“You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life I swear.”*
I received my Williams College Alumni magazine yesterday. I love reading the class notes of the really old classes. Thurston So-N-So, class secretary for the class of 1940-something, had polled his classmates on the question “What is your favorite song?” Then he wrote about the answers. Several of the guys said “The Star Spangled Banner”. Others mentioned songs from the Big Band era that had been personally important to them. Still others said that Williams songs such as “The Mountains” and “Yard By Yard” were their favorites. Thurston promised to continue this conversation in the next issue.
Anyway, it brings up a good question. Do you have a favorite song? I could not possibly name ONE. There are so many categories! There are so many great songs! The mind reels.
We grew up listening to such a wide range of music–from classical to folk to show tunes–and now it is all a big jumble in my poor over-burdened mind. I mean, I remember spending countless recess periods in third grade walking hand-in-hand with my best friend Nancy singing “Edelweiss” out loud. We just loved it. And, no, I do not remember anyone making fun of us for doing this. But I can’t say it is my favorite song anymore.
Likewise I remember loving “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” by Johnny Cash when I heard it on television as an impressionable 4-year old. I’m sure I listened to the 45 my mother bought incessantly. But, again, it is not my favorite song of all time.
What is it about a song that makes it your favorite? Is it a song you can hear over and over and never tire of? Do you hear the first note and think, “Ah. Yes.”? Does it evoke an emotional response? Does it express perfectly how you feel?
Well, here are a few songs that qualify for me:
1. “Moon River” by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini
2. “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan (unfortunately this video is not Bob D. singing, but it is the best one I could find. You get the idea)
3. “Mack the Knife” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
4. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams
5. “Man In Black” by John R. Cash
Do you have a favorite song?
Of course, this leads to my Friday Movie Pick. How about one of these movies with ‘song’ in the title? Song of the South (1946), Brian’s Song (1971), Song of the Thin Man (1947), The Song of Bernadette (1943), Torch Song (1953). I’m sure there are lots more, right?
Have a great weekend!
*Sam in Garden State (2004) talking about the Shins.