until about 9 (and we'd be attending Redneckfest way earlier than that). However, it turns out that it's not quite as easy as one might think to find another person in a large, swirling and noisy crowd, even at a previously-agreed spot, even if you know what they're wearing. But forward...we did eventually find each other and the night went well after that.

Paul and I hung out for pretty much the rest of that summer, but things fizzled when fall (and school) came back around. I think it was the highschool/college thing. But anyway, the larger point of this series is going to be the music. The trip into my totally humiliating high school memories is just a bonus.

So for today's post, you need to know that Paul loved music as much as I do. But what was extra-cool about Paul was he had this kickin' stereo that could do all kinds of neat stuff. In addition to making your garden-variety mixed tape, it also had the ability to add sound bites. So all of a sudden, I could make a tape that included, say, a voice over from the movie Top Gun, just before Take My Breath Away played on the tape. Waaaayyy cool for its time, at least based on MY stereo at the time, and by this point I was off my rocker for this guy anyway. That he could work this kind of musical magic was just gravy (and yes, to this day I am still easily amused, LOL!) So Paul's stereo had the ability to produce that most coveted holy grail of high school: a really good sounding, next generation, clear-as-a-bell mixed tape. It even sounded good on my crummy car stereo!

Which brings me to the Song of the Day. Do you remember a song called 99 Luftballoons, by Nena? Ha! Thought so! That song is, for me, probably the central theme song of that summer. For a number of reasons, it reminds me of him like nothing else. But here's the thing. Paul had the German language version. I have it to this day, on Itunes.

So, one of the lasting highlights of my time with Paul was a great mixed tape that we made together. Actually, we made half of a tape together, on one of our date nights. I know, it sounds like a crazy way to spend an evening, but we really had a great time with it. And even better - Paul's stereo had the capability to tape music off cd's - something reasonably new at the time that Paul (but few other guys I dated) had many of.

Paul would periodically fade in and out of my life over the next four or so years, but the most lasting legacy of my summer with Paul was (what I consider to be) that great mix tape. I'll share it here with you. Side A was the collaborative effort; Side B was added later by me to complete the tape. It included other songs that reminded me of him - and that magical summer. Hope you enjoy! And be sure to let me know if any of these songs take you back, as well!

Summer of '92 Mix - "Forever Young"

Side A

American Pie - Don McClean
Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins
Who Can It Be Now - Men at Work
Crazy for You - Madonna
(are you seeing a theme here?)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down - Elton John
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
Forever Young - Alphaville
End of the World - REM
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

Side B -

King and Queen of America - Eurythmics
Loved by the Sun - Tangerine Dream
Is Your Love Strong Enough - Bryan Ferry
Guilty Partner - New Order
Rough Boy - ZZ Top
Shine Like it Does - INXS
Another Brick in the Wall - Pink Floyd
For What it's Worth - Buffalo Springfield

Love, Dahrlin'


Angie said...

Everytime I hear 99 Red Balloons, I'm immediately transported back to the "lilies" gang and the havoc we heaped upon all those who crossed us. Ha ha! Great, now I've got a list of a ton more songs that ITunes had BETTER have for me to download. :-)

Angela said...

HAHAHHAHAH!!! I'm STILL laughing at the lilies thing. MAN! I think I still have one of those little notebook-paper thingys we used to make. You know, the ones you folded like 1600 times? What were those called?

Connordog said...

Ok I really hate the 99 Red Ballons song, but Doug loves it and it's on our IPod in German I believe.

And this is a great series! It's amazing how music can take you right back to a moment in time in your life just like it was yesterday.

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