There is a website where you can enter your year of birth and get to ‘see’ the top music tracks of each year of school, the soundtrack to your early life, as it were. Which got me thinking… what are the songs that meant most to me in my life? They weren’t necessarily the ones that were the greatest hits at the time, nor are they trendy, cool, or chosen for their artistic merit. I probably should be embarrassed to death about at least half of them. I’m certainly somewhat surprised and frustrated that they are so often related to ‘other people’, to falling in love and such things. But, like it or not, these are the songs to which I developed a personal connection and which are vivid reminders of certain periods of my life.
1982 – The Wall – Pink Floyd
Is there any school child who did not rise up and sing ‘We don’t need no education…’? Even though I actually rather liked school. At least in those early years.
The first single I ever bought. Then I bought the album; then some of his earlier albums. This was David Bowie of the Serious Moonlight Tour, the pastel suits, the ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Little China Girl’. But I preferred his earlier music… and his film roles in The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Hunger, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and his cameo in Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. I was completely besotted with him and convinced that he’d wait for me to grow up and we’d get married. Spoiler alert: he didn’t.
1987 – I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight – Cutting Crew
My first big love affair with a boy with turquoise eyes… who vaguely resembled the lead singer of this band and taught me nearly everything I know about skiing.
1989 – I Want to Break Free – Queen
A secret anthem during my teenage years and my difficult relationship with my parents. But also the year that all of us young people finally broke free in my country – or at least found democracy and capitalism. For better, for worse…
1990 – She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
I was interpreting for international television crews during the first free elections in Romania. I was often the only (young) woman in a gaggle of (older) men, but I think I managed to make them toe the line. This was the song that they said reminded them of me. It reminds me of the world of possibilities that was opening up to me just then.
1992 – Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba
One of the happiest years of my life, when I did my M.Phil. in Cambridge. I learnt ballroom dancing for the first time and fell completely in love with it – this was our cha-cha music. This was also the year that I met the great love of my life. Sadly, it didn’t last very long.
2003 – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Andy Williams
The song I used to croon to my first-born, waltzing with him in a kangaroo pouch up and down the living room. How can a mother not identify with these words? ‘You’re just too good to be true/ can’t take my eyes off you/ You’d be like heaven to touch/ I wanna hold You so much/ At long last love has arrived/ And I thank God I’m alive…’
2014 – Sweet Darling – Frero Delavega
This is a really silly (and somewhat sexist) song, but it’s the one that my boys have adapted to sing to our beloved cat when she is debating whether to go outside in the wet, cold or snow: ‘Oh, my sweet darling Zoe/ don’t go!’ It perfectly captures all their humour, tenderness and silliness – and their affection for their ‘little sister’.
Will 2015 bring any memorable songs? I intend this to be a year of movement, of leaving lethargy behind and getting stuff DONE. So it’s either full circle to Pink Floyd and ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond’ or else… I’m rather tempted by this: