June 05, 2005

Music That Makes Me Nostalgic

Sheila started it!

Some of this stuff I should have a few drinks before I admit it. It'd be an excuse...

Moody Blues - I can't stand the whole sci-fi opera angle of so much of their music. But I can't hear "Nights In White Satin" without thinking about sitting in my dad's car, out on the Bloom exit on I94 in the middle of the prairie at 1AM, hearing the "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAHHHH" in the chorus and remembering roiling with unrequited crush.

Billy Idol - Not the usual ones. "Blue Highway", from Rebel Yell, may be the ultimate song from my college years.

Big Country - I remember sitting in the dorm playing "The Crossing" over and over and over. I probably spent sixty hours over interim (my college was on a 4-1-4 plan - January was spent doing one thing, an idea that's fallen out of favor, stupidly I think) learning to play every single song on that album on guitar, conquering whatever Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson did to make their guitars sound like bagpipes and Scottish fiddles. I hear "In A Big Country", I still feel exhilaration - and my fingers still ache...

Dire Straits, Tears For Fears - "Money For Nothing" and "Shout" were everywhere when I moved to the Twin Cities. That hot, dry autumn I drove to interview after interview to the sound of the ominous synth buildup to "Money", and drove back bellowing my anger at another failure to "Shout".

Steve Winwood - My senior year of high school, "While You See A Chance" was everywhere I turned. Including coursing through my mind as I pondered asking someone to prom. I hesitated - and literally before my eyes someone else asked her. "While you see a chance, take it... indeed.

Boston - Rock and Roll felt like samizdat books in Jamestown, North Dakota when I was in Junior High. There were two radio stations in town - one country, one mostly news and farm prices and the occasional lite top forty/oldies.

So when some of my friends' older brothers started passing down records to us, and a few of us could even afford records (vinyl albums!) of our own, actual rock and roll, it was like a whole world opened up. Boston was the first rock and roll album most of us had heard all the way through.

And of course...

Springsteen - Bruce? Well, he gets a whole category. Springsteen's written the soundtrack for so much of my life: "The Promised Land" is the best song ever written for those yearning to get out of the hometown; "Tunnel of Love" and "Human Touch" were amazing songs for watching love turn to anger turn to something worse, and praying for something to jump out and tell you how to fix it, whatever it takes. Lately, "None But The Brave" has been knocking arouund my head for hours at a time, thinking about people I used to know and places I used to be:

But oh, on a night like this,
I know that girl no longer exists.
Except for some moment in some stranger's eye
or the nameless faces in cars rushing by...
It's been on my mind a lot lately. It smacks me like a ton of bricks.

Posted by Mitch at June 5, 2005 07:07 PM | TrackBack

"roiling with unrequited crush"

I wish I knew what that meant. If I'm parked in a car at 1am near a highway ramp, presumably there's some requiting going on...

This will be left out of my post, which simply must be written NOW...

Posted by: kb at June 5, 2005 08:03 PM

This is great, Mitch. I wonder how many people would have Billy Idol on their list. He's sure on mine.

Posted by: red at June 5, 2005 08:19 PM


No requiting. I was driving around on my own.


It's strange, I wasn't even a huge fan. It was just EVERYWHERE!

Although I loved his old band, Generation X - "Your Generation" is one of my favorite songs ever...

Posted by: mitch at June 5, 2005 08:40 PM

Totally. i don't think I ever even had a Billy Idol album - it's just that he represented that entire era.

Posted by: red at June 5, 2005 08:56 PM

Hmmm... I'm almost assuredly a generation removed from you, but surprisingly my list matches in quite a few areas. Definitely Moody Blues, which was played a lot on long car trips by my parents. It wasn't until much later that I actually heard Nights in White Satin in its original context (the Days of Future Passed album,) which I've yet to find anything similar to, and still listen to on occasion. Dire Straits is definitely there too (the Brothers in Arms album was another staple of car trips back in the day, although Money for Nothing is just another song on that album for the purpose of the discussion.) I never really listened to music much besides car trips back in the day, although I later on picked up Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other classic rock. Boston's good too, but I don't listen to them much since they went from run-of-the-mill preachy leftists to extra-preachy leftists.

Posted by: Vexorg at June 6, 2005 12:28 AM

After listening to Lileks rip the Moody Blues to shreds on Hugh Hewitt a couple weeks back, I hesitate to admit to being a big fan of the Moodies, but I am (not of the Denny Laine era, of course). Incidently, the "white satin" Justin Hayward refers to in "Nights in White Satin" is a shirt.

Posted by: JamesPh. at June 6, 2005 09:09 AM

I'm not saying I'm a huge fan. Just that that chorus takes me back to that time like few others...

Posted by: mitch at June 6, 2005 09:26 AM


"Brothers in Arms" is actually not the best album Dire Straits ever made. Take a swing at "Calling Elvis", a lesser known album from the early 1990's....really their last album. Excellent from beginning to end.

Posted by: Dave at June 6, 2005 12:56 PM

Correction: the album title is "On Every Street".

Posted by: Dave at June 6, 2005 12:57 PM

Springsteen rules!

Posted by: Nihilist In Golf Pants at June 6, 2005 07:17 PM

Springsteen's just a mouthpiece for the Left.

Posted by: Laura at June 6, 2005 08:37 PM

On Every Street is very, very good.

Add one: Talk Talk, "Life's What You Make It." During my celebrated blue period, tonic for the soul.

Posted by: kb at June 7, 2005 12:21 AM

King and Dave,

I love all Dire Straits, and "On Every Street" is a great album. But "Brothers In Arms", and especially Money for Nothing, have a deep connection in my memory because of the time of my life with which they're associated. Actually, my favorite is still "Making Movies", but OES is wonderful.


Almost all rock stars are mouthpieces of the left, save Ted Nugent and the late Johnny Ramone and, maybe, Franky Perez. I don't care. Bruce's music affected me like few others'.

Posted by: mitch at June 7, 2005 12:26 AM
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