Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Another day

21

Has a song ever powerfully restored a lost memory for you?

One has for me. In college, I was collecting Paul McCartney on vinyl – everything he recorded after he left the Beatles. It was the mid 1980s; everybody was selling their records to buy CDs and discarded albums could be had for a buck or two a pop. One day a record-collecting buddy took me to a little store that sold the singles that had come out of juke boxes. The store was full of boxes of used-up 45-RPM records, thousands and thousands of the things for a quarter each. I bought at least a dozen McCartney singles that day. I grew up during a time when it was impossible to avoid hearing McCartney songs on the radio, so I was very surprised that I didn’t recognize one of the singles: “Another Day.”

When we got back to our dorm, I played “Another Day” first. And suddenly I was three years old, eating my breakfast cereal at the kitchen table. This song was playing on the radio. It was brand new then, and I remember having looked forward to hearing it, and being happy when it played. I didn’t know who Paul McCartney was then, but I was clearly already a fan. The radio sat atop the refrigerator; I could see its white plastic top and round chrome dial. The refrigerator was white and square-shouldered and slathered with chrome. It stood on the brown tile floor right next to the kitchen table, with its steel legs and brown laminate top. Mom would have been behind me at the counter making a lunch to send with my father to work. We still lived in the tiny house on Rabbit Hill then. Those were happy days. I became dizzy as the forgotten memory flooded my mind. I was so struck that I’m sure my mouth hung open.

Of course I remembered the song, I just hadn’t heard it in years. I listened to “Another Day” over and over again that afternoon so I could linger in the kitchen on Rabbit Hill.

And then there was the time Paul McCartney saved my life.
He has no idea, of course. Read that story

21 thoughts on “Another day

  1. ryoko861

    I haven’t heard that song in years!! And you can’t help but sing along! Thanks! I may have to go download that!
    Everytime I hear “This Guys In Love” by Herb Albert I’m transported back to 1967 at our lake house. That’s where I ALWAYS heard it on the little maroon bakelite radio that sat in the corner of the livingroom that was always tuned into WNEW NY. Also, when “Fool On The Hill” by Brazil 66 came on I’m also reminded of those days. It’s nice to get away now and then, isn’t it?

    1. Jim Post author

      I remember hearing that Herb Alpert song on the radio as a kid. AM. It was a revelation the first time I heard it in hi-fi/stereo.

      WNEW, now there’s an iconic station. AM or FM? AM was “eleven three oh in New York!”

    2. Lone Primate

      Ha, Herb Alpert for me is a cassette tape my dad used to play in his Cutlass just as the world was emerging from 8-tracks. Cutting edge technology! But it ruined me for several “official” versions of songs. I can’t listen to the original recording of “America” from West Side Story… it’s too jerky. Alpert’s instrumental version is WAY superior (http://youtu.be/3_GtWm7VQt0). And there’s no better version of “Love Potion No. 9″ than his (http://youtu.be/oHWJAjQpppk). The absolute yardstick.

      1. ryoko861

        Wow, that’s going back! I remember “America” but really loved “Love Potion No. 9″! It always reminded me of stripper music, like alot of his music! Nowadays I listen to Herb Albert “Definitive Hits” which doesn’t have some of the good ones like Love Potion. But I never get tired of hearing the old ones like Spanish Flea and Tijuana Taxi

        1. Lone Primate

          Yeah, I was… gonna say… when I was younger, I always thought it was just exactly that. Or like Al Capone gangster den music, kinda thing. But I didn’t want to bring that up. Kind of stunned to see someone else thought the same thing. :)

        2. ryoko861

          Well with album titles like “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” I’m sure we weren’t alone! :)

  2. kodakkerouacs

    I never ceased to be amazed at what music can do. Every time I hear a Basket Case by Green Day I’m taken back to doing the dishes at the sink with my brother when I was 8. He was a HUGE Green Day fan.

  3. Lone Primate

    I haven’t listened to the tune yet, but I’m getting a memory of a song about a young woman trying to find her SO while getting through her life. For me, that’s a song from the late 80s and early 90s when one of the guys in my gang used to play a lot of “Best of Wings” tunes as he drove around. I always liked that one. Had a long argument with an older friend once as to whether “Admiral Halsey” was a Wings tune or Beatles, and I won. I heard that song WAY too many times not to know it was Wings. :) Besides, John would NEVER have let anything that mushy out under the Lennon-McCartney label. ;)

    For me, the ex-Beatles tunes that zip me back to the preschool kitchen is stuff by Ringo… You’re Sixteen, Photograph, etc. :) Like candy in my ears.

    …Ew.

    1. Jim Post author

      That’s the song. Funny how we attach songs to the time in which we knew them, rather than the time from which they hail! I have a whole bunch of ’70s prog rock that I associate with the late 1980s, for example.

  4. Nancy [ Roe] Stewart

    For me, when I hear Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts I’m transported back to Barron Lake at Niles, Michigan watching Tammy, Michael, and Dawn playing in the sand. I can feel the soft , warm breeze on my face and hear that song being played over the loud speaker. It was such a perfect day.

    1. Lone Primate

      Ooof! I love Summer Breeze! It always makes me think of the valleys in the Appalachian nubs of western Nova Scotia back before I started school.

  5. Ted Kappes

    I hadn’t thought of this for a while, however after reading your post I was flooded with a whole list of songs that for me make days from decades ago once again appear vivid. There must be something about our mental filing system that attaches so much feeling and imagery to songs.

    1. Jim Post author

      Scents are the same way, perhaps even moreso. My great grandmother Grey’s house had a certain scent to it, and every great once in a while I’ll catch a whiff of it and then suddenly there I am, sitting in her living room watching TV.

  6. zorgor

    Wow that song takes me back too. Not quite as powerfully as it does you, but it takes me back. I remember playing on the passenger side floor of my mom’s blue Corvair — this on the radio — as we drove around for the errands she need to run… Unimaginable today — playing on the floor or a moving car… No big deal in the early 70s!

    1. Jim Post author

      Yeah, our parents clearly didn’t love us in the 70s. I remember riding untethered in the waybacks of station wagons and even in the open beds of trucks. Did we not understand the laws of physics back then?

      1. zorgor

        My parents drew the line at the backs of pickups — no fair! :) But yeah, I used to curl up and sleep on the back seat floor of the car on drives home from boating on Lake Monroe.

        1. zorgor

          I do think at some point my dad independently decided that riding in the back of the station wagon was not really safe, and stopped us…

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