It’s Monday so it’s time for another Monday’s Music Moves Me. I’m especially excited because I am the honorary co-host for the month of October, which means I got to pick the two themes this month. Today is a Freebie week so we can choose to do our music post about anything. I’m using today’s Freebie to post the second of my four-part series Songs on Aging and Getting Old(er).
Before jumping into that, let me say Thanks to Cathy (Curious as a Cathy) for the warm welcome and thanks to the other full-time co-hosts of the 4M hop! I appreciate that very much. I hope you all like the themes I’ve chosen for my honorary Conductor duty. If you like to work ahead, you might want to put your planning hats on and get ready for my upcoming themes for this month: Next Monday 10/8 the theme will be Songs Featuring Hand-Claps or Finger-Snaps. The next October theme will be on Monday 10/22: Songs Featuring Unique or Unusual Instruments. Today and the final Monday (10/29) are Freebies…although I’m sure some folks will be using a Halloween theme for that last Monday.
Alright, enough business talk. Let’s get down with some music!
Today’s post is PART 2 of my SONGS ABOUT AGING AND GETTING OLD(er) Series. If you missed last week’s Part 1, entitled Time Passages, you can check it out here.
Part 2 songs focus on:
Anyone who knows even just a little bit about me knows I love the past! I love MY past… for the most part, that is. My growing up years, my coming of age years, my high school days and college years, my partying days (and nights), my early career years…they are all filled with fun and laughter and really great memories. Some folks like to daydream. I like to reminisce. Sometimes I sure would like to turn the clock and the calendar back. Do you feel that way?
Here are some of my favorite songs about reminiscing:
Yesterday by the Beatles (1965) – “Yesterday” is a song by the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), and first released on the album Help! in the UK in August 1965. “Yesterday” was released as a single in the United States in September 1965.
McCartney’s vocal and acoustic guitar, together with a string quartet, essentially made for the first solo performance of the band. It remains popular today and is the most covered pop song of all time, with over 3,000 versions recorded according to The Guinness Book Of World Records. For years, it was also the song with the most radio plays, but in 1999 BMI music publishing reported that “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” had passed it. Still, at any given time, some version of “Yesterday” is probably being broadcast somewhere. That’s some pretty cool trivia there!
This is a rather gloomy song about a guy whose girl has left and gone away. Instead of moving on with his life, he dreams of yesterday, when they were still together. McCartney is the only member of the Beatles to appear on the recording.
“Yesterday” was voted the best song of the 20th century in a 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll of music experts and listeners and was also voted the No. 1 pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone magazine the following year. In 1997, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
This was the first Beatles song to capture a mass adult market. Most of their fans were young people to this point, but this song gave the band a great deal of credibility among the older crowd. It also became one of their “Muzak” classics, as companies recorded instrumental versions as soothing background noise for shopping centers and elevators. Another Beatles song that lived on in this form is “Here Comes The Sun.”
Reminiscing by Little River Band (1978) – “Reminiscing” is a 1978 song written by Graeham Goble, and performed by Australian rock music group Little River Band. It remains their greatest success in the United States, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #10 on the Easy Listening chart. The song is about a couple reminiscing about the past, with certain music (such as Glenn Miller or Cole Porter tunes) reminding them of certain memories.
“Reminiscing” was given a BMI Five Million-Air award for five million plays on US radio—the highest achievement ever for any Australian popular song.
FUN FACT: According to Albert Goldman’s biography, John Lennon named “Reminiscing” as one of his favorite songs. May Pang, erstwhile girlfriend of Lennon, said “Oddly, with all the fantastic music he wrote, “our song” was Reminiscing by the Little River Band.”
Dream On by Aerosmith (1973) – This was the first single Aerosmith released. Their manager had them share a house and concentrate on writing songs for their first album. Steven Tyler had been working on the song on and off for about six years, writing it in bits and pieces. He was able to complete it with the help of the rest of the band.
A breakthrough came when Tyler bought an RMI keyboard with money he found in a suitcase outside of where the band was staying. The “suitcase incident” became part of Aerosmith lore, as Tyler didn’t tell his bandmates that he took the money, and when gangsters came looking for it, he continued to play dumb.
Tyler’s father was a classically trained musician, and when Steven was 3 years old, he would lie underneath the piano and listen to his dad play. In his book, Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? Tyler writes, “That’s where I got that ‘Dream On’ chordage.” (BTW: Tyler played the piano on this song. It provided an interlude at concerts where he could sit behind a piano instead of running around on stage.)
Regarding the meaning of this song, Tyler explained:
“It’s about the hunger to be somebody: Dream until your dreams come true.” He added, “This song sums up the shit you put up with when you’re in a new band. Most of the critics panned our first album, and said we were ripping off the Stones. That’s a good barometer of my anger at the press, which I still have. ‘Dream On’ came of me playing the piano when I was about 17 or 18, and I didn’t know anything about writing a song. It was just this little sonnet that I started playing one day. I never thought that it would end up being a real song.”
FUN FACT: Aerosmith first performed this song at the Shaboo Inn in Willimantic, Connecticut in November 1971. They were paid $175 and a bottle of gin for the show, and as Steven Tyler recounts, he and Joe Perry stayed at the Inn that night. They picked up a couple of girls after the show and all slept in the same bed, resulting in a nasty case of crabs for Steven and Joe. (Haha. When will these rock stars learn: ya can’t trust a groupie!)
Hey Nineteen by Steely Dan (1980) – from the album Gaucho, the song “was about a middle-aged man’s disappointment with a young lover (“Hey Nineteen, that’s ‘Retha Franklin / She don’t remember the Queen of Soul / It’s hard times befallen the Soul Survivors / She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old”).
Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (1974) – As most of you know, Cat’s in the Cradle was one of the final contenders in the Ultimate Dog vs Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament put on by me and Mary at Jingle Jangle Jungle. If you missed the tournament, go here and you can experience the whole crazy thing. (btw: the Cats won. Shhh! Don’t tell the Dogs!!)
“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only No. 1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music. Chapin’s recording of the song was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.
This heartbreaking song tells of a father and son who can’t schedule time to be with each other, and it serves as a warning against putting one’s career before family. The verses start out with a natural harmony and depict the tale of a father with his newborn son. Although dad gets the necessities of child rearing accomplished, he doesn’t allow himself to put in quality time with his son because of his career. Initially, this seems like no big deal because of his hectic and oblivious life working and paying bills.
The recurring verse has the son saying, “I’m gonna be like you Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you…”
Over time, both father and son grow into a switching of life roles. The father realizes his son’s ambitions of college, grades, and driving, and wants to spend more time with him, yet slowly grasps the reality that now his son has no time for such things. In the last verse, Chapin illustrates that the son is all grown up with a fast-paced job and kids of his own. In a glaring twist of roles, we see that the son now has no time to spend with his father. With a heavy heart, dad realizes that his boy has become just like him.
It’s a very powerful and emotion-evoking song. I can totally understand how it won the Dog v Cat tournament.
7 Years by Lukas Graham (2015) – 7 Years” is a song by Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham from their second studio album, Lukas Graham. Frontman Lukas Forchhammer described “7 Years” as a song about his life so far and what he hopes to achieve in the future. He said that the reason the lyrics go as far as the age of 60 is because his father died at 61 and he needed to “pass it to believe it.” He continued:
“It’s a song about growing older. I’m also coming to a realization that being a father is the most important thing. My biggest dream is not to be some negative old dude, but to have my kids’ friends say, ‘You’re going to visit your dad? Say hi! He’s awesome.’ I had a perfect father.”
Rock ‘n Roll Never Forgets by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (1976) – from Seger’s ninth studio album Night Moves (which is also his first album with the Silver Bullet Band). According to Seger, he wrote this song after attending a high school reunion. “I wanted to just write an honest appraisal of where I was at that moment in time,” he said. “I was 31 years old and I was damn glad to be here.” The song, accompanied by a mid-tempo sound and Seger’s signature raspy vocals, is about aging and the ongoing power of rock music. He wanted to write a song for middle-aged people to remember their youth. Seger was concerned that fans his own age were not coming to his concerts. This was meant to remind members of his generation that they could still enjoy rock and roll.
Against the Wind by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (1980) – The title track from the Against the Wind album, released in April 1980. Glenn Frey and Don Henley of The Eagles sang background vocals on this song.
There are some great lyric lines in this song. In particular, I like these:
It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago…
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then
Against the wind
We were runnin’ against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin’
against the wind
And the years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home…
Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
Well I’m older now and still
Against the wind
In My Life by the Beatles (1965) – “In My Life” is a song by the Beatles released on the 1965 album Rubber Soul, written mainly by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Later news reports showed that John Lennon wrote the most of ‘In My Life.’ The song originated with John Lennon, but Paul McCartney and Lennon later disagreed over the extent of their respective contribution to that song, specifically the melody. George Martin (aka “the fifth Beatle” due to his extensive involvement in all of the Beatles original albums) contributed the piano solo bridge.
The lyrics evoke Lennon’s youth in Liverpool and reflect his nostalgia for a time before the onset of international fame. McCartney, who claimed to have written much of the melody, recalled that the song’s musical inspiration came from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. In author Johnathan Gould’s description, the song “owed a conscious debt” to the Miracles’ contemporary hit “The Tracks of My Tears” and thereby served as “the most recent installment in the lively cultural exchange between Motown’s Hitsville Studios and EMI’s Abbey Road”.
Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon (1975) – “Still Crazy After All These Years” begins with the singer singing that “I met my old lover on the street last night.” The “old lover” has been variously interpreted to be either Simon’s ex-wife Peggy Harper, from whom he was recently divorced, his former girlfriend from the 1960s Kathy Chitty, or even Simon’s former musical partner Art Garfunkel, who appears on the song that follows ‘Still Crazy After All These Years” on the album. After sharing a few beers, the singer and the old lover part ways again. The singer notes that he is “not the kind of man who tends to socialize” but rather leans “on old familiar ways” and is “still crazy after all these years.” The lyrics acknowledge a nostalgia for the past, but also subtly suggest that once the sweet nostalgia is gone, it is replaced by loneliness and even bitterness.
The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand (1974) – “The Way We Were” is a song recorded by American vocalist Barbra Streisand for her fifteenth studio album, The Way We Were (1974).
Its lyrics detail the melancholic relationship between the two main characters in the 1973 film of the same name. Its appeal was noted by several music critics, who felt its impact helped revive Streisand’s career. It also won two Academy Awards, which were credited to the songwriters of the track. The single was also a commercial success, topping the charts in both Canada and the United States, while peaking in the top 40 in Australia and the United Kingdom. Additionally, “The Way We Were” was 1974’s most successful recording in the United States, where it was placed at number one on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles list.
American composer and producer Marvin Hamlisch and Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote “The Way We Were” while Marty Paich handled its production. In particular, the lyrics detail the personal life of Katie Morosky, the character she portrays in the film. Specifically, her troubling relationship with Robert Redford’s Hubbell Gardiner is explained, “Memories light the corners of my mind / Misty watercolor memories of the way we were” and “Memories may be beautiful and yet”. Streisand sings, “What’s too painful to remember / We quickly choose to forget”, where she longs for nostalgia, which Rolling Stone’s Stephen Holden described as an implication that “resonate[s] in the current social malaise”. In the beginning of what seems to be a bridge, she whispers, “If we had the chance to do it all again / Tell me would we? Could we?”
The mass appeal of the single was labeled by Turner Classic Movies’s Andrea Passafiume as “one of the most recognizable songs in the world.” And the movie is fabulous! If you find yourself in the middle of a rainy Sunday and just want to hang out on the couch or in the recliner but can’t find anything on TV, rent or stream the academy award-winning film The Way We Were. You won’t be sorry.
Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days) by The Judds (1986) – I was just introduced to this song recently when the 4M theme was on Grandparents. Written by Jamie O’Hara and recorded by American country music duo The Judds, this song was released in January 1986 as the second single from the album Rockin’ with the Rhythm. It became The Judds’ sixth No. 1 song on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
Per Wikipedia: “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days” is a song about the decline and abandonment of traditional values, the hectic lifestyle of the day and how progressivism isn’t positive (“They call it progress/But I just don’t know”). The main refrain of the song reflects on the narrator as they expresses mournful doubt and discontent that past occurrences of traditional values really happened (did _____ really??), instead of what the singer has experienced during his/her lifetime; and the narrator wishes he/she could experience those past times now instead of experiencing the traditional values having been abandoned for their negative opposites, such as marriages staying intact for a lifetime, instead of broken marriage vows and broken marriage covenants and rampant infidelity–fathers maintaining their responsibilities to help raise children, instead of fatherless dysfunctional families with disobedient and disrespectful children that comes from it–families going to church and having Humility, instead of worshiping the bling of the world– promises being kept, instead of a lack of Personal Integrity–and how right and wrong were clearly defined and obeyed, instead of being ignored in order to make other people feel better about themselves.
Back When by Tim McGraw (2004) – Kickin’ it up a notch with another Country hit, “Back When” is a song written by Stan Lynch, Stephony Smith, and Jeff Stevens and recorded by American country music singer Tim McGraw. It was released in August 2004 as the second single from McGraw’s 2004 album Live Like You Were Dying. Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, gave it a positive rating. He stated that “Back When” is the only up-tempo song on the album that matches his ballads in quality. He also added that McGraw’s “vocal performance is just over-twanged enough to suggest he’s making fun of the sentimentality that he’s celebrating.”
The song was inspired by an incident when Smith went into the kitchen to make breakfast and saw a snake on the floor. The snake crawled into a tight space between the dishwasher and cabinets and she called Jeff Stevens and Stan Lynch to come and help her figure out how to get it out.
“We couldn’t find it,” she recalled to The Boot. “We go to the office, and we’re sitting there, and Jeff is real country, and he kinda started making fun of me for being a sissy about it. He said, “Back when ‘a hoe’ was a hoe, my mama woulda just chopped his head off.” And he kept right on talking. I was gasping, like, “That’s what we have to write today … you know, ‘Back when ‘a hoe’ was a hoe and ‘a coke’ was a Coke.'” They were like, ‘Oh, yeah, here we go.'” This is a great song.
A Different World by Bucky Covington (2007) – “A Different World” is the title of a debut song recorded by American country music artist Bucky Covington. It was released in January 2007 as the lead single from his album Bucky Covington. It peaked at number 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
The song is a reminiscence of the narrator’s formative years, its lyrics describing how much the world has changed since his childhood. Covington sings during the chorus that it was “not just a different time, it was a different world.”
A music video was released in February 2007, and was directed by Trey Fanjoy. It begins with Covington as a child (J.D. Ironfield), sitting in front of an old television. On the T.V. is the adult version of Covington, who is on the patio of a house. Throughout the video, the young Covington watches his older counterpart on the TV as the adult version of him walks around a small town, supposedly like the town he grew up in. Certain children in the town are shown leading a simpler life than most do today, as the song’s lyrics describe. The video ends with the adult Covington entering the house where the young version of him is watching. It then shows him as an adult shutting off a modern-day television. I’ve included the music video in my playlist so be sure to check it out.
Photograph by Nickelback (2005) – “Photograph” is a song recorded by Canadian rock band Nickelback. It was released in September 2005 as the first single from their fifth studio album, All the Right Reasons.
The song is about reviewing the memories – missed and forgotten – from the band’s childhood in Hanna, Alberta (Canada). The lyrics are a chronicle of real events and personal landmarks lead singer Chad Kroeger recalled as he wrote it.
Speaking with CBC, he explained:
“It’s just nostalgia, growing up in a small town, and you can’t go back to your childhood. Saying goodbye to friends that you’ve drifted away from, where you grew up, where you went to school, who you hung out with and the dumb stuff you used to do as a kid, the first love – all of those things. Everyone has one or two of those memories that they are fond of, so this song is really just the bridge for all that.”
The music video was directed by Nigel Dick, who directed the first Britney Spears video, “Baby One More Time.” It was shot in the band’s hometown of Hanna, as the band revisits their old stomping grounds.
The photograph that Kroeger is holding in the video is the one that inspired the song: It’s a shot of him and their producer, Joey Moi, at a New Year’s Eve party. As for what’s on Joey’s head, that’s a chiller for champagne, as they were enjoying some adult beverages that evening.
Chad Kroeger sings of breaking into his high school. Asked by NME how many times he did so, he replied: “Well, I say I did it half a dozen times, but I was charged with 11 counts of breaking and entering… it didn’t rhyme though. ‘I must have done it, pause, 11 times’ doesn’t quite fit as well as half a dozen.” Lol. You can see the video in my playlist.
I Wanna Go Back by Eddie Money (1986) – “I Wanna Go Back” is a 1984 song by American rock band Billy Satellite, written by band members Monty Byrom, Danny Chauncey, and Ira Walker, that achieved major popularity when recorded by Eddie Money in 1986. Another version was recorded by former Santana/Journey keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie for his self-titled 1985 debut solo album.
American rock singer Eddie Money covered the song on his 1986 album Can’t Hold Back, and it was released as the follow-up single to the top-ten hit “Take Me Home Tonight”. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Album Rock Tracks chart in early 1987. Money’s version, which AllMusic‘s Mike DeGagne says has “sincere, semi-ballad charm,” still relies heavily on synthesizers but includes more guitar and adds saxophone in the intro, bridge, and outro, with backing vocals by Marilyn Martin. The music video to his version features Money revisiting a high school interspersed with him and his band playing before a concert audience.
I want to go back
And do it all over again
But I can’t go back I know
I want to go back
Cause I’m feeling so much older
But I can’t go back I know
My sentiments exactly!
Well that wraps up Part 2 of my Songs on Aging and Getting Old(er) series. I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my favorite songs about reminiscing. Which songs here did you like? What are your favorite reminiscing songs?
Be sure to come back for Part 3 on Monday, October 15th.
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: