JAN BROGAN - As a novelist, one of the trickiest challenges is creating the right mood for a scene. We have to use words to generate emotions. I'm often jealous of the film-maker who can add music to a scene and instantly create longing, or sadness, even tensions.
But today, I'm talking about music's greatest power, to create nostalgia, to instantly transport us back to another time.
So the challenge I propose today is not in remembering songs that evoke memories, but to choose ONLY ONE SONG as a favorite and explain why.
That's right REDS, ONLY ONE, it's about both memory and discipline. Among the many memories and many songs, tell us about just ONE.
I admit that's the hardest part, I've got a long list like everyone else, but I'll chose Boz Scaggs, LIDO. Why? Because I was eighteen years old and had just started dating my then boyfriend, now husband, when my room-mate brought home the Silk Degrees album. During that idyllic period of complete infatuation, we must have played that album a hundred times. Now when I hear it -- and another bonus, is it's not overplayed like a lot of the music of our generation, so like the Rolling Stones, I'm not burnt out on it - Lido makes me instantly happy. I start dancing. Now, I seek it out on Pandora radio whenever I have boring tasks to perform. The mood lifter immediately counteracts all the tedium in cleaning closets and reorganizing cupboards.
HALLIE: You're going to think I'm nuts, but the song I find simply irresistible is the Dixie Chicks "Goodbye Earl." I've always loved Country Western but hated soppy songs about standing by your man and here's the perfect antidote. I laugh out loud every time I hear this song, and then I'm dancing and singing along.
The song tells the gleeful account of how abusive Earl's wife and best friend murder him ("Those black eyed peas? They tasted all right to me!) and then neatly disposed of his body ("Hey, Earl? Ain't it dark? Rolled up in that tarp?").
There's a campy music video on YouTube of this with Jane Krakowski playing "Wanda" that ends with a hoe-down attended by Zombie Earl.
RHYS: For me "our" song is "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", sung by Tony Bennett. We used to sing it to each other when we were first married and living in San Francisco and went through a phase of singing duets. We don't do that any more, thank God, but we did sing it a copule of years ago in a Kareoka contest (and I've just realized I have no idea how to spell kareeokay)in Australia and won ourselves a free boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Okay - corn alert - A Lovely Day by Bill Withers. It's impossible for me to hear that too much. I don't care that the lyrics are repeated ten times, each time he sings them the delivery is different and it feels different. I like to hear this first thing in the morning (along with another song - I know I'm not supposed to mention it, but, hint, hint, it's by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes.)
I go out the door happy if I hear either one!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Okay, and I'm going with the first thing that popped into my head, so you'll have to bear with sentimental. This last week my husband and I have known each other for forty--eeek!!!!-- years, although we've only married the last seventeen of them. But when we were very young, we used to sing together all the time (he has a MUCH better voice than I do) and Our House by Crosby, Stills, and Nash is the song that reminds me most of him and of that time. We now have one cat in the yard and two in the house, not to mention the two dogs in the house, but I can say that it pretty much came true. Oh, and we still sing together.
Just looking at the cover of the album brings back the whole feel of that era in a rush.
JAN: Oh, I love that song, Deb.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, I love all those! But I have to say, Jackson Browne's Running on Empty might do it. Oh, now wait, cheating now, Linda Ronstandt's The Waiting. (Yes I know it's Tom Petty, but I like Lindas.) Okay, no, now I have it. My choice: Let the River Run, from Working Girl, by Carly Simon. Yup. That's it.
How about YOU?