wOw’s Question of the Week


Tell us: what song evokes the strongest memories for you — and why?

CANDICE BERGEN: “The Sweetest Taboo” by Sade which for some reason is pronounced “Sharday”. Her album (which is what they were then) was popular and I would play it when Chloe was born. She would, for a few months, have her evening meltdown and I would dance with her in my arms under the ficus in my New York living room til she stopped crying. That song was like an amulet for me. I believe they call the infant evening meltdowns “colic”. But that really doesn’t do it justice.

MARY WELLS: When I was a little girl I acted in a local playhouse and I also could sing so I was asked to sing to older people in homes for them. I always sang “Over The Rainbow.” I hated all of these performances and after all these years I still get shakes and shivers when I hear Judy Garland sing anything at all.

The Christmas song by Nat King Cole. It’s a complete sense memory for me. I loved our family Christmases growing up.And when I hear that song — even the first few notes– I can smell the tree,  taste the turkey and all the goodies, see the lights on our front door , hear the squeals of my sister and brother, my mother’s laughter. It brings back all the feelings of warmth and tradition. A joyous time.

That’s a really hard question because there are so many songs that evoke strong memories.  “I’ll Remember April” is one of many. It was being played a lot in 1951 when I was about to graduate from the University of Arizona and say goodbye to the boy I was pinned to. He was staying on to finish law school and I was moving East. I knew the relationship wouldn’t last and all spring our kisses were wet from my tears. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear the song.

JEAN CHATZKY: For me, it’s all about summer camp. There are certain songs that can bring back not just the pine needles and the slightly musty bunks, but the teary night-before-you-have-to-leave friendship circle. “House at Pooh Corner” can do it, so can the best of Jim Croce, but I think Carole King’s “So Far Away” captures it best

24 Responses so far.

  1. avatar KarenR says:

    Asking someone from the Detroit/SE Michigan area to name a single song is a sure way to induce brainlock. Music and life are inseparable in Motown.

  2. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Most of us have had a first love.  . and perhaps we idolized that time — but it seemed so real.  I have to have been the only girl who got 2 dozen roses for her 16th birthday, given by a boy who travelled half way across the country to give them to me on a train platform in Chicago.  And so I think it would have to be Frank Sinatra singing “Some letters tied in blue, a photograph or two, Among My Souvenirs”.  I have found that I cannot part with old letters – and yes, they are tied in blue ribbon along with the photos and the diary of those times, the rose petals pressed within, carefully placed years and years ago in the attic, sealed, with words printed on the box saying DO NOT OPEN.

    The romance last a few years – not months – and the “souvenirs” of that very special time are recalled whenever this Sinatra lover hears Among My Souvenirs.  That song never fails to stop me in my tracks, and I look up knowing that pieces of my heart from that young time are probably faded but tell the story of what young love can be. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      ” a few more tokens rest, within my treasure chest/and though they do their best to give me consolation….”

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        “there’s nothing left for me, of days that used to be . .
        I live in memory among my souvenirs”

        And, Mr. WOW, if you knew who this was/is you would – well – be pretty amazed.  Frankly, I think the love letters – written so well – are going to be worth money at auction after I am gone.  And you DO remember Love Letters Straight From the Heart that seemed to go along with this line of love, don’t you???  Ohhhhh, young love!!!

  3. avatar D C says:

    Silent Night always gets me choked up because that was my dad’s favorite Christmas song, and he died of a heart attack on Christmas Day. 

    Sousa marches always make me happy, because I enjoyed the marching band so much in high school and college. 

    You Are My Sunshine always induces sweet memories of my kids as toddlers because we sang that a lot and it’s one of the first songs they learned to sing (all three of my kids are vocally gifted, and I believe it’s because they began “training” in the womb)

    And last but certainly not least, the entire Willy Nelson “Stardust” album is my perfect “mellow out” music.  it reminds me of my mom, who loved it, and when I want to feel closer to her I put it on.  I told my husband if I’m ever really sick, maybe unconcious,  he should play that in my hospital room because even if I can’t convey it, it will make me feel better I’m sure. 

    I believe music is a gift, like rainbows.  I cannot imagine a world without music.  I hope it will never be removed from school curriculum to save money.  But that’s another discussion.

    • avatar KarenR says:

      FIRE UP!!

      www -dot-

      guaranteed goosebumps when in the 100,000+ throng…unless you’re a Buckeye…

  4. avatar Sue Fawcett says:

    Elton John’s “Your Song” brings back memories of starting high school in the fall of 1970. I was apprehensive and a young teenager, and the wistfulness of the song made me feel comforted. Every time I hear it, I’m taken back to that time in my life, and it’s a cherished memory.

  5. avatar joanne in jax says:

    DC – My father thought he had discovered a ‘new’ talent when he sent me a cassette he made for me of Willie Nelson’s “Stardust”. Of course, I was already a devoted fan of Willie, and I was amused that my talented, trumpet and piano playing attorney dad was also a fan. So every song on that album evokes loving memories of my late father. Also, the right piano playing will bring tears to my eyes. And don’t get me started on Leonard Cohen.

  6. avatar Mary says:

    There are so many songs that take me back to so many moments in time.  Took me a while to think of just one and it will seem pretty silly but I think it is very true.

    When I was a little girl, my Daddy would be away on business quite a lot. Each and every time he went away he always came home with little presents for us all.  I loved opening his suitcase to find what was inside and most of the time it was a new record.  My sister, myself and and one of my brothers used to go to bed listening to those records and we would play them over and over and over and laugh and sing the day away.    So the song that brings back the most memories to me and happy times with family is by Burl Ives , Watch the Donut not the Hole. 

    I even have it now on a cd.                    

  7. avatar Yvonne Faye says:

    You did say “strongest”….not necessarily…..”greatest”.   The Shirell’s….Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow…….evokes the memory of being parked under a street light kissing my boyfriend and wondering if he would still love me tomorrow?  Young love, a pregnancy, a marriage, a divorce all followed….and that song puts me back there everytime!!  He still loved me “tomorrow”….but my love faded fast.  Also anything by Aretha Franklin evokes memories AFTER the divorce!!

  8. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Oh, those weekends when I was young. The flings as I called them. One promised to call.  Never did.  And then ten years later, there he was in the lobby of Pier House in Key West. Another wonderful weekend.  The last of them actually. After he left for the airport a song came on the radio. I’d never heard it before. But will always remember it . And that last weekend. That last fling. I promised to call. Never did.

    Once upon a summertime, if you recall
    We stopped beside a little flower stall
    A bunch of bright forget-me-nots
    Was all I’d ever let you buy me

    Once upon a summertime just like today
    We laughed the happy afternoon away
    And stole a kiss at every street cafe

    You were sweeter
    Than the blossoms on the tree
    I was as proud as any girl could be
    As if the mayor had offered me
    The key to Paris

    Now another winter time has come and gone
    The pigeons feeding in the square have flown
    But I remember when the vespers chimed
    You loved me once upon a summertime

    Michel Legrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman

  9. avatar Lila says:

    I don’t really have that association of memories with music, save one example: our Commander over in Saudi Arabia was fond of “Proud to be an American” and never missed a chance to have the soldiers sing it. So any time I hear that, I think of our unit over there in the first Gulf War.

  10. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    The final, live DVD/recording of Lena Horne singing “Yesterday When I Was Young”. I relate to that song so much. That, and Bernadette Peter’s “Not A Day Goes By”.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      DEar Count…magnificent song and perhaps the greatest live concert album ever.  (Soory, Judy!)

  11. avatar Jessie Bowdoin says:

    First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack   That song takes me back to my young, innocent years!

  12. avatar Linda Myers says:

    I always have a song going through my head, so this took a little more thinking. I would have to say Wynona Judd singing It’s Never Easy to Say Goodbye,which I wore out getting beyond the death of my dad and then my mom. Maybe, even more so my mom. I remember putting the song in and driving away from her burial on a brutally cold January afternoon in NE Iowa. I had grabbed one of her warm coats out of the closet of her house before going to the burial. As I pulled unto the interstate between listening to the song and wearing that coat, I was seeing so much on that road outside of cars, I ended up pulling over and taking the coat off and putting it in the trunk. Stood by the car for a few minutes to clear out the energy and drove the next two hours without it. The next time I tried to play the song about a week later, the tape had broke.

  13. avatar SMALL TOWN GIRL says:

    LAYLA    love the piano in that song its so moving 
                                                                                                                                                                             ISN’T SHE LOVELY by STEVIE WONDER   it came out the same time my first baby daughter was born I get
    teared up everytime I hear it

     POMP and CIRCUMSTANCE   gives you such an exciting and happy hopeful feeling

    BRIDAL MARCH     makes me cry I’m too mushy   ( hahaha)

    CHRISTMAS SONG   already mentioned above by Marlo Thomas happy childhood holiday memories

  14. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    “You Dont Know What Love Is”—Billie Holiday on her final album, “Lady In Satin.”  I didn’t know what love was.  But I learned .  I faced the dawn with sleepless eyes.

    Welll…anthing by Billie.

  15. avatar Barbara says:

    Louis Armstrong singing A Kiss to Build a Dream On. Reminds me of a real love in my life. When we were in separate parts of the world I would play that song and long for him.

  16. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    The songs of love. The songs of love long ago.  For some of us, love comes in fleeting moments. Like happiness I suppose.  Those of you who have had more than the fleeting moments, you don’t know how lucky you are.  Summertime becomes wintertime. And the fleeting moments become fleeting memories.

  17. avatar Chandara Sun says:

    For my mom, her favorite song after her divorce was “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John. She would burst into my room, sit down, and tell me to crank it up 🙂 That song has some seriously good lyrics if one has just been through hell and back. A wonderful affirmation of picking one’s self off the floor and going through life with dignity.

  18. avatar CYNTHIA NEIL says:

    “Children Will Listen” by Stephen Sondheim. It is connected to emotional healing about my family. Sometimes what people say they are, isn’t remotely connected to what they really are, and no matter how smart a kid may be you only learn that through experience.