Important songs

Writing 101 day 3 begins a commitment to write for at least 15 minutes every day. Today I’m supposed to free-write about the three most important songs in my life and what they mean to me.

Free writing is more difficult than you’d expect, if done without cheating. I’m supposed to just keep writing and not stall to re-read, edit, or think about what’s supposed to come next or correct anything. That goes against the thirty years of habit I’ve developed, from high school to today. But I’ll try.

I don’t know if I know which three songs are most important to me and why. Music, as I’ve written before, is critical to my happiness. But judging which song is most important for any given reason is something I’ve never really thought about.

Off the top of my head, I’d say one song that has had a significant presence in my life is the hymn “Amazing Grace “. Not only was it my mother’s favorite and often heard floating from her lips whenever she was busy or concentrating, it was the basis for many choir exercises, youth group sings, and church services in my youth. It was sung at weddings and funerals and holiday gatherings. I’ve heard its core structure in many other songs. Its message is uplifting and comforting. But its ubiquity has given it a secondary meaning, made it an integral part of the fabric my life’s story.

Another song that has already begun to root itself into my life’s story is a pop song from an Australian band, A Simple Plan, called “Jet Lag”. My Lulu introduced this song to me ale hen we first started dating, because it reminds her of us. The song is about a couple separated by long distance and many time zones and their struggle to get back to one another. The refrain’s complaint that “you say good morning when it’s midnight” and “time zones making me crazy” are so spot-on to Lulu’s and my difficulty being separated by 9,000 miles and 15 hours, makes this song particularly appropriate for us.

And, finally I’ll choose John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” as the third. I loved the song as a kid when I heard it on the radio, because it is a simple melody in a range my voice could cover comfortably. And it was a change from the country music I had to listen to with my parents. But then, last year I sang it to my Lulu during a Skype date, while sitting on my front porch enjoying a spring evening. The simple pleasure of having a quiet moment together and singing a love song to my girl fixed that song in my heart as a favorite and, I’d guess, one of the most important in my life.


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