The Magic Of Music And Memories

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Music is magical. Ask anyone who has ever “hit the wall” during a morning run, only to switch on a few tunes. Within moments, the upbeat pace of a song brings renewed strength to continue the workout. Music can soothe frayed nerves and has the power to uplift a weary mind. Even Marie Osmond knew of the healing power of music, for her tenth solo album is named, Music is Medicine.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about music, but this column is a little different. Read on to discover whether music has left an impact on your own soul.

As Stevie Wonder once said, “Music at its essence is what gives us memories.” Whenever I hear The Four Tops’ 1965 hit, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”, I can easily conjure up memories of Dad as he shaved each morning. I would sit on Mom’s crocheted toilet topper and listen to him croon that Motown tune softly. By the time he had finished shaving, I was enthralled, eager for another song. Memories of tissue stuck to his face where he had nicked himself are still embedded in my brain, which is what pops up every time the song plays.

Another song that has the power to bring me back several decades is Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” My sister, our family’s rocker extraordinaire, listened to classic bands like Pink Floyd, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin for most of her teen years. We joked that “Hot Dog” by Led Zeppelin was our favorite song on their In Through the Out Door album. We also sang the opening howl of “Immigrant Song” ad nauseum, much to Mom’s chagrin. The song once evoked memories of Love’s Baby Soft, bell-bottomed jeans and the bubble-gum scent of Max Factor’s Kissing Potion lip gloss. As of late, whenever I hear Robert Plant’s opening war cry, I am forever haunted by the classic scene from Thor: Ragnarok, when the God of Thunder realizes his true power and fights his enemies on the Bifrost Bridge. Music gives us memories, indeed.

Last weekend, I was in the supermarket for a few necessities while Hubby waited in the car. My phone buzzed, which prompted me to glance at my FitBit for clarification. Hubby had sent me an image of the current song on the radio, which was The Vogues’ “Turn Around, Look at Me.” Instantly, I was transported back to the visitor lounge and a payphone at the hospital of my former employment. I had made a last-minute call to our band to request the song be played at our wedding at the “behest” of my father-in-law. It was a favorite song of my mother-in-law’s, who had recently passed away. To honor her memory, we had the song played at our wedding several days later, though the band never learned all the words and had muffled snickers related to the same. Whenever the song is played, one of us will relate the memory with an added, “Pop’s around, he’s playing his song.”

The song that holds the greatest impact for my husband and I would have to be Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” There is always vehicular silence during the song, especially during the third stanza, which begins with “Sail on, Silver Girl.” This has always been my husband’s secret reference to our daughter, especially during her turbulent teen years. When she graduated from LIU with her Masters in Special Education, he played the song several times for emphasis as he raised the volume during the lyrics, “Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way. See how they shine. Oh, if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind.” Anyone who knows my husband also knows that he is a man of few words. This song speaks volumes about what is in his heart, especially as we round the corner on the anniversary of when she moved out. The memories connected to the song have changed, but the emotion remains strong and true.

Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Jane Swan wisely asked, “How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations?” Music is indeed magical. Even Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones stated, “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” I could not agree more.

Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.

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