I was just having my lunch and the song ‘Light My Fire’ by the Doors came on the radio. In a microsecond, my mind retreated to the day that I first heard this song. The moment is crystal clear in my head. I can’t remember much else about that day but hearing that song always brings me to that moment.
What moment am I referring to you may ask?
As a small child and with my family, we were visiting my cousins from my father’s side, Midge and Trudy. They were sisters living in a second-floor apartment in or near Poughkeepsie, NY. I can’t be sure of exactly where but I know it was somewhere around there. Anyway, I digress. We were having a good time and I remember having fond memories spending time with them. Where they are today, is anyone’s guess. I remember them being about fifteen years older than I was and I was a small kid. Through them, I was introduced to ‘The Doors’, a Christmas gift they gave me one year, and even the layout of their living room at the time. Out the front windows, I could see the urban street below and hear the occasional siren of emergency vehicles going by. I can remember wondering, how can they sleep at night with all that racket. Little did I know that one day, I too would learn how to do that.
After the song was over, I started thinking about other songs. Eric Clapton’s song ‘Layla’ brings back to me a fellow by the name Jerry Romeo. He was a modern day Fagan from the book Oliver’. One summer I was part of his crew selling door-to-door subscriptions to the NY Times. We would jump from his van, spread out and attack the neighborhood. Afterwards, he introduced me to the therapeutic wonders of a plant commonly called ‘weed’.
Santana’s 1969 album entitled ‘Santana’ was just fabulous. So many songs on there. It’s cover fascinated me. A sketch of a lion, mouth wide open and hidden within, is the image of a topless woman, her nipples covered by the fangs of the lion. I was barely entering my teen years and just discovering the wonderful value of female gender. My cousin on my mother’s side Michael introduced me to that album to . I bought my own copy, along with ‘Abraxas’ as soon as I was able.
There’s ‘Roundabout’ on the Yes album ‘Fragile’, was first introduced to me by my best friend in high school, John Nicholas. Now there’s a guy I would love to hook back up with. I have no idea where he is today. He lost a couple of toes one summer driving a town lawn mower when he accidentally rolled it. Every time ‘Roundabout’ plays, I have to crank up the volume, blow my ear drums out and think of him.
Then there’s ‘Crimson and Clover’ which was the favorite song of a school bully by the name of Phillip Domineci. I always felt that I was his prime target. Years later, I hated the song, solely because of him. In recent years, I have come to kinda like it. You can thank Joan Jett for that. Then there’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who. Damn, so many memories related to that song, I can’t list them all.
Oh, least I forget ‘Gold Dust Woman’ from Fleetwood Mac. I turn that on with endless repeat when I’m a creative spirit, whether it be writing or painting. Hours later and often, well into the night, I’m still playing the song over and over as I put the final touches on the piece I’m working on.
The list can go on and on. One thing that surprises me with so many songs of my childhood is that while I liked them, I had no clue that so many of them had strong sexual undertones to them. At the time, I had no idea what it meant. I do now! A line from ‘Brandy’ by Looking Glass, “She saw its ragin’ glory” caught my interest but took me years to figure it out. The double innuendo is great.
I love the idea of the line “Won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff” from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Second Hand News’. So many of the songs of my early years have undertones that I missed and only decades later did I figure them out. I was young and stupid in those days. I wonder what my parents thought of me when they realized just how much I loved these songs.
What about you? Do you have memories such as the ones I describe? I look forward to reading them.