We all have one inside us; those few songs that are so pertinent to us. We know them within seconds of hearing the first few notes played. The power of the songs that have been our own personal soundtrack can be beyond overwhelming. Listening to them makes our emotions react and memories and feelings bubble to the surface as raw as if they were being heard for the first time.
Sometimes listening to these songs will make us laugh, comfort us, or hurt us all over again. For sure there are some songs that are too painful for us to listen to – but they are still there, woven into our unique and individual histories and we are unable to erase the meaning that they hold to us.
One of the best things about being a child and teenager in the 80s and 90s was being able to create our own mixed tapes as we pretended to be top Radio 1 DJs. I cannot tell you the hours me and my sister and my friends spent interviewing each other and writing up travel and weather reports to punctuate our favourite songs of the time.
Preparation for these mixed masterpieces always began on a Sunday evening, when the week’s top 40 songs were played and counted down. There we would be, poised and lying in front of our double tape deck, ready to press down the play and record buttons (at the same time) with all the power we could muster. The real skill was stopping the recording before the DJ spoke – I swear I got so good that I could hear the DJ inhale to speak and that would be the golden moment that I would holler at my apprentice to STOP STOP STOP the recording. Kids of the digital era will just never know the thrill, fun and excitement of such a production.
So here is my mixed tape; a weird mix of random songs that have somehow anchored themselves to my life so far.
It has been put in chronological order, of the release date of each song, with a brief explanation in brackets alongside.
The Circle Game, Joni Mitchell, 1968 (a safe memory, comfort)
I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day, Wizzard, 1973 (an unexplained sadness)
When a Child is Born, Johnny Mathis, 1976 (Grandma Win)
Voulez-Vous, Abba, 1979 (apparently my first ever favourite song)
Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits, 1981 (pure joy)
Come on Eileen, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 1982 (childhood, friendships and laughter)
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Tight Fit, 1982 (childhood joy)
You Can’t Hurry Love, Phil Collins, 1982 (hope)
No Woman, No Cry, Bob Marley and The Wailers, 1984 (sunny weekends, family, tea)
Together in Electric Dreams, Giorgio Moroder and Phil Oakley, 1984 (road trip holidays, family)
Rain or Shine, Five Star, 1986 (the first single I bought)
One Moment in Time, Whitney Houston, 1988 (motivation)
Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice, 1990 (inner happiness at an anxious time)
Hero, Mariah Carey, 1993 (first love)
Teardrop, Massive Attack, 1997 (bittersweet-in reality more bitter than sweet)
What Can I do? The Corrs, 1998 (pain and sadness)
Hey Girl, Hey Boy, The Chemical Brothers, 1999 (Fun, fun, fun)
This Year’s Love, David Gray, 1999 (the finest love)
Life is a Roller Coaster, Ronan Keating, 2000 (the best day of my life)
She’s the One, Robbie Williams, Knebworth Edition, 2003 (my girl- and being so close to Robbie at Knebworth that I could see the sweat beads on his face- ecstasy)
For Good, Idina Menzel & Kristen Chenoweth, 2003 (the luckiest friendships)
Somewhere Only We Know, Keane, 2004 (the saddest time ever)
Hallelujah, Alexandra Burke, 2009 (brand new love)
Sky full of Stars, Coldplay, 2014 (family, love, sad)
Charlie, Mallrat, 2019 (family, love, sad)
Blinding Lights, The Weekend, 2020 (flippin Lockdown)
This will eventually be one of those double tapes – like the ones the ‘Now that’s what I call music,’ tapes came in with sides 3 and 4 to be compiled over the next forty odd years of my life. Watch. This. Space.
Look out for the opportunity for you to share some of your mixed-tape tracks on our socials this month.