Music-Memory Associations
Jul 8, 2002 at 8:19 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

kerelybonto

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One of the strange things about music is its tendency to get matched up and stored away in our brains with the memory of certain periods in our lives. It's common to hear a song and think back to a certain year, a season, or even a person.

More uncommon is a song recalling a very specific moment in time, but I find this happens to me with a few songs. The associated events don't seem to have any significance, yet they're reliably remembered every time the song's heard. Take for instance what I think of every time I hear Yes's "Owner of a Loney Heart" (a song I can't decide if I like or completely loathe): driving to an early-morning (before 6:00 am) football practice the summer before my junior year in high school; I'm in my mom's minivan, just getting off I-435 onto State Line Road, passing under the overpass and through the first light; the road's completely empty, the sun's barely up, and I'm up to about 50mph.

There are a couple other similar song-memory associations I have, equally unimportant and just as vivid. Anyone else have any strange recollections like this with certain songs?

kerelybonto
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 8:34 PM Post #2 of 11

Braver

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as I usually listen some music while reading a book, sometimes the music actually get connected to the book like a sound track
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for instance, whenever I listen to NIN - The Fragile, I can't help but think back to Watership Down and vice-versa.
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 9:03 PM Post #3 of 11

Mr.PD

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This very much happens to me. Owner Of A Lonely Heart brings back a stretch of hiway in an '89 Bronco II loaded with camping gear headed home from a weekend at the Snake river.
A song I think is called When Smokey Sings always reminds me of a nice day at work riding in a locomotive by myself in Idaho. It was playing on the radio that day.
The song Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind from the 60's happened to be playing while I was driving to my girlfriends house in '94, trying to figure out if I wanted to continue with her or try to get back with my wife at the time. BTW that girlfriend is now my wife
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I have a bunch of songs like that. They always bring back the exact scenery and everything going on while they were playing.

A lot of good memories are stored that way.
 
Jul 8, 2002 at 11:54 PM Post #4 of 11

DanG

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Yeah, this happens all the time to me too. But for some reasons, the associations usually fade away with time. For a while, listening to Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy took me back to driving away from work on the last day of the worst job I ever had... it made it tough to listen to that CD for a while as I quit the job after yelling at the boss (and him yelling back at me). I also got the soundtrack associations, but those die away faster I think.
 
Jul 9, 2002 at 12:28 AM Post #5 of 11

carlo

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u2's achtung baby is my big one. there're a lot of people and places i've experienced with it in the background, and for that will probably always hold a warm place for me.

bob dylan's stuff always has me recalling past loves, dreams, etc. that's whats great about the whole thing... music is trully beautifull. i spend a lot of time making compilation cds for friends and to remind me of people past, i never reuse the same song for another person and ask the receipients to understand that in a sense each song is a gift from me to them. for the sake of fun i'll list a conceptual one i just finished (all of which fits the whole musical memory thing, albeit with different people):

the broken heart syndrome cd

1)Tom Waits - Martha
2)Bob Dylan - Most of the Time
3)Lucinda Williams - Barbed Wire
4)Leonard Cohen - Famous Blue Raincoat
5)Liz Phair - **** and Run
6)Ani Difranco (Prince cover, live) - When You Were Mine
7)Kinks - Can't Stop Worrying 'Bout That Girl
8)Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue
9)The Velvet Underground - Pale Blue Eyes (acoustic version)
10)Radiohead - Let Down
11)Pulp - Sylvia
12)Liz Phair - Divorce Song
13)Nick Cave - Into My Arms
14)Johnny Cash - Ballad of a Teenage Queen
15)Ani Difranco - Sorry I Am
 
Jul 9, 2002 at 1:10 AM Post #6 of 11

blink180tone

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carlo
thats an awesome idea that i might steel from you......hope you dont mind.


janis joplin, "me and bobby mcgee." this song reminds me of sitting in a bar at the age of 12 with my dad. he was drunk as **** and wouldnt leave until he heard this song. i spent the whole nite walking around the bar picking up money off the floor, i made a lot. (you would be suprised how many people would hand over a 12year old money.) anyway he finally heard the song after i begged the band to play it. we left at 2am.

BTW--great thread
 
Jul 9, 2002 at 2:44 PM Post #7 of 11

insanefred

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Erm, well, Tchaikovsky's violin concerto played by Jascha Heifetz with Fritz Reiner and the CSO on RCA will forever remind me of Carmageddon, that cool car racing game where you get to run down pedestrians. Played the two solidly for a month!
Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances reminds me of a rainy summer spent on a deserted university campus in Northern Ireland.
Andrew
 
Jul 9, 2002 at 5:40 PM Post #8 of 11

carlo

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blink,
yeah, knock yourself out
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speaking of "me and bobby mcgee" i have a very vivid memory of the song from about five years ago: one of my closest friends and i were driving down the california coast on the 1 freeway, blasting the song through the speakers while she sang it at the top of her lungs and danced liked a maniac in her seat. i probably fell in love with her that day...

good times, good times.

carlo.
 
Jul 9, 2002 at 5:56 PM Post #9 of 11

grinch

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once upon a time i was meeting a friend of mine in the city. i was also driving my friend to the train station, so i was kind of taking one friend home while meeting my other friend so we could go to a show. long story short, we kidnapped my friend and all three of us went to the show. she was a little pissy at first, but by the time we got to brownies she was okay. we went to see piebald and the show was just phenominal. they were really on their toes and the entirety of this tiny-ass bar was rocking. the friend i kidnapped turned out to love the band and my other friend (who had just turned 21 at the time) was drinking and having quite a grand time.

at one part of the show, my rather drunk friend started screaming at the lead singer to play an old song (she was a long-time fan of piebald). the singer pretty much laughed at her for being so screamy about it and then teased her by playing the opening riff a few times for her. (to this day, i haven't ever seen them play that damn song live). the rest of the show went on, and they closed with "you shook me all night long" by ac/dc and the place just went nuts. it was such an awesome cover. anyway, the show ended and we started driving home..

my still-drunk friend threw the cd she just bought into my car's cd player and started blasting "the sea and a lifesaver" by piebald. me and her roll down all the windows and start screaming the lyrics out while flying at 70mph up the fdr. she's dancing, i'm driving, and my friend in the backseat (who had never heard the song before) is staring at us idiots with a blank look on her face. it was quite a moment. then i get off at the tunnel exit, and a taxi driver next to us starts pulling dance moves with my friend. it was quite a hysterical night.

so anyway, conclusion: "the sea and a lifesaver" by piebald is a great ****ing song!


i have many songs that i remember with people as well. these are songs that i will never escape about people i will never forget. i hate to say it, but they are usually under bad/sad terms, but listening to them still gives me enjoyment. a few of them are:

nine inch nails - something i can never have (and the whole of pretty hate machine for that matter)
tori amos - silent all these years
ani difranco - dilate
modest mouse - she ionizes and atomizes
nine inch nails - deep
portishead - undenied
faith no more - just a man
death cab for cutie - champagne from a paper cup
tori amos - past the mission
sunny day real estate - song about an angel (and the rest of diary)
tool - h.
jeff buckley - hallelujah
jawbox - savory
radiohead - no suprises
tori amos - baker baker
songs: ohia - the lioness
type o negative - be my druidess (my ex-girlfriend once kissed a tree she liked it so much, it went from there.. don't ask)
tori amos - putting the damage on


for my current girlfriend and for any of the guys in the irc channel with good memories:
the police - roxanne
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Jul 9, 2002 at 7:47 PM Post #10 of 11

john_jcb

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Over the years there are so many songs that bring back vivid memories but the most vivid one is from 1966. I was 16 and enjoying the freedom that a drivers license brings. There was a girl from Portland that lived on Bainbridge Island, Wa with her family in the Summer. It was a Summer of exploration for both of us.
The song that takes me back to her is the Troggs "Wild Thing" Everytime I hear that song I am taken back to my time with her.
 
Jul 10, 2002 at 1:30 AM Post #11 of 11

mbriant

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I have several strong moment/song associations...most related to past loves. The most vivid involves Peter Gabriel's first solo album.

At about 3:00 in the morning, 1977 I think, I was laying in bed listening to the "world premier" of Gabriel's first solo album on Chum FM. I was 23 years old, had a good job, new car, was sharing a big house with a couple of buddies, I was high, and sleeping angelically beside me was my unbelievably beautiful girlfriend whom I'd been going out with for over 6 1/2 years. I remember laying there thinking "it can't get any better than this". The world was an extremely wonderful place at that particular moment.

3 months later she dumped me for a psychology major she met at university.

Now whenever I hear Salisbury Hill I curl up into a fetal position.
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