Friday, May 15, 2015

The Songs That Made Me

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, there are a series of articles called "The Songs That Made Me," written by various musical artists. In them, the artists list the songs that made them who they are and why. In keeping with that theme, some friends and I have written lists of the songs that made us. Each of the songs I've listed here is a link to the song itself. Following my list, you will find links to my friends' lists. 

Music is memory and speaks in a way no words on their own ever could. Narrowing this list to just ten songs was nearly impossible. 

1. This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1960
I love my family and I was not looking for a new one, but I have always had a deep affection for Steve and Eydie. They were my make-believe parents, my Beverly Hills by way of Vegas by way of Brooklyn, Jewish other life. Throw on a caftan, grab a martini and lounge by the pool. This obsession began in the 3rd grade. I was an odd kid.

2. “Cry Baby Cry,” The Beatles, 1968
In my high school, the go-to bands for most of the student population were Blue Oyster Cult, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC  - all lovely but thanks to Ron Hughes, this was not the case for me. Ron introduced me to The Beatles. I thank him for this and lots of other things. This song is my most favorite song of many favorite songs on the White Album. This song is high school for me.

3. “Alison,” Elvis Costello, 1977
If you’ve been reading Smacksy for any amount of time, you’re aware of my longstanding love affair with this song.  I was in Rite Aid yesterday, this song came on and I felt it necessary to announce to the line at the pharmacy that, "They're playing my song!" I'm a nerd. I wrote about my relationship with Elvis Costello here at Nancy Davis Kho's Midlife Mixtape.

4. “Alladin Sane,” David Bowie, 1973
The song is haunting and Mike Garson’s incredible piano solo takes up a lot of real estate in my head. David Bowie obviously was and still is impossibly cool. I got to meet him in 1995 on a show I was working on. They say it’s not safe to meet your idols because you will likely be disappointed. Mr. Bowie was smart and interesting and warm. He was everything I had imagined him to be and more. I adore him, and this song. 

5. “Mysterious Ways,” U2, 1991
Some songs have the ability to bring you back to a specific time and place, an exact moment.  In ‘91, I was 27 and working in a casting office for HKM Productions in the basement of the old USO building just off Hollywood Boulevard. This song takes me there, to that squeaky office chair in the dark edit bay. Part of my heart will always belong there.

6. “September of My Years,” Frank Sinatra, 1965
Beautiful and melancholy, I first fell in love with this in 10th grade although I was apparently prematurely retired and living in Boca in my late 60's. You can’t listen to this version of Frank on a sunny day.

7. “Go Your Own Way,” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977
This means junior high, summertime, and hanging out at Ellen Frear’s pool. Rumours was on a constant loop. I am an only child. Ellen’s family with 7 kids and these impossibly beautiful, cool, older sisters was a different universe. 

8. “When Doves Cry,” Prince, 1984
The 1980s were Depeche Mode and Devo and Michael Jackson and The Smiths and The Clash and of course the soundtrack from Breakin', but in my 1980s life, the Purple Rain album was everything. It was a big piece of my puzzle. Dig if you will the picture…

9. “Volcano,” Damien Rice, 2002
Volcano has been with me since 2002. It floated into my world in the the time between my second divorce and when I met Mr. Rosenberg. I still listen to it almost everyday. This the soundtrack to a mood I find myself in often. It’s my go-to song while driving.  Okay, and this one too. 

10. “I’ll Never Lie Again,” Lavender Diamond, 2007
Mr. Rosenberg was a founding member of this band. I went to shows all through our courtship, my pregnancy, and then started bringing the baby along (with his sound canceling headphones) to shows and on tour when Bob was 3 weeks old. This song is from their first album, Imagine Our Love. And a bonus, “You Broke My Heart," from the One Day Like Rain film soundtrack.

More songs and stories here:


  1. What a fabulous post! I just loved this...


  2. Getting to know you, hear your story in songs was such a treat today.
    A fantastic list for a fantastic gal. xo

  3. I had such a hard time deciding between "When Doves Cry" and "Like a Prayer" for my list - those songs that sounded unlike anything that came before, the first time we heard them. Love this list. (And young Bob in his headphones. I mean.)

    Thanks again for joining in!

  4. Such a great list, Lisa! And I would kill to see your 3rd-grade self wearing a caftan and drinking a martini by the pool.

  5. YES! "When Doves Cry" again! I love how that song stuck with so many of us. (And here, I will give you this little present too -

  6. Elvis Costello...I am often the only one dancing in the aisle. How can you be in the same room as Elvis Costello and not be dancing like a maniac? Pump It Up is my personal favorite, but Allison is the soundtrack of my senior year.
    Thanks, yet again, for connecting me to my soul during a mind-numbing work week.

    1. No, there is no sitting still during Pump It Up! xoxo

  7. It makes me smile how many of us have Prince. I love how this gives a glimpse into each of us.