The Soundtrack of My Life
The traffic was horrible and I was stuck inside my car for what seemed like forever. I was looking outside and my mind was wandering when a familiar song suddenly played on the radio. “We skipped the light fandango” it began. It was A Whiter Shade of Pale which was released in 1967 and performed by Procol Harum. It brought back a lot of memories. I think I was 18 and I remember it was always playing on the radio and everyone was singing or humming it.
Music has always been an important part of our lives. It sets our mood, motivates and inspires us, and allows us to remember special moments and people in our lives. Our favorites songs are like the soundtrack of our lives. If you really sit down and reflect, I bet you can identify a song at every juncture of your life. I think I should do that when I have the time.
Many have called music the greatest human creation throughout history. And when you think about the greatest songs the human race has produced you realize the supreme creativity and genius of humanity. Music allows us to express our emotions and sentiments. For some, listening to a particular song allows them to de-stress or even temporarily forget the tribulations of life. It is therapy, for free. Sometimes, it is just there to entertain. Just attend a party or a reunion and imagine if there was no music playing, no band performing or there was no videoke blaring.
Just like everyone else, I have a go-to playlist on my phone. Sometimes I just turn on the car radio and catch whatever it plays — old and new. Cynthia and I celebrated our 48th anniversary last week and I happened to listen to The Beatles’ When I’m 64. We were both 25 years old when we got married and I am sure we were both hoping then that we’ll still have the flame alive years later. At that young age, we were, as Henry Mancini crooned, “Two drifters, off to see the world.” We’re over 64 now so we know the answer to the Fab Four’s query:
When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine…
…Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four.
This song, by the way, was also the inspiration for Sixty Four, a retro-themed bistro which we opened last year initially at Evia Lifestyle Center in Daang- Hari. I conjured this up as an homage to the charm and joie de vivre of the 60’s, that magical decade which gave us Ali, man’s conquest of the moon, and of course, The Beatles.
When my Nanay Curing died in 2008, I found myself constantly listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Stardust.” This was the song Nanay Curing and I would always sing together when she was still with us. During the twilight of her life, we would always chat and do duets of her favorite songs. The songwriting of that era was just phenomenal:
You wandered down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by.
My mother also loves Nat King Cole’s rendition of Autumn Leaves so it makes me smile whenever I hear the song:
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.
There are a couple of songs that I really enjoyed listening to simply because they somehow reflected the story of my life, all its ups and downs, the debacles and triumphs. Sinatra’s That’s Life is a favorite of mine simply because I have been:
A pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself
Flat on my face
I pick myself up and get
Back in the race.
There is of course, My Way, which is the personal anthem of almost everyone in my generation. But there’s also this new song that I can relate to especially when dealing with people who make it their personal goal to spread negativity. Well, they can “hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” all they want but “Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. I shake it off, I shake it off.”