I reached across to change the car radio dial as Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ started a radio triple play of nostalgic songs. Usually, I am all over the oldies, but this song was just too ‘Eighties’; tinny synthesiser and the most ridiculous drumming you ever did hear.
But I stopped and listened, not changing the dial as the truly awful song transported me back in time.
It took me to my parents living room around 1985. An early evening TV show, Cover Up had been using this song for the opening credits. We must have enjoyed the show because we kept watching for a few weeks until it was no more. I still remember seeing the announcement that an ‘on set’ accident had curtailed the show. As a kid, I didn’t think too much about it..
But that song had transported me back to that place and that announcement. Listening again so many years later prompted me to find out what happened. Once you read about what happened, you will understand why the show could not continue.
The next song, Mr Brightside by The Killers took me ahead 20 odd years. The year was 2004, the location was our offices in Ipswich. We had a team of 30 or more bright young people helping grow our business. Mr Brightside reminded me of these great guys and girls, drinking Magners cider and singing away to the Killers on evenings out.
And back, back again to my parents house for Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. In late 1984 this was the song all the school boys played. Loud. For some reason it reminds me of bubbling testosterone and the odd dented wall.
As the last screams of Rebel Yell faded away, so reality came rushing back in. It is 2019, I’m in the car running chores. I am no longer a kid, no longer sitting in my parent’s living room.
Whilst I wouldn’t actively play for these three songs, they did, for 10 minutes, transport me back to a place and a time.
Singles remind me of kisses albums remind me of plans
The lyric from Squeeze sums up so much about my listening history. There are songs I can associate with growing up, albums that remind me of a place and time. Bjork’s Debut reminds me of a late summer working in a kitchen, Achtung Baby reminds me of moving into a flat in Edinburgh. The Sonics remind me of an Uber ride around LA (I chat to the drivers about music) ; Marshall Tucker’s ‘Can’t you see’ reminds me of Desert Trip and poolside at the JW Marriott.
Not every memory is great, not every song is great – just like this Bonnie Tyler track! But music really is my time machine. Where will the next song take me?