A Personal Soundtrack


I used to want a theme song. You know, one that would play whenever someone said my name — like the little bell ringing and halo that appeared whenever someone first met Simon Templar, “The Saint.” Or the way that the music sting would blare whenever Sean Connery said “Bond, James Bond…” Then I could look around me, bewildered and a little sheepishly, and shrug.

I never got my theme song, but, I do have a soundtrack to my life as I imagine you do yours. There are frequent guest artists on my soundtrack, some of whom make weekly if not daily appearances. I thought I’d write about a few albums (yup, I’m that old), artists or songs that continue to make my playlists. They’re great party music and just right for punctuating important moments.

“The Girl from Ipanema” and “What a Wonderful World” will always remind me of my daughter. But both songs appeared earlier than that in my life.

I remember being on the autobahn in Germany with my parents when Armed Forces Radio announced that Louis Armstrong had died. Even as a kid I loved his vibrant, fun-loving music. No wonder he was an Ambassador of Good Will. Give a few of his songs another listen and enjoy, especially if the weather has you a bit down.

“The Girl from Ipanema” was among the first songs that Mrs. E. and I discovered for which we shared a mutual love. When we lived in the Washington D.C. area, a new bar opened across the street from “Britches of Georgetowne” where I worked. It quickly became a favorite when we discovered that the third floor had a house bossa nova band. Our happy hours lasted well into the nights and we always got to hear a great version of our favorite song. Bossa Nova in general is my kind of cocktail music, suited for late afternoons watching the sun set, or early evenings while warming up your guests for dinner. Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz sort of invented jazz samba (which is just about the same thing as easy bossa) and set the gold standard. Vince Guaraldi (of “Linus and Lucy” fame) played with Bola Sete and did some outstandingly playful work.

Dipping back into the jazz, Harry Connick Jr.’s “It Had to be You” always finds me belting out the final chorus. Mr. Connick, Jr.’s musical inspiration is also mine.

What set list would be complete without the musical stylings of Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra? “Fly Me to the Moon”, and “All of Me” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down (and Write Myself a Letter)” all have me humming a tune, no matter the time of day (or night.) And thinking of that last title, I’ve got a few thank you’s to write. Time to choose a playlist.

Happy Weekend, I hope you’re whistling your favourite tune and have a spring in your step.

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7 Responses to A Personal Soundtrack

  1. There’s a lot of Roxy Music, Little Feat and Motown on my soundtrack, but there are also long symphonic scores, some opera and a bit of Cajun funk thrown in. Also, a sprinkling of Jimmy Buffet (the old stuff).

  2. A fine lineup. I used to have Buffet on the brain until “The Girl from Ipanema” went on permanent loop. And a little Meters never hurt the scene — “et toi!”

  3. theo says:

    When the snow finally melts and spring arrives track one of my soundtrack will begin with Frank crooning “I’ve got the world on a string, sittin on a rainbow…” and will end with These Are Days. Ode to Joy and Once in a Lifetime fill out the middle. A little optimism coupled with that smell of the bluegrass in spring and it’s hard not to bounce down the street.

  4. Hello theo,
    Brilliant! And fine choices, all.

  5. Emily says:

    Fabulous! I sort of think of my soundtrack as one part inherited from my parents (Steppenwolf, Led Zeplin, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller Band, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti) and grandparents (Nat King Cole, Henri Mancini’s Moon River, Classical, etc.) and the other part all me inspired (U2, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, David Gray, Madonna, Motown, Mariah Carey, Jann Arden, etc.) In terms of songs, I’d have to say “Fly me to the moon” + “Stand by me” are really up there.

  6. Hello Emily, I did find myself howling along yesterday…This song is not a rebel song… this song is Sunday, Bloody Sunday… Fine choices all. And frighteningly enough, it seems my music is that of your grandparents’. With age…

  7. I think your soundtrack is fabulous! I agree with your choices, and for my soundtrack I would add some Bobby Short and Mel Torme.

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