March 7, 2011
I was driving along this evening and “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue came on the radio. This caused two simultaneous thoughts. One, it made me want to drive fast. and two, it triggered memories of when I first started to love this song. And that is when I started to think about the affect music has on my memory.
In the case of “Kickstart My Heart”, I was taken back to my first year at Morehead State. But more precisely, it was memories of driving to or from school in my ’66 Mustang. This song would come on and I would just hammer down! Those winding roads would turn into my own personal playground. There was no such thing as an “iPod Playlist” in 1988, but I did make a few awesome mix tapes for my various road trips. Crue was all over these tapes…along with Kiss, Whitesnake and Ratt. When I drove, the soundtrack was ROCK!
But my memories are not all on four wheels. And music seems to be a great trigger for all of them. So many songs remind me of specific times. Listening to “Paradise City” laying on the infield at Pikeville’s track, waiting for my event to be called. or Sitting in David Cochran’s car in the senior parking lot listening to “Push It” by Salt n’ Peppa. But just as many simply seem to be tied to an era. I have no specific memory with The Eagles, but I do know that it was just about the only thing I ever heard in Sean Salyers’ truck.
To me, these songs are like anchors. I can be drifting along with no particular place to go, and then THAT song comes on. That song that stops my forward progress and holds my mind still. I am just locked into a memory. I am both taken back to another time and reminded just how long ago that was. Even during the strongest waves of memory, I am aware of the time that has passed since. And no matter how fond the memories, once the song ends I return to my life with a smile on my face. Those songs and those memories are the fingerprint of my life. And there is no other life quite like it.